Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1069 ( Monday 23 May 2016 )

MELANESIA

1) Indonesia imas lusim MSG: Dr Tarcisius Tara

Updated 23 May 2016,
Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla mansave long ol wok politik long Pacific rijan na man blong Solomon Islands itok ol Melanesian lida imas autim Indonesia long Melanesian Spiahed Grup long miting blong ol long Papua New Guinea long pinis blong dispela mun.

Dr Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka, Associate Professor long University of Hawaii itok Indonesia we emi memba blong MSG ino ken tokim ol Melanesian pipal long wari long ol Human Rights abuses em ol pipal blong West Papua isave bungim nau aninit long Indonesia polis na militari.

Emi tok, emi mekim despla toktok bihaen long Indonesia Foran Ministry ibin tokaut olsem gavman emi gat bikpla laik long luksave long Human Rights long ol pipal blong West Papua, bihaenim wari blong planti MSG lida long ol Human Rights abuse long West Papua.

Dr Kabutaulaka i mekim despla toktok tuploa wik bihaenim bikpla miting blong International Parliamentarians for West Papua long London tupla wik igo pinis. Long wik igo pinis wanpla gavman laen blong Indonesia ibin go long London long toktok wantem ol Politisan na Sios lida long west Papua.

Em i tok Indonesia em ibin sakim ol toktok na plan blong MSG na em i mas raus long dispela grup.ABC


2) Indonesia rejects statement of Solomon Islands` PM on MSG

4:52 pm GMT+12, 22/05/2016, Indonesia

The Indonesian government has refuted the statement of Solomon Islands prime minister that the country has joined the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) merely to protect its own interests.

“We firmly reject the statement of the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, that appeared on the website of the prime ministers press secretariat on May 17, 2016,” the Indonesian foreign affairs ministrys director general for Asia Pacific and Africa, Desra Percaya, stated in a press statement issued Saturday.

The prime minister of Solomon Islands, in the statement on the aforesaid website, had posited, “The extension of full membership status to the United Liberation for West Papua (ULMWP) in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) could be justified because Indonesia has also sought to seek a membership status in the regional grouping to protect its own interest rather than seeking to be involved in a dialogue about serious human rights issues in West Papua.”

Responding to Prime Minister Sogavares statement, Desra Percaya made it clear that the statement was against the basic principles of sovereignty and non-interference as included in the agreement for the establishment of MSG in 2007.

Desra underlined that the worlds third biggest democracy, Indonesia considers respect for human rights an important principle.

In view of that, he recalled, Indonesia has ratified eight out of nine of the main human rights instruments of the UN and cooperates in various human rights mechanisms.

“Indonesia hails the concept of human rights and is ready to share its experience with regard to promoting and protecting human rights with other countries, including Solomon Islands. That is why Indonesia has always welcomed the participation of Solomon Islands in the Bali Democracy Forum,” he elaborated.

Desra reiterated that Indonesia has long been committed to overcoming the issue of human rights violations through the establishment of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) representative office in Papua.

He reminded that Komnas HAM offices at the national and regional level have continued to work to resolve any alleged cases of human rights violations in Papua.

As part of the Pacific region, Indonesia has also partnered with several key countries in the region to forge strong and productive bilateral relations, he added.

It has also actively participated in various regional groupings, such as the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) since 1980 and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum since 1989. Also, it has been active in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) since 2001 and the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PDIF) since 2014.

“So, it is rather myopic for Prime Minister Sogavare to speculate that Indonesias agenda in the Pacific, moreover regarding MSG, is solely Papua-centric,” he argued.

He maintained that Indonesia remained committed to contributing to the MSG, further solidifying the relations between the governments, communities and peoples in the region.

Indonesia is also committed to strengthening cooperation, jointly overcoming the challenges, deepening the economic relations and development related cooperation for the welfare and future of the nations in the MSG region.

“These facts must awaken Sogavare prime minister to understand clearly the reality and the truth,” he concluded.

SOURCE: ANTARA NEWS AGENCY/PACNEWS

3) Ball rolling on Bougainville referendum

A target date of 15 June 2019 has been set for the self-determination referendum in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville.

The date has been agreed on in a breakthrough meeting between the PNG central government and Bougainville’s regional government co-chaired by PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill and Bougainville president John Momis.

Under the terms of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, a referendum must be conducted in Bougainville before mid-2020.

President Momis said that although the date could not yet be finalised, due to various legal steps required to be taken first, it would be impossible to plan the referendum without a target date.

“As a result, there should no longer be any doubt amongst Bougainvilleans about whether or not the referendum will be held,” said Mr Momis.

He said that Bougainville could now plan the steps required to hold the referendum as well as the time, funding and personnel needed to carry out each step.

Mr Momis said that equally pleasing was a national government commitment to provide the funding needed to carry out referendum preparations beginning with the 2017 national budget.

Recently, Mr Momis had expressed frustration that his administration had not been given funds committed to Bougainville by Waigani under the Peace Agreement.

Admitting that court action remained an option, he wrote to Mr O’Neill two months ago to remind him that Bougainville was owed hundreds of millions of dollars in constitutionally guaranteed funding.

However the latest meeting of the joint supervisory body has set the ball rolling on the referendum and related programmes, much to Mr Momis’ relief.

‘Huge step forward’

Mr Momis said he was “very pleased” with the decisions made with Waigani after their series of meetings over recent months.

The Bougainville and PNG governments have agreed to establish an independent agency to conduct the referendum, a detailed work programme of activities and associated funding; and a set of basic messages for an initial joint awareness programme.

The two governments are reportedly committed to establishing the independent agency which willl conduct the referendum before the end of 2016.

PNG’s Electoral Commission and the Bougainville Electoral Commission were already cooperating to develop the agreement, administrative arrangements and the charter required by the peace agreement for establishing the independent agency.

“The joint agreement on these and related issues is a huge step forward,” said Mr Momis.

He said it demonstrated once and for all the total commitment of PNG to full implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the associated constitutional provisions.

“I know some factions and individuals have retained weapons because of suspicions that the national government would refuse to hold the referendum,” Mr Momis admitted.

“But with the historic Joint Supervisory Body decisions on 20 May, those suspicions must end.

“As a result, all Bougainvillean groups must now work towards achieving complete weapons disposal.”

The president called for full disposal of weapons by the Me’ekamui Defence Force elements, the armed groups associated with Noah Musingku at Tonu, and various former Bougainville Revolutionary Army and Bougainville Resistance Force members and groups that have retained weapons.

“Only with full weapons disposal will Bougainville be referendum-ready. The Bougainville Peace Agreement requires that the referendum be free and fair,” he said.

Commending Peter O’Neill for showing leadership on this process, Mr Momis said that PNG was providing a model for other countries that have experienced violent conflict and look to resolve it peacefully.http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304534/ball-rolling-on-bougainville-referendum

4) Vanuatu, Solomon Islands Set To Define Maritime Boundary
Treaty likely to be finalized, signed in the next two months

By Thompson Marango

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 20, 2016) – The Government of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are looking forward to the finalization and signing of the treaty sealing common coordinates in the two countries’ maritime boundary within the next two months.

Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Minister, Milner Tozaka met with his Vanuatu counterpart, Bruno Leingkon Tuesday this week in Port Vila and the joint maritime boundary was also discussed.

The two countries share maritime boundary north of Vanuatu and south of Solomon Islands.

Minister Leingkon informed Daily Post that the two countries are looking forward to signing of a treaty to seal common coordinates possibly as early as June or July this year.

Negotiations between the two countries was actually completed in 2015 when a team from Vanuatu met with their Solomon Islands counterparts.

The two ministers’ discussion also touched on the issue of the North Fiji Basin, visiting the offer of the Commonwealth Secretariat to fund detailed submissions on behalf of Vanuatu, Fiji and Solomon Islands in the best interest of all parties.

Another important issue also discussed by the two ministers is the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting which the two countries further assured each other about their support for West Papua.

Leingkon told Daily Post the after the meeting Solomon Islands still stand with Vanuatu to push for ULMWP to become a full member.

In regards to the disputed appointment of the new MSG Secretary General, Leingkon said the two countries have reached an understanding that it is not about the candidate, but rather about the process of appointment.

He said the issue will be considered during the upcoming MSG meeting and dealt with in the proper Melanesian manner.

Vanuatu Daily Post

 
POLYNESIA

5 ) Tongan doctors trained in China need better bridging course

The Tongan government says there needs to be better bridging programmes so that medical graduates returning from study in China can practice back home.

There are currently five staff at Vaiola hospital who studied in China but are yet to be registered as doctors.

The director of health, Siale ‘Akau’ola, said the graduates needed to get adequate practical experience before being registered.

Dr ‘Akau’ola said difficulties were also created when medical students had to have material translated from Chinese to English and then into Tongan.

“That’s a huge gap as far as we can see. We have been talking with the Chinese authorities who are offering these scholarships to find a way of improving the way that we link their graduates with where they are working here in Tonga to make sure that they end up as safe as possible for the public to utilise.”

Siale ‘Akau’ola said staffing levels were also affected by having to supervise graduates during their practical work.

About 20 Tongan students are studying medicine in China.23/5/16 RNZI

 6-7 ) Call for research into rise of child poverty in Tonga

The Asian Development Bank says more research is needed following signs of an increase in child poverty in Tonga.

A doctor has started providing breakfast for about 150 school children in Nuku’alofa and more children are appearing on the streets of the capital selling peanuts.

In 2009, the United Nations estimated the number of Tongans living in poverty was 22.5 percent of its roughly 100 thousand people.

The Bank said Tonga has the third lowest rate of poverty in the Pacific but an economist with the Bank’s Pacific department, Christopher Edmonds, said that figure needs updating.

“Thats based on 2009 estimates so it is quite dated at this point. Usually those poverty estimates are coming out of the household income and expenditure surveys that are only done every few years and obviously it’s been some time since Tonga did a proper survey.”23/5/16 RNZI

8) Imam warns Samoa on constitution plans

An imam in Samoa has questioned whether changing the constitution to reinforce Samoa as a Christian country would mean it would no longer do business with non-Christian countries.

Last week, the leader of the National Council of Churches called for Islam to be banned in Samoa.

The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, said freedom of religion will remain untouched, and any amendments would only make it clearer that Samoa is a Christian country.

But Imam Mohammed Bin Yahya said there are a lot of non-Christian countries that give aid to Samoa.

“Will they say no aid because you are not Christians, keep your money to yourself? No more money from China, no more aid from Japan because we are Christians and you are Shintos or you are this religion?”

Dr Bin Yahya said people should not discriminate against his faith without knowledge of its teachings.

He said the only Christian church to invite him to talk about Islam was the Methodist Theological College.23/5/16 RNZI

MICRONESIA

9 ) Compo sought for Guam WW II occupation

The United States Congress has passed a bill that includes proposed payments for Guamanians who were killed, raped, beaten or forced to work during Japanese occupation in the Second World War.

The move is one step in Guam’s decades-long battle to seek wartime reparations for the 30-month occupation that killed an estimated 10 percent of the island’s population.

The Pacific Daily News reports Guam’s delegate to the US Congress, Madeleine Bordallo, as saying she will work hard to convince the Senate to pass the bill next year.

Guam was seized from the US by Japanese forces in 1941, and the island’s population was subjected to culture alignment, forced labour, beheadings, rape and torture until it was recaptured in 1944.

If passed, the bill would authorise payments to survivors of the occupation, as well as to the descendants of those who died as a result of it.

It is not yet known how much it would cost.23/5/16 RNZI

FRENCH

10) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 23 mai 2016

Mis à jour 23 May 2016, 19:14 AEST

Élodie Largenton

15 juin 2019 : ce pourrait être la date du référendum d’autodétermination à Bougainville. 

)
Le président de la province autonome de Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, John Momis, et le Premier ministre du pays, Peter O’Neill, en ont discuté la semaine dernière à Port-Moresby. Ce référendum est prévu par les accords de paix de 2001, conclus entre les rebelles bougainvillais et le gouvernement après des années de guerre civile. La date du 15 juin 2019 n’est pas encore définitive, mais « maintenant qu’un accord a été trouvé, on va pouvoir planifier l’organisation du référendum, gérer le calendrier, le financement et engager du personnel », se félicite John Momis dans les colonnes du Post Courier. Le gouvernement papou s’engage à participer au financement du référendum. Les deux parties appellent les factions de Bougainville qui n’auraient pas encore rendu leurs armes à le faire.
En Australie, Clive Palmer prend ses distances avec la politique. Le magnat minier et député de Fairfax, dans le Queensland, avait déjà annoncé qu’il ne serait pas candidat à sa réélection, mais il avait laissé entendre qu’il pourrait se rabattre sur le Sénat. Finalement, Clive Palmer estime qu’à 62 ans, il est « à l’âge de la retraite »« J’ai envie de profiter de la vie, de jouer aux boules et de m’amuser », affirme-t-il. Avant de partir, Clive Palmer tance ses collègues de Canberra, qui ne sont pas là pour servir la population, mais « pour leur propre intérêt », selon lui. 21 des 30 candidats présentés par le Palmer United Party aux élections de 2013 ne se représentent pas, cette année.
La Banque mondiale prévient : si les pays du Pacifique veulent attirer plus de touristes, des efforts sont nécessaires. Il y a des opportunités, mais « il s’agit d’être stratégique », souligne John Perrottet, spécialiste technique au sein de l’organisation. Il faut évidemment développer les infrastructures nécessaires, mais aussi veiller à « préserver l’environnement ». Les touristes qui se rendent dans le Pacifique s’intéressent particulièrement à la nature et à la culture, selon ce responsable de la Banque mondiale.
Il n’y a plus de place à la morgue des Samoa américaines. 32 corps y sont conservés, dont certains depuis déjà un moment, fait savoir le directeur de l’hôpital. Il demande aux familles de se signaler, mais cela pourrait s’avérer compliqué : il y a plusieurs pêcheurs asiatiques parmi les défunts. Comme le fait remarquer la correspondante de la radio nationale néo-zélandaise, dans le passé, il est arrivé que les Églises prennent en charge les frais d’obsèques de citoyens étrangers.
C’est la fête aux Fidji. L’archipel conserve son titre sur le circuit mondial de rugby à VII. Une victoire décrochée lors du dernier tournoi de l’année, à Londres. Les joueurs seront de retour mercredi à Suva et si les fans pourront les rencontrer, les célébrations seront moins grandioses que l’an passé, car les Fidjiens ont déjà la tête aux Jeux olympiques. Les Fidji espèrent remporter la première médaille d’or de leur histoire.ABC

11) Vanuatu : le gouvernement ne veut plus de Parlement 100% masculin

Mis à jour 23 May 2016, 19:26 AEST

Élodie Largenton

La constitution vanuataise pourrait être modifiée pour assurer la présence de femmes au sein du Parlement. Le nombre de sièges qui leur serait réservé n’a pas encore été arrêté.
)
C’est dans un cinéma de Port-Vila que le ministre de la Justice, Ronald Warsal, a fait cette annonce. L’ambassade australienne avait organisé la projection du film Les Suffragettes, qui retrace le parcours de femmes anglaises qui se sont battues pour obtenir le droit de vote au début du siècle dernier. L’occasion était donc parfaite et la proposition du ministre a été saluée par la salle.
Mais cette annonce est aussi un constat d’échec, comme le signale Ronald Warsal :
« Il est clairement trop difficile pour les femmes de gagner des sièges au Vanuatu, donc il vaut mieux amender la constitution. Cela fait plusieurs années que des femmes essaient de se faire élire. Lors du dernier scrutin, neuf femmes se sont portées candidates, certaines sous l’étiquette d’un parti, d’autres en tant qu’indépendantes, mais ça a été difficile pour elles. Ça fait plus de 10 ans maintenant qu’il n’y a pas eu de femme député. »
Le Conseil des ministres approuve le changement, mais pour modifier la constitution, il faut que les deux tiers du Parlement donnent leur approbation, en présence des trois quarts du gouvernement. La prochaine session parlementaire débutera le 10 juin.
D’ici là, il faudra déterminer le nombre de sièges qui seront réservés aux femmes. Autre question encore sans réponse : ces places viendront-elles s’ajouter aux 52 sièges que compte actuellement le Parlement ?
En mars dernier, les Samoa ont introduit un quota de femmes députées pour la première fois. Le Parlement devait compter au moins cinq femmes, portant leur représentation à 10%. Quatre candidates ont été élues, une cinquième a été nommée après les élections.ABC

AUSTRALIA


12) Norfolk Island businesses worried takeover will result in economic decline, reduced services

4:40 pm GMT+12, 22/05/2016, Norfolk Island

Norfolk Islanders fighting the end of self-government say the Commonwealth takeover will see health services decline and local businesses sent to the wall when they get hit with a range of mainland taxes and other compliance costs.

Norfolk Islanders are deeply divided over whether the Commonwealth takeover will rescue the island’s economy or destroy it.

As  ABC AM revealed last month, opponents of the takeover are pinning their hopes on a petition lodged with the United Nations, which they believe will uphold their right to self-determination.

A thousand kilometres from anywhere, Norfolk Island has been something of a world unto itself since Queen Victoria allowed eight families of Pitcairn Islanders — descendants of the Bounty mutineers — to settle there in 1859.

“That’s when they handed it all over, the whole thing was given over to these descendants of the mutineers,” Larry Quintel said, a tour guide for the busloads of visitors to the island.

For most of the past four decades Norfolk Island has been a self-governed refuge from mainland laws and regulations, where inhabitants paid no income tax into federal coffers.

Local services like a school and hospital have been funded by the island’s own resources, but Quintel said the steady decline in tourism numbers brought that undone.

“Over the last few years, with the global financial crisis creating havoc with the world and the Pacific Islands as well, our revenue base has just dropped out by $26 million (US$18 million) a year,” he said.

It was the decline in tourism income that forced Norfolk Island’s inhabitants to turn to the mainland for help.

But the Commonwealth’s financial bail-out came with hefty strings attached and the debt was called in when the Australian Government legislated to end the almost four decades of self-government, imposing federal control over the tiny external territory.

The move alienated many islanders, who believe access to social services, Medicare and education funding will not compensate them for the cost of compliance with national laws and regulations.

Local business people said they feared the impact of the new laws that would govern their affairs from 01 July this year.

President of the Norfolk Island Accommodation and Tourism Association Rael Donde said, in the long run, they would have to close down.

“In the short run we’re going to have to take actions to reduce the number of hours our employees work,” he said.

He said he believed businesses like his small resort could not afford the sudden imposition of pay rates equivalent to those on the mainland.

“There’s just no way that we can do business as usual, it’s going to impact the tourism experience and in the long run tourism will decline,” Donde said.

“In the accommodation sector we’re currently experiencing a 30 per cent occupancy rate and these kind of changes with full taxation in year one, superannuation being phased in and the other regulatory and compliance costs, businesses are just not going to be able to afford to keep afloat.

“I think there’s going to be a major contraction. There [are] going to be businesses that will fold, so there will a total reduction in employment.”

Mike King, a hotel owner who employs local staff to help maintain his facilities and gardens, said while he concedes the transition will cause problems for local businesses like his when they have to begin paying Australian minimum wages and penalty rates, he believes the changes were long overdue.

“I’m going to deal with the changes with a great degree of difficultly like everyone else, but I’m prepared to embrace them,” he said.

“I’m prepared to accept that we have to treat workers fairer than what we’ve been treating them in the past, and if that’s the cost then I have to accept that cost and see how it affects my business. Time will tell,” he said.

SOURCE: ABC/PACNEWS

13a) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-05-23/nsw-has-highest-rate-of-chronic-kidney-disease-report-finds/1582890

NEW ZEALAND

13b ) Pacific money-laundering laws under revison

Legislative drafting experts from across the Pacific met law enforcement officials in Auckland last week to revise the Pacific Island Forum’s model provisions on combatting terrorist financing and money laundering.

The Forum said the need for revision reflects developments at the United Nations and with the international body devoted to stamping out the financing of terror, the Financial Action Task Force.

The Forum Secretariat’s Nola Faasau said while the threat of terrorism in the Pacific is low, vigilance is still required.

“The challenges posed to our region are quite unique. they are considered to be low and this has been the ongoing consideration of the Pacific Forum Regional Security Committee every year, but the importance is that every country remains vigilant to the risks that are posed by terorist groups particularly in terms of the financing areas.”

Nola Faasau said the Forum Regional Security Committee meets in early June to consider the revisions.23/5/16 RNZI

PACIFIC

14) Pacific losing battle against NCDs

The Pacific Community (SPC) says a new approach is needed to try and rein in the region’s non-communicable disease (NCD) crisis.

Seventy five percent of all deaths in the Pacific are NCD-related and this has even been linked to the decline in life expectancy in some countries.

The Director General of the SPC said countries are not doing enough to combat the epidemic.

Colin Tukuitonga said he hopes a summit in Tonga next month will strengthen the response to non-communicable diseases.

“In many small islands at least half the population have diabetes or pre-diabetes, obesity rates remain high. Smoking rates continue to be climbing and so we are not making the kind of impact that we need to make.”23/5/16 RNZI

WORLD

15) South African prosecutors to appeal High Court order to reinstate President Zuma corruption charges

Updated 23 May 2016, 21:00 AEST

South African state prosecutors say they will appeal against a court ruling that President Jacob Zuma should face almost 800 corruption charges, setting up a legal battle that could threaten his hold on power.

The charges — relating to a multi-billion dollar arms deal — were dropped in 2009, clearing the way for Mr Zuma to be elected president just weeks later.

At the time, state prosecutors justified dropping the charges by saying that tapped phone calls between officials in then-president Thabo Mbeki’s administration showed political interference in the case.

However, last month the Pretoria High Court dismissed the decision to discontinue the charges as “irrational” and said it should be reviewed by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“I have decided to apply for leave to appeal against the judgement of the full bench of the Pretoria High Court,” Shaun Abrahams, director of the NPA, told a press conference.

Mr Zuma has endured months of criticism and growing calls for him to step down, after a series of corruption scandals amid falling economic growth and record unemployment.

Pressure on the President will increase if some or all of the 783 charges — which relate to alleged corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering — are reinstated.

Last month, a commission that he set up cleared all government officials, including himself, of corruption over the 1999 arms deal.

South Africa’s main opposition party said the state prosecutor’s decision was an attempt to shield the President.

In a statement, the opposition Democratic Alliance party said it was “a blatant delaying tactic to shield Jacob Zuma from facing the 783 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering levelled against him almost a decade ago”.

AFP/ Reuters

16) IS calls for attacks

Reuters
Monday, May 23, 2016

BAGHDAD – A new message purporting to come from the spokesman of Islamic State calls on followers to launch attacks on the US and Europe during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins in early June.

“Ramadan, the month of conquest and jihad. Get prepared, be ready … to make it a month of calamity everywhere for the non-believers … especially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America,” said the message, suggesting attacks on military and civilian targets.

The authenticity of the audio clip, purporting to be from Abu Muhammad al-Adnani and distributed on Saturday by Twitter accounts that usually publish Islamic State statements, could not be verified.

“The smallest action you do in their heartland is better and more enduring to us than what you would if you were with us. If one of you hoped to reach the Islamic State, we wish we were in your place to punish the Crusaders day and night,” Mr Adnani said.

The militant group, which seeks to establish a caliphate across the Middle East and beyond, has claimed deadly attacks over the past year on civilians in France, Belgium and the US.

But the message made no mention of the EgyptAir flight that crashed into the Mediterranean on Thursday in unexplained circumstances, amid speculation by Egyptian, French and American officials that a jihadist attack was the most likely cause.

A US-led coalition, which also includes European and Arab countries, launched a campaign of air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in 2014 after the militants seized vast swathes of territory in those countries.

“Their planes do not distinguish between civilians and combatants, man or woman,” the message continued, in apparent reference to the strikes.

HEALTH

17) Gov’t has 14 days to settle arrears

Published: 23 May 2016

GOVERNMENT has been given another 14 days to settle nurses’ arrears of almost $10 million for the past two years since 2013.

This was agreed following a meeting between Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Ministry of Public Service and Solomon Islands Nurses Association in Honiara last Friday.

This came after the nurses threatened to go on strike.

According to medical sources, government needs to produce an accurate and quality data on the 1000 plus nurses before submitting it to Cabinet for blessing and payment by finance following after.

“The government has shown commitment to pay the arrears but it needs to sort out the data entry of the teachers,” the source said.

Furthermore, the nurses threatened to go on strike because government has failed to increase their special dirty allowance and multi-allowance while other departments in the health sector enjoy the benefits.

It was further revealed that when the government increased their basic salary back in 2013, it did not increase the mid-scale level which supposed to be increased together with the basic increase.

The source said after the meeting, the Ministry of Public Service urged all nurses to return to work in the National Referral Hospital and clinics.

SINA general secretary, Sue Sikihi said they will return to work but government will need to settle their arrears by 4th June after it was extended.

She said SINA will monitor the situation and if government does not settle their arrears, they will go on strike.

By EDDIE OSIFELO/ Solomon Star

EDUCATION

18) Papua New Guinea PM Peter O’Neill tells protesting students he will not resign

Updated 23 May 2016,
By Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill responds to university students calling for him to stand down over corruption allegations, saying he will stay in the country’s top job.

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister has told protesting university students calling for his resignation he will not be stepping aside.

Peter O’Neill has published a lengthy response to a petition from students who want him to submit to a warrant for his arrest for official corruption.

The students at the University of PNG and the University of Technology in Lae have been boycotting classes for more than two weeks in protest against Mr O’Neill’s refusal to comply with the two-year-old warrant, and concerns over the Government’s financial management and dealings.

They petitioned the Prime Minister after police occupied the University of PNG campus in Port Moresby, shutting down the boisterous demonstrations which had occupied the centre of the campus.

In his statement, Mr O’Neill responded to allegations of government mismanagement and questionable dealings on 10 separate topics, such as foreign loans, the purchase of electricity generators, the budget deficit and problems with foreign exchange.

He said he hoped the extra information would satisfy the students’ concerns.

“I trust that I have satisfactorily answered your petition and you will take whatever appropriate actions for the students to return to your classes,” he said.

“Further boycotts of classes will only affect the education of many young Papua New Guineans.

“The Government and your parents have invested so much in your education, and it is important that you give this your top priority.”

The Prime Minister also addressed the corruption allegations against him, saying they did not make sense and were “of questionable political intent”.

“Finally, I wish to state clearly that I have no intention of either stepping aside or resigning from the Office of the Prime Minister.”ABC

POLITIC

19) Vanuatu a step closer to reserving seats for women

Vanuatu’s justice minister says the government hopes start the process to amend the constitution to allow for reserved seats for women in parliament when it sits next month.

Ronald Warsal said the government last week approved the amendment, which would pave the way for work to begin to create legislation for it.

Mr Warsal said that will resolve questions including the number of seats to be reserved and whether they will be added to or taken from parliament’s existing 52 seats.

“We have not agreed on a number yet but putting a provision in the constitution will allow the mechanism for parliament to pave way for women to have seats in parliament. After that we can see where things will fall in terms of numbers.”

Ronald Warsal said he hopes to have reserved seats for the 2020 election.23/5/16 RNZI

20) Ultimatum to PNG PM unsuccessful
4:44 pm GMT+12, 22/05/2016, Papua New Guinea

Protesting University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) students’ 24-hour ultimatum for the Prime Minister to step down last Friday at 3pm lapsed with a cancelled proposed forum at the same time on campus.

The proposed forum at 3pm on Friday was called off as students were asked to meet in provincial groups to re-strategise their next move.

Twenty-four hours prior to that, students presented their 12-page petition to the Nation Capital District Governor Powes Parkop and his delegation to the campus. The petition called for Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to respect the integrity of the office and step down until all allegation labelled against him are cleared

The PM received that petition and responded that he will consider his comments carefully before he responds to the students’ representative council, as several matters are before the courts.

Other claims relating to the nation’s economy, the PM said a comprehensive analysis will be given to the students.

According to students on campus, the SRC had planned for another 10 days of boycott as their assumption for the PM’s response was negative.

Disgruntled students started to close off gates into the university Sunday to straighten their stand as boycott of classes continues.

Also, the university senate met last Friday but the outcome of that meeting has not been made public.

As media attempts to get comments from acting chancellor of university Dr Nicholas Mann were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, police presence on campus will continue indefinitely.

SOURCE: POST CURIER/PACNEWS.

LAND


21) Meeting to review 20-yr-old Land Act fruitful

Source:
The National, Friday May 20th, 2016

By FRANCIS ULIAU
A FOUR-day consultative forum on the review of the Land Act ended in Kokopo, East New Britain, yesterday.
The forum started on Monday.
Lands Department islands rSSegion facilitator and senior lawyer Simon Hahory told participants on Monday that there was a need to review the current legislation that was 20 years old.
“The purpose of the review of the Land Act 1996 is to tighten up or remove existing provisions where abuse has been noted. “The proposed amendments will also allow for new provisions to be brought in to cater for new developments and changes in society,” Hahory told the forum when starting discussions on laws governing mission (church) leases and their attached conditions.
Acting Lands and Physical Planning secretary Luther Sipison said the forum was important because the current Land Act needed to be repealed to address current changes and development in society.
“You are here to tell us and help us understand the changes that are needed for us to properly administer land matters at the department,” Sipison said.
“The amendments and changes must come from you; they have to reflect your views for the best interest of you and our people.
“We need to have a legislation that will address all loopholes and weaknesses that have led to gross abuse of the system over the years,” the acting secretary said.
“The amendments are the minister’s own initiatives, a first for the Lands Department after Minister Benny Allen took office.
“Some are very interesting, including that of governing the minister’s powers, which he wanted removed from his office and given back to the administration.”
Apart from East New Britain, forum participants also travelled in from West New Britain, New Island and Manus. The Manus delegation was led by provincial administrator Andrew Posong.
The Land Act 1996 regional review started in Port Moresby, and moved to the Highlands region last week and this was held for a week in Kokopo for the Islands region.

BUSINESS

22) New investors enter market

Monika Singh
Saturday, May 21, 2016-Fijitimes

FIVE new investors entered the market this week buying Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Ltd (ATH), RB Patel Group, Fijian Holdings Ltd and Vision Investments Ltd shares.

The weekly summary of the South Pacific Stock Exchange this week showed a quiet week on the e-trading platform with 11,150 shares exchanging hands garnering a total of $17,517 in consideration with new investors accounted for 69.06 per cent and 65.68 per cent of the week’s total volume and value traded respectively.

Securities traded on the stock market included ATH, Paradise Beverages (Fiji) Ltd (PBF), RBG, VIL and FHL.

According to SPSE chief executive officer Latileta Qoro, PBF recorded a share price increase of $0.01 (+0.08 per cent) to close the week at $12.35 with the supermarket chain, RBG also recording a gain of $0.01 (+0.32 per cent) closing at another all-time high share price of $3.11.

In terms of price loss, she said, FHL shares noted a decline by $0.02 (-0.48 per cent) to conclude the week at $4.18.

She said this week, FMF Foods Ltd (FMF) and PBP shares recorded the narrowest bid-offer margins with a spread of $0.10, while PBF maintained the widest bid-offer margin with a spread of $2.66, this spread continues to reduce from a spread of $3.13 in January. The Bid to Offer ratio now stands at 1:1.

23) Regional focus

Monika Singh
Monday, May 23, 2016-Fijitimes

THE Bank of South Pacific Finance is exploring market entry opportunities outside of the Pacific region.

In his presentation to shareholders, BSP Group CEO Robin Fleming said business finance operations in Fiji and PNG were progressing well and they were tracking business plans since their inception in late 2014.

As part of the group’s strategic focus for 2016/2017, Mr Fleming said financial operational success targets had been set and pursued for continuation of loan book growth and profitability, and operational efficiency.

In terms of BSP’s market share, the bank’s combined deposit market share remained unchanged at 44 per cent compared with the last quarter of 2015.

Mr Fleming said the 1 per cent drop in Fiji’s deposit market share and further 2 per cent drop in the Cook’s market share had been compensated for by the growth in other countries’ market share.

Mr Fleming said BSP’s combined loans market share remained unchanged at 40 per cent this quarter compared with the last quarter of 2015.

Touching on other countries, Mr Fleming said while the Solomon Islands market share had slightly declined this quarter, growth in other countries had neutralised the overall position.

He said overall 2015 was an outstanding year for the group.

Mr Fleming said BSP’s expansion in the South Pacific was well executed, adding the group was a significant contributor to economic growth in PNG and the South Pacific.

24) New Caledonia economy picks up, while confidence down

New Caledonia’s economy slowly picked up in 2015, according to analysis by the agency that issues the currency for the French Pacific territories.

The Institut d’émission d’outre-mer said the business climate was improving overall, with relatively low inflation, although the territory’s employment record was mixed.

It said the recovery was mainly driven by household consumption, in line with that in metropolitan France.

However, it said business confidence in New Caledonia was deteriorating and job demand is at its highest level in a decade.23/5/16 RNZI

INFRASTRUCTURE

25) 900 residents thankful for road works
– The lives of close to 900 people in the interior of Wainibuka have been improved thanks to completed road works by Fulton Hogan Hiways crew. Soa Village, the Matuku and Delaisese settlements is located along the eight kilometer Soa Road close to 44 kilometer North of Korovou. Farmers in Soa Village are successful growing dalo and ginger, but it takes a sledge pulled by two bulls to help get their produce to market.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/40571/900-residents-thankful-for-road-works#sthash.YiP4sZGU.dpuf

26) Company named to upgrade Honiara Highway

The Japanese government has announced the winning bidder for the Honiara Highway upgrade in Solomon Islands.

Kitano-WKK JV has won the tender with a $US 29 million bid.

The contract is to be signed on May the 26th in Tokyo, by the Minister of Infrastructure Development, Jimmy Lusibaea and Permanent Secretary Henry Murray, who are already in Japan to complete the formalities.

The company is expected to begin work in June.23/5/16 RNZI

LAW & ORDER

27) Sentence for Vanuatu men who beat a woman angers advocate

The chair of Women Against Crime and Corruption in Vanuatu Jenny Ligo says the sentence given to three men who assaulted a woman is a crime in itself.

The men stripped the woman, groped her, beat her and dragged her across the ground because she refused to marry one of them.

They received a sentence of 200 hours community service and were ordered to pay US$270 each.

Jenny Ligo said the situation was very distressing and shows that men in Vanuatu are still living in the stone age.

“If I was a judge they’d be behind bars why do they give them 200 hours community service?,” Ms Ligo asked. “They have committed a crime, even though she refused it doesn’t give them the authority to drug her, to humiliate her and beat her.”23/5/16 RNZI

MINING,OIL, FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE

28) Chinese Company Ups Value Of Huge PNG Mining Project

Copper and gold project doubles construction cost estimate

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 21, 2016) – A Chinese conglomerate planning to develop the Frieda River copper and gold project in Papua New Guinea has more than doubled the estimated construction cost.

It said to boost production capacity the mine would cost $US 3.6 billion to develop.

State-owned Guangdong Rising Assets Management Co Ltd bought into Frieda River in East Sepik in 2015, in line with moves by Chinese companies to pursue offshore copper mines.

A spokesperson for its subisidiary, PanAust, Joe Walsh, said the project still had to gain formal financing and no date had been set for the start of construction.

The company estimates Frieda River may contain as much as 12 million tons of copper and 19 million ounces of gold.

Copper has been earmarked as one of the few growth markets for mining companies stung by a slowdown in metals directly related to steelmaking, such as iron ore and nickel.

Reuters reports copper is languishing near its lowest price in seven years due to a supply glut but it says with fewer discoveries, however, miners exploiting new lodes hope by the time they are up and running, the market will have turned.

Radio New Zealand International

SPORT

29 ) 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series a record breaker

RUBY TAYLOR
Monday, May 23, 2016-Fijitimes

Update: 1:48AM World Rugby has confirmed the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series as a record-breaker ahead of its exciting climax in London today.

It revealed that the 10-stop grand prix series that takes in some of the world’s most iconic cities has been the most competitive, best-attended, most-viewed and most socially-engaged to date, providing a strong springboard as the world’s top men’s players set their sights on the Olympic Games.

“In London this weekend the series champions will be determined, having the honor of heading to Rio 2016 as the current series champions and favourites tag. The competition has been fierce all series with five separate winners in the nine rounds to date (including Kenya’s first-ever series win), while two teams, Fiji and South Africa, can mathematically lift the coveted series trophy.”

30) Sharks swim to the top of NRL ladder

Reuters
Monday, May 23, 2016

Cronulla go top of the ladder after downing Manly at home. Jamie Lyon’s kicking proves the difference, while a late Sea Eagles try is disallowed.

For the first time in more than 16 years, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks are at the top of the NRL ladder after sealing an eight-point win over their bitter rivals, Manly Sea Eagles.

It was more laborious, methodical and at times stagnant than their 62-point mauling of Newcastle a week earlier, but in grinding down Manly at Remondis Stadium 20-12, the Sharks showed why their 50th quest for a title may finally be the one to remember.

The home fans had those in the bunker to thank for denying Manly what initially looked like a fair try, spotting an infringement to rule out Wiliame’s claim for a second. Back-to-back penalties put the Sharks back in range and that’s where Ben Barba produced another vintage manouevre to seal the win.

Round 11 results: SOU 34 vs STG 24, NQL 19vs BRI 18, WST 20vs NEW 12, NZW 12vs CBR 38, CRO 20 vs MAN 12.

r REUTERSm:

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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