Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1070 ( Sunday 28 May 2016 )


1) Over 100,000 West Papuans mourn Pastor Nafuki’s loss

Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2016

By Len Garae |

Spokesman for the West Papua Liberation Army (WPLA) Sebby Sambom has said over 100,000 Melanesians across West Papua have mourned Pastor Allan Nafuki’s father’s death in Port Vila last Sunday.

The WPLA spokesman made the revelation before he and his colleague, overall commander of the West Papua liberation Army, Major General Terrianus Satto, boarded the plane to return to West Papua from Port Vila International Airport this week.

The Vanuatu Free West Papua Office said when the two leaders learned of Pastor Nafuki’s loss, they went to his house at Freshwater and shared sorrow for his loss.

“They went the Melanesian way taking with them food items on behalf of the people of West Papua,” the Port Vila West Papua Office said.

When the spokesman posted on facebook a picture of relatives in mourning over their loss, the people of West Papua also shared their sorrow by writing their messages in their language, tok pisin and English.

The West Papua Office said the level of sorrow felt by West Papuans for the death of someone they had never met, was overwhelming and which makes the people of Melanesia unique.

“This is why Indonesia cannot claim to be a part of the Melanesian Spearhead Group because Indonesians simply do not feel for another person the way Melanesians feel for each other,” the office alleged.

Pastor Nafuki is currently the Chairman of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association and was Chairman of the West Papua Unification Committee of the West Papua Reconciliation Conference in 2014, which gave birth to the United Liberation Movement of West Papua.Vanuatu Daily Post.

2) Dozens arrested in Papua ahead of fresh demos

Dozens of members of the West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, have been arrested by Indonesian police in Papua province.

Up to 51 KNPB members were reportedly taken into custody by police in Jayapura and Sentani yesterday for organising new demonstrations in the region.

In the past month and a half there’s been a series of large, peaceful demonstrations in most Papuan urban centres in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and its bid to become a full member in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Earlier this month, during a day of demonstrations, police arrested around 1700 Papuans.

The KNPB is one of the main representative groups which formed the Liberation Movement, and is seen as a prime domestic target by Indonesian authorities opposed to the Movement.

More mass demonstrations are planned for Tuesday, ahead of the MSG leaders summit due to be held in neighbouring Papua New Guinea in June, when a decision on the West Papuan full membership bid is expected to be made.

Human rights advocates in Papua have expressed concern for the wellbeing of the KNPB activists while in custody.28/5/16 RNZI

3) MSG Trade Ministers Approve New Trade Agreement

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 05/26/2016 –

Melanesian Free Trade Area could be established by 2017

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 27, 2016) – The 5th Trade Ministers Meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) held in Port Vila, Vanuatu yesterday endorsed the conclusion of negotiations for the new Melanesian Free Trade Agreement.

The meeting was chaired by Milner Tozaka, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Solomon Islands.

The meeting was attended by Richard Maru, Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry of Papua New Guinea and Bruno Leingkone, Minister for Foreign Affairs, External Trade and International Cooperation of Vanuatu.

Fiji was represented by Ms. Seema Sharma, Director of Trade, while Mr. Yvon Faua represented the Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS).

Senior Trade, Investment and State Law officials from Member countries were also present.

In stressing the significance of the meeting, Tozaka said, “The ultimate milestone to be achieved following the series of intense negotiations between MSG Members over the last three years is the establishment of the Melanesian Free Trade Area by 2017.”

A policy environment that facilitates freer trading between Members would enhance Melanesian Sub-regional Economic Integration as aspired to under the MSG 2038 Prosperity for All Plan. Tozaka added that the key enablers for the Free Trade Area would be the Melanesian Free Trade Agreement and the MSG Private Sector Development Strategy.

MSG Secretariat’s Director General, Mr. Amena Yauvoli, congratulated Members for their contributions through extensive national stakeholder participation that helped shape the Revised MSG Trade Agreement as well as the Private Sector Development Strategy.

“The approval of the Private Sector Development Strategy will go a long way in supporting the revised Trade Agreement as intra-MSG or cross-border investment flows are stimulated and facilitated,” he said.

The Ministers endorsed the revisions made to MSG Trade Agreement which would now be extended from covering goods alone to also include trade in services, labour mobility and cross-border investments. The Trade Agreement will be reviewed further by State Law officials during a legal scrubbing workshop to be held also in Port Vila on 26th-27th May 2016. The Ministers agreed that following the legal scrubbing, the Trade Agreement is to be signed by Leaders and subjected to national ratification processes before the Melanesian Free Trade Agreement enters into force by 1st January 2017.

The Ministers also endorsed the MSG Private Sector Development Strategy which is aimed at achieving higher, inclusive and sustainable growth through the development of the private sector. The hallmarks of the Strategy are the adoption of an inclusive approach to private sector development, unleashing rural entrepreneurship and heightening the resilience of the private sector to the impact of climate change.

The Ministers noted updates on the economic performance of Member countries as well as progress with the implementation of the MSG 2038 Prosperity for All Plan. They also noted reports on MSG’s Sectoral Development Programmes and Export Products Study as well as the outcomes of the MSG Aviation and Tourism Sectoral Dialogue.

In recognition of the potential economic benefits from cross-sectoral linkages, the Ministers supported initiatives that would strengthen sectoral linkages such as between Agriculture and Tourism.

Mr Tozaka acknowledged the support of stakeholders across the Melanesian sub-region including Governments, business communities, civil society representatives, development partners and academics towards the MSG Secretariat’s ongoing guidance and advice to Members on the Trade Agreement and Private Sector Development Strategy.

“I particularly thank the European Union for its funding support through the Pacific Integration Technical Assistance Project, which is administered by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat,” Minister Tozaka said.

“We also welcome the prospects of further funding through the 11th European Development Fund which the MSG Secretariat is pursuing from the European Union through the Forum Secretariat and we look forward to consolidating a stronger partnership with the European Union and other prospective development partners,” he added.

Vanuatu Daily Post

4) PNG PM Expresses Concern About West Papua To Indonesia President

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 05/26/2016 – 14:30
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O’Neill says he’s talked to Widodo directly about human rights problems

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nay 26, 2016) – Papua New Guinea’s prime minister says his government is concerned about what is happening in West Papua and has expressed this directly to Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo.

Peter O’Neill made the comment on FM100’s radio talk back show while responding to questions from the public about West Papua.

The prime minister has previously spoken of the need for PNG to speak out about ongoing human rights abuses in his country’s neighbouring territory.

On talkback yesterday, Mr O’Neill indicated West Papuans were welcome in PNG.

“We are equally concerned about what is happening in West Papua,” he said.

“We have expressed that directly to the highest authority including the President this year particularly the human rights issue and for autonomy.”

The prime minister said that as chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, PNG had written to President Widodo, requesting to send a fact-finding team of Pacific Island leaders to West Papua to talk directly with the people themselves.

“The response we received from Indonesia is they welcome such a dialogue and appreciative of our desire for West Papua have some more autonomy, whether that will be self-determination or not is something that can be worked on towards,” he said.

The prime minister’s comments follow criticism by the chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Manasseh Sogavare, that Indonesia has failed to respond to requests for engagement over Papua by both the Pacific Forum and the MSG.

After their special summit scheduled for Port Vila earlier this month was postponed, MSG leaders were now expected to meet in Port Moresby in coming days.

Port Moresby meeting

The MSG leaders meeting is expected to coincide with a summit of the African Carribean and Pacific Group that PNG is hosting.

“So I am aware we will have an MSG side meeting at the weekend,” Mr O’Neill is reported in the Post Courier as saying, “and some of the issues will be brought up during the ACP summit which is coming up next week.”

Vanuatu’s Daily Post newspaper reports that the country’s Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and his Foreign Minister Bruno Leingkone will be attending.

Mr Salwai has clearly stated his government’s support for the United Liberation Movement of West Papua’s bid for full membership in the MSG.

Indonesia is also seeking full membership, although Mr Salwai is also proposing that Indonesia’s current associate membership in the group be cancelled.

Radio New Zealand International

5) Vanuatu, New Caledonia Work To Strengthen Cooperation

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 05/26/2016 – 15:20
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French education, Francophonie promoted in Vanuatu

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 27, 2016) – Prime Minister, Mr. Charlot Salwai, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bruno Leingkone and the Minister of Education, Mr. Jean-Pierre Nirua, visited Noumea within the framework of the Regional Cooperation Agreement whose aim is to strengthen links between New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

Mr. Alain du Boispean, the French Ambassador to Vanuatu, Mr. Vincent Bouvier, the High Commissioner of the French Republic in New Caledonia and Mr. Philippe Germain, and the President of the Government of New Caledonia attended the joint committee, which is the decision making body set up under the Regional Cooperation Agreement.

For the first time in its fourteen years of existence, French was the working language of the committee.

A call for projects was launched from February 29 to April 8, 2016, and a total of 51 projects were received.

They were reviewed during the technical committee meeting that took place in Noumea on May 18.

This year the Prime Minister of Vanuatu is giving priority to education, francophonie and training.

Nine projects were retained during the joint committee on May 20 with a total budget of 36.5 million vatu.

This program is financed by the Government of New Caledonia and by France under the Pacific Funds.

The chosen projects are distributed as below:

40 % of credits will go to scholarships for students in AES Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree
25 % to university and scientific projects
18 % to cultural exchanges and francophonie
17 % to teachers’ training and to the improvement of digital technology in education

The joint committee provided an opportunity for both New Caledonia and Vanuatu to consider an ambitious strategy for closer relation and therefore further cooperation, with the aim to engage in a comprehensive partnership.

Vanuatu Daily Post

6) Tougher penalties for sexual offences proposed; 

Posted: May 28, 2016 Author:  | Filed under: The Daily Digest The Ministry of Justice has revealed some of the significantly tougher penalties likely to be prescribed for sexual offences. The Penal Code Act is being reviewed by Minister Ronald Warsal and his team including Justice DG Mark Bebe who are committed to better protecting women, girls and children not only from sexual offence but also from violence against them. DG Bebe firstly mentioned to The Independent‘s Evelyne Toa that the penalty for incest will be increased from 10 to 15 years and if the victim is under the age of 13 years there will be life imprisonment. Sexual intercourse with any juvenile (under 13) will mean life imprisonment. Unlawful intercourse with persons of either sex between 13 and 15 will see the maximum penalty increase from 5 to 15 years of imprisonment. Also being closely scrutinised by the team, with proposals to go to the Council of Ministers, is the offence of abduction. The heavier sentences are introduced following significant concern expressed by NGOs. (Independent)

  • Adopted children are more vulnerable to sexual assault, the Police have reported to the Daily Post. During this month the Family Protection Unit has reported a total of seven cases involving sexual abuse of underage children. The majority of victims were below 15 years of age and coming from broken homes. In most cases the mother separated from the father has taken care of the children who live with the mother’s new partner. (Daily Post)
  • More discussion of the new locally-made documentary series The Last New Hebrideans in today’sDaily Post. The paper said it targets policy makers, and it surely does so through its concentration on the shortage of service provision in remote Santo communities beyond the reach of normal roads where rivers and swampy flood plains have to be negotiated even during El Niño years. Producer Slone Fred has been assisted in making the film by PACMAS, the Australian media assistance scheme. The documentary is available for purchase from filmmaker Slone Fred in Port Vila for Vt 3,500 and the money raised will go towards water tanks and pipes for people in the villages concerned. Slone Fred can be contacted on 7774175 or at [email protected].
  • A new MSG Free Trade Agreement has been approved this week in Port Vila. Trade Ministers of the MSG member countries and territories (Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands and the FLNKS of New Caledonia) have agreed on the detail, but the document still has to proceed to the next Leaders’ conference. (Daily Post)
  • Unelco has paid a dividend to the Vanuatu National Provident Fund. In 2015 the VNPF acquired a 14.4% stake in Unelco for the development and management of the company. The dividend the VNPF is now receiving amounts to nearly Vt 40 million. The VNPF ownership of part of the company is said to be likely to help the energy provider to increase access to electricity and drinkable water and foster economic and social development. (Daily Post)
  • Parliamentary Secretary positions are increasing with the announcement by the Council of Ministers that a new one is to be appointed for the Ministry of Youth and Sport. At present the position has not been filled. The portfolio of the Ministry of Youth and Sport is currently held by the Prime Minister. Parliamentary Secretaries in place are: PS to the PM Jonnny Koanapo, Education PS Silas Bule, Provincial Affairs PS Andrew Napuat and PS for Fisheries Gracia Chadrack. Parliamentary secretaries assist their ministries by advancing the work agreed to by Parliament in that ministry. (Daily Post)
  • South Sea Shipping has revealed eight new cruise ships will visit this year. South Sea Shipping General Manager John Tanner said the number increases every year. The cruise industry is improving continually, he added. There are now more cruise ship visits planned than ever before. The Vanuatu Tourism Office has been doing its best to improve the number of tourists arriving by all means after Cyclone Pam, especially from Australia and New Zealand. (Radio Vanuatu)


7) French Polynesia Bid For Full Pacific Islands Forum Membership On Track

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 05/26/2016 – 15:24
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Australia, New Zealand support effort by Tahiti

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 27, 2016) – French Polynesia’s president says his government has secured exemption from the Pacific Islands Forum rules to accept only independent countries as full members.

Edouard Fritch said after meeting the French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, in Paris that South Pacific countries had proposed French Polynesia’s full membership.

He said after New Zealand had expressed its support, Australia followed two weeks ago in announcing its backing for French Polynesia and New Caledonia to become full members.

Both territories are on the UN decolonisation list, but both Mr Fritch and the French government strongly opposed to a challenge of French Polynesia’s status as a French territory.

Paris described French Polynesia’s re-listing in 2013 as a glaring interference by the United Nations.

The French territories’ inclusion in the Forum was first proposed in 2003 when the then President Jacques Chirac hosted Pacific leaders in Tahiti.

French Polynesia and New Caledonia, which became associate Forum members in 2006, have been lobbying for full membership for several years.

Radio New Zealand International


8) Melanesia i sore long Vanuatu i misaut long 2024 Pacific Arts Festival

Postim 27 May 2016, 16:02 AEST
Sam Seke

Ol arapela kantri long Melanesia ia laikim tumas long Vanuatu nau i hostim 2024 Festival of Pacific Arts, tasol ol i nonap makim en.

Director blong Kalsa Division long Solomon Islands, Dennis Marita i tok dispela em long wanem Vanuatu em ino stap long Festival of Pacific Arts long Guam, na em ino putim wanpela bid.

Vanuatu tasol i kantri long Melanesian sub-region we ino bin hostim yet na Mr Marita i tok, long dispela nau ol Melanesian kantri i laik long em i hostim festival.

Em i tok Fiji tasol i kantri long Melanesia i putim bid long hostim 2024 Festival of Pacific Arts, so olgeta long Melanesian sub-region we i karamapim tu Australia, i wanbel long Fiji i hostim.

Solomon Islands ibin hostim Pacific Arts Festival long 2012, Guam i hostim makim  Micronesia dispela yia, bai Hawaii i makim ol Polynesia long hostim 2020 festival na Fiji bai makim Melanesia gen long 2024.

Sapos Vanuatu i laik hostim bai em i mas weit igo inap long taim blong Melanesia gen long 2038.

Long wankain taim, Mr Marita i tok nabawan samting we igat bikpela interest tumas longen long Festival of Pacific Arts long Guam nau em ol performing arts olsem danis na singsing.

Namel long ol em i ol panpipe music na danis, na singsing blong yangpela meri blong Solomon Islands Rosie Delmah na ol arapela kain pefomans olsem.ABC


9a) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 26 mai 2016

Mis à jour 26 May 2016, 17:20 AEST

Élodie Largenton

  • C’est officiel, El Niño est terminé. Les indicateurs caractéristiques de ce phénomène climatique sont désormais revenus à des niveaux normaux, annonce l’Institut météorologique australien. 
En l’espace d’un an, El Niño a fait des ravages : des centaines de milliers de personnes ont souffert de la sécheresse, notamment en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Des épisodes sévères de blanchiment du corail se sont produits dans toute la région. La Micronésie a été touchée plus récemment, les cours d’eau sont asséchés et les méduses désertent le fameux lac aux méduses des Palau. Si El Niño est donc terminé pour cette fois, ses effets se font encore ressentir et on pourrait assister à un épisode de La Niña. Cela se traduirait par « des conditions plus humides aux Fidji, aux Tonga et au Vanuatu, alors que le temps serait plus sec aux Tuvalu et aux Kiribati », précise Elise Chandler, de l’Institut météorologique australien. Selon elle, la probabilité de l’arrivée de La Niña est de 50%.
  • Le Premier ministre néo-zélandais, John Key, se rendra aux Fidji dans quelques jours.Ce sera la première visite officielle d’un dirigeant kiwi depuis le coup d’État de 2006 mené par Frank Bainimarama. Selon les médias fidjiens, cette visite aura lieu les 9 et 10 juin.
  • En Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, les professionnels de santé ont pour consigne de ne pas se joindre au mouvement étudiant. Dans une circulaire, le ministre de la Santé, Pascoe Kase, leur rappelle qu’en tant que « fonctionnaires, ils doivent travailler pour le gouvernement du moment », rapporte le journal The National. Mais l’association nationale des docteurs a déjà annoncé, la semaine dernière, qu’elle soutenait le mouvement né sur les campus de l’université de Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, à Port-Moresby. Depuis trois semaines, les étudiants réclament la démission du Premier ministre, Peter O’Neill, accusé de détournement de fonds publics.
  • Une base de données sur le patrimoine culturel et archéologique des Samoa va pouvoir être constituée. Les légendes orales seront aussi enregistrées. Un projet mené par le Centre d’études samoanes de l’université nationale et financé par le gouvernement américain à hauteur de 65 000 dollars américains. Archéologues et chercheurs travailleront sur 25 sites au cours des deux prochaines années.
  • En Australie, un randonneur a été retrouvé vivant après avoir disparu pendant cinq jours. Cet homme de 58 ans était parti marcher dans le parc national de Lamington, non loin de Brisbane. Des policiers épaulés par seize guides de randonnée sont partis à sa recherche, mais le randonneur a finalement réussi à se sortir seul de cette mauvaise passe en quittant la forêt tropicale et en trouvant de l’aide auprès d’un fermier. Il a été emmené à l’hôpital, mais ne souffrirait que de coupures.ABC
  • .9b) Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 25 mai 2016
Mis à jour 25 May 2016, 19:26 AEST

Élodie Largenton

  • L’université de Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée suspend le premier semestre et donne 48 heures aux étudiants pour quitter les campus de Port-Moresby. 
Cela met donc fin au boycott des cours lancé il y a près de trois semaines par les étudiants. Ils réclament la démission du Premier ministre, Peter O’Neill, accusé de détournement de fonds publics. Mais ils ne sont pas les seuls dans le pays : les étudiants de l’université de technologie de Lae ont rejoint le mouvement et il n’est pas question de fermer l’établissement pour le moment. Les jeunes cherchent aussi du soutien en dehors des facultés : depuis le début de la semaine, les étudiants se rendent dans leurs provinces d’origine ou dans les villes voisines pour expliquer les raisons de leur boycott et inciter la population à se joindre à eux.
  •  Toujours en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, l’ancien chef de l’opposition, Don Polye va faire son retour au Parlement. Il y a trois semaines, la justice avait invalidé son élection dans la circonscription de Kandep, en 2012. Cinq urnes n’auraient pas été dépouillées. La cour suprême demande à la commission électorale d’y remédier d’ici 30 jours, mais sans attendre, elle permet donc à Don Polye de siéger au Parlement. Il pourrait donc aussi redevenir le chef de l’opposition. Don Polye en profite pour souligner qu’il s’était retiré de lui-même il y a trois semaines. « Je veux que la justice papoue puisse faire son travail sans interférence, sans risque de conflit d’intérêt, il faut respecter la primauté du droit. Peu importe notre position, on est tous des citoyens de ce pays et on doit tous respecter la loi », déclare-t-il, faisant allusion à son rival, Peter O’Neill.
  • Le sommet du Groupe mélanésien Fer de Lance est de nouveau reporté. Prévu il y a un mois à Port-Vila, il avait été repoussé une première fois. Il devait avoir lieu à Port-Moresby au cours des deux prochaines semaines, mais ce ne sera donc pas le cas. Les dirigeants mélanésiens doivent discuter de plusieurs dossiers sensibles et notamment de la nomination controversée du Fidjien Amena Yauvoli au poste de directeur général de l’organisation. Ils doivent aussi se concerter au sujet de la place accordée à l’Indonésie et aux indépendantistes de Papouasie occidentale au sein du Groupe.
  • Aux Îles Cook, Te Mato Vai tombe à l’eau. Des conflits fonciers bloquent ce projet destiné à améliorer le système de distribution d’eau dans l’île de Rarotonga. Les propriétaires de Titikaveka refusent que leurs terres soient rasées pour laisser place à des conduites d’eau. Des travaux ont déjà été effectués par l’entreprise chinoise CCECC, puis par la société néo-zélandaise KEW (Kupa Engineering and Water), mais la phase 1 n’est toujours pas finalisée, selon le gouvernement. Te Mato Vai, projet de 40 millions de dollars américains, a été lancé il y a dix ans.
  • Air New Zealand est invitée à suivre l’exemple de Virgin Australia et à desservir de nouveau le Vanuatu. La compagnie aérienne australienne a repris ses liaisons avec Port-Vila cette semaine, après la fin des travaux de réparation d’urgence de la piste de l’aéroport Bauerfield. Mais la compagnie néo-zélandaise exige que des travaux complets soient engagés et financés avant de se poser de nouveau à Port-Vila. Le président d’Aéroports Vanuatu lui demande de changer d’avis. Depuis son départ, en janvier dernier, « des petites entreprises de tourisme ont mis la clé sous la porte », affirme-t-il. Une rencontre doit avoir lieu le mois prochain entre les autorités et des représentants d’Air New Zealand.
  • L’accord entre l’Australie et le Cambodge n’est pas enterré : une équipe cambodgienne se rendra prochainement à Nauru pour y rencontrer deux réfugiés qui souhaiteraient tenter de refaire leur vie dans ce pays d’Asie du Sud-Est. En 2014, le Cambodge a accepté d’accueillir des réfugiés pour le compte de l’Australie contre 40 millions de dollars, mais seuls cinq réfugiés ont choisi cette option, et trois d’entre eux ont depuis préféré rentrer dans leur pays d’origine plutôt que de rester au Cambodge. Rappelons que l’Australie refuse d’accueillir les personnes arrivées illégalement sur son sol, même si elles obtiennent le statut de réfugié.
  • Johnny Depp contre Barnaby Joyce, episode 253. Le ministre australien de l’Agriculture « semble être le résultat d’un croisement avec une tomate », a lancé la star américaine sur un plateau de télévision, hier. « Ce n’est pas une critique, j’ai seulement peur qu’il explose », a poursuivi Johnny Depp. Barnaby Joyce n’a pas manqué de riposter : « Je suis en train de devenir de Hannibal Lecter de Johnny Depp, je suis dans sa tête, je tire les ficelles. Ça fait longtemps que je l’ai oublié, mais lui se souvient encore de moi », se félicite le ministre de l’Agriculture. La brouille très médiatique entre les deux hommes remonte à mai 2015 ; la star américaine et sa femme, l’actrice Amber Heard, avaient fait entrer en Australie leurs chiens, Boo et Pistol, sans les déclarer alors que la réglementation est très stricte dans le pays pour éviter la propagation de maladies. ABC

10) New Australian volunteers arrive

By Anita Roberts

Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2016

Fourteen volunteers from the Australian International Development (AVID) have been welcomed by the Australian High Commission in Port Vila.

This is the latest intake from Australia and are highly skilled in different fields as health and education. They have begun their placements in Vanuatu, working to strengthen capacity areas identified by the Vanuatu Government.

They are working in a range of organizations, including the Ministry of Health, the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation, Air Vanuatu, the Disability Promotion and Advocacy Association, Promedical, ACTIV Association, Care International, the Vanuatu National Youth Council and the Vanuatu Society for Disabled People.

Over 30 arrive every year and are placed in different organizations on consultation with the Vanuatu government.

They are recruited by Scope Global under AVID, which is part of the Australian Aid program.Vanuatu Daily Post

11) Pacific law database may face cuts

The Pacific Institute at the Australian National University says the Australian government should find a way to continue to support a comprehensive database of Pacific legal documents.

The Institute, also known as PacLII, is based at the University of the South Pacific, where collects and publishes legal material from 20 Pacific countries on its open-access website.

But concern has been raised among the region’s journalists and academics that the Australian government will cut funding for the service, something the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, denies.

In a statement, the ANU’s Pacific Institute says the database has become an essential resource for governments, legal professionals, NGOs, academics and members of the public.

It says PacLII’s services are vital to transparency, good governance and the rule of law throughout the Pacific region and it hopes a way will be found to continue to support what it calls a vital endeavour.28/5/16 RNZI

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13) RSE workers welcome ANZ’s internet banking fee reduction

By Glenda Willie

Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2016

The initiative announced by ANZ on reducing International Money Transfer fees from New Zealand to Vanuatu for payments via Internet banking has been welcomed by workers from the Regional Seasonal Employments (RSE) Scheme.

ANZ CEO Vanuatu, Charles Rickey recently announced a huge reduction of transfer fees through internet banking from New Zealand to Vanuatu from NZD18.00 to just NZD7.00.

Mrs. Gwen Carlot-Kalmet, one of the first ever female agents who was part of the pilot program of the RSE Scheme since 2006 commended ANZ, calling it a “great initiative”, adding that high banking rates has been a long time issue for the workers.

“They work hard and bringing back money in such a low cost is marvellous news for everyone,” she said. “They would be thrilled.”

Mrs. Carlot-Kalmet, a Seasonal Solutions Co-operative LTD representative in Vanuatu confirmed that ever since the introduction of this scheme, they have sent at least one third of ni-Vanuatu to work in farms in New Zealand. By this, she added that around 3,400 locals have been part of RSE, and the Seasonal Solutions have recruited around 1,500 workers.

“This is really good news for all of them, and we are very happy that ANZ has taken this on board and actually done something about it,”she said.

Alex George of Mele village, who was a RSE worker since the pilot program commenced referred to this initiative as a “big achievement” for workers. He said after nine years, they had to send money via Western Union because banks were not able to assist them.

“We sent money via banks but rates were too high for us. So we decided not to go through banks. Now workers will use this opportunity as another option, now that ANZ has provided the way out.”

Mr. George added, “The idea of going to New Zealand is to make money for our families, and with this low rate, we can send more money to our families here.”

14) New Zealand increases aid to Pacific

The New Zealand government has maintained its commitment to increasing its Pacific development assistance with an overall increase of $US15.3 million in aid to the region in this year’s budget.

The New Zealand Aid Programme sets its overall budget every three years with the latest triennium, covering 2015 -2018, to see an increase of $US148.4 million to $US1.15 billion.

59 percent of this is allocated to the Pacific.

Compared to the last three year period, which ended in 2014, the Pacific will see an overall increase of $US72.9 million dollars to $US535.5m by 2018.

New Zealand’s aid focuses on 12 investment priorities, emphasising private-sector led growth that supports sustainable development.

The priorities are renewable energy, agriculture, information communications technology, fisheries, tourism, trade and labour mobility, economic governance, law and justice, health, education and strengthening resilience and responding to humanitarian emergencies.27/5/16 RNZI


15) Uncertainty over Fiji PM returning to Forum

Fiji media reports say Fiji has stayed away from the high level meetings preparing this year’s Pacific Islands Forum summit.

Fiji TV says invitations for the September summit in the Federated States of Micronesia have been sent out but there is no confirmation that Fiji’s prime minister, Frank Bainimamara, will attend.

He has said he will not participate in any Forum meeting until Australia and New Zealand are no longer full members because he believes the Forum no longer served the interests of all Pacific Islanders.

Next month, Mr Bainimarama will meet New Zealand’s prime minister John Key in Fiji.

Fiji had been suspended in the 2009 because Mr Bainimarama reneged on a promise to Forum leaders to return Fiji to democracy that year.

However, after elections in 2014 Fiji was re-admitted as a full member

Last year, Fiji was represented at the Forum by its foreign minister.

In 2013, Fiji set up a rival regional body, the Pacific Islands Development Forum, which is due to hold its next annual summit in Solomon Islands in July.27/5/16 RNZI


16) Hospital performs successful heart operation

The National, Friday May 27th, 2016

THE Pacific International Hospital (PIH) tertiary cardiac care team have performed another successful angiography on a 50-year-old woman.
Angiography or arteriography is a medical imaging technique used to visualise the inside, or lumen, of blood vessels and organs of the body, with particular interest in the arteries, veins, and the heart chambers.
PIH assistant general marketing manager Sambit Mohanty told The National in Port Moresby yesterday that the woman who was admitted to PIH complained of breathing problems that also accounted to her past asthma background.
He said the team first performed angiography on the lady, a mother of five, as a routine diagnostic test and were startled to find what the result displayed.
“A major artery seemed to be blocked from quite some time (chronic total occlusion),” he said.
He said the major and critical operation involved implanting two special drug-coated stents at the blockages discovered using the advanced angioplasty technique.
“The experienced cardiac team were unfazed and handled it with their usual dexterity,” he said.

17) VITAL network hopes to bring telemedicine capability to remote villages

Alexis Cullen

Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2016

In the ultimate display of grassroots initiative, the villagers of Naviso on the remote eastern coast of Maewo island have taken it upon themselves to bring telemedicine services to their side of the island.

With the experience of Peace Corps and now Office of Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) volunteer, Alexis Cullen, the communities of Maewo have mobilized their resources to raise funds for a carrier tower to be erected that would connect Naviso to Kerembei and eventually to Lolowai Hospital on Ambae and Northern Provincial Hospital on Santo.

“The remote and unforgiving geography of Naviso means that villagers have to traverse steep slopes and carry their sick and injured over rugged roads, often washed away by heavy rains and only accessible on foot,” Ms Cullen told the national audience at the recent ICT day in Port Vila. “Having lived for two years in Naviso, I have seen the difficulties that mothers and their babies, the sick, the blind and the injured villagers, have to face when they need to access a hospital or receive vaccinations.

“The village is so isolated that there is no phone reception. So you can imagine the communication difficulties that we face with health services and referring emergency cases.”

With her presentation, Ms Cullen showed the harsh reality of the mud-covered path, snaking around cliffs and tree roots, that Naviso villagers have to cross, to get to higher ground.

From there, it is often a trip by truck to Kerebei Health Centre for emergency treatment and referral. “Telemedicine would mean access to health services can be improved dramatically for Naviso village,” she added. Together with the Ministry of Health, OGCIO, and TRR, Ms Cullen has been rallying behind her adopted village of Naviso, to pilot a telemedicine network that is called, the Vanuatu Inter-island Telemedicine And Learning network, or VITAL for short.

“It’s about using the cheap technology that is available, to show that even in the remotest of areas, and the existing government broadband network, we can allow Village Health Workers and rural nurses working in isolation, to access specialist services, for example in Northern Provincial Hospital.

“Telemedicine will also allow learning and teaching to reach these health care workers, in order to inform and up-skill their knowledge base.

“Telemedicine promotes health information sharing and collecting data.

“It will be great for providing clinical support to health workers who are often left on their own, to manage emergencies and complications with limited resources.

“It is about empowering our health workers to provide life saving treatment, make early diagnosis and refer cases early,” concluded Ms Cullen.

The Telemedicine ICT day presentation was summarized by co-panelist Dr Basil Leodoro, who added, “We all want access to good health.

“Telemedicine is one way for us to achieve that. This VITAL network is vital to the work of the Ministry of Health.

“It is a tool to achieve good health and empower our health workers working in rural and remote locations.”

To offer support, the working group can be contacted on [email protected]

[email protected]


18) France and New Caledonia support education and francophonie in Vanuatu

The leaders of Vanuatu and New Caledonia during the meeting to strengthen links between the French territory and Vanuatu

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2016 8:00 am

Prime Minister, Mr. Charlot Salwai, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bruno Leingkone and the Minister of Education, Mr. Jean-Pierre Nirua, visited Noumea within the framework of the Regional Cooperation Agreement whose aim is to strengthen links between New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

Mr. Alain du Boispean, the French Ambassador to Vanuatu, Mr. Vincent Bouvier, the High Commissioner of the French Republic in New Caledonia and Mr. Philippe Germain, and the President of the Government of New Caledonia attended the joint committee, which is the decision making body set up under the Regional Cooperation Agreement.

For the first time in its fourteen years of existence, French was the working language of the committee.

A call for projects was launched from February 29 to April 8, 2016, and a total of 51 projects were received.

They were reviewed during the technical committee meeting that took place in Noumea on May 18.

This year the Prime Minister of Vanuatu is giving priority to education, francophonie and training.

Nine projects were retained during the joint committee on May 20 with a total budget of 36.5 million vatu.

This program is financed by the Government of New Caledonia and by France under the Pacific Funds.

The chosen projects are distributed as below:

• 40 % of credits will go to scholarships for students in AES Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree

• 25 % to university and scientific projects

• 18 % to cultural exchanges and francophonie

• 17 % to teachers’ training and to the improvement of digital technology in education

The joint committee provided an opportunity for both New Caledonia and Vanuatu to consider an ambitious strategy for closer relation and therefore further cooperation, with the aim to engage in a comprehensive partnership.

[email protected]

19) PNG protests spread to the provinces

Protests against Papua New Guinea’s prime minister are spreading around the country.

The protests have been given impetus through a national awareness campaign by university students calling for Peter O’Neill to stand aside to face questioning over an alleged fraud case.

About five thousand students at the University of PNG in Port Moresby have been boycotting classes for a month.

The protest has seen them pitted against not just the government but also the UPNG management, in a stand-off they appear unlikely to back down from.

Students at PNG’s next biggest tertiary institution, the University of Technology in Lae, have also held protests, although without hassles from the management of their institution.

In the last week, groups of students from both institutions have travelled back to the provinces from PNG’s main cities to raise awareness about the issues they are protesting about.

In Madang province on the north coast, university students held a large rally in Madang town which observers noted were well-conducted and peaceful.

There were similar mobilisations in most provincial capitals in PNG’s Highlands region over recent days.

In Mt Hagen, one student leader warned locals that the prime minister’s refusal to be questioned over the fraud case was setting a dangerous precedent.

“If the prime minister is trying to go above the law, then the parliamentarians, the members who are under the arms of the prime minister they will try to go above the law,” he told the crowd.

“And then the chain of reaction will come even to the grassroots level. Then there’ll be a lawless society.”

Hundreds of citizens in Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands, and Enga provinces have come out in support of the students’ call for Mr O’Neill to resign.

In another Highlands province, Simbu, around six thousand people attended a forum discussing concerns that the prime minister has been obfuscating efforts to probe high level fraud.

Social media reports have emerged indicating that protestors could conduct blockages of PNG’s premier road, the Highlands Highway, if the prime minister doesn’t step down.

Responding to university students’ demands for his resignation, Peter O’Neill earlier this week indicated he had no intention of standing down, arguing that matters being raised in the protests are still before the courts.28 May 2016-RNZI

20) Uni launches development training program

Peni Mudunavonu
Sunday, May 29, 2016/ Fijitimes

“THE launching of the University of the South Pacific (USP) Training Development Program could not have come at a better time for Fiji,” says Civil Service permanent secretary Bernadette Welch.

“The Fiji Government has made some fundamental changes to how the civil service operates and makes decisions.

“The authority has been centralised and ministries are encouraged to be much more innovative, with how they go about their business while focusing on customer services and improving productivity and efficiency,” she said.

Ms Welch then added this would require civil servants to adapt and develop new capabilities that would include how to effectively manage change.

“We need people to have better understanding of the machinery of government.

“We need people to be more effectively engaged with Government and government standing committee engaging with Cabinet etc.

“There is going to be a lot of change… we need more critical thinkers and problem solvers and more effective oral communicators.

“I think the timing for the civil service while it is going through such exciting change and for the rest of Fiji as it becomes the central hub for the Pacific couldn’t be better,” she said.

USP vice-chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra said the starting point of any workforce development would have to be thinking.

“The high quality committed and changes for human resources are a key for meeting the aspirations for sustainable development and for being able to compete in what are an open and very competitive and knowledge dominated world system,” Prof Chandra said.


21) Malaitans rise to support province

Published: 25 May 2016/Solomon Star

THERE was a call by the Premier of Malaita to all Malaitans a week ago through the National Malaita Forum on Facebook to come forth support and initiative to build a Malaita Provincial Assembly Chamber in Auki.

The chamber symbolises Malaita unity for all the 5 regions in Malaita, through their elected provincial representatives, said the Premier.

Apparently, this call did not fell on the ground. Few spirited Malaitans urged the forum members to take action rather than mere talking in the Facebook. This prompted the idea to call for a meeting last Sunday at Honiara High School which was attended by more than one hundred Malaitans.

Those that attended came from all works of life and cadre from within the government, semi-government organizations, private sector, NGOs’ and the civil society in Honiara.

The significance of that meeting was indicated by the presence of Malaita Premier, Peter Ramohia and his 3 executive members.

Also the Premier was given the opportunity to present a brief about the project proposal.

The Premier asserted that history has it that Malaitans are hard workers and action-oriented people.

A particular piece of history was highlighted; the establishment of Ma’asina Ruru movement, which stands for brotherhood in Are’are dialect.

He stated that that was the highest peak of Malaita collaboration when all Malaitans came together for a common purpose-working as a united people.

During the meeting, a coordinating committee was elected to spearhead fundraising drives to support this worthy initiative sanctioned by the Provincial executive.

The newly elected members of the committee are as follows:

1 Chairperson – Rose Abana

2 Vice Chairman – Redley Raramo

3. Secretary – Robert Gerea

4. Treasurer – Fred Peter

5. Maxwell Saelea – Member (Representative for Eastern Malaita Region)

6. Florie Alalo – Member (Representative for Malaita Outer-Islands Region)

7. Wilson Maelaua – Member (Representative for Central Malaita Region)

8. Lily Ramo – Member (Representative for Northern Region)

9. John Manemaka – Member (Representative Southern Malaita Region)

The committee was endorsed by Mr Ramohia who was also present to brief the attendants of the vision, plans and the need behind the establishment of the proposed meeting chamber.

The newly established committee will be responsible for coordination, planning and organising fundraising drives throughout Honiara.

Ms Abana has confirmed that the committee will soon launch its programs and events once they are finalized.

22) Reinstated PNG MP Regains Opposition Leadership Post

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 05/26/2016 – 14:51
AddThis Sharing Buttons

Poyle takes over as Basil steps aside

By Benjamin Kuman

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 26, 2017) – Leader of PNG National Party and Member for Bulolo Sam Basil has relinquished the opposition leadership back to Kandep MP and reappointed leader of Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party Don Polye.

Mr Basil made the decision at an opposition caucus in Port Moresby on Wednesday and officially announced it at a press conference in parliament yesterday

“I believe that what we have created here can show Papua New Guineans that the opposition is strong and vibrant and we are happy to serve together as a team,”

“We have always been together on our issues and very recently we have seen civil society groups and the UPNG students taking the same issues that we have been fighting for in the last four years” he said.

He called on the public to have confidence in the current opposition team as it consists of credible leaders who respect the rule of law and uphold the integrity of public offices they occupy.

Mr Basil said Don Polye has set a good precedent in respecting the rule of law and stepping aside to protect the integrity of the office of the member for Kandep and the Office of the leader of Opposition so Prime Minister Peter O’Neill must follow him to uphold the integrity of the office the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.

Mr Polye thanked his deputy for having confidence in his leadership and for relinquishing the post of the opposition leader back to him.

He thanked Mr Basil for providing the best leadership for the opposition within the short period he was sidelined by the courts.

Meanwhile PNG National Party Leader and Member for Sinesine Yongomulg Kerenga Kua has officially announced his move into the opposition team.

Mr Kuai who is a learned Papua New Guinean said he didn’t like the way the Prime Minister was running the affairs of this country so he was had to cross the floor.

“The Prime Minister is running down this country and we all are seeing it so I am calling on all good members in government to cross the floor next Tuesday so we change O’Neill for the good of this country” said Kua.

PNG Post-Courier

23) PNG opposition plans another no confidence motion

Papua New Guinea’s opposition says it has the numbers and will file a motion of no confidence in the government on Tuesday.

This will be the opposition’s fourth attempt to oust the government of prime minister Peter O’Neill, who has been embroiled in a far-reaching corruption scandal for the past two years.

Previous attempts have been struck down because of inconsistencies and for lacking the required number of signatures.

But an opposition spokesperson says he believes this motion meets every requirement and there should be no reason for its passage to be blocked in parliament.

He says this latest motion has been spurred by massive student protests in Papua New Guinea over the past few weeks.

Thousands of students have been boycotting classes demanding that Mr O’Neill stand down over the corruption saga, a demand he has refused to accede to.28/05/16 RNZI

24) Fiji Opposition Party Says Sugar Reform Bill ‘Unfair’

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 05/26/2016 – 15:07

Law would disempower workers, unions: SODELPA

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 26, 2016) – The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) says sections of the Reform of the Sugar Cane Industry Bill are undemocratic, unfair and discriminatory.

In a written submission to the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs on the Reform of the Sugar Cane Industry Bill, the party has called for the removal of Section 7 of the Bill, which details the restriction of industrial action.

The submission, approved by party leader Ro Teimumu Kepa and Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca, said Section 7 must be removed because it was contrary to rights and freedoms enshrined in the 2013 Constitution and international laws that Fiji had ratified.

“Any law that disempowers the rights of workers and their unions should be objected to in the strongest sense,” said SODELPA.

“Part 7, of the Bill, titled ‘Restrictions on Industrial Action’ further politicises the sugar industry by silencing dissent.

“In a democracy, workers should be allowed to have strikes, this Bill gives too much power to the minister and the ministry, and leaves strikes, walkouts and industrial actions at the ‘approval’ of the ministry. It is not in tune with recent laws enacted in Fiji’s Parliament that deal with industrial action.”

SODELPA said Section 7 was not in tune with agreed principals under the International Labour Organization’s core conventions.

“Restricting workers from taking industrial action only because they are canegrowers is discrimination.”

SODELPA said Part 7 of the reform Bill also violated the human rights of workers as contained in the Bill of Rights in Chapter 2 of the 2013 Constitution.

The standing committee is finalising its report on the reform Bill and Sugar Cane Growers Fund Amendment Bill.

The report will be handed to Parliament for debate soon.


25) ANZ first bank in the Pacific to accept UnionPay EMV on ATMs

Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2016

ANZ yesterday announced that ANZ point-of-sale (POS) and ATM terminals across nine countries in the Pacific will begin accepting UnionPay cards, enhancing service and convenience for UnionPay cardholders worldwide.

ANZ is the first bank in the Pacific to accept UnionPay EMV on ATMs, UnionPay’s more secure card solution for both credit and debit cards.

As of today, ANZ POS terminals and ATMs in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu and Timor Leste will begin to accept UnionPay cards, with the rollout continuing across ANZ’s network in Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati and Cook Islands in coming weeks.

UnionPay is the most commonly used payment tool by outbound Chinese people, with 5.4 billion cards issued globally. Currently, Unionpay cards can be accepted in 157 countries and regions.

“As a bank that’s been in the Pacific for 135 years and operating across 34 countries around the world, we recognised that we needed to expand our card payment options to support customers’ growing cross-border activities and make payments simpler and more convenient for them while they are in our region,” said ANZ Regional Executive – Pacific Islands, Tessa Price.

“As China’s leading card network, having UnionPay enabled across our regional network is a significant step for ANZ and I’m pleased to see it come to fruition today,” Ms Price said.

Speaking at a launch ceremony held at the Radisson Blu in Fiji today, ANZ Fiji Acting CEO Saud Minam said acceptance of UnionPay cards at ANZ POS terminals and ATMs would be welcomed by the growing number of Chinese visitors to Fiji and the Pacific.

“Every year, the number of Chinese tourists, students and businesspeople travelling to the Pacific grows,” said Mr Minam. “In Fiji alone, tourist and visitor arrivals from China increased 36% last year, and today we’re happy to expand our value proposition to support this growing connectivity across our regions and in particular to support Asia tourism flows across the Pacific.”

Yesterday’s launch follows-on from a successful launch of UnionPay POS and ATM acceptance by ANZ in Australia in June 2015 and New Zealand in January 2016.

Mr Cai Jianbo, Chief Executive Officer for UnionPay International, a subsidiary of China UnionPay said: “The South Pacific Island States are an integral part of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. With the increasingly frequent economic and trade contacts between China and the region, we are devoted to improving the local UnionPay acceptance environment so as to provide payment convenience to UnionPay cardholders visiting the countries.

“Our cooperation with ANZ not only substantially improved UnionPay’s acceptance footprint and card-using experiences in South Pacific, but will also lay a solid foundation for card-issuance there in the future.

“Local issuance of UnionPay cards will offer new payment option for the local residents, and provide bidirectional support for the implementation of the ‘Belt and Road’ Strategy.”

UnionPay card acceptance will be introduced to ANZ EFTPOS terminals and ATMs across a further two countries in Asia from June 2016.

[email protected]

26) Fiji Airways, Jetstar Enter Into Inter-Airline Arrangement

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 05/26/2016 – 14:58

Deal to connect Fiji to international hub in Singapore

By Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 27, 2016) – Fiji Airways and Jetstar today announced an interline agreement that will see the Fijian flag carrier connect to more than 21 destinations on Jetstar’s network from Singapore.

The interline agreement has been signed with the Jetstar Group of branded airlines including Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Japan and Jetstar Pacific.

Fiji Airways Managing Director and Chief Executive Andre Vilijoen said the interline agreement is an exciting growth phase for the airline’s route of Singapore and it allows them to connect their extensive South Pacific network to Jetstar’s impressive network throughout Asia.

“This interline agreement means our customers will be able to travel seamlessly through Singapore to 21 destinations in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, The Philippines, Cambodia and Myanmar, through Jetstar’s dense network across the Asia Pacific region.”

“Likewise, guests will be able to conveniently experience the wonders of our home, Fiji, and the South Pacific via the Singapore hub,” Mr Viljoen said.

While the agreement covers all 73 destinations served by the Jetstar Group, including Jetstar Airways in Australia, the immediate take-up will be for Jetstar destinations from Singapore.

Singapore based Jetstar Asia Chief Executive Barathan Pasupathi said their services and networks out of Singapore deliver very attractive itineraries for global carriers to offer their customers and such interline and codeshare partnerships with full-service carriers are testament to their product and delivery of an equivalent level of service on board our flights.

The Jetstar-Fiji Airways interline agreement builds on Jetstar’s growing base of 46 established interline partners that include Qantas, Air France-KLM, British Airways, United and China Eastern, just to name a few. Jetstar currently also have existing codeshare agreements with Qantas, Japan Airlines, American Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Finnair, LATAM and Emirates.

Fiji Airways and Jetstar customers will be able to book flights and check-through baggage when purchasing tickets from Fiji Airways’ sales channels, including its website, online travel sites, sales offices and reservation centres. Fiji Airways commenced twice-weekly direct flights to Singapore on April 05, 2016.



27) Housing problem

Repeka Nasiko
Sunday, May 29, 2016/Fijitimes

FIJI has a huge housing problem, said Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while speaking at the 2016-2017 Western Division Budget Consultation Forum in Lautoka yesterday.

He said this iwa why Government announced in the last budget that incentives would be provided for the private sector.

“If you simply rely on the public sector to provide the level of housing that we require it will take a longer period of time,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“We have to borrow money to do that but if you get the private sector involved and if you provide the right incentives and perhaps packages then obviously they will invest their money and we will be able to resolve our squatter problem a lot more quickly,” he said.

He said Government was also focused on increasing home ownership for ordinary citizens.

“The second argument of course is that we need to increase the rate of home ownership because it increases savings in the country. Singapore has a home ownership rate of 93 per cent.

“We are nowhere close to that.

“We need to look at affordable housing. Affordable housing in the Fijian context is low-cost housing.

“By increasing home ownership, you are giving people a sense of dignity that they actually own a property.”

He said mainstream banks should also assist Government in its initiative to increase home ownership for Fijians.

“Mainstream banks in Fiji are very conservative. They shouldn’t be conservative.

“We had a few discussions just a few days ago with the Reserve Bank of Fiji governor and the deputy governor and their team as to how we can make available cheaper money for people who are going to buy or build their first homes.

“The interest rates needs to be much lower.”



29) Oceania Nations Cup kicks off in PNG

The Oceania Nations Cup starts in Papua New Guinea today with New Zealand determined to improve on their third place finish last time around.

The All Whites drew with Solomon Islands in the group stage four years ago before being knocked out by New Caledonia in the semi-finals.

Striker Chris Wood was a part of that squad, and said if they play to the best of their ability they will be fine and that will start with the first game of the tournament against Fiji.

“If we’re organised, do what we’re learning on the training pitch and making sure we implement that into games we’ll be fine.”

“We know they are probably one of the toughest oppositions we’re going to face out here so it’s going to be a very tough one first up but as long as we work hard we know where their areas of strength is and we’re just going to make sure we do what we need to do,” he said.

The All Whites will also face Vanuatu and Solomon Islands in pool play and Chris Wood said there won’t be any easy games.

“They’ve come on leaps and bounds over the last five to six years so every game is going to be hard.”

“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, it’s going to be a tough match. We’re going to have to make sure we’re on top of our game every time and that starts with training well, recovering well and, most importantly, playing well.”

Home Pressures for PNG

Papua New Guinea begin their campaign tomorrow against New Caledonia.

The host nation are the lowest ranked team in the Nations Cup at 198 in the World but head coach Flemming Serrtislev said they would take it game by game and do the best they can.

“From now on we are concentrating on the first match, New Caledonia, and then we will see what the outcome will be there and take it from there.”

“Of course when you are entering a big championship you’re playing because you want to win it…you can expect to see a fast playing and direct playing team, trying to play forward as soon as the chance is to play forward.”

In the other matches this weekend, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands clash tonight in an all-Melanesian affair while Tahiti begin their title defence tomorrow night against Samoa.28/5/16 RNZI

30) Vanuatu cricketers confident of playoff spot

Vanuatu is looking to seal a playoff berth in their final World Cricket League group match against Tanzania tonight and move closer to retaining their spot in Division Five.

The Melanesians thrashed Nigeria by 110 runs in midweek to snap a three-game losing streak.

Vanuatu were a late replacement for Suriname in the Division Five event and need a top three finish to avoid being relegated back to regional competitions.

A win tonight would put them a game away from achieving that goal and the President of Vanuatu Cricket, Mark Stafford, said they expect to do the business.

“We’re confident that we can take care of Tanzania. They haven’t shown any great deal of endeavour so far in the tournament. We’re fully confident we’re a better team than them and that will lead us to probably a return match with Guernsey, who we had a very close match in a rain-shortened and Duckworth-Lewis outcome on the first day of the tournament.”

Mark Stafford said one area Vanuatu want to improve on is building partnerships throughout their innings and not letting wickets fall in quick succession.27/5/16 RNZI

31) NZ beats Fiji 3-1

Avinesh Gopal
Sunday, May 29, 2016/Fijitimes

NEW Zealand defeated Fiji 3-1 in the 2016 OFC Nations Cup last night.

Fiji’s lone goal was scored by captain Roy Krishna from the penalty spot at the stroke of half time.

The All Whites led 2-1 at half time and extended their lead to 3-1 in the second half.

Organised by the Oceania Football Confederation, the tournament is being played at Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

Fiji will play their next game against Solomon Islands on Tuesday and Vanuatu on June 4.




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