Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1071 ( Tuesday 31 May 2016 )


1) West Papuan leader’s barred entry ordered from the “top”

The secretary-general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua says he was given no explanation why he was barred from entering Papua New Guinea.

Secretary general Octo Mote was travelling to Port Moresby to assist the Vanuatu and Solomon Islands governments in their representations on West Papua at the African, Carribean and Pacific summit this week.

He had also been preparing for an upcoming Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting to deliberate on the Liberation Movement’s bid for full MSG membership.

Mr Mote, who has a US passport, said that the two immigration officers who disallowed his entry were respectful but gave no explanation.

“These two gentlemen were just saying this is the order from high top. So I really don’t know why they stop me there. I’ve been in and out so many times to Papua New Guinea, and I’m possessing all the legal process which is on-arrival visa.”30/5/16RNZI

2) MSG Leaders to discuss Summit at ACP meeting
00:32 am GMT+12, 30/05/2016, Solomon Islands

Leaders of Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) member states are mulling over where and when to hold their special summit which has been postponed twice.

A special MSG leaders summit, which was originally scheduled for Port Vila at the start of May, was rescheduled for Port Moresby late last week before being postponed again.

It’s understood the summit may be held at the end of June.

The MSG chair Manasseh Sogavare is now in the PNG capital in his capacity as Solomon Islands prime minister to attend a summit of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) Leaders.

The secretary to the MSG Chair, Rence Sore, said while in Port Moresby PM Sogavare will hold talks with other MSG Leaders.

“The leaders are talking at the margins of the ACP meeting. They are going to decide on the new dates and the venue. It’s going to be anywhere: either Port Vila, Nadi, Suva, Solomons or New Caledonia.”

Sore said the Solomon Islands Government was concerned with reports that the Secretary-General of the United Liberation Movement, Octo Mote, was denied entry to PNG in recent days.

It’s understood that Mote was travelling to Port Moresby to assist the Vanuatu and Solomon Islands governments in their representations on West Papua at the ACP summit.

He had also been preparing for the upcoming MSG summit when a decision on the Liberation Movement’s bid for full membership in the MSG was to be discussed.

Sore said as leader of the ULMWP leader, Mote should have been accorded some courtesy, but its PNG’s jurisdiction to assert its authority as it saw fit.

However, with Mote and other Liberation Movement representatives expected to attend the upcoming MSG summit, there’s an increased likelihood that the venue could be moved from Port Moresby.


3) Glaring Omissions In New MSG Sub-Regional Trade Agreement

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 05/29/2016 – 13:03
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Airtime and maritime shipping arrangements are not addressed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 30, 2016) – Airline and maritime shipping arrangements are two glaring omissions from the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s new sub-regional trade agreement.

Negotiations on a new free trade area that spans Melanesia were concluded by the group’s trade ministers in Vanuatu last week.

The MSG’s Programme Manager of Trade and Investment, Johnny Licht, said the agreement now covers trade in services, labour and investments, instead of being focussed solely on goods.

He said the agreement is now stronger and more comprehensive, but there have been some important omissions.

“Lots of things that we think we could cover at this time for example air services agreement is one there are also other areas such as maritime shipping arrangments,” he said.

“But as far as goods and services is concerned we have a better trade agreement a much more improved, refined, comprehensive trade agreement that can provide for opportunities.”

Radio New Zealand International

4) Bougainville MP confident of ongoing international help

A Bougainville woman MP is confident the region will be ready to confront the issues posed by a vote on possible independence from Papua New Guinea.

Bougainville and the national government of PNG have set a tentative date of June 2019 for the vote, which is the final step in the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

Bougainville needs to meet certain criteria ahead of that vote, such as having a viable economy and control of illegal weapons.

The Bougainville North women’s seat MP, Francesca Semoso, says she believes international support will continue to be there.

“I am sure there will be countries in the Pacific that have been friends to Bougainville that will come and say ‘We will help’ but I will need to go and ask, ‘Are you able to help?’ Is there any country in the world, is there any human being in the world that would like to see a brother not get any help?”30/5/16RNZI

5) Level 1 Volcanic Alert for Vanua Lava volcano. 

Posted: May 30, 2016 Author:  | Filed under: The Daily Digest 


  • The Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) has issued a Level 1 Volcanic Alert warning for Vanua Lava because of increased activity and gas around the volcano and terraces. The last eruption on the island by the Suretamatai volcano took place in 1966, according to VGO. Radio Vanuatu this morning drew attention to the continuing Level 1 Volcanic Alert for Mt Garet on Gaua. A Level 1 warning has been in place there since December 2011.
  • The by-election for Malo/Aore is now scheduled for 29 June. Three individuals have declared candidacy which came about as the result of the death of the previous sitting MP, Havao Moli. (Daily Post)
  • The Ministry of Justice has found that certain laws of Vanuatu are inconsistent with the rights of people with disability as expressed in United Nations conventions. These laws are being considered for adjustment along with the heavier sentencing amending the Penal Code for sexual offences. This will ensure better protection of vulnerable people and is consistent with the Ministry’s concern to update Vanuatu’s legislation to current practice worldwide. (Radio Vanuatu)
  • The Iauko Group political party with no sitting MP presently says it still exists. Two party leaders who did not wish to be identified made this clear after the defection of two of their number who are elected MPs to the UMP grouping was announced last week. (Daily Post)
  • A new concrete market house has been created at Torba by 22 TVET and VIT trained men from the island. One member of the team is disabled. The market house for Sola will assist those with produce to sell, fishermen and farmers, and businesses with services on offer to make themselves better known. (Daily Post)


6) New tuna loining plant in FSM to employ 1000 workers
10:56 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2016, Micronesia, Federated States of

An ambitious plan to set up a tuna loining plant in Pohnpei is likely to employ a thousand people if it gets off the ground, reports Kaselehlie Press )KP).

A spokesperson for Frabelle Fishing Corporation unveiled the plan at the recent National Fisheries Summit. The proposed company to be called FSM Seafood Incorporated is a cooperative venture between Frabelle, Caroline Fisheries Corporation (CFC), a local Pohnpei purse seiner in partnership with the Pohnpei State Government and Silla Company, Limited, a Korean fishing company that operates in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean and in the Atlantic Ocean.

KP said the joint venture hopes to supply frozen cooked loins to canneries associated with the proponents and to Spain, EU, US, and other markets and has no plan to establish a cannery in FSM.

The initial capital outlay for the company is proposed to be US$20 million.

The plan is ambitious for a variety of reasons not the least of which is the available work force in Pohnpei.

The proposal says that for the first year of operation the plant would operate on a single shift that would require approximately 500 workers. When it expands to two shifts in the second year, it would require approximately 1000 workers. They are hoping to process as much as 60 metric tons of tuna per day, which they said would require 2500 days of fishing under the Vessel Day Scheme.



7) ) PNG Sex wokas isave bungim bikpla heve: Amnesty International itok

Updated 30 May 2016, 14:24 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla bikpla ripot blong human rights grup,  Amnesty International itokaut pinis long ol bikpla heve em ol sex wokas isave bungim long  Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea ino gat loa we emi karamapim ol pipal long salim ol iet long kisim moni oa  commercial sex.

Homosexuality oa pasin we ol man isave slip wantem ol man tu i wanpla samting emi brukim loa blong kantri, na despla isave mekim ol gay man-meri long kamap long kot.

Despla kaen pasin isave larim ol Polis long paitim, rapim, kisim moni nating  na kamapim bagarap long ol sex wokas.

Kate Schuetze,husat i wanpla  policy adviser wantem  Amnesty International, itok olsem wanpla wok painimaut em oli bin mekim long 2010 ibin soim olsem 50 percent long ol sex wokas long PNG ibin kisim taem we ol pipal em oli save iusim ol sex wokas na tu long ol polis ibin rapim ol.

Despla ripot itok tu olsem planti taem ol man na meri sex wokas isave kisim  heve long polis, communiti na tu long ol Helt sevis we ol despla laen isave lukim ol despla sex wokas olsem ol samting nating. Nau ol Sex wokas i laikim bai National gavman imas kamapim loa blong lukautim ol, long wonem oli tok  oli pipal tu, wankaen tasol olsem ol narapla citizen blong kantri.

Kathy Ketepa, manager blong Friends Frangipani Inc we i sanap makim ol sex wokas long PNG na emi tokol sex wokas isave bungim planti heve tumas long laif blong ol.ABC

8) Wari blong Graon i daonim wok divelopman long Solomon Islands

Updated 30 May 2016, 14:31 AEST
Sam Seke

Wanfala grup blong olketa save pipol or Think Tank blong Malaita wea hem bin lukluk long olketa Nasinol projek long provins hemi lukim olsem problem long saet long land nao hemi risin wae nomoa eni big divelopment projek hem kamap long Malaita.

DCC Gavman blong Praem Minista Manasseh Sogavare nao hemi setem ap disfala grup ia fo lukluk long wae nao evri gavman stat long taem blong indipendens ibin garem polisi fo divelopem Malaita, bat nomoa eni samting hem hapen.

Tim Lida blong disfala Think Tank wea hemi givim ripot blong hem long Praem Minista long las Friday, Barnabas Henson hem se olketa lukim plande enikaen consultancy and ripot nao olketa kamap wetem.

Bata Mr Henson hem se hem no garem eni saen blong projek olketa wakem.

Hem se diswan hemi from enikaen land dispute hemi save kamap insaet long olketa traeb seleva evritaem, bikos long kaen kastom blong Malaita long saet long land.ABC


9) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 30 mai 2016

Mis à jour 30 May 2016, 12:48 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

  • En Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, la contestation étudiante continue, et les députés d’opposition déposeront une motion de défiance contre Peter O’Neill mardi. 
Il s’agit de leur quatrième tentative, et cette fois-ci, ils assurent qu’ils auront assez de voix pour faire chuter le Premier ministre. L’opposition espère ainsi profiter de l’élan donné par les étudiants depuis un mois. Plus de 5000 d’entre eux boycottent les cours, principalement sur les campus de Port-Moresby et de Lae, la seconde ville du pays. Ils manifestent régulièrement pour obtenir la démission du Premier ministre, qui est accusé de détournement de fonds publics et ciblé par un mandat d’arrêt qui n’a jamais été exécuté. Parallèlement, des centaines d’étudiants sont retournés dans leur province d’origine  la semaine dernière pour mobiliser leurs clans et leurs villages. Résultat: des manifestations contre Peter O’Neill ont eu lieu dans plusieurs capitales provinciales, comme Madang et Mount Hagen. 6000 Papous ont aussi manifesté à Kundiawa, la capitale de la province  de Simbu. Pour l’instant Peter O’Neill a indiqué qu’il avait bien l’intention de s’accrocher au pouvoir.
  • Réfugiés: entre le Cambodge et leur pays d’origine, finalement ils préfèrent rentrer chez eux. Depuis juin 2015, seuls 5 des quelque 540 réfugiés placés à Nauru par l’Australie, ont accepté d’aller refaire leur vie au Cambodge. En septembre 2014, Canberra a signé un accord avec le pays, pour qu’il accueille une partie de ses réfugiés. Pour cela, l’Australie a versé 40 millions de dollars d’aide au développement au Cambodge, et offert 15.5 millions de dollars à l’Organisation internationale pour les Migrations, afin qu’elle gère l’installation des réfugiés de Nauru au Cambodge. Mais confrontés à des conditions de vie difficiles, 4 ex-pensionnaires du centre de rétention de Nauru – 3 réfugiés iraniens et un Birman- ont préféré rentrer dans leur pays d’origine. Il ne reste plus au Cambodge qu’un réfugié rohynga. 45 millions de dollars pour 5 personnes, « c’est une plaisanterie très coûteuse »,  a ironisé  Richard Marles, le porte-parole des Travaillistes chargé des questions d’immigration. Mais le gouvernement de Malcolm Turnbull assure que l’accord avec le Cambodge n’est pas mort. Il annonce que des officiels cambodgiens sont attendus à Nauru en juin, pour rencontrer deux autres réfugiés qui seraient candidats à leur transfert dans le royaume asiatique.
  • Hawaï: elle fait 2 mètres sur 3.50, en gros elle a la taille d’un van, et elle est drapée comme un rideau. C’est une éponge géante de Hawaï, que des chercheurs de l’agence américaine d’études océaniques et atmosphériques (la NOOA) ont découverte par hasard grâce à leur robot sous-marin. Ils ont trouvé cette éponge blanchâtre, totalement inconnue jusqu’à présent, à 4.8 km de profondeur, dans les eaux de la réserve marine Papahanaumokuakea, un site classé à l’UNESCO. Certaines espèces d’éponges géantes ont une longévité vertigineuse. Elles vivent plus de 2300 ans.
  • L’état de droit fait des bonds de géant à Nauru. Le gouvernement l’a annoncé vendredi, le Parlement a légalisé l’homosexualité et les tentatives de suicide. Ce grand nettoyage législatif est largement du au scandale causé par la condamnation d’un réfugié iranien pour tentative de suicide début avril. Il a purgé 2 semaines de prison. Il y a eu aussi eu le cas des 2 femmes réfugiées, enceintes suite à des viols présumés, qui n’ont pas pu se faire avorter à Nauru. Le parlement de l’île a aussi rendu illégal le viol conjugal et l’esclavage. En revanche, rien n’indique que le gouvernement veuille réformer les autres lois controversées de la micro République, comme l’interdiction de Facebook, des diseurs de bonne aventure, des sorciers, ou encore, de la diffamation des princes étrangers.
  • Aux Fidji, trois personnes ont été mises en examen. Elle sont accusées d’avoir produit de faux documents pour bénéficier d’une aide d’urgence du gouvernement au lendemain du passage du cyclone Winston sur l’archipel. Il s’agit du fonds de 35 millions de dollars américains mis en place pour aider les Fidjiens à acheter des matériaux de construction. La semaine dernière déjà, 3 autres Fidjiens profiteurs ont été arrêtés.  17 autres sont sous le coup d’une enquête pour le même type de fraude.
  • Australie: « mignonnes et adorables ». C’est ainsi que le scientifique, Jürgen Otto décrit les 7 nouvelles espèces d’araignées-paons sauteuses qu’il a découvertes et cataloguées. Elles sont endémiques du sud de l’île-continent. Selon lui, ces araignées microscopiques, qui font quelques millimètres seulement, ont de quoi séduire même les arachnophobes les plus récalcitrants. Mais ce sont surtout les couleurs très vives des mâles – des bleus profonds, des ocres- qui retiennent l’attention. Ces parures sont  nécessaires pour séduire les femelles lors de la danse nuptiale.

10) Help Indigenous Australians through economic development: NSW Ombudsman’s office

Updated 31 May 2016, 6:35 AEST
By the National Reporting Team’s Natasha Robinson

Report to be tabled in NSW Parliament recommends specific measures to foster economic development in order to improve Indigenous people’s social outcomes.

Economic prosperity is key to improving social outcomes for Aboriginal people, according to a report released by the New South Wales Ombudsman’s office.

The special report, to be tabled in NSW Parliament today, comes in the wake of NSW becoming the first state to introduce independent statutory oversight of its Indigenous programs.

NSW Deputy Ombudsman Danny Lester oversees the state’s Aboriginal programs and has spent the past 18 months consulting with Indigenous people and business leaders in urban, regional and remote NSW.

The result is the report, Fostering economic development for Aboriginal people in NSW.

Acting NSW Ombudsman John McMillan recommends in the report specific measures to foster economic development.

Reforms are aimed at addressing barriers to Indigenous participation such as high jailing rates, low rates of home ownership and poor employment prospects.

Economic prosperity to improve key social issues

Mr Lester said Aboriginal people want governments be held accountable for their promises in fostering economic development.

“This report sets out the reforms we believe are needed to deliver tangible and sustainable improvements for Aboriginal people in NSW,” Mr Lester said.

“Fundamentally what we’re looking at is opportunity and choices.

“It is clear from Aboriginal leaders in particular that economic prosperity will improve social outcomes in in many areas including housing, health, education, child protection and also in renewing Aboriginal culture and language into the future.”

The NSW government overhauled its policy in Aboriginal affairs following two Ombudsman’s reports in 2011 and 2012 that focussed attention on critical policy failures. The 2011 report inquired into Aboriginal disadvantage, and the 2012 report followed an audit into the NSW Interagency plan on tackling child sexual abuse in NSW Indigenous communities.

The government is now turning its focus to economic development as an Upper House Inquiry hold hearings around the state on the issue.

“There’s no other jurisdiction that has legislated independent scrutiny of a government’s Aboriginal programs,” Mr Lester said.

“The idea for this initiative came from Aboriginal community leaders.”

The NSW government’s new economic prosperity framework is expected to be announced during the next year.ABC


11) Large collections of Pacific treasures on display in Auckland

One of the world’s largest collections of historic Pacific treasures will be displayed in a new project launched by New Zealand’s Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Items including musical instruments, tools, ornaments and carvings from 13 different nations will be brought out of storage, catalogued, conserved and photographed over the next three years.

More than 5,000 collection items are expected to be processed and will be published online to help communities and researchers worldwide.

The museum’s Pacific Curator, Fuli Pereira, said members from the Pacific community had been invited to help shed light and understanding around the items, some of which were thought to be about 100 years old.

“It’s going to be huge because most museums have put their collections online. But we’re going to have a concerted effort to collaborate with our communities and actually have their voices be the primary voice telling the world about the collections here.”30/5/16RNZI


12) ACP summit underway in Port Moresby

A summit of leaders from the European Union’s African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of states has commenced in Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby today.

A meeting of the joint ACP council of ministers and foreign ministers is underway, including representatives from a number of Pacific Islands governments.

The meeting is to feature a briefing on a report by an Eminent Persons Group considering if there are relevant grounds to continue with the ACP as a group.

Vanuatu’s government is reportedly preparing to put forward a resolution related to West Papua.30/5/16RNZI


13) China tries to keep luxury spenders at home

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

CHINA’S efforts to lift local consumption, spur domestic tourism and keep within its borders citizens that splurge in Milan or Seoul have spawned a duty-free paradise on the southern island of Hainan that it hopes will satisfy a lust for luxury.

Firms such as the owner of the world’s biggest duty-free shopping center, China International Travel Service Corp Ltd (CITS) (601888.SS), are capitalising on a relaxation of duty-free spending restrictions in February, with HNA Group Co Ltd reporting a 160 per cent surge in sales.

Government initiatives, including 19 more duty-free shops nationwide, come as sales of the types of luxury goods that line duty-free shelves fell 2 per cent last year. Market watchers pin the blame on a campaign against demonstrations of wealth among public officials, as well as a slowdown in economic growth.

As things stand, the Chinese buy close to 80 per cent of their luxury goods abroad in cities such as Paris, London and Tokyo, Bain Consultancy estimated.

“Whether it is Burberry or Richemont recently, many brands in the space have noted that the future of luxury demand will be about the Chinese and incrementally at home,” said HSBC analyst Erwan Rambourg in Hong Kong, who recommends buying CITS shares.

In Hainan, which is closer to Hanoi than Beijing, duty-free shops offering products priced as much as 30 per cent less than the mainland have been operating since 2011, under a trial program aimed at developing the island as a tourist destination.


14) Social media concerns

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

DUBAI – Iran has given foreign messaging apps a year to move data they hold about Iranian users onto servers inside the country, prompting privacy and security concerns on social media.

Iran has some of the strictest controls on internet access in the world and blocks access to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, although many users are able to access them through widely available software.

“Foreign messaging companies active in the country are required to transfer all data and activity linked to Iranian citizens into the country in order to ensure their continued activity,” Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace said.

The council, whose members are selected by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave social media companies a year to comply, IRNA said, adding that the measures were based on the “guidelines and concerns of the supreme leader”.

The new requirements could affect messaging app Telegram in particular. The cloud-based instant messaging service has gained popularity because of its high level of security and is estimated to have about 20 million users in Iran, which has a total population of about 80 million.

In November authorities said they had arrested administrators of more than 20 groups on Telegram for spreading “immoral content” as part of a clampdown on freedom of expression.


15) School in Fiji gets funding to rebuild from China

A remote school in Fiji is set to receive almost $US300,000 for its rebuild, following Cyclone Winston.

Yasawa High School in Muaira on Naviti Island was badly damaged by the Pacific’s worst cyclone, which stripped the walls and roofs off school buildings.

Fundraisers driven by school children in China and Hong Kong collected the money as part of the Adopt a School Programme.

The Friends of Fiji in China and Hong Kong worked with the Fiji Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and today they are set to hand over a cheque to Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama.30/5/16 RNZI

16) Claim PNG national security at threat from protests

A Papua New Guinea MP claims ongoing anti-government protests by students are a threat to national security.

The Wabag MP, Robert Ganim, made the statement after police in Enga claimed students rioted there last week.

However opposition MPs cautioned that the government was trying to discredit the protesters by falsely portraying the students as an unruly minority who were being manipulated by political interests.

The newspaper,The National, reports the local police commander, Superintendent George Kakas, saying he had refused to allow students from the University of Technology to conduct an awareness campaign in Wabag.

Mr Kakas said students hadn’t given enough time to apply to hold their campaign event and he dismissed the need for any protest.

Large groups of students from Unitech and University PNG have been touring the provinces, including urban centres of the Highlands provinces, to raise awareness about the grievances behind their ongoing protests.

University students around PNG have been boycotting classes for a month in a protest at Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s refusal to stand down after he was implicated in alleged fraud.

Mr O’Neill has refused to co-operate with fraud squad police who secured an arrest warrant for him two years ago, recently re-stating that he has no intention of stepping down.

However while students have also refused to back down from their protests, their mobilisations have been largely peaceful.

Reports from the Highlands indicate the students’ public discussion forums have been orderly and well-attended.

But police in some provinces have taken a low-tolerance approach to the student-led public forums.

In Enga, Mr Kakas said people were hurt and damage had been caused – he warned he would make the students pay for it.

Last week, as police were deployed on University of PNG campuses in Port Moresby, the tertiary institution’s council ended the current semester early and evicted the students.

A subsequent appeal to the National Court put a stay on the eviction.30/5/16 RNZI


17) Fiji establishes diplomatic ties with Tanzania, opens new mission in Ethiopia

7:48 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2016, Fiji

The Fiji Government and the United Republic of Tanzania formalised diplomatic relations at a signing ceremony in New York Friday.

Tanzania was represented at the ceremony by its Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Tuvako Manongi while Fiji was represented by the Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Peter Thomson, represented Fiji.

The two governments have expressed their desire to promote and strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between their two countries in the political, economic, cultural, humanitarian and other fields.

In doing so, they have agreed to be guided by the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, particularly on equality among States, respect for national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of other States and respect for international treaties.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Island nation has opened its new mission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola attended the opening ceremony and reiterated that Fiji was honoured and grateful to the Government of Ethiopia for its support in the setting up of Fiji’s Diplomatic representation in the country which would effectively service and forge partnerships in the region.

Ethiopia is host to 116 diplomatic missions, regional and international organisations and Kubuabola says it was fitting for Fiji to be present in Ethiopia to reach to the rest of Africa.



18) PNG Government Called To Cancel Controversial Land Deal

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 05/29/2016 – 12:40
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Government not willing to to follow recommendations by Commission of Inquiry

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 30, 2016) – An NGO in Papua New Guinea says the government is not willing to cancel a controversial land lease despite recommendations by a Commission of Inquiry.

A new online petition launched by the NGO Act Now calling on the government to cancel the Special Agricultural and Business Land leases has collected more than 1,000 signatures in just two weeks.

The petition also includes a call for the treasurer to launch an urgent investigation into the logging industry and its tax record.

Despite reports showing most logging companies declaring losses year-after-year, logging operations have continued to expand and the country is now the world’s largest exporter of tropical timber.

Campaign coordinator, Eddie Tanago, said the situation was a nightmare.

“It’s just compounding on the companies not paying taxes and then you have the government not acting on the Commission of Inquiry,.” he said.

“It just goes to show, the government is not willing to act on such important issues.”

Radio New Zealand International


19) 8,000 still without power in Fiji, 3 months after Winston

The Fiji Electricity Authority says about eight thousand customers have still not had their power restored since cyclone Winston hit in February.

The Fiji Times reports the Authority has restored electricity to about 164,000 people but is still working to connect the remaining customers.

The authority’s chief executive, Hasmukh Patel, mentioned the figures at the handing over of specialised heavy vehicles and equipment by the Australian government.30/5/16RNZI


20) Vanuatu bank account raided in Facebook scam
10:48 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2016, Vanuatu

An international scam has not only landed at least four people in Vanuatu out of pocket but raised serious questions about the security of bank accounts.

A conman claiming to be a London businessman used Facebook to approach random Ni-Vanuatu residents of Port Vila offering them work. The only requirement was they bank with ANZ Vanuatu.

The businessman said he needed Vanuatu staff with ANZ accounts so he could receive payments from his South Pacific clients.

Once the “staff” were recruited, they were told to withdraw money being deposited into their accounts and send it on to Malaysia via Western Union. In return, they would receive seven per cent per transaction.

The money never came from South Pacific clients. Instead, it was being sourced from other local ANZ customers who had no idea their accounts were being raided.

One of those to lose money was well-known Vanuatu pilot Matt Erceg whose account was drained of US$9,000 in a single day.

“I felt ANZ had made a transfer error,” he told Pasifik News. “When I rang them, they replied that I should file a police complaint.”

Erceg has since received half of his money back but says he has been given no indication of when he’ll get the remaining funds. “To me, it’s a modern day bank robbery,” he says.

He doesn’t blame the Ni-Vanuatu people recruited by the fraudster. He considers them victims too because they apparently didn’t know they were dealing in stolen money.

An online search indicates the con-artist simply used the identity of a man in America who has a separate Facebook profile but with the same name and photo.

What remains unclear is how the money was able to be transferred from one ANZ account to another without the authority of the original account holder. All four victims say they’ve never given their passwords to anyone.

ANZ has recently warned customers about a hoax email that asks people to confirm their account details, but the victims say they never opened anything suspicious.

The bank’s Vanuatu Chief Executive, Charles Rickey, refused to comment on this specific case but confirmed he is aware of increasing threats.

“Bank customers need to be increasingly diligent with their personal account details, as incidences of money transfer scams and other such fraudulent activities appear to be on the rise in Vanuatu and across the region,” he said.

He’s urged customers to regularly change their internet banking passwords and PINs, starting today.

Vanuatu lawyer Dane Thornburgh believes there may be more than four victims and is recommending other ANZ customers check their accounts, particularly for transactions between late January and early February. If they do find discrepancies, he wants to hear from them as the victims are considering what steps they can take.

Just last week, ANZ in Fiji was charged with breaching the country’s Financial Transactions Reporting Act for failing to properly verify customer identities.

The Director of Public Prosecutions says at least two accounts were opened without proper verification.
Acting CEO of ANZ Fiji Saud Minam insists customers are well protected.

“We have taken a lot of steps in terms of protecting our customer data and things that we were exposed to through some of these fraudulent activities. We have been able to fix these in a very short period of time,” he told the Fiji Times.


21) Fiji halts peacekeeping missions to Sinai as tensions mount

Fiji has put on hold all its peacekeeping missions to the Sinai Peninsula, between Egypt and Israel, as tensions continue to mount in the Middle East.

The military’s director for peace support operations, Commander Humphrey Tawake, said 29 soldiers scheduled to depart for the region will no longer go, and all future missions have been halted.

Five of Fiji’s seven remote outposts in North Sinai have been closed.

Mr Tawake said the United States and Colombia were also planning to reduce troop numbers.

The United Nations first deployed peacekeepers to the peninsula in the 1950s after a war between Israel and Egypt.

But conflict has escalated in recent years, as Egypt’s military wages a campaign against militants affiliated with the Islamic State group, which has at times ensnarled peacekeepers.

Last year, three Fijian soldier was injured in separate attacks, but the then-military commander, Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho, said he had no intention of withdrawing troops.

Fiji is a major supplier of peacekeepers to the United Nations, which generates revenue for the country.31/5/16 RNZI


22) Fiji 7s transformed under Ryan

8:18 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2016, Fiji

In the past three years, a freckled, bespectacled, red-headed Englishman has transformed Fiji’s sevens side into a consistent world-beater.

As other nations spend millions on bringing in star names, cross code athletes and the like, the general level of play has improved exponentially in the World Rugby Seven Series.

But for little old Fiji, their way of going about things has been different.

Their vast improvement has come thanks to coaching, with Ben Ryan transforming the island nation from one capable of thoroughly dominating the occasional tournament to one which regularly fights for tournament titles.

That change can’t be understated, given Fiji have gone from a team you fear once in a while to one you want to avoid at all costs.

As such, Fiji head into the Rio Olympics as red-hot favourites, and with the red-headed Ryan pulling the strings, it would take a brave man to bet against Fiji claiming their first ever Olympic medal in August.

Fiji sewed up their second straight World Series title in London in May, thanks in part to the consistency Ryan has been able to get from his team.

They won three titles in the process while reaching two other finals, all with a team that will take a different, more dangerous form come the Olympics.

Ryan said the key to Fiji’s resurgence these past two years has been going back to basics.

“I think probably, in the last couple of years before I came, it was happening less with Fiji. They weren’t coming to tournaments and cleaning up,” Ryan said.

“Maybe Hong Kong was the exception, but everywhere else they were fairly inconsistent.

“I suppose I’ve added the basic foundation stones. I’ve got them a lot fitter, eating correctly, put some framework in with the sort of discipline and how you behave, team culture.

“Technically, I guess an area where Fiji had room for improvement was their defensive system. There wasn’t really one, and set piece. They’re start points.”

Defensively, Fiji are now one of the toughest teams to break down.

That has helped their attack flourish, something Ryan feels he has also helped to improve in his time as coach.

“I’d like to hope that as an attack coach primarily on the field, I’ve added something to the way they’ve attacked with just a bit of framework that I’ve put around the offloading game.

“They’re still offloading more than any other team, scoring more points than anyone else, but hopefully we’ve got a little bit more support around that.”

Fiji scored 234 more points than any other side in 2015-16, with 1704 through 10 rounds. South Africa were next best, with 1470 points scored, while New Zealand scored nearly 500 fewer points, clocking in at 1241.

Much of that damage has been done with Ryan’s top team off the paddock, or, at least, not together as a whole.

In the last tournament in London, Fiji were without six first-team selections – players Ryan described as world-class talent.

He admitted that this current crop may be the best Fijian team ever, saying they were in the middle of a “golden period”, but when the Rio Olympics have been and gone, it may be the last we see of Ryan in a Fijian uniform.

Having spent three years with the Fijian team, after taking over in 2013, Ryan’s contract is up at the end of the season, and job offers are sure to come in for roles around the globe.

One of those could even be a consultant’s role in a Hollywood movie, given reported interest in making a blockbuster on Fiji’s run to the Olympics.

You can’t disagree with the thinking behind a movie on the team: Ginger Englishman comes into a new culture, takes charge of a team that are seen as gods in their home land, and leads them to world domination.

Such is the love for Ryan in Fiji now, the locals recognise his car by its number plate. He’s their biggest celebrity.

But whatever comes in the near future, Ryan will have fond memories of his time in Fiji and of the group of players he’s worked with.

“It’s been great,” he said. “I can’t speak highly enough about the group of players I’ve got. They’re incredibly professional. I’ve got so much time for them.”.


23) Tahiti on top as hosts and New Caledonia draw
8:09 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2016, Papua New Guinea

Host nation Papua New Guinea played out a dramatic 1-1 draw with 2012 finalists New Caledonia while defending champions Tahiti defeated Samoa on the second day of the 2016 OFC Nations Cup.

PNG and New Caledonia kicked off proceedings at Port Moresby’s Sir John Guise Stadium in the opening Group B match of the competition.

Cesar Zeoula, Jean-Philippe Saiko and Roy Kayara were lively from the outset as the Caledonians asserted their dominance for the majority of the first half by controlling both ball possession and territory.

Papua New Guinea captain David Muta and Nigel Dabingyaba offered the home side some hope on the counter but most of their attempts have been stifled by the well organised New Caledonian defence.

PNG did well to stay in the game and their hard work was rewarded four minutes before the break courtesy of a cool finish from Tommy Semmy, who found himself one-on-one with the keeper following a sublime through pass from Emmanuel Simon.

However what could have been a heroic evening for Semmy in front of the home crowd turned sour when in the 79th minute the Hekari United striker was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Four minutes later the New Caledonians were back on level terms thanks to Jean-Phillippe Saiko who finished from a cross sent in by Jefferson Dahite.

Sensing blood, New Caledonia pressed on searching for a winner against their 10-men hosts and they were given a golden chance to snatch all three points in the 90th minute when the referee awarded a penalty for a foul inside the box by Raymond Gunemba.

Cesar Zeoula stepped up to take the kick which he smashed against the crossbar to the delight of the vocal home crowd.

PNG captain Muta was proud of his side after holding on for a draw.

“Of course a very good performance from the PNG boys, all of them. We fought really hard from start to the finish. New Caledonia was playing a really good game but the boys were playing hard in defence and we had some chances to bury them but then we went one man down and it was a bit hard to come back from,” said Muta after the game.

“The result was a 1-1 draw and we’re pleased with the result. I give a lot of credit to the boys because they played their hearts out. Lastly I want to thank all of our supporters, the home crowd was great,” he continued.

Meanwhile his New Caledonian counterpart Bertrand Kai has admitted that his side had no reason to complain about the draw.

“I bit disappointed with the result, but we accept that we haven’t done well in our first match. We knew it would be a hard game because we are playing the home side and they had the crowd with them. We missed a few good chances and that cost us but we at least we came back and got the draw.”

In the day’s other match Tahiti kicked off their title defence with a comfortable 4-0 win over Samoa.

It was a one-sided affair from the outset as Tahiti raced to a two goal lead inside the opening five minutes courtesy of a brace by Teaonui Tehau.

The Tahitians made it 3-0 in the 15th minute when Steevy Chong Hue rifled his shot into the top right corner from inside the box.

Alvin Tehau joined the party in the 36th minute with a cool finish off a slick pass from the lively Teaonui Tehau.

Tahiti coach Ludovic Graugnard made a double substitution at half-time as all intensity went out of the game.

The French Polynesians maintained a total control in the second half but they took their foot of the pedal.

Despite creating a number of opportunities to score they were unable to add to the first half tally as Samoa fought hard to keep the score respectable.

Graugnard wasn’t at all happy with his side’s second half performance.

“We know the first match is never easy in a competition like this especially against a side like Samoa which is physically strong. In the first half we played our game but I’m not very happy with the way we played in the second half, technically and physically.

“It’s a match where we really should have scored more but based on the second half performance we really need to work on several areas to reactivate our objectives.”

Meanwhile, Samoa coach Scott Easthope said it was a tough night for his players.

“It was a very nervous start by the boys and in the first half with the ball we were just not accurate enough to maintain possession, and if you give a good side a lot of possession they will do that to you.

“In the second half we made a bit of improvement possession wise but still, maybe they just didn’t take their chances well in the second half. Certainly for some of our boys this is a big jump, you can imagine the level required back in Samoa is a lot different from here, so some of our boys probably felt that in game one and we should be a lot better in game two.”

The action at the 2016 OFC Nations Cup will continue on Tuesday from 4pm local time when tournament favourites New Zealand face Vanuatu at Port Moresby’s Sir John Guise Stadium.

In the day’s second match Solomon Islands will meet Group B rival Fiji from 7pm.


24) Tongan Pac Games organiser tells PM to back off

The head of Tonga’s 2019 Pacific Games Organising Committee has called on the Prime Minister to step away from the organisation of the Games.

The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement saying the Audit and Governance Authority, chaired by ‘Akilisi Pohiva, had sacked Lord Sevele as CEO and chair of the committee.

However Lord Sevele said he remained in his position.

He said the Pacific Games Council was the only body that can fire him.

The chairman of the council had previously warned the government not to interfere and said they could cancel Tonga’s host country agreement.

The government said it would not submit to the Games Council.

Lord Sevele said any Games event should be free from political interference.

“The Games are Tonga’s, not any government’s or any organisation’s. All the constitution parties to making the Games happen should all work together. We have been doing that well. It was only when the Prime Minister took over the chairmanship of the Audit and Authority Committee earlier this year, that things changed for the worse.”30/5/16RNZI



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