Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1072 ( Friday 10 June 2016 )


1) MSG members told to cooperate

Published: 03 June 2016

PORT MORESBY, (POST COURIER) – Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) members have been urged to  cooperate with each other on issues pertaining to trade and economic integration.

The call was made by Papua New Guinea’s Trade Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru at the recently concluded MSG Trade Ministers’ meeting in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Maru was accompanied by senior government officials from the Departments of Trade, Commerce and Industry, National Planning and Monitoring, Attorney General and the Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council.

The meeting finalised the revised MSG Trade Agreement.

Maru said PNG’s trade and investment regime was focused on improving the economy, the livelihood of its people, promoting local business development and growth, hence the MSGTA must support such growth.

He reaffirmed the PNG government’s position that the new comprehensive MSG Trade Agreement also includes reserved activities for nationals and be listed as a priority agenda for the leaders meeting.

Member countries were also reminded to make sincere commitments, by removing any non-tariff obstacles that may become barriers to promoting trade and investment, taking into account individual members development priorities.

Maru described Fiji’s bio-security measures restricting PNG’s Ox and Palm from entering the Fiji market as “not acceptable.”

This is despite the fact that Ox and Palm was being exported to other countries in the region including Australia, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and to Europe.

Fiji has responded saying consultations have been underway since 2014 with the National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority in PNG to address the matter.

Maru also suggested that changes to the agreement should include no tariffs on salt, mackerel and sugar for PNG by 2017.

Furthermore, on PACER-Plus he said PNG will not sign on to the PACER-Plus but will stand ready to support other MSG members who want to become members..

2) Clarification on West Papua report to UN Secretary General
4:50 pm GMT+12, 07/06/2016, United States

The office of the United Nations Secretary-General denies that he met with a representative of West Papua at the World Humanitarian Summit.

Following the Istanbul summit a fortnight ago, there have been regional media reports that Ban Ki Moon was given a West Papua fact-finding mission report titled ‘We Will Lose Everything’.

A spokesman for Ban, Stephane Dujarric has given clarification.

“Contrary to some media accounts, there was no meeting between the Secretary-General and any West Papua representative in Istanbul,” he said.

“We also have no record of any documents being officially handed over to the Secretary-General.”

However, the executive director of the Pacific Islands Association for Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO), Emele Duituturaga, confirmed she met unofficially with Ban Ki Moon at one of the roundtable meetings, and presented his assistant with the report.

Duituturaga said she hoped that Ban would pay attention to Papua.

“The Pacific is calling for it. Not just in the Pacific. There are meetings of parliamentarians in the United Kingdom. It’s now become a world issue,” she said.

“It’s very heartening to see Ban Ki Moon denounce violations in other parts of the world, and it’s just a matter of time. He needs to pay attention to the issue of West Papua and send an independent fact-finding mission so that we can all establish what’s really going on,” she said.


3) Vanuatu Chiefs Urge Government To Implement Population Controls

Submitted by PIR Editor on Wed, 06/08/2016 – 16:11
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High birth rates putting pressure on limited land, resources

By Anita Roberts

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, June 9, 2016) – The fast population growth in Vanuatu must be reduced for the reason of lack of space, urged concerned chiefs from north Efate.

They feared that the high birth rate will put future generations at risk without empty space and enough resources.

They are calling on the government to consider attempts to slow down population growth.

These chiefs came from villages Mangaliliu, Tanoliu, Saama, Siviri, Malafau, Emua, Eton and Lelepa. They were speaking to the Daily Post following a three-day workshop on environment and population in Port Vila.

“The number of births estimated in Port Vila every month is soaring.

“Apart from this, the constant increase in rural-urban migration is also attributing to the population change in Port Vila.

“The so-called urban-drift nowadays seems to be expanding away from the urban area.

“People are not only moving into Port Vila but are settling in other remote areas around Efate.

“This is a challenge for us (the chiefs).

“Within 10 years time, things will be different.

“The population will outgrow resources, in this case, land and food.

“Problems of overcrowding and accommodation as diseases outbreaks will start, crimes and instability will become more serious,” they stressed.

“We are calling onto the government to start putting in place measures to control population.

“It’s high time for us (Vanuatu) to have a policy.

“Our planners better do something now or we will face consequences in the future”, the Chairman of Tanoliu Council of Chiefs, Tim Kalangis, and Chairman of Siviri Village, Thomas Steel, were speaking on behalf of all chiefs.

Facilitated by Wan Smol Bag, the workshop encourages chiefs to have more say over their future.

This means being able to “say no” to some decisions, for example, retaining rights and not selling land to foreigners, said Coordinator Charleon Falau.

“Its about having ownership over their resources. Sometimes, villagers give away their land without realizing the resources are limited.

“Chiefs must work together to save their land and fight for their communities,” he added.

The workshop ended with a session on reproductive health facilitated by Nurse Leimako Simon at the WSB Clinic.

A lot of questions were asked relating to family planning and the impacts of alcohol, drugs and kava.

The chiefs said they have possessed insight and knowledge on reproductive health and will address the issues once they return back to the villages.

Vanuatu Daily Post


4) Largest Budget In History Tables In Tongan Parliament

Submitted by PIR Editor on Tue, 06/07/2016 – 15:57
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$235.1 million proposal is 10% higher than last year

By Pesi Fonua

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, June 7, 2016) – The Tonga government biggest budget of $545.1 million pa’anga [US$235.1 million] for the 2016-2017 financial year was tabled into parliament this morning, 7 June by the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Hon. ‘Aisake Eke.

The 2016-2017 budget is 10% more than the 2015-2016 budget of $496 million [US$214 million].

According to Members of Parliament copies of the national budget for 2016-2017 were made available to them during the past few weeks, but they found there had been a number of changes to the original document, and the latest change was made only very recently.

The one major change was of the total budget expenditure, raised from $541.6m [US$233.6 million] to $545.1m to include funds for the construction of a new Customs Building costing  $3.5 million [US$1.5 million].

The two government ministries with a lion’s-share of the budget, as usual, are the Ministry of Education with $45.5m, and the Ministry of Health with $33.2m [US$14.3 million].

The Budget Support from foreign donors to this year’s budget is estimated at $217.4m [US$93.8 million].

Some of the highlights from Hon. ‘Aisake Eke presentation of the national budget to parliament this morning were:

That he will address the issue of employment in next year’s budget, but this year a substantial amount of more than $6m [US$2.6 million] will be spent on gathering statistics.
Tonga will build a Tank Farm to secure its supply of imported fuel.
He reported to the House that government has attracted a Maori company to invest $9 million [US$3.9 million] in Tonga, being $5 million [US$2.2 million] to pay for the debt of the Tonga Forest Product Ltd. to the Tonga Development Bank, and $4 million [US$1.7 million] replant pine trees at ‘Eua.
That China will spend $10 million [US$4.3 million] to upgrade the golf course for the 2019 Pacific Games.
Tonga will start importing wheat to make flour to ease its reliance on importing flour.
Tonga’s reserve will be around $35 million [US$15 million].
That two out of three civil servants are women, and two out of three civil servants with a university degree are also women.

The budget debate ended this afternoon, but a question by the Speaker of the House, Lord Tu’ivakano remained unanswered and that was: ‘What is the $3.5 million [US$1.5 million] Custom House for?’

Matangi Tonga Magazine

5) Partnership with UN and World Bank

Friday, June 10, 2016

RAROTONGA – The controversial subject of the Cook Islands becoming part of world organisations such as the UN came to the fore at the opening Parliamentary session of the year.

Finance Minister Mark Brown, while reading the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility Bill 2016, highlighted the importance of the country’s partnership with agencies such as the UN and the World Bank.

The Cook Islands, which is part of the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance program along with four other Pacific countries, has access to a quick injection of cash in the event of a natural disaster.

This is possible through a premium of $143,420 paid by the Government in 2014 to secure catastrophe risk insurance coverage which will provide an immediate payout of up to $4 million in case of a major tropical cyclone hitting the major centres of Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

Mr Brown said the country was fortunate to have access to such a program despite not being a member of the facilitator, the World Bank.

He reiterated the absence of Cook Islands’ from international organisations such as the UN and the World Bank deprived the country of essential funding opportunities that would help build resilience in the event of natural disasters.

In supporting the Bill, Prime Minister Henry Puna highlighted its importance and the Government’s drive to partner with agencies such as the UN.

He said the Opposition harboured objections on Cook Islands’ entry into the UN without any legitimate grounds.

Mr Puna also attempted to justify his and the other ministers’ overseas tours, adding “that’s how we are making progress; by going out to the world and meeting people.”

He said their frequent travelling was not aimed at seeking help for the Cook Islands, but in rendering support on issues that the world was united in fighting against.

Opposition Leader Teina Bishop requested for an in-camera session for details on the bill.

Following the in-camera session, MPs from both Government and Opposition supported the bill before the Parliament was adjourned until 1pm today (yestyerday).

Mr Puna in his opening ministerial statement highlighted the progress made by the tourism industry in bolstering the country’s economy.

He said while political leaders would play their part; it would take everyone’s support to showcase the country effectively to the international market.

Mr Puna, who is also the minister responsible for tourism, ensured the Government’s support towards the industry and commended the Cook Islands Tourism on their drive to boost the local economy.

Mr Puna said considering the countries and the budgets they were up against in the international market, the Cook Islands was doing well in terms of revenues generated from tourism.

Meanwhile, the major agenda of this parliamentary sitting is the 2016-17 budget.

Brown is expected to present the proposed budget to the parliament for debate later this week.

The Government has outlined some new initiatives for the upcoming financial year across various ministries including infrastructure, tourism and health.

6) Samoa aviation project gets big loan from World Bank

The World Bank is giving Samoa a loan of just over US$16 million dollars to extend the Samoa Aviation Investment Project.

The money is to go towards improved safety and security features for international air transport.

The World Bank’s Transport specialist, Chris De Serio, said air transport was a lifeline for small island countries such as Samoa, connecting them to international markets, opening up employment opportunities and bringing in tourists.9/6/16 RNZI


7) Chuukese Are Largest Group Of Homeless On Guam

Submitted by PIR Editor on Tue, 06/07/2016 – 16:07
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575 out of 1,085 during ‘point-in-time count’ were from Chuuk

By Robert Q. Tupaz

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (The Guam Daily Post, June 8, 2016) – 575 people from the Federated States of Micronesia account for more than half the total number of individuals found to be homeless in Guam at the start of the year, according to the annual “Guam Homeless Point-in-Time Count.”

The results of the count conducted Jan. 29 were released by the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority and Guam Homeless Coalition partners in late April. The count found a total of 1,085 persons who identified themselves as homeless in Guam it the start of 2016.

Sen. Tina Rose Muna Barnes told GHURA board of trustees nominee George Santos yesterday during his confirmation hearing that the island needs to address the issue of homelessness before it is exacerbated.

According to the homelessness report released by GHURA in late April, for the second straight year in a row, the Chuukese community in Guam accounted for the highest number of homeless individuals living on island.

A total of 454 current Guam residents identified themselves as Chuukese, and reported that they were homeless. Of that number, 379 were counted as “unsheltered” homeless. Another 75 were recorded in the data as “sheltered” but homeless. Chuuk is one of the four island entities that comprise the Federated States of Micronesia.

When counted together with their sister citizens from the states of Pohnpei, Kosrae and Yap, the number of Chuukese combined, the number of homeless individuals from the FSM amount 575 people, or over half of the 1,085 people living on the streets or in substandard homes in Guam and classified as homeless. At least 88 homeless persons reported their ethnicity as Pohnpeian, one identified as Kosraean and 33 reported themselves as Yapese.

In comparison, persons who identified themselves as Chamorros from Guam ranked second with a total of 354 persons telling surveyors that they were homeless. Of that number, 334 were listed as unsheltered and 20 were in a sheltered accommodation of sorts.

According to the report, of the total 1,085, some 973 persons were counted as unsheltered homeless persons whose primary nighttime residence is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus or other locations, as per the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition of homeless.

The remaining 112 persons were at the time living in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs.

Some 470 homeless persons were under the age of 18. A majority – 555 – were male and 529 were female. One homeless person identified as transgender.

According to GHURA, “When comparing the 2015 and 2016 final count, Guam has experienced an 18 percent decrease in total unsheltered persons and a 29 percent increase in the number of persons residing in homeless shelters and transitional housing from last year’s count.” The 2015 count reflected that there were 1,280 homeless persons in Guam.

In February, Michael Duenas, executive director of GHURA, noted that the good news from initial results of the annual count was that the number of persons classified as homeless dropped for the second straight year. In 2014, Guam recorded some 1,365 people as homeless.

Dededo and Yigo accounted for 690 homeless individuals, many living in substandard shelter with a majority of them children. The capital city of Hagåtña had some 52 homeless individuals, nine of whom were children split between two homes. After Hagåtña, the southern village of Agat accounted for 48 homeless people with 36 children living in seven substandard homes.

A complete analytical report is expected to be released by GHURA in July.

According to the agency, the Point‐In‐Time Count is conducted to determine the number of unsheltered and sheltered homeless persons in Guam and to provide detailed information on the characteristics of our island’s homeless population including information such as ethnicity, gender, reasons for becoming homeless, barriers to obtaining employment and sources of income.

Specific subpopulations are also identified including veterans, chronic homeless families and individuals, victims of domestic violence, those suffering from chronic substance abuse, and those with severe mental illness.

The Guam Homeless Coalition comprises government agencies, nonprofit organizations and members of the private sector that come together for the purpose of responding to the needs of the homeless.

More than 200 volunteers canvassed the island searching for individuals and families living in conditions identified as homeless per the HUD definition.

Marianas Variety


8) Pacific imas lukautim solwara klostu long nambis

Postim 8 June 2016, ABC
Caroline Tiriman

Solwara klostu long nambis i bikpela samting long laif blong ol nambis lain long Pacific na ol gavman long rijan imas lukautim gut.

Direkta blong Fisheries, Aquaculture na  Marine Ecosystems Division long  Pacific Community long Noumea i askim strong ol lida blong Pacific long kamapim ol loa blong lukautim gut ol coastal fishery blong ol long helpim food securiti blong ol.

Moses Amos i mekim despla toktok tede blong makim World Oceans Day.

Narapla samting em  Pacific Community i mekim tu blong makim despla dei em oli autim wanpla liklik buk long climate  change na food systems long ol Pacific ailan.

Mr Amos itokim mipla olsem ol solwara blong Pacific i bikpla samting tru long laif na helt blong ol pipal blong rijan.

Emi tok tu olsem maski ol solwara igat pis, ol pipal igat ol bikpla wari long helt winim planti ol narapla kantri long wold.


9a) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 9 juin 2016

Mis à jour 9 June 2016, 20:56 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

  • Sofia, l’avion qui sert d’observatoire stratosphérique pour l’astronomie infrarouge, a effectué son premier vol au-dessus de la Nouvelle-Zélande hier. 
Sofia, c’est le nom du gros Boeing 747 SP de la NASA, dans lequel le DLR, le centre allemand de recherche aérospatiale, a aménagé un super télescope capable de voir une pièce d’un dollar à 200 km de distance. Sofia s’installe pour 7 semaines à Christchurch, en Nouvelle-Zélande. L’avion effectuera 24 vols d’observation spatiale, à 12km d’altitude, ce qui lui permet de capter les rayonnements infrarouges. Sofia a déjà passé quelques semaines en Nouvelle-Zélande l’an dernier. Cette année, l’équipe à bord du Sofia scrutera les formations d’étoiles dans les Nuages de Magellan, qu’on ne peut bien voir que depuis l’hémisphère sud. Ce sont deux galaxies satellites de la Voie lactée. Les chercheurs veulent comparer l’évolution des étoiles dans les Nuages de Magellan par rapport à celles de la Voie lactée, afin de mieux comprendre comment les premières étoiles se sont formées dans l’univers.
  • En Australie, le Victoria ambitionne d’arriver à 0 émissions nettes de carbone d’ici 2050. L’objectif a été annoncé par le Premier ministre de l’état, le Travailliste Daniel Andrews. C’est dans le Victoria que se trouve la centrale électrique la plus polluante du pays, et l’une des plus polluantes au monde – la centrale au charbon de Hazelwood. L’Australian Industry Group, qui représente les industriels, estime que c’est impossible de se passer du charbon pour éclairer le Victoria. Mais il propose de moderniser la centrale de Hazelwood. De son côté, l’association de protection de l’environnement Environment Victoria, salue le plan du gouvernement, et espère le développement rapide des énergies renouvelables dans l’état. Le plan concret du gouvernement pour réduire à 0 les émissions nettes n’est pas encore connu.

9b) Port-Moresby: pourquoi la police a-t-elle tiré à balles réelles?

Mis à jour 9 June 2016, 20:25 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

En Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, la police a-t-elle oui ou non commis une grosse bavure? C’est la question qui est sur toutes les lèvres au lendemain de la manifestation étudiante qui a fini dans le sang.

La police a ouvert le feu alors que la foule tentait de sortir du campus de l’université pour aller manifester devant le Parlement.
Contrairement à ce qui a d’abord été rapporté par un député d’opposition au Parlement, puis relayé par Reuters et par ABC, il n’y  pas eu de morts, d’après  le gouvernement papou.
Selon la police, il y aurait 23 blessés, dont cinq grièvement. L’hôpital général de Port-Moresby confirme avoir reçu 10 étudiants blessés hier. Des étudiants seraient toujours portés disparus, d’après la radio néo-zélandaise internationale.
Depuis 5 semaines, des milliers d’étudiants boycottent les cours et font des sit-in et des manifestations pour exiger la démission du Premier ministre, Peter O’Neill, qui est sous le coup d’une enquête pour détournement de fonds publics.
Dans un communiqué, Peter O’Neill accuse des agitateurs de s’être immiscés dans les rangs des manifestants. « Un petit groupe d’étudiants est devenu violent, ils ont jeté des pierres sur les policiers », écrit-il.
Une affirmation mise en doute par le gouverneur de Port-Moresby, Powes Parkop, qui est le responsable de la police dans la capitale: « Il y a eu une sorte de provocation, dans la mesure où les étudiants ont tenté de faire sortir les passagers des bus publics »,rectifie-t-il.
Le Premier ministre poursuit dans son communiqué : « Les policiers ont riposté avec des gaz lacrymogène et en tirant des coups de feu de sommation. » 
 Mais les étudiants et journalistes qui étaient à la manifestation et les membres de l’opposition donnent une toute autre version des faits.
« Nous avons mis nos mains sur nos têtes, raconte Peter Nahi, un étudiant qui était dans la foule des manifestants. Nous n’avons pas jeté de pierre ou quoi que ce soit à la police. Nous étions juste là, pacifiques, et ils nous ont tiré dessus. Les policiers nous ont traqués dans le campus pendant une heure. » 
Après la manifestation, le gouvernement a suspendu le Parlement pour les deux mois qui viennent, alors que l’opposition avait l’intention de déposer une motion de censure contre le Premier ministre. Ce matin l’opposition a porté plainte contre le gouvernement pour annuler l’arrêt des travaux parlementaires, et exigé l’ouverture d’une enquête sur ces coups de feu qui ont blessé les manifestants.
Peter O’Neill accuse les députés d’opposition d’avoir manipulé en coulisses les étudiants grévistes, dans l’espoir de le bouter hors du pouvoir. Mais Don Polye, le porte-parole de l’opposition, rejette ces accusations: « Ses allégations sont infondées et ne sont pas vraies, il n’a aucun fait pour les prouver. Personne n’a besoin d’être influencé ou financé par l’opposition pour s’occuper des problèmes qui affectent le Premier ministre. » 

« Il n’était pas nécessaire de tirer à balles réelles »

Ces questions sur les motivations réelles ou supposées des étudiants contestataires ne résolvent pas le problème central: pourquoi la police a-t-elle utilisé des balles réelles? Powes Parkop, le gouverneur de Port-Moresby, a tranché la question: « D’après mes informations, les étudiants n’avaient pas l’autorisation de manifester devant le Parlement. Mais à part ça, je ne vois pas le problème. (…) Il n’était pas nécessaire de tirer à balles réelles, parce que les étudiants eux-mêmes n’étaient pas armés. »Plusieurs policiers auraient été mis à pied après la manifestation.
La répression violente de la manifestation a changé la donne et pourrait mettre un coup d’arrêt à la contestation étudiante, d’autant que ce matin l’université de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée a gagné la partie. Les juges ont interdit les étudiants de boycotter les cours et de manifester sur le campus. Ce soir les représentants des étudiants grévistes ont annoncé qu’ils n’abandonneraient pas la lutte.
De son côté, l’Australie a renouvelé son appel au calme. Le Premier ministre, Malcolm Turnbull, s’est entretenu au téléphone avec son homologue papou, mercredi soir.
En attendant d’avoir plus d’informations sur ces coups de feu tirés par la police, Canberra a suspendu le programme de coopération entre les policiers australiens basés en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, et les policiers papous.
Port-Moresby était ville morte aujourd’hui, beaucoup de magasins fermés, et les bus ne fonctionnaient pas. ABC

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11) Friends Again

Nasik Swami
Friday, June 10, 2016

PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key have assured each other of their willingness to redefine the relationship between the two countries after a decade.

On his arrival in the country yesterday, Mr Key assured Mr Bainimarama that his trip was to foster a greater working relationship and ensure that Fijians were treated with respect by New Zealand.

“Ten years is a long time between kava bowls. The purpose of coming is to say that this relationship with New Zealand is a very important one and you (Mr Bainimarama) made that point that you want our relationship to be one of equals,” said Mr Key at a banquet at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel last night .

“In coming to Fiji, I want to demonstrate exactly that, we treat the people of Fiji with respect, we have great hope that our relationship can be strong, fruitful and beneficial for the two countries.”

He said the modern Fiji was different to one that he experienced years ago.

Last night, Mr Bainimarama reiterated the legitimacy of the FijiFirst Government to Mr Key and said 2014 General Election made him the freely chosen leader of Fiji after his party gained just under 60 per cent of the vote.

“And it is on that basis that I stand before you tonight. Not as a coup maker or dictator, as someone in your country would still have it, but as the popularly elected, freely chosen leader of Fiji,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said the Fiji that Mr Key had come to in 2016 was vastly different compared with the Fiji that his predecessor Helen Clark found in 2006.

“Ten years ago, some Fijians were more equal than others. Their votes carried more weight than others. They enjoyed a range of privileges that others didn’t share, such as special access to jobs and to education.

“When the last New Zealand prime minister was here in 2006, the term Fijian — an English word — was reserved for one ethnic group and other citizens were deprived of a common identity and equal citizenry.”

He said the strains and irritants that have marked our political relationship in recent years were a textbook lesson on how not to conduct friendly relations between neighbouring governments.

“They must be replaced by genuine cooperation and understanding. And I ask you (Mr Key) and your government to work with us to create a better framework in which to conduct our affairs.”


12) UN official hints shortlists for next UN chief would be good

11:39 pm GMT+12, 08/06/2016, United States

The UNGeneral Assembly president hinted Tuesday that he would like to see groups and individual countries in the world body come up with shortlists of candidates to become the next UN chief now that the 11 current contenders have made their case to the 193 member nations.

According to the U.N. Charter, the secretary-general is chosen by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the 15-member Security Council. In practice, this has meant that the council’s five permanent members – the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France – have veto power over the candidates.

But assembly president Mogens Lykketoft told reporters the more that members express their preferences, “the more they raise the probability that out of the Security Council will come a name which is generally accepted also in the membership.”

Asked whether he will recommend that assembly members come up with shortlists, Lykketoft replied, “I will not recommend. I will certainly look at it with great sympathy if it happens.”

He added, to some laughter, that he was being very diplomatic.

Lykketoft spoke after the last two candidates – Argentina’s Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra and Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak – answered questions from assembly members for two hours in separate sessions.

Lykketoft urged other candidates to come forward quickly, but said the assembly will offer the same question-and-answer opportunity “however late they arrive.”

He told reporters he plans to send a letter to the Security Council with his impressions of the first-ever opportunity for member states to question candidates to lead the UN.

Lykketoft said his first point will be “this is a procedure that has come to stay for future selections of secretary-generals.”

Another impression, he said, is that “there is a strong wish from the membership of a strong personality at the helm of the United Nations, an independent one, a courageous secretary-general who will use all powers provided by the (UN) Charter in order to advance peace and security, development and human rights.”

Lykketoft said he believes ambassadors and diplomats from all countries have “gotten a clearer picture of the personalities and priorities of the candidates” – and the questions have also pinpointed priorities that members see for the future of the United Nations in peace and security, human rights, and “in the way the whole United Nations works.”

Malcorra, a former chief of staff to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said in her session that if she is selected “my job will be being faithful to the Charter which means being faithful to member states.” She said the secretary-general must also be “an early warner to the organisation” and a forceful advocate for human rights.

“My vision calls for a United Nations that is centered on people, the planet and prosperity; driven by issues and focused on delivering a positive impact, she said.

Lajcak, a former high representative in Bosnia, said “for me, the United Nations is about peace – and that should be a priority” because there can be no development or human rights without peace. He called for greater emphasis on preventing conflict and mediation, saying he has spent many years as a mediator.

“The secretary-general is the communicator,” Lajcak said, stressing the importance of the UN chief talking to nations, peoples, and improving interaction between agencies in this globalised, interconnected world.


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16) EU gives more for Pacific energy and agriculture – The European Union is providing $US22 million dollars for sustainable energy and agriculture projects in the Pacific. The Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, told yesterday’s Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland the money will promote sustainable energy and agriculture projects, involving the private sector. He said agriculture was a key sector for sustainable development in the Pacific.


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18) USP Engineering programmes accredited

7:06 pm GMT+12, 08/06/2016, Fiji

Two Engineering programmes of the University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) have received accreditation from the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ).

The programmes are Bachelor of Engineering – Electrical and Electronics and Bachelor of Engineering – Mechanical.

USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra thanked the Faculty and School of Engineering for their efforts in getting the programmed accredited.

“I am thrilled with this news and congratulate the whole (FSTE) team for this fantastic outcome,” Professor Chandra said.

According to the FSTE Dean, Dr Anjeela Jokhan, the accreditation confirms that the two Engineering programmes are of the same standard as those offered in New Zealand.

“Engineering is a resource intensive discipline and USP has over the past five years put in a lot of resources to bring these programmes up to a level where they are internationally at par with programmes offered overseas, so this is a huge achievement for the University,” Dr Jokhan added.

Engineering degrees accredited by IPENZ are recognised as meeting the initial academic requirements for professional engineers.


19) GOVERNMENT spent $19 million on the bus fare assistance program for students around the country.

Luke Rawalai
Friday, June 10, 2016
While explaining the budget allocation procedures to representatives from 22 schools in the North yesterday, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Government allocated $20m annually for the program.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also revealed the Ministry of Education had been allocated $400m annually to cover its operational costs, which included teachers pay and school maintenance.

“To those of you with grandparents, we are now giving $50 assistance on a monthly basis for those who have attained the age of 68 years” he said.

“None of you are paying school fees now after Government implemented its free tuition assistance for students around the country.

“We believe that every Fijian had the right to education irrespective of their financial status.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also told students that Government needed to formulate its budget to decrease its budget deficit.

“Almost every single year since independence, we have been spending more than the revenues that we collect.

“Our demands have always exceeded our revenues putting us on the red mark.

“This is why we need to construct a budget to prioritise where we spend our revenues.”

While comparing Fiji with Singapore and Mauritius, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said those places used to be economically behind Fiji in the past.

“Singapore, for instance, is now economically stable because they have learnt to set their priorities right and yet it is the size of the island of Taveuni with very limited resources.”


20) PM Promises Referendum

By Jane Joshua

The Government will consult with the people: PM Salwai said yesterday

Posted: Friday, June 10, 2016 8:00 am

The Government will deposit a motion to establish a Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) today or Monday, who will then set the ball rolling on a referendum so each citizen can understand and participate to give their views on specific provisions in the proposed Constitutional amendment.

Prime Minister Charlot Salwai who revealed the above says political stability is the security and guarantee for economic development in Vanuatu as he acknowledged the Opposition Bloc’s (OB) right to boycott Parliament.

He said this in the aftermaths of a short-lived Special Parliament Sitting yesterday, where the Government’s 35 Members of Parliament (including Speaker MP Esmon Saimon) did not meet the required quorum to proceed with the Amendments to the Constitution as it anticipated.

With one of the 52 seats vacant in Parliament, 35 government MPs were present with the exception of MP Ian Wilson who was ill.

“What happened today (Thursday, June 9) is in accordance with the summon issued by the Speaker on the 19th for the Special Parliament sitting as provided for under the Constitution to amend the Constitution,” said acting Clerk of Parliament Leon Teter.

“The first day of this special sitting requires a quorum constituted of three quarter of the MPs.

“Parliament could not proceed today because it did not have the required quorum, which is 39 MPs.

“Parliament is adjourned, according to Article 86 in the Constitution to re-convene a week from today which falls on Thursday, June 16 and will require a quorum of two-thirds or 34 MPs.”

The OB, true to its vow to boycott Parliament if it commands 14 MPs when Parliament convened yesterday and adamant in its stand to see the government conduct a referendum to consult the people before bringing the proposed Constitutional amendments to Parliament, was somewhat successful on both targets.

It had 14 MPs yesterday and the head of the government confirmed that the people will have a say in the proposed Constitutional amendments.

“It is imperative that the people have their say …it is the people who will decide,” said PM Salwai.

“Initially the government planned to bring the amendments to the Constitution to Parliament, then the specific provisions which require a referendum will go through a national referendum, as stipulated under article 86 in the Constitution.

“Tomorrow (today) or Monday, the government will deposit a motion to establish a Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC), who will get the document and conduct nationwide consultations.

“The Constitution is the Supreme Law and it is good to have consultations, not only with political parties but the society and villages so their people can give their views.

“When we address the issue of sovereignty and stability, it is important and fundamental that the people of Vanuatu understand the proposals so they can participate and give their views.

“The issue of instability is included (in the amendments) because it is an important one and an outstanding issue.

“History shows that there were attempts to address this issue in 1994, then 2004 , other legislatures attempted to bring it to parliament but were challenged for its constitutionality and was the cause of political instability , which not only affects the government but the whole country- private sector, provinces, municipalities, villages and each citizen.

“The government welcomes the need for a consultation so each individual is consulted.”

Meanwhile the OB convened a press conference immediately after parliament was adjourned, reiterated their solidarity and stand and also questioned the authority of the Speaker to open the Special Sitting in the absence of a quorum.

While the Chief Justice was present in Parliament yesterday morning, the lack of quorum resulted in Graon mo Jastis Pati’s Member of Parliament for Efate Rural, Gillion Williams’ swearing in delayed to next week.


21) We are not part of Tanoliu MOU: Chief Takurua

Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2016 8:00 am

By Godwin Ligo

One of the customary chiefs from Tanoliu Village in north Efate said his family is not part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed in the village recently that relates to seeking solutions to land disputes in Tanoliu.

Chief Taura Harry Takurua, also from Tanoliu Village told the Daily Post that his family is not part of the four families that are party to the MOU signing that was witnessed by the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs and reported in the Daily Post earlier this week.

“I simply want to make this clarification because there are different customary lands around Tanoliu with different traditional and customary names that are still pending and awaiting decisions from the North East Efate Area Lands Tribunal,” Chief Takurua claims.

“Not everyone in Tanoliu Village were aware of the MOU signing and also that there are other families from villages and Efate offshore islands who are also claiming rights to some of the lands around Tanoliu but are all waiting for the outcome of the Tribunal,” claims Chief Takurua.

He also calls on the Efate Vaturisu Council of Chiefs to always ensure that processes relating to such issues as lands on Efate must be done in ways that will satisfy all parties concerned and added that everyone must remain peacefully and await the North East Efate Area Lands Tribunal decision which is still pending.


22) The Chairman of the national broadcasting service, VBTC, says the Board is awaiting approval to make a number of staff redundancies and to reform the Corporation. Some 25 staff members are expected to be made redundant, Chairman Jerety said. All present staff would be made redundant, given a redundancy package, and be permitted to apply to re-join the broadcasting service. Jerety said the new Board is bringing some new revenue initiatives which would return the national station to financial security. (Radio Vanuatu)

23) Media Council PNG condemns assault of journalist by police
4:42 pm GMT+12, 08/06/2016, Papua New Guinea

The Media Council of PNG has condemned the assault of a journalist this morning by members of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC).

National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) journalist Rose Amos was kicked and punched by two police officers at the scene of a confrontation Wednesday morning between protesting University of Papua New Guinea students and the police.

Amos ran towards the police for cover only to be punched by a heavily armed policeman and kicked by another, resulting in her losing her balance and falling. Even her wearing of a NBC-logo shirt did not stop the assault with a third policeman punching her again before a senior police officer intervened and took her to a RPNGC Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle.

The MCPNG condemns in the strongest possible terms the assault of the NBC journalist by three members of the RPNGC.

“It is unacceptable conduct and criminal for the three policemen to assault Amos as she fled for cover from the melee. In such a situation it would have been natural for the journalist to seek the protection of the law. But in this instance, they turned out to be the perpetrators and attacked the very people they swore an oath to protect,” said MCPNG President, Alexander Rheeney.

The use of firearms targeting unarmed peaceful demonstrators is also unacceptable and warrants an immediate investigation, in order to determine who fired the first shot and whether their actions were justified, added the MCPNG.

Rheeney said: “If Papua New Guineans want to embark on a peaceful demonstration to air their grievances on issues of concern then why use firearms? Papua New Guineans have the right to express themselves so why silence them with the use of firearms?”

The assaulting of Amos comes a week after another journalist, Imelda Wavik of commercial TV station TVWAN, was assaulted by a plain-clothes policeman at the Boroko Police Station.

“The increasing frequency in violence targeting journalists and mainly perpetrated by members of the constabulary does not augur well for the community. It is time for the Police Commissioner to address ill-discipline within the rank and file in the RPNGC and to arrest officers, whose shameful conduct continues to tarnish the image of the constabulary,” said Rheeney.

The MCPNG urges all the parties caught up in the university student protests to exercise restraint and to refrain from using violence.


24) Fiji PM defends journalism blacklist

[email protected]

Fiji’s prime minister Frank Bainimarama has staunchly defended his blacklisting of some New Zealand journalists.

His comments came in a speech to welcome New Zealand prime minister John Key, who is making an historic trip to the country.

“Certain journalists in New Zealand and Australia and certain journalists in Fiji think nothing of dispensing with the facts if they get in the way of the politically-motivated narrative they want to tell and we are saying to the news organisations that employ them send someone else.”

TVNZ Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver and long-time Pacific reporter Michael Field are among those blacklisted and Mr Key said he planned to take this up with his Fijian counterpart.

“I think it’s an important step from their point of view to take these journalists off the banned list. I can’t force them to do that but I do think it would be the right thing to do.”

Suva pulled out all stops to welcome Mr Key, who is the first New Zealand prime minister to visit Fiji in a decade.

A 100-strong Guard of Honour, waving schoolchildren and a massive roadside billboard featuring the New Zealand leader marked the end of chilly relations since Mr Bainimarama’s coup of 2006.

Mr Bainimarama’s FijiFirst party was elected to power in 2014, leading to the full restoration of diplomatic links between the two countries, but top-level talks have taken longer to ensue.

Mr Key said the main aim of his visit was to reset the relationship.

At a traditional welcome ceremony Mr Key was offered a bowl of kava and presented with a tabua or whale tooth and pig.

Friday’s official talks he said would cover a range of issues including trade and investment and recovery after February’s devastating cyclone.

“The personal chemistry seems very strong,” he said “I think they are genuinely very grateful for the work we have been doing for Cyclone Winston. This is a very deep relationship.”

Mr Key also planned to broach another sensitive topic – encouraging Mr Bainimarama to end his boycott of the Pacific Islands Forum.

“It will be great to have the prime minister back at the Forum. I think the Forum prime ministers would like to see that. At every other level now, Fiji’s fully engaged so it’s really the last step that needs to be taken. We can’t force them to do that but we can actively encourage them and we’d support that.”

At a banquet to honour Mr Key on Thursday night, Mr Bainimarama said he intended to work with the New Zealand leader to strengthen and redefine the relationship.

Much of his welcome speech was devoted to defending his ousting of the government of Laisenia Qarase in 2006 and his administration’s efforts since to bring equality to all in Fiji and stamp out corruption.

“There appears to be a substantial body of opinion in New Zealand by a generally hostile media that what has happened in Fiji somehow lacks legitimacy, that somehow I lack legitimacy and that my government lacks legitimacy. This is simply not borne out by the facts.”

He said he looked forward to a more collaborative and mutually respectful relationship with New Zealand.

“The strains and irritants that have marked our political relationship in recent years are a textbook lesson on how not to conduct friendly relations between neighbouring countries. They must be replaced by genuine co-operation and understanding.”

Mr Key and Mr Bainimarama are due to meet for official talks on Friday morning.10/6/16 RNZI

25) FijiTV in stoush with landlord over unpaid rent – FijiTV is under pressure to pay its rent, with bailiffs yesterday locking its gates before police were called to intervene. Fiji Village reports the lawyers for the owner of the premises, Fiji Public Service Credit Union, had issued a notice to pay and yesterday went to the Suva premises to enforce it. They say FijiTV is about three months’ rent in arrears. Police attended the site, forcefully removed the lock and chain from the gate and asked the owner’s security guards to move on. The Union said it would prepare an eviction notice to file in court. However, FijiTV’s CEO Geoffrey Smith said the company had been the union’s tenants for 22 years and hoped the matter could be resolved amicably.


26) Qantas codeshare returns on Brisbane-Santo flights

Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2016 8:00 am

Air Vanuatu has announced the resumption of the Qantas codeshare of NF20/21 between Santo and Brisbane effective immediately.

Air Vanuatu management and tourism operators on the northern island have welcomed the return of the alliance.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Qantas on the Brisbane-Santo-Brisbane route and welcome the strong marketing arm of Australia’s national carrier back to Vanuatu,” Air Vanuatu chief executive officer Joseph Laloyer said.

Qantas has already resumed marketing the Santo flights, telling Australian travel agents they are pleased to announce the recommencement of the codeshare with Air Vanuatu.

“Santo is the largest island in Vanuatu and boasts world class diving sites like SS President Coolidge, the world-famous Champagne Beach, turquoise blue holes and welcoming friendly people.

“This codeshare service will be operated by an Air Vanuatu B737 aircraft with flights departing Brisbane for Santo every Tuesday and returning on Mondays,” the airline said in a statement to agents.

Chairman of the Espiritu Santo Tourism Association, Rayman Leung, said his members were delighted with the announcement.

“ESTA welcomes the return of partner airline Qantas to codeshare on Air Vanuatu services between Brisbane and Santo.

“The commitment from the airlines is an acknowledgment of what a great destination Santo is for visitors. We look forward to welcoming many more to our beautiful islands.”


27) Price controlled foods

Ropate Valemei
Friday, June 10, 2016

WHILE essential food items such as parboiled rice, brown rice, chakki atta and roti flour are healthy for consumption, they are not under price control.

Instead, only white flour is under price control.

The Consumer Council of Fiji has submitted to Government to include parboiled rice, brown rice, whole meal flour, chaki atta and roti flour under price control to make healthy options affordable.

This is part of the council’s submission for the 2016-2017 National Budget, which will be announced on June 22 at 7.30pm.

“Normal flour, which is available to consumers at a reasonable price, is under price regulation lacks nutritional value when compared with chakki atta, which is 100 per cent whole wheat flour and parboiled rice,” the council stated in its submission.

“The contribution of unhealthy diets to ill health in Fiji is now greater than before, so improving diets needs to be taken far more seriously than it is at present.

“One way that NCDs can be controlled or managed is through targeting lifestyle choices via changing consumption patterns among consumers.”

The council says price controls are instruments of public policy which have been adopted and practised by both developed and developing countries to mitigate certain economic and social conditions in their economies.

It highlights that Fiji has seen increase in price on goods and services that are not under price control.

The council has noticed that little consideration is given to Government’s overall vision of having a “healthy population” when unhealthy food items are placed under price control.

It says policy consideration in the 2016-2017 National Budget Fiji is in a state of crisis because of NCDs, which are the leading causes of death in the country.

“Data from the Global Burden of Disease highlights that poor diet, inactivity, tobacco use and alcohol misuse were major causes of NCD.

“The crisis has grown to become not only a health concern, but also an economic, social and human development challenge.

“In a 2002 study carried out by the World Bank and the Pacific Community (SPC), it was revealed that 38.8 per cent of all treatment costs could be attributed to NCDs.”

The council believes Government should consider its proposals to deal with NCD crisis in Fiji.

28) Clothing quality concern

Ropate Valemei
Thursday, June 09, 2016

SECOND-hand clothing is becoming a concern for many consumers as they are faced with issues such as poor quality, no fitting rooms, and unhygienic shopping environment.

Regardless of such issues, many consumers still opt for second-hand clothing since price of substandard new clothes are exorbitantly high.

With a boom in second-hand clothing businesses in Fiji, consumers are unable to afford brand new clothes.

The Consumer Council of Fiji has submitted to Government that fiscal duty should be reduced or removed from imported new clothes and stringent regulations should be implemented for second-hand clothing.

This was part of it submission for the 2016-2017 National Budget which will be announced on June 22.

“Hygiene is a major concern for consumers of second-hand clothes as there is a lack of appropriate regulations to address health and safety issues,” the council said.

Over the years, it states that prices of second-hand clothing have increased to levels that are on par with new garments.

Furthermore, it adds the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority and Government may be losing out on a lot of tax revenue from the booming second-hand clothing sector where very low-duty is paid.

That is, per kg but garments are sold at high retail prices per unit.

29) Bid to attract investors

Ropate Valemei
Thursday, June 09, 2016

FIJI may utilise export opportunities for Fiji to Hong Kong which include seafood, manufactured products such as body and beauty products as well as agriculture commodities such as ginger and essential oils.

This comes after discussion between Investment Fiji and a delegation from Hong Kong to strengthen bilateral partnership in trade and exports.

Investment Fiji CEO Godo Müller-Teut said discussions centred on creating collaborations in areas of exports to Hong Kong as well as establishing business networks to attract investors from Hong Kong to Fiji.

30) Solomon Airlines defends CEO

The management of Solomon Airlines says it fully supports its chief executive Ron Sumsum’s decision to shut down its operations.

The operational shutdown was ordered by Mr Sumsum who said millions of dollars in unpaid government arrears had seriously compromised the airline’s operations.

On Tuesday, Solomon Airlines flights were all suspended but yesterday the airline announced air traffic would return to normal over the next 24 hours.

The Solomon Islands government says Mr Sumsum is to blame for the airline’s perilous financial situation and it says it is looking for a new chief.

But Solomon Airlines manager of commercial services Gus Kraus says the government had not been meeting its financial commitments and the chief executive’s drastic actions were justified.

“All I can say is that the management team is fully supportive of the current CEO and in fact all the staff are very supportive of the CEO.”

“That is all I can say as far as that is concerned and I believe the airline union will be putting something into the media by tomorrow to imply that,” he said.9/6/16 RNZI

31) Air Niugini resumes flights to Honiara

4:57 pm GMT+12, 08/06/2016, Papua New Guinea

Air Niugini has announced that its services to Honiara, Solomon Islands have been restored.

It had on Tuesday announced the suspension of these services following the withdrawal of services operated and supplied by Solomon Airlines.

The airline in a statement advised normal scheduled services would recommenced yesterday from Nadi to Honiara and Port Moresby while the Port Moresby/Honiara / Nadi service begins on Friday June 10.

“This information supercedes that sent out yesterday (Tuesday) regarding the suspension of Air Niugini Honiara services following the withdrawal of services operated and supplied by Solomon Airlines,” the company’s corporate department had advised.

In announcing the suspension, Air Niugini had agreed to waiving rebooking and cancellation fees for disrupted Honiara passengers. And in light of the mayhem in the nation’s capital Wednesday it stated its services both domestic and international had not been disrupted. .


32) SI needs to encourage investment

Published: 09 June 2016

The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce (SICCI), the peak body representing the private sector in the country, refutes claims that overseas investment should be discouraged in the country. Solomon Island needs investment from abroad as well as encouraging domestic investments to flourish.

SICCI in a statement yesterday said, like other developing and small island states, Solomon Islands will need investment from abroad to complement domestic investments. SICCI’s CEO Mr Meone says “at the moment, our country is at a growth stage where we do not have adequate capital, technology and infrastructure, including skilled labour, to allow us to achieve sustainable economic growth.

“ It is therefore important that as a nation we provide an environment that is conducive to private sector investment, both domestically and from abroad. There is also the need to support existing businesses and SMEs so that they can reach their full potential.”

Investment from abroad brings huge capital inflows, technology, equipment and skilled labor while providing employment for many Solomon Islanders.

Other benefits include revenue via taxes and duties to the government and spillover effects such as transfer of skills, access to infrastructure and markets, and the positive flow-on effects to other businesses including SMEs. GPPOL is an example of a success story showing how partnership between companies abroad and local landowners can make a huge impact in our economy. GPPOL is co-owned by Guadalcanal landowning group with 20 percent shares providing jobs for Solomon Islanders.

Our current population is around 642,000 and growing, and every year we need to create 10,000 jobs to cater for the increasing population.

According to the National Statistics Office, Solomon Islands population is expected to reach 764,412 by 2025. Therefore, our biggest challenge as a country is to ensure that we are able to develop our economy, improve living standards, but most importantly create employment opportunities for our future generations.

Yes, we have abundant natural resources which can contribute to growth, but only if we manage them sustainably and attract investors to help us maximize the export potential of these resources. Of equal importance, we must also ensure that our systems and regulatory mechanisms are robust and fully resourced so that Ministries can provide strong regulatory oversight.

SICCI is of the view that as a nation we must be able to provide an enabling environment that is conducive to do business and to facilitate private sector led growth. SICCI applauds the Government’s initiative through the Ministry of Commerce to introduce Special Economic Zones (SEZ), but at the same time notes that there are issues that will need rigorous attention including ensuring that the SEZ does not create an uneven playing field for existing businesses.

SICCI as a peak body representing the private sector is grateful for the opportunity to have constructive dialogue with the Government and looks forward to working with relevant stakeholders including development partners to grow our economy.”Solomon Star.


33) Mobile service to Eastern Malaita

Published: 09 June 2016

Bmobile-Vodafone are delighted to have launched a new tower on Tuesday 7th June for East Malaita.

This tower will now give the coastal area of East Kwarae full coverage. The tower is located on Leili Island and will help improve this regions coverage beaming signals right across the waters back in the populated areas.

A statement from the company said, this is the premium location for telecommunications coverage for this region and has been a site pinpointed by the company since 2010.

“The technical team are finally delighted that this site is now part of their network.

This launching of Leili Island shows the company’s commitment to this province as they are determined to ensure that Malaita remains a bmobile-Vodafone stronghold for their customer base.”

This tower is a forty meter construction and has been completed successfully under the guidance of the Projects manager Warren Pweka.

“This site has been in the planning since 2012 and it gives the technical team great pleasure to see planning going live into our network and providing new coverage.”

This tower now forms a second ring around the whole of Malaita to improve the coverage giving the Island redundancy paths for first time.

“This is a major step forward in telecommunications for the people of Malaita who now have second rings and high a capacity network provided by bmobile-Vodafone. This site will now improve the whole Islands services.”

The project team next will be travelling down to Western province to complete the new TRX site in the coming days.

Once this site is switched on in mid-June it will massively improve their data services with 3G coverage for the first time.

This service will be as good as the current 3G service their customers experience in Honiara, Malu’u and Auki.Solomon Star.

34) PS clarifies concerns on franchise shipping

Published: 09 June 2016

Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MID) Permanent Secretary, Henry Murray has clarified to calls to give new shipping company’s a chance under the Franchise Shipping Services (FSS).

Concern has been raised on the vessel Vatud Star, be given equal chance to operate under the franchise shipping arrangement.

Vatud Star is owned by Vatud constituency in Temotu under it’s newly establish shipping company now servicing the Temotu outer islands.

PS Murray welcomes the call and concern, there is no harm submitting a bid to the tender process which everyone is entailed to follow.

However there are set criteria’s and procedures to their approval thus it sure goes through panels to get approval and not a one off yes, he said.

Murray said Franchise Shipping Service (FSS) was established purposely to serve shipping routes in the country that are uneconomical and is being funded for by Asia Development Bank (ADB) and Solomon Islands Government (SIG).

He explained that FSS routes are normally tendered out to the public and shipping operators who are interested to operate these routes under an arranged subsidised scheme.

“All the FSS routes are put out on public tenders and shipping operators are welcome to submit their bids.

“After closing of the tenders the public and bidders are free to attend and witness the opening of tenders by Central Tender Board usually at the Ministry of Finance and Treasury leaf hut.

“A technical evaluation committee at MID then evaluates the tenders and their recommendation will be submitted to at the Ministry level, Ministry Tender Board for endorsement before submitting it back to the Compliance Division at the Ministry of Finance and Treasury,” explained the Permanent Secretary.

PS Murray added when the Compliance Division is satisfied that necessary procurement processes are being complied with.

That is in the process of tendering, they will further submit the recommendations to the Central Tender Board for their subsequent awarding of the contract to the winning bidder, he explains further.

He then clarified that some of the important criteria’s to be considered in evaluating FSS tender bids are the suitability of the vessel and the experience of the shipping operator.

“It’s designed and intended to carry both cargoes and passengers at call points often without wharves.

“Any vessel that is designed to carry cargoes only is not be suitable to operate the FSS,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary then explained why Vatud Star did not get approval.

“The reason why Vatud Star was not recommended for the Franchise Shipping Service for Temotu Outer Islands route is, the ship is not suitable for carrying both cargo and passengers.

“They are also very new in the shipping industry and lack the necessary experience to operate the FSS routes.

“Vatud Star is welcome to submit its bid after it acquires the necessary experience when the current contract for FSS7 expires,” said the PS Murray.


35) Cracked bridge repair works intensify

Matilda Simmons
Friday, June 10, 2016

THERE will be lots of welding, drilling and installation works that will be undertaken underneath the Tamavua-i-wai bridge, says Fiji Roads Authority CEO Rory Garland.

He said urgent strengthening works on the bridge were being done to get the bridge fixed, and that lane and weight restrictions remained in place for safety reasons.

“We appreciate the inconvenience that this is causing people and we will be doing our utmost to get the work completed as soon as possible,” Mr Garland said.

The bridge, which connects Lami Town to Suva City, came under scrutiny last month after examination by road engineers discovered cracks in one of the structural beams.

Mr Garland said with the strengthening works done, the bridge should be able to yield another five years of reliable use.

“This bridge is critical to the road network and we do not want further damage at this stage.

“We are pulling in as many resources as we need, however, we must ensure we have the right balance of speed, efficiency and safety,” he said.

Mr Garland said they would also actively monitor traffic flow and queue lengths to adjust traffic control, minimise delays and give people more predictable travel times in the remainder of the four weeks.

36) FEA install temporary structure to restore power – Fiji Electricity Authority has installed temporary power structures to allow the restoration of power supply to cyclone affected areas. This was confirmed to FBC News by the FEA Board Chair-Nizam-ud-Dean. “It’s not just the distribution network, the distribution network is what requires power to be taken to homes, we also got transmission, these are those big steel towers that you know, that also is damaged, we have put in some temporary structures to put them up.”


37) Pipite and Ors conspiracy pre-trial today

Posted: Friday, June 10, 2016 8:00 am

Posted on Jun 10, 2016

by Thompson

Jailed politician, Marcellino Pipite and 11 other defendants will appear before Supreme Court Judge, Richard Chetwynd today for the pre-trial of their conspiracy case.

The pre-trial is scheduled for 2 o’clock today in chambers where the the main issues is for each of the defendants to identify their legal counsels.

Information from the Public Prosecutor’s Office revealed that so far it is still confusing which lawyer is representing which defendants because several lawyers have been claiming they are receiving instruction from jail where the 11 of the jailed politicians have been imprisoned since October last year.

The defendants include Pipite and 10 of his colleague jailed politicians and one of the lawyers that is believed to have assisted in the pardoning made by Pipite last year.

Pipite and the other defendants including 2 other lawyers were arrested last year for their involvement in a meeting that led to the pardoning.

The other two lawyers have been dropped from the case. The remaining lawyer is the only defendant on bail.

Earlier in March lawyer George Boar filed an application requesting assistance from two overseas lawyer to act for the defendants.

The application was accepted and Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek granted temporary practicing certificates for Michael Pearce and Rose Cameron from Melbourne, Australia.

The two lawyers were to appear in court on behalf of Boar Law specifically in Criminal Case No. 138 of 2016, Public Prosecutor v Marcellino & ors.

After identifying the defendants’ legal representative today’s pre-trial is likely to proceed to identify the agreed facts and other issues concerning the case before trial kick-starts.

38) PNG opposition wants Parliament to reconvene

Papua New Guinea’s opposition is calling for Parliament to sit again soon to address what it calls pressing issues of national importance.

The Parliament was on Wednesday adjourned to August amid concerns about the security situation in Port Moresby.

This came after police opened fire on hundreds of university students who planned to walk to Parliament to support the opposition’s planned vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

The opposition leader Don Polye has slammed the police actions, calling for those behind the shootings to be imprisoned.

Meanwhile he indicated the opposition would take legal action to have parliament sit before August when a grace period protecting governments from votes of no-confidence comes into play.

“This government and the parliament are running away from addressing an issue that is within their mandate to find solutions to.”

“Therefore the opposition is very vehement on this and we will address it by way of the court application where we would like to see an urgent answer or ruling given by the Supreme Court,” he said.10/6/16 RNZI

39 )

40) Returned Sinai Peacekeepers to be redeployed
– All of the Fijian soldiers that have had to return home from Sinai have been retained by the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. Director Peace Support Operations – Commander Humphrey Tawake says there are 129 soldiers in all with 99 returning from Sinai last weekend. “The regular force personnel have all returned to their parent units, the TF personnel which is about 48 of them, we have absorbed them into our current structures pending the timings of their next deployment.”

41) Fears of escalating tensions in PNG – A Papua New Guinea MP has warned of repercussions after a day of unrest when police opened fire on students at the University of PNG in Port Moresby. The students had planned a rally at Parliament on Wednesday to show their support for a vote of no confidence in the government when police refused to let the students leave their campus and opened fire on them. They have been boycotting classes and protesting for over a month, demanding that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill stand aside to face fraud allegations. Police say 23 people have been hospitalized, in which five were critically injured with bullets.


42) Climate battle

Roland Koroi
Friday, June 10, 2016

A GROUP of scientists from around the world are working on subjects relevant to development in the Pacific have converged in Nadi with their Pacific counterparts, to discuss ways they could work together on to battle climate change and the effects of future natural disasters.

According to SOPAC director Professor Michael Petterson, the “Science Technology and Resources” conference was one of the biggest stand-alone science events in the Pacific.

“We’re looking at so many projects but some of the key ones here are disasters,” Pro Petterson said.

“We’ve had a session on Severe TC Winston, we’ve had a session on Tropical Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and we’re looking at many different ways that we can assist decision making to minimise the impacts of disasters. And this is not just about cyclones, we’re looking at tsunamis and earthquakes and things like that.

“The big wish here is that a linkage is formed, a long-term linkage between external scientists and our scientific community here in the Pacific and that we develop longer term projects of collaboration.”


43) New Caledonia Provincial Group Reluctant To Accept French Loan

Submitted by PIR Editor on Wed, 06/08/2016 – 15:42
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Terms for deal to restructure SLN too onerous for industrial umbrella group

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 8, 2016) – The New Caledonian provinces’ industrial umbrella group, STCPI, is reluctant to take up a loan to restructure the territory’s SLN nickel plant.

The French state has offered to lend a total of $US240 million as part of a promise to guarantee SLN’s continued operation as the plant is running at a huge loss because of the slump in commodities.

STCPI has agreed to borrow $US144 million for the restructure which is expected to cut SLN’s production costs by a quarter, by the end of next year.

However, STCPI head Andre Dang said the lending terms for its stake in the rescue package were unacceptable.

He said with an interest rate of five percent, over eight years this would force STCPI to pay another $US240 million.

This could be even higher because the loan would be indexed to the nickel price at the London Metal Exchange, Mr Dang said.

SLN is the territory’s main private sector employer.

Radio New Zealand International

44) Lifting Of Mining Ban In Bougainville Welcomed By The People: Former Rebel

Submitted by PIR Editor on Wed, 06/08/2016 – 15:43
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Resource owners other than Panguna can now benefit: Kauona

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 7, 2016) – The lifting of the mining moratorium by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) House of Representatives on Tuesday was welcomed by the people of Bougainville, former rebel commander, Sam Kauona says.

Kauona told The National that with the next step of reopening the Panguna mine, lifting the moratorium would give an opportunity to other resource owners apart from Panguna to partake  in mining activities.

Negotiations between ABG, the national government, Panguna landowners and the Bougainville Copper Limited are yet to begin.

He said the decision gave resource owners every right to operate as long as their activities were within the new Bougainville Mining Act.

Kauona said by law Panguna was under BCL’s moratorium and for them (BCL) to come back to operate it depended on how well they would negotiate with the other parties concerned.

“What the other resources owners are happy about is their areas which are not under BCL’s moratorium.”
He said resource owners would now have the right to negotiate with potential investors in accordance with the Bougainville Mining Act.

“For alluvial mining to take place the investors have to meet terms and conditions of the resource owners.”
He said resource owners had the right to say yes or no if any deal was not honoured.

The National

45) Survey reports mining bribe claims

Ropate Valemei
Friday, June 10, 2016

CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) report numerous instances where chiefs of deep sea mining (DSM) project-affected communities were swayed by bribes or personal favours from Government or industry to allow mining and/or other industrial activity in their villages.

This included villages where CSO surveys reported 100 per cent disapproval from respondents on mining prospects on their land.

This was revealed in the report by Blue Ocean Law and the Pacific Network on Globalisation, which was released early this week, on how deep sea mining and inadequate regulatory frameworks imperil the Pacific and its people.

The report notes this occurred with respect to fishery agreements, where the consent of fishery owners within the village had been bypassed by obtaining the endorsement of the chief instead.

“The courting of local leaders, chiefs or landowners undoubtedly poses risks for the preservation of traditions and livelihoods of indigenous communities,” the report notes.Fijitimes

46) Seed distribution to assist 1000 farmers

Shayal Devi
Friday, June 10, 2016

MARKET vendors who own farms are expected to receive assistance through the UN Women’s Markets for Change project.

A variety of seeds will be distributed by a team from the organisation to farmers in Rakiraki, Tavua, Ba and Lautoka this week.

“About 1000 market vendor farmers will be assisted through this distribution,” project manager Anna Parini said.

“Some of the seed varieties include tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, watermelon and French bean.”

Apart from the seeds, items such as cane knives, digging forks and fertiliser are also expected to be distributed.

The team is expected to be in the division today and tomorrow.

Following the devastation caused by Severe TC Winston, members of the project had also helped vendors by providing tents to towns where municipal markets suffered damage.Fijitimes


47) Womens’ participation

Charlene Lanyon
Friday, June 10, 2016

THE Women’s Human Security First Women’s Weather Watch report by FemLINKPACIFIC recognises that all aspects of humanitarian action must include the participation of women and the promotion of human rights of women, children, persons with disability and the elderly.

FemLINKPACIFIC executive producer-director Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls said the report also provided recommendations for the review of current legislations.

“This is an opportunity to organise together our recommendations for the National Disaster Management legislative review as well as enhance a women’s preparedness strategy through a human security lens,” Ms Bhagwan-Rolls said.

“It is also an opportunity to reaffirm women’s leadership and resilience as well as address the gaps and challenges by building on the collaboration and solidarity as women leaders to build a stronger and collective understanding of gender equality priorities and the national consultation.”


48) Solomons lack punch as PNG make history

The Solomon Islands are ruing the fact they couldnt get the ball in the back of the net after Papua New Guinea defeated them 2-1 in an historic OFC Nations Cup football victory.

PNG will meet New Zealand in the final after overcoming the Solomons in their semi-final in Port Moresby last night.

It will be PNG’s first final in 43 years while New Zealand come in having won the tournament four times.

PNG started well against the Solomons earning a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute with a Michael Foster goal.

However it wasn’t long before the Solomons got back in the match courtesy of a Judd Molea equaliser two minutes later.

The game hung in the balance until an 82nd minute winner from Nigel Dabingyaba.

The Solomons coach Moses Toata said his side should have capitalised on its chances better.

“We could of scored a couple of goals early but then we didn’t. Actually they capitalised on our weaknesses on defending the set pieces and that’s how the winning goal came.”

Toata said the focus will now shift to the next round of world cup qualifying which takes place in March 2017.

“I think that is the more important stuff ahead of us that can keep the boys together,” he said.

“We came here, we tried our best. We were given a chance to go into the final and we let it go.”9/6/16 RNZI

49) Ba club to host golfers

Zanzeer Singh
Friday, June 10, 2016

THE Ba Golf Club will host an 18 holes stroke event this Sunday after the success of last weekend’s event.

The tournament will once again be sponsored by the club’s captain Sanjay Krishna.

The father and son combination of Daniel and Brendon Sebastian claimed the two-man Ambrose event last week.

Known as team Legends, Daniel and Brendan scored 63.83 nett.

Team Two Musketeers with Manish Patel and Jyoti Lal were second on 65.5 nett while team Dental with Rajesh Prasad and Doctor Ashok Kumar were third with 65.84. Veteran Rajen Singh hit the longest drive and Brendan won the nearest to the pin prize.

A total of 14 teams participated. The club’s treasurer Rajesh Prasad was happy with the good turnout. Prasad also confirmed that members were looking forward to the next annual general meeting. He said the dates for the annual meeting would be announced soon.

This Sunday’s event will tee off at 10am.

50) Parramatta Eels’ salary cap breaches being investigated by NSW Police

Updated 9 June 2016, 18:05 AEST

NSW Police confirm they are investigating the Parramatta Eels after a review of the NRL’s report into salary-cap breaches.

NSW Police have confirmed they have commenced an investigation into the Parramatta Eels after a review of the NRL’s report into salary-cap breaches.

The Fraud and Cybercrime Squad is leading investigations.

It is understood the Fraud Squad has a copy of the breach notice issued to the Eels and is set to focus on alleged false invoices that were uncovered as part of the initial investigation.

The ABC understands Fraud Squad detectives were at the Parramatta Leagues Club today and their investigation is ongoing.

In May, the NRL sought to fine the Eels $1 million and dock the team 12 competition points in its preliminary findings after uncovering cap breaches dating back to 2013.

Five club officials — chairman Steve Sharp, deputy chairman Tom Issa, director Peter Serrao, chief executive John Boulous, football manager Daniel Anderson — were also asked to show cause why their registrations should not be cancelled.

The officials took the league to court over the attempt to deregister them, but the Supreme Court ultimately dismissed proceedings on Tuesday.

The club has until Friday to show why the financial and points punishments should not be handed down.

In order to play for points through the final 15 rounds, the Eels’ 2016 squad had to become compliant and did so before round 10 by shipping hooker Nathan Peats to the Gold Coastand seeing Anthony Watmough retire due to injury.

Since then, the Eels have won one of the three games they have played, with two more competition points coming from a bye in round 13.

The official ladder on the NRL’s website has the Eels sitting in fifth spot on 16 points, but they will tumble down to second-last, ahead of Newcastle (three points), if they lose the 12 points they earned through the first nine rounds of the season when the team was over the cap.ABC



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