Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1078 ( Wednesday 27 July 2016 )
1) Melanesia resource rich but quality of life poor
By Anita Roberts
Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 8:00 am
This statement was delivered by the Regional Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Melanesia, Mia Rimon, during the ‘Emerging Youth Leaders of Melanesia Programme’ opening in Port Vila.
The event which was held at the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) headquarter was attended by President Baldwin Lonsdale, MSG Secretariat Director General, Amena Yauvoli, ministers, diplomatic corps, high government officials including the Leader of the Opposition, Ishmael Kalsakau.
Rimon said: “Our region has never been more vulnerable.
“Climate change and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are threatening our very existence.
“Corruption and greed are eroding cultural values and breaking apart Melanesia.
“Two out of three Melanesian women suffer physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime. Up to 40% of our daughters under the age of 15 are sexually abused.
“PNG did not achieve any of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Vanuatu and Solomon Islands scored badly on the MDGs, failing to achieve almost all. We are resource rich but quality of life poor.” As the future of these nations rests on the hands of its youth, nurturing and empowering them (the youth) to stand up for Melanesia and to be able to lead their countries out from hardships in the next decade was the main objective of this youth program conducted by SPC and the MSG Secretariat.
Youth unemployment is a critical issue in all pacific countries in which whom all have a large population of youth seeking their inclusiveness in development.
A component of the program, which ended on Friday, is dedicated to learning more about the Youth@WorkProgram model initially introduced in Solomon Islands dedicated to tackling youth unemployment.
This program has a positive impact on the lives of the participants, with 39% reported to have found further employment after the experience. As part of the recent intensive training in Port Vila, 20 youth from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon, New Caledonia and Vanuatu that were brought in.
It includes practical sessions and visits to workplaces and agencies.
President Lonsdale who opened the meeting with his exceptional role model experience, called onto the participants to fear not but rise, take up challenges to ensuring everyone’s desire and interest are addressed efficiently.
“I personally feel and convinced that ‘responsible, ethical and proactive leadership’ is about considering others values more than one’s interest,” he said.
“The national interest must become the determinant of all your decisions.
“We lead because there are others who follow, and so let us decide for their welfare more than us.”
2) Vanuatu PM appeals to Melanesian solidarity on West Papua
7:33 pm GMT+12, 25/07/2016, Vanuatu
Vanuatu’s prime minister said the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) must unite to overcome divisions over the question of membership in the group for West Papuans.
At this month’s Honiara summit, amid intense lobbying by Indonesia, MSG leaders deferred a decision on the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s application to become full members while adequate membership criteria is developed.
Charlot Salwai said since last year membership criteria had been developed which stipulates full members needing to be a Melanesian state.
However, Salwai said one of the full MSG members, New Caledonia’s FLNKS Kanak movement, is not a state but a political movement aspiring for independence.
This, he said, set a precedent for the West Papuans to have full membership.
He said the secretariat and its membership committee had been tasked with coming up with criteria which better reflects the MSG’s founding principles, namely to assist the self-determination of Melanesian peoples.
“We have to understand and find a way to support our brothers of Melanesia to get what they want.”
“They want self-determination so why are we supporting the FLNKS and not the ULMWP? If we believe in Melanesian culture, we should not turn away, but continue to unite, because the benefits of having the MSG are huge for Melanesian countries,” he said.
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua was granted observer status ni the MSG last year.
Indonesia has associate member status in the group.
3) Deputy PM Natuman claims MSG has been bought for “30 pieces of silver”
Posted: July 20, 2016
The Constitutional Review Committee did meet yesterday with only 18 of the 27 members present. Today’s meeting sees persons additional to the CRC being called to serve and present their opinions and give of their expertise. The CRC is working towards “producing the report to Parliament by the end of August”, CRC Chairman Ralph Regenvanu told Daily Post. A work plan is being established.
“Youth at Work – Emerging Leaders” is the theme of a workshop in Port Vila bringing together young people out of work. “Young people should be the agents of change in development and leadership in countries,” and this was one of the themes of the workshop as explained by a Solomon Islands representative. SI PM Sogavare requested the South Pacific Commission to set up the programme and workshop to help deal with the increasing problem of what we call SPR in Vanuatu – young people without work. A New Zealand trainer has been brought in and is developing the curriculum with the help of the Solomon Islanders brought here. (Radio Vanuatu)
4) Corruption claims surface
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
AUCKLAND – A publisher in Tonga claims the kingdom is more corrupt now than ever before.
Kalafi Moala, publisher and political activist, said the new more democratic Government had failed to stop corrupt activities going back many years.
He told a recent Transparency International meeting in New Zealand that corruption was rife in Tonga.
Mr Moala said a graphic example was the sale of passports, typically diplomat passports, which had been going on for more than 20 years.
He claimed passports were still being sold and avidly sought after by members of Tonga’s Chinese community.
“For example, there is a couple who are still not yet brought into the courts who are known to have been in possession of seven diplomatic passports.
“These are not civil servants or people who have any kind of authority in Government but they have diplomatic passports that have been given or sold to them,” he said
5) Rose Brown first woman in Cook Islands to lead the opposition
5:06 pm GMT+12, 24/07/2016, Cook Islands
Teenui-Mapumai member of Parliament Rose Brown has become the first woman in Cook Islands history to lead an opposition coalition.
Brown, 39, overtakes deputy opposition leader Tamaiva Tuavera who is also deputy leader of the Democratic Party.
Her nomination comes in the wake of the shock guilty verdict passed on MP Teina Bishop in the High Court last week.
Bishop was found guilty of corruption as a Minister of the Crown and will be sentenced in the High Court on August 25. Bishop had resigned as leader of the opposition last month.
Despite the huge setback Bishop’s absence will mean for the opposition coalition and talk that it will mean internal disarray and no leadership, MP Tuavera says they’re “stronger and more determined.”
Says Tuavera: “Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during these challenging times; our efforts to become government will continue without fear and we are delighted Mr Bishop has agreed to remain and support us, more so than ever.”
He disclosed that a joint caucus meeting last Wednesday everyone had agreed on the appointment of Rose Brown to take over the role as Parliamentary leader of the opposition. Tuavera says Brown accepted the nomination, “wholeheartedly.”
Brown, who is deputy Speaker, is a first term parliamentarian who, until now, has never held a leadership role in politics. Despite this, the opposition coalition says she will “…add value to the parliamentary opposition through her skills as a successful business woman, youth and community leader and her gender balanced approaches to local, national and international issues.”
Tuavera says the unanimous vote of confidence in Brown’s leadership is testament to the overall confidence placed in her as prime minister-in-waiting and was well received by everyone including Bishop who supported her appointment as the new leader.
Although Bishop’s political future is uncertain as this stage, Tuavera says the opposition coalition has also accepted his offer to continue the coalition relationship as he remains leader of One Cook Islands Islands.
He adds that OCI, which has just one other MP George Maggie, is “determined to become government under a government of national unity.”
The opposition coalition is calling on the government to declare the Vaipae Tautu seat vacant as sitting MP Moana Ioane was found guilty of bribery under the Electoral Act two years ago. There has been no obvious movement from Police to progress the Ioane case to the High Court. It has been reported that the Cook Islands Police Service has referred the case to Crown Law, presumably for advice on the appropriate charge to apply to Ioane. Critics say the lack of movement on the case is all politics: the government cannot afford to lose an MP and stalling the case is critical for a government that has no majority.
Tuavera echoes widespread sentiments when he says the Ioane case currently under police investigation “has not seen the light of day.”
“It is only fair that his case is dealt with accordingly so that the people of this country can be assured there is no political influence involved, as speculated by many.”
In the meantime, the opposition coalition will focus on a potential by-election in Bishops’ constituency of Are Nikau, Aitutaki.
Tuavera says they will not be discounting the possibility of more by-elections occurring in the near future.
Deputy prime minister Teariki Heather has also been under investigation by the Financial Intelligence Unit for alleged corruption. The FIU has not revealed the full scope of its investigation into Heather. PM Puna and Finance minister Mark Brown have also come under the scrutiny of the FIU for questionable dealings in government finances.
Tuavera says legal consideration is still in progress regarding the legitimacy of the sitting of Parliament on June 17 and 20.
“We are still actively involved in the purse seine select committee and a report is due in Parliament by the end of July”.
He says work will soon start on the Te Mato Vai select committee.
SOURCE: COOK ISLANDS NEWS/PACNEWS
6) Gene linked to Samoa’s obesity epidemic
10:45 pm GMT+12, 25/07/2016, Samoa
New research has found a gene carried by half of Samoans is partly behind the island nation’s world-leading obesity rates.
Figures from 2010 show 80 percent of Samoan men and 91 percent of women are overweight, placing them sixth out of 196 countries.
Scientists have now found a small part of the epidemic can be blamed on a gene. Rare globally but present in half the Samoan population, its role in fat storage had gone unnoticed until now.
“A previously unknown genetic variant in an understudied gene is strongly associated with body-mass index (BMI) levels and other adiposity (being severe or morbid overweight) measures in Samoan men and women we studied in 2010,” said Stephen McGarvey of the United States’ Brown University School of Public Health.
Having the gene is associated with a 35 percent higher risk of being obese, “much greater than any other known common BMI risk” according to the study, published in Nature Genetics.
“When people with this form of the gene eat food, they will deposit more of it as fat tissue than people who don’t have this version of the gene,” says Peter Shepherd, professor of cell signalling at the University of Auckland.
Prof McGarvey says it probably dates back to Samoans’ ancient roots in sailing the Pacific and the difficulties they faced in always having enough food to eat. Over the generations, natural selection favoured those carrying it as they were better able to survive.
But on its own, it only accounts for about 2 percent of Samoans’ overall weight gain over the centuries, failing on its own to explain Samoans’ current position as the world’s fattest nation.
“Samoans weren’t obese 200 years ago,” says Prof McGarvey. “The gene hasn’t changed that rapidly – it’s the nutritional environment that changed that rapidly.”
Dr Lisa Te Morenga of the Department of Human Nutrition at University of Otago says with so many Samoans overweight, whether they have the gene or not, the focus needs to be on fixing the “obesogenic environment to reduce the availability of highly palatable, cheap, energy dense, nutrient poor processed foods”.
“Although genetic studies give us clues as to those who may be more or less at risk of obesity, this becomes rather irrelevant when more than half of the population is obese,” she says.
Prof McGarvey agrees that keeping a healthy diet and staying active are all that’s needed to offset the gene’s effects.
“Don’t take this as, ‘You are Samoan, you are fated to be obese.’ We don’t think that’s true. We don’t have any evidence that that’s the case.”
Health and genetics experts are calling for more research to be done, particularly on the closely related Māori population.
“The finding that Samoan people have a higher incidence of this gene variant than Europeans shows that different groups in our society are facing different challenges in their efforts to reduce the impact of the modern environment,” says Prof Shepherd.
“This knowledge is important as it means we now need to think of strategies that take these differences into account and to develop targeted strategies rather than trying to use a one-size-fits-all strategy to tackle the epidemic of obesity and diabetes that is facing our society.
7) Nan Madol inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site
7:49 pm GMT+12, 24/07/2016, Micronesia, Federated States of
On July 15, during its 40th session, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee inscribed four new sites including Pohnpei’s Nan Madol. The other inscribed sites are in China, India, and Iran.
Nan Madol was inscribed both on the World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The UNESCO inscription describes Nan Madol as a series of 99 artificial islets off the south-east coast of Pohnpei that were constructed with walls of basalt and coral boulders.
“These islets harbor the remains of stone palaces, temples, tombs and residential domains built between 1200 and 1500 CE. These ruins represent the ceremonial centre of the Saudeleur dynasty, a vibrant period in Pacific Island culture.
The huge scale of the edifices, their technical sophistication and the concentration of megalithic structures bear testimony to complex social and religious practices of the island societies of the period, said UNESCO.
For Pohnpeians, the site is the epicentre of their modern traditional leadership structure that persists to this day. It is a place of mystery and magic which may explain why so many Pohnpeians who have lived here all of their lives have never visited the ancient city of their roots.
Though stakeholders have been working on the UNESCO listing for several years and discussed for at least 20, the inclusion of Nan Madol on the list came as a surprise to many people in the FSM who thought that it already had been inscribed on the World Heritage Sites list.
Augustine Kohler of the FSM’s Department of Historical Preservation says Nan Madol has been listed on the U.S. Registry of Historical Sites for a number of years but that is not the same as being listed as a World Heritage Site.
UNESCO says, “The resulting prestige (of World Heritage Site inscription) often helps raise awareness among citizens and governments for heritage preservation. Greater awareness leads to a general rise in the level of the protection and conservation given to heritage properties. A country may also receive financial assistance and expert advice from the World Heritage Committee to support activities for the preservation of its sites.”
Nan Madol was also inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to threats, notably the siltation of waterways that is contributing to the unchecked growth of mangroves and undermining existing edifices.
Kohler said that Nan Madol’s inclusion on the danger list would enable the World Heritage Committee to allocate funds to help protect the site. It would also alert the international community who might contribute funds or technical expertise to save such an endangered site.
The FSM’s World Heritage Committee has a management plan for the site that was drafted in 2014 but soon there will be a group of experts coming out from ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) to provide even more help to refine that plan. They will also conduct what they refer to as the Reactive Monitoring Mission. The experts will help with advice that will include, among others; how to preserve the site by helping to stabilize the structures some of which have already begun to collapse; how to solve the problem of the encroachment of the mangrove; and, help to polish up the Nan Madol Management plan.
“The inclusion of Nan Madol on the World Heritage list took a long time but it’s really just the first step. This is when the real work begins, said Kohler.
SOURCE: KASELEHLIE PRESS/PACNEWS
8) Ol PNG NGI lidas i laikim narapla University long rijan
Updated 26 July 2016, 14:45 AEST
Faifpla New Guinea Islands Gavana i askim long narapla University long rijan blong ol long larim ol NGI sumatin i skul gut na noken go insaet long ol wok politik
Ol Faifpla Gavana blong New Guinea Islands long Papua New Guinea itok oli laikim narapala University long rijan blong ol em ol sumatin blong ol iken skul gut long en na ino ken bungim heve long ol wok politik.
Askim blong ol i bihaenim ol trabal em ol University long bikiples PNG ibin mekim stat long mun May ikam inap long despla mun we ol sumatin ibin wok long protest long fosim Praim Minista Peter O’Neill long lusim wok blong bihaenim ol tokwin blong korapsan.
Wanpla sumatin long University blong Technology long Lae ibin dai na tripla sumatin blong University blong PNG ibin kisim bikpla bagarap taem ol polis ibin sutim ol long ol Gun arasaet long University long mun igo pinis.
Universiti Council blong UPNG ibin pasim school yia 2016 na skul bai stat ken long 2017.
Planti long ol despla sumatin tu ikam long faifpla provins long New Guinea Islands olsem, Autonomous rijan blong Bougainville, East na West New Britain, Manus na New Ireland.ABC
9) PNG National haus Krai
Updated 26 July 2016, 13:19 AEST
Sampla lida blong Papua New Guinea itok, planti pipal long kantri i pilim olsem wanpla man idai na oli stap insaet long wanpla bikpla haus krai bihaenim vote of no konfidens em Mr O’Neill ibin winim long Fraide long wik igo pinis.
Oli mekim despla toktok long wonem oli tok oli bin gat bilip olsem Praim Minista O’Neill bai lusim despla vote na nupla man bai kisim despla wok blong en, tasol 85 palaman memba ibin sapotim Mr O’Neill na 21 ol oposisan memba ibin vote agensim Mr O’Neill.
Despla vote of No Konfidens ibin kamap bihain long fopela taim Oposisan ibin nonap muvim wanpela mosan blong nogat konfidans long Praim Minista Peter O’Neill.
Planti pipal long kantri, wantem tu ol sumatin, ol doctors union, ol pilots na ol maritime workers union ibin wok long sapotim askim blong Mr O’Neill i lusim wok blong bihaenim ol tokwin blong korapsan, tasol emi bin winim despla vote of no confidens.
Atoni general na minista blong jastis bifo blong PNG, Kerenga Kua i stap long oposisan na emi tok emi bilip olsem igat feeling blong national haus krai.
Narapla lida husat igat wankaen tingting bihaenim despla vote of no konfidans em President blong National council of women long national capital distrik long PNG, maria Andrew husat itok sopos ol pipal long ples ibin vote, Praim minista bai lusim wok blong en.
Pastem long despla vote of no confidens lida blong katolik sios long Port Moresby, Arch Bishop Sir John Ribat ibin tokaut long wari blong en olsem, ol heve blong wok politik iwok long hamarim gut ol pipal long wonem, ol despla trabal long politik iwok long bagarapim tu ikonomi oa ol wok moni blong kantri.ABC
10) Pacific Fish stil pasin i bikpla tumas
Updated 26 July 2016, 14:35 AEST
Wanpela sinia fishery ofisa long Pacific i tok Illegal, Unregulated na Unreported Fishing i stap yet olsem wanpela bikpela wari long sait long fisari blong rijin.
Noan Parkop husat i Director blong Fisheries Operation wantaim Forum Fisheries Agency we i beis long Honiara nau i tokaut long dispela.
Em i tok i tok wanpela stadi ol ibin wokim long 2009 i lukim olsem Pacific i bin lusim 123 million US dollar long sait long Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing oa IUU ol i kolim.
Tasol Mr Parkop i tok wanpela niu ripot i soim olsem dispela mak i kam daun, tasol em i stil stap long samting olsem 10 percent blong total catch long rijin.
Mr Parkop i tok planti long ol dispela illegal aktiviti em ol foran fishing boat we ol kantri long rijin yet i givim laesin long ol ikam fishing insait long Pacific nau i save wokim.ABC
11a) Brèves du Pacifique – mardi 26 juillet 2016
- Aux Îles Salomon, le voyage du gouvernement à Taïwan ne passe pas. La délégation salomonaise compte 16 officiels dont 15 députés et/ou ministres, qui passent en tout deux semaines au Taïwan, avec une escale en Australie. D’après le quotidien Solomon Star, la facture du voyage se monte à environ 270 000 dollars australiens, soit 22 millions de francs CFP, réglés en partie seulement par Taïwan. C’est un montant pharaonique pour un pays aussi pauvre. L’opposition crie au scandale et sur les réseaux sociaux, les Salomonais expriment leur indignation. Le but du voyage est de nouer des liens avec la nouvelle Présidente de Taïwan, Tsai Ing-wen, élue en janvier dernier. Autres objectifs: visiter plusieurs entreprises et lieux culturels taïwanais. Mais selon la porte-parole du bureau salomonais de l’ONG Transparency International, interrogée par “Pacific Beat” sur ABC, la plupart des officiels qui font partie du voyage ne s’occupent ni de l’économie, ni du commerce.
- En Australie, deux surfeurs ont été attaqués par un squale mardi après-midi, au large de la plage de Sharpes, entre Ballina et Lennox Head, dans le nord de la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud, une zone dangereuse où plusieurs d’attaques de requins ont eu lieu ces dernières années, parfois mortelles. Les deux jeunes attendaient la vague sur une mer calme, quand un requin a essayé de mordre la jambe de l’un d’eux. Il a eu le temps d’esquiver. Le squale a mordu son leash, le cordon qui relie la jambe à la planche. Ensuite, le deuxième surfeur a été éjecté de son surf par le squale. Une fois sous l’eau, il a vu l’attaquant, et, affirme-t-il, il n’y a aucun doute, c’était « un grand requin blanc aussi long qu’une voiture ». Les deux surfeurs ont finalement réussi à rejoindre la plage en ramant avec les bras, sains et saufs. ABC
11b ) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 25 juillet 2016
- En Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, la Cour Suprême devait rendre son jugement lundi sur l’avenir de 5 réfugiés retenus au centre de Manus. Le verdict a finalement été reporté. Les juges devaient décider comment ils seraient libérés, et où ils seraient envoyés. Car fin avril, la même Cour Suprême a conclu que la détention des réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile était anticonstitutionnelle et illégale. Il faut donc fermer le centre de rétention de Manus. Mais depuis ce jugement, les autorités papoues n’ont rien changé. Environ 900 hommes sont toujours enfermés dans ce centre. La moitié d’entre eux environ ont obtenu leur statut de réfugié. Lundi, devant la Cour Suprême, les avocats du gouvernement ont joué la montre et obtenu un ajournement jusqu’au 2 août, pour avoir le temps d’examiner les dépositions des 5 migrants plaignants. Les migrants veulent aller en Australie, mais Canberra n’en veut pas. Ben Lomai, l’avocat des 5 plaignants, veut justement démontrer que l’Australie, légalement, est responsable des 900 migrants de Manus.
- Fidji: des vaches laitières sous les tropiques. Ce n’est pas vraiment leur climat préféré, mais cela ne fait pas peur à l’entreprise australienne Australian Natural Proteins, qui va ouvrir une exploitation laitière de 500 vaches aux Fidji en partenariat avec une entreprise fidjienne. Objectif: vendre 2.5 millions de litres de lait bio par an aux consommateurs fidjiens. Paul Duckett, le PDG, va installer sa ferme dans une zone au climat assez doux, et pas dans une zone très tropicale et humide, qui ne conviendraient pas aux laitières. Pour le moment, la production locale fidjienne est insuffisante pour satisfaire les besoins de la population. Le lait est importé et coûte très cher. ABC
12) Australia announces new multi-million dollar programme for Solomon Islands
5:10 pm GMT+12, 24/07/2016, Australia
Canberra is working on a new SBD$50-million (US$6.3 million) programme that will focus on boosting economic growth in Solomon Islands, the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Islands announced Friday.
Concetta Ferriavante-Wells heralded the multi-million dollar programme funding in her keynote address at the 8th Australia-Solomon Islands Business Forum in Brisbane, Australia.
“The programme will aim to catalyse private sector investment and increase opportunities for inclusive growth.
“It will aim to reduce costs to business by addressing systematic constraints to growth such as infrastructure.
“It will address barriers to women’s economic participation
“It will be clear about identifying the industries with the highest growth potential such as tourism and agriculture and working strategically to address them,” she said when announcing the programme.
However, she pointed out that this pursued growth must be an ‘inclusive growth’ and for this reason, the Australian Government is committed to ensuring the empowerment of women and girls is a key priority for Australia’s foreign trade and aid agenda in Solomon Islands and across the Indo-Pacific.
“We are investing in initiatives to enhance women’s leadership to support women in business and to end violence against women and girls.
“The evidence is clear, investing in women is a good thing to do both morally and economically.
“For Australia, like many Pacific Islands, domestic violence is a major issue and there is so much to be done to address it,” Ferriavante-Wells said.
The Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Islands is aware that women in Solomon Islands are already making their mark in the private sector and making substantial contributions to the economy and their communities.
“There is a generation of talented women rising through the ranks of major companies in Solomon Islands like GPPOL (Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited), Soltuna, BSP (Bank South Pacific), Our Telekom and ANZ Bank.”
And, Ferriavante-Wells said she is pleased that the Australian High Commission in Honiara has sponsored three ‘up-and-coming’ women executives from ANZ, GPPOL and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce to attend the forum and expressed hope to see many more business women attend the annual forum in the future.
13) New Zealand will continue support for PICs
4:56 pm GMT+12, 25/07/2016, Fiji
New Zealand will continue to support economic growth and trade in small Pacific island countries.
New Zealand High Commissioner Mark Ramsden made this statement while speaking at the Regional Seminar on Single Window Initiative in Suva.
Ramsden says promoting economic growth is vital in the Pacific.
“The importance of boosting Pacific islands export and building sustainability and prosperity of Pacific island underline New Zealand’s approach to the Pacer Plus negotiations.”
Ramsden stated they will not only assist economic growth as they will also promote development in other areas.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS
14 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-07-26/chinese-social-media-stream-queens-getting-rich-by-broadcasting-their-lives-online/1602390
15) China’s growth sucks in more debt
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
AS China’s economy notches up another quarter of steady growth, the pace of credit creation grows ever more frantic for every extra unit of production, as inefficient state firms swallow an increasing share of lending.
The world’s second-largest economy grew 6.7 per cent in the first half of the year, unchanged from the first quarter, testament to policymakers’ determination to regulate the pace of slowdown after 25 years of breakneck expansion.
Analysts say that determination has come at the cost of a dangerous rise in debt, which is six times less effective at generating growth than a few years ago.
“The amount of debt that China has taken in the last 5-7 years is unprecedented,” said Morgan Stanley’s head of emerging markets, Ruchir Sharma, at a book launch in Singapore.
“No developing country in history has taken on as much debt as China has taken on a marginal basis.”
While Beijing can take comfort that loose money and more deficit spending are averting a more painful slowdown, the rapidly diminishing returns from such stimulus policies, coupled with rising defaults and non-performing loans, are creating what Sharma calls “fertile (ground) for some accident to happen”.
From 2003 to 2008, when annual growth averaged more than 11 per cent, it took just one yuan of extra credit to generate one yuan of GDP growth, according to Morgan Stanley calculations.
16) Wildfire ravages homes
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
FIREFIGHTERS struggled on Sunday to contain a fast-spreading wildfire that killed one person, destroyed 18 homes, closed a highway and forced hundreds of evacuations in the drought-parched canyons north of Los Angeles.
The Sand Fire grew overnight to 22,000 acres (8900 hectares), or more than 34 square miles (88 square km), fuelled by high winds and parched conditions after years of drought.
It was threatening a string of small communities near Santa Clarita, just outside the Angeles National Forest, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department said in a statement.
A 10,262-acre (4155-hectare) fire was also burning in a coastal area of Monterey County, 300 miles (480 km) northwest of Santa Clarita, prompting authorities to expand evacuation orders to several communities on Sunday afternoon, said Cal Fire spokeswoman Amber Anderson.
One person suffered non-life-threatening injuries and one structure was destroyed, Anderson said.
The Santa Clarita-area fire, first reported on Friday afternoon, has forced about 1500 residents to evacuate their homes and destroyed at least 18 homes, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said in a statement.
All the affected communities, about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, are in or around the San Gabriel Mountains. The area is dotted with multimillion-dollar homes.
About 100 commercial buildings in the path of the fire are under mandatory evacuation orders, fire officials said.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted on Sunday afternoon that an “unexpected wind event” forced officials to rescind a plan to allow residents to re-enter certain areas.
“All evacuations will remain in place,” the department said.
The California Highway Patrol tweeted that the 14 Freeway was closed to traffic in both directions because of the fire threat.
The remains of an unidentified person were found late on Saturday inside a charred vehicle in the path of the blaze. The exact cause of death had not been immediately determined, fire officials said.
They added that they expected extreme heat, strong winds and parched rugged terrain to continue to hamper the efforts of the more than 1600 firefighters battling the blaze. The wildfire was only 10 percent contained on Sunday and the cause of was still under investigation.
“This is the fifth year of an ongoing drought, so we have very extreme fire behavior,” Los Angeles County Fire Department chief Daryl Osby said at a news conference on Sunday afternoon.
“These are not normal times.”
17) More doctors trained in Cuba returning to Vanuatu
By Anita Roberts
The four Cuban trained ni-Vanuatu medical students are expected to be returning home early next month after graduation.
Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 8:00 am
More Ni-Vanuatu medical students will be returning home soon from the Latin America Medical School (ELAM) in Cuba after graduation this year to join their colleagues from last year to serve the country’s public heath sector.
The Ministry of Health last year recorded the highest number of overseas-trained medical students making their way into the workforce.
These graduates are now undertaking their placements in different hospitals and clinics around Vanuatu.
Another four medical students at ELAM graduated as doctors in medicine this month.
They are: Bradley Ilo Wai from Ambae, Lidency Valele (Santo), Jenneth Jeantino (Malekula) and Ruth Nalpini (Tanna).
They are expected to return to Vanuatu on the second week of August.
Another four will be graduating in October this year increasing the number of this year’s graduates to eight, according to information from Cuba.
The new graduates are part of the first medical personnel to be trained in Cuba under the Cuban sponsorship.
As of 2015, 25 ni-Vanuatu medical students have studied in Cuba.
The scholarship scheme aims to strengthen Cuba’s relationship with Oceania but importantly, boost the number of health workers in countries that are badly needed like Vanuatu’s need for doctors.
18) Leprosy no longer a threat in Solomon Islands
10:29 pm GMT+12, 24/07/2016, Solomon Islands
Leprosy disease is no longer an issue for the Solomon Islands, an Advocacy Facilitator for Leprosy disease within the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) says.
Speaking during a health consultation meeting in Honiara, Oliver Merpirla said Solomon Islands was taken off the red list since 1995.
“Solomon Islands was listed as a leprosy free country since 1995, after they have achieve the global scale of 0.9 per 10000 in leprosy cases.”
Currently, Solomon Islands has put leprosy under control with a scale of 0.7 per 10,000 persons.
“It is a positive indication – an indication that we have successfully removed leprosy.”
However, Merpirla said their department in MHMS will continue to monitor the disease.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS
19) Avoid becoming victims of NCD’s: Fiji President
10:47 pm GMT+12, 25/07/2016, Fiji
A report on Fiji’s health status for the past 30 years shows an increasing trend in diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
Fijian President, Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote made the remarks while meeting with the middle management officials of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services on non communicable diseases.
A World Health Organisation report says Fiji has the second highest rate of NCD related deaths in the Pacific which means that Fijians are dying young.
WHO says due to this the potential loss of effective labor force by 2040 in Fiji will be 16.4 percent.
The President says these statistics are alarming.
“We will all agree that Fiji’s status on NCDs is extremely unfavorable. They not only project a very poor image of our Nation, but they, importantly, reflect a trend of very bad decision-making on the part of Fijians.”
As Fiji’s Champion in the fight against NCD’s, he has urged everyone to make the right dietary choices and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS
20) New Kindy Classroom opens
By Godwin Ligo
Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 8:00 am
Ecole Publique Centreville has a new modern permanent Kindergarten Classroom. The new modern classroom was officially open yesterday which was the Children’s Day.
In his speech during the official opening of the new modern Kindergarten classroom, the School Principal Godfrey Garoleo, told the parents, the children and the invited guests that since January 2016 up to yesterday, the school has spent over Vt8 Million upgrading and expanding on a number of the development projects in Centreville School which provides education for 785 students from Kindergarten to primary and secondary levels.
Some of the major development include: the new outdoor sports facilities that are already being used not only by Centreville students but professional clubs throughout Port Vila, the total security fencing around the whole school compound, renovations of the students kitchen and dining hall, improvement on other school facilities and the new school kindergarten that was officially opened yesterday by the Kindergarten students and assisted by the Port Vila City Lord Mayor Ulrich Sumptoh, and the Shefa Provincial Principal Education Officer (PEO) Yona Jonathan, witnessed by school Council Members, staff, students and parents and a special committee responsible for the Centreville Kindergarten children.
The construction costs of the new Centreville Kindergarten classroom, is included in the Vt8 million development funds of the school over the January-July 2016 period.
“As it is Children’s Day today, I wish to remind the parents and all of us that the children are the greatest and the best gift from God,” he said.
“The parents must give special attention to their children and care for their breath which is from God.”
He acknowledged the presence of the Lord Mayor, the Shefa Provincial Council PEO Jonathan, the School Council, the parents and the children, the Pentecost Custom Dancers for taking the time to be present on the occasion.
21) FREE EDUCATION UP TO YEAR 10
By Anita Roberts
Yesterday’s Children’s Day march through town. 2016 marks 26 year since Vanuatu begun celebrating Children’s Day
Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 8:00 am
The Minister of Education and Training (MOET), Jean Pierre Nirua, took the opportunity during Children’s Day yesterday to announce the Government’s plan to extend free education from Year 6 to Year 10.
Free education has just been introduced in Vanuatu, and parents whose children are attending Year 1 to 6 are lucky not to pay tuition fee in most government schools.
For those without access to ‘public’ schools, the cost of education is not cheap.
Minister Nirua said his ministry will push the government very hard for free education to reach Year 10.
“The MOET which I lead will lobby to gain public support; it will go as far as reaching the prime minister’s office including the leader of opposition to find the required resources for implementing this initiative,” he declared.
Though Vanuatu has been introduced to free primary education, there are still children who may not continue beyond Class 6 because of low wages earned by their parents.
Parents, community leaders and politicians must understand that every child has a right to be educated thus, should take appropriate measures in ensuring everyone access education.
Referring to the theme ‘Everyone should support children’s learning by enrolling all our children into Class 1 at age 6’, Minister Nirua urged parents to think carefully when choosing which schools for their child to go to and when or at what age they want him/her to attend school.
Starting school early gives a child the chance of being academically bright than those who start later, he pointed out.
“According to our enrollment statistics, a lot of children enter Class 1 at age 8 to 12 even at 18. This is a concern that needs to be corrected, he said.
“Children learn quickly during early age and that is the point of time we need to concentrate more with them.”
Nirua also told the audience that the MOET will soon trial a new bilingual policy to ensure that future Vanuatu children are skilled in both English and French languages as provided for under the Constitution.
Following his speech, the minister and colleague ministers Ronald Warsal from the Ministry of Justice and Community Services and Ralph Regenvanu from the Ministry of Lands joined the children at the field in front of Saralana Stage to release balloons into the sky to mark the MOET’s Right of School Campaign launch.
The campaign will begin in Port Vila but will be be rolled out to other islands.
Yesterday’s program was run by the children, starting off with a march from Fung Kuei through the main town up to Saralana drawing a crowd of nearly 1,000 people.
Following the march which passed through the middle of town before wending its way up to the park, speeches and activities were accompanied by a rare treat: helium balloons were passed around to anxiously awaiting children.
Many of them had never held one before.
The annual holiday was marked this year by a programme celebrating children’s right to education, to security and to a healthy upbringing.
22) 110716DON’T INTERFERE CALL
By Tom Kathoa
Schools Boards of Governors and Managements in Bougainville have been warned not to interfere with the work and responsibilities of teachers.
The warning was issued by the Chairman of the Provincial Education Board, Tony Tsora.
Mr. Tsora said the roles and responsibilities of teachers are separate from that of the boards of governors and boards of managements.
He said this misunderstanding and usurping of powers by some school authorities has often resulted in schools not operating and performing the way they should.
The chairman has called for a more united approach to the running of their respective schools for the betterment of the children and Bougainville as a whole.
Mr. Tsora said he is planning to conduct more awareness workshops on the role and responsibilities of teachers, boards of governors and managements.
He further said that school boards come directly under the Provincial Education Board.Dawnfm
5:01 pm GMT+12, 25/07/2016, Papua New Guinea
It is smooth sailing for Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his coalition Government until the next general election because the time limit on moving motion of no-confidence in a Prime Minister will expire tomorrow.
The relative peace the government will be enjoying is guaranteed under section 145(2)(a) and 145(b) of the Constitution despite speculations that the Opposition may go back to the Supreme Court to seek redress alleging the hijack of the process by the Speaker.
Any other move to make another attempt in tabling another vote notice will be futile as the provisions of the law is against any moves now to topple the Prime Minister.
Section 145(a) and (b) are as follows respectively:
*that a motion of no-confidence in the Prime Minister moved during the first four years of the shall not be allowed unless it nominates a Prime Minister; and
*that a motion of no-confidence moved within 12 months before the fifth anniversary of the date fixed for the return of writs at the previous general election shall not be allowed if it nominates the next Prime Minister.
According to former Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet, this means that a motion can be moved but without naming an alternate Prime Minister.
He said if the motion is moved and voted on successfully after July 27, Parliament will be dissolved and the general election declared early – it will be declared before the fixed date for the handing down of writs.
And any attempt to move another vote of no-confidence through the courts will not be supported by a faction of the Opposition led by Sumkar MP Ken Fairweather who has threatened to pull out and support the Government in the middle bench.
Fairweather said he and other Opposition MPs said they will not support any more court cases.
He said that he has discussed with several MPs in the Opposition and they have also agreed that it was a waste of time going to court again. “I will not support any more votes of no-confidence court cases as it was clear that we lost big time.
“I will move to middle benches if this happens again or simply vote with government. We must go back home and work, work, work, and do something for the people that matter more than all of us,” he said.
“Let the courts now deal with the issues that surround our leaders and especially Prime Minister and focus on doing work for the next remaining months, and we see each other in the 2017 National Election,” Fairweather said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
24) PM O’Neill announces plans of Cabinet reshuffle
7:54 pm GMT+12, 24/07/2016, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill plans to announce a Cabinet reshuffle this week to resolve some critical issues heading into the future.
He remains Prime Minister after defeating a vote of no-confidence in him with an overwhelming 85-21 votes Friday.
The vote last Friday was one-way traffic as a far better orchestrated Government side boasting more than two-thirds majority took to the floor of Parliament to face the challenge from the Opposition.
The Cabinet changes are imminent to fill the vacancy in the important Petroleum and Energy Ministry left by the “jump” of PPP leader to the Opposition in a move to oust O’Neill.
Prime Minister O’Neill is also expected to reward his coalition partners, National Alliance and United Resource Party, who stood steadfast during those challenging two weeks.
“We will be undertaking a restructure of our ministerial portfolio arrangements this week, and this is the team that will take us to the election in 2017. The new lineup will place our Government in an even stronger position to communicate with relevant parties and resolve outstanding issues including tertiary students, landowner equity issues including issues on Bougainville and the Panguna mine and LNG-related landowner, and also Ok Tedi landowner issues.
“We have to restore heart and hope to our landowners who have raised very serious concerns.
“Cabinet will address each of these matters on Thursday and I will make a formal announcement thereafter,” he said.
Meanwhile, the special sitting of parliament as ordered by the Supreme Court to deal with the motion of no-confidence against the Prime Minister raises a lot of confusion in regard to the separation of powers.
Morobe Governor Kelly Naru called on Parliament and the executive to seek a judicial review on the matter.
He said that the July 12 orders to reconvene parliament raises a number of serious constitutional issues, principal among which is the notion of the principle of separation of powers.
He said the Constitution, section 99(2) provides for the three principal arms of Government, namely the National Parliament, the National Executive, and the National Judicial system comprising the Courts
“Under section 99(3) of the Constitution it is stated: in principle, the respective powers and function of the three arms shall be kept separate from each other.
“This is the constitutional basis and the source of the principle of separation of powers by the three arms of government.
“Under the principle of separation of powers there is a requirement and need for mutual respect to be maintained at all times between the three arms of the Government and in our situation between the Judiciary and the National Parliament.
“In this respect, Parliament has no right to interfere with the functioning of the Courts in the discharge of their judicial function to dispense justice. Likewise the Courts have no power to interfere with the way in which Parliament goes about to conduct its businesses.
“The only qualification imposed on these two arms of Government in the discharge of their respective powers and functions is that both arms of Government must act within the requirement of the Constitution.”
Naru said pertinent and relevant constitutional issues must be the subject of a constitutional reference by Parliament to the Supreme Court to get judicial clarity on the demarcation and mutual co-existence and functioning of the principle of separation of powers between Parliament and the Judiciary.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
25) OPMC must justify $1.6M trip: Opposition
Published: 26 July 2016
THE Parliamentary Opposition Group is shocked by media revelations that the Prime Minister’s 16-men delegation trip to Taiwan is costing taxpayers SBD $1.6million.
In a statement on Monday, the Opposition Group called on the Office of the Prime Minister & Cabinet (OPMC) to justify the total cost of the trip.
“The amount is not only outrageous but it is also unbelievable and unjustifiable,” the opposition said.
The Opposition Group understands that the Republic of China (ROC) Taiwan have met the total costing (airfares, accommodation, food) for eight people (Ministers & Government MPs) including the Prime Minister and his wife.
As such, the statement said the Government only footed the bill for the other eight people which consist of accompanying officials.
“If ROC has met expenses for the Prime Minister and his wife with other Ministers and MPs, then why does the Prime Minister need an imprest totaling $1,050,312.00 for this trip?
“This is unjustifiable. Taxpayers of this country need to know why they are footing that much for this trip,” it said.
According to Finance Ministry documents which was published in the mainstream and social media, the costing of the trip are as follows;
· Total imprest-SBD $1,050,312.00
· Airfares for 8 people- $106,866.20
· Perdiums for 16 people-$ 459,967.97
The statement added the figures above do not include the expenses of the other eight people which include the Prime Minister, his wife, ministers and MPs.
“The OPMC must speak up and explain.”
The Parliamentary Opposition Group acknowledged that this excessive cost of overseas delegation has been a practice not only by DCCG but successive Governments and it needs to stop.
The Opposition Group also criticized the Prime Minister describing him as a ‘hypocrite’ because during his time as Opposition Leader, he was outspoken against huge delegations as such, yet the Prime Minister has done the opposite.
The Opposition Group has reiterated its call for the OPMC to explain the role of each of the Prime Minister’s 16 member delegation.
“This is important for transparency and accountability purposes as it will also explain the value taxpayers are footing for this trip,” the Parliamentary Opposition emphasized.
The Opposition Group also challenged the Government to start to act responsibly and to provide reports of its overseas trips so that people know what positive returns the country gains from these trips.Solomon Star
26) Alarm over ‘illegal’ property purchases
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
SOME of Fiji’s private islands have been sold locally and overseas by ‘illegal real estate agents’.
This was revealed at the Real Estate Agent’s National Workshop at Novotel hotel in Lami yesterday.
It was reported that foreign agents flew to Fiji on a visitor’s visa, made property purchases and flew back without being caught by the authorities.
And the workshop heard that local agents tend to lose commission and money is not spent locally. Savusavu real estate firm Ki-Maren (Fiji) Ltd owner Aren Nunnink said a person from overseas advertised a local prime property in the dailies and websites but did not have a local licence to sell.
“They (foreign agents) fly in and out with a visitor’s visa and the Real Estate Agents Licensing Board (REALB) seems to be powerless,” Mr Nunnink argued yesterday.
REALB deputy chairman Matt Myers said this was a real problem and as a board they had no regulatory control of somebody who was not in the country.
“We have been looking at this and it’s an issue. We have a local agent who is working with foreign agents who are not licensed here. We cannot regulate somebody who is in New Zealand. So they are coming into the country illegally, that’s an immigration issue.”
Mr Myer said they were working with the Immigration Department on how to handle the situation.
“It’s an issue that we are trying the best way to get there because we know it’s a concern.”
Investment Fiji manager investment facilitation Ritesh Gosai said the arrival of illegal real estate agents should be controlled at the port of entry.
27) Youths tap into digital age
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
GROWING up in the digital age has given youths increased expectations for transparency and accountability in the government and political process.
Social media expert Ruici Tio said youths, including those in Fiji, had access to vast information through the internet and may never experience a world without internet.
Mr Tio, who is the head of innovation with Bangkok Communications company Love Frankie, was in Suva as part of the Valuing Voices advocacy project implemented by the British Council and Save the Children.
“I’m still learning about the digital context in Fiji but one of the key similarities, with many countries in Asia, is that it’s a mobile first market and this means people’s first exposure and use of the internet is through a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet.
“I feel like marketers have long realised that youth voices matter, especially youths being the next generation of consumers. I think those working in governance or development need to put the same emphasis on youth as the next generation of leaders, activists, artists, and engaged citizens.
“We’ve seen in the last few years that a connected world can also accelerate social and environmental problems, from climate change to migration crisis and violent extremism,” he said.
Mr Tio said the biggest strength of social media was that it gave a voice to marginalised groups of society.
“In the past, a group with limited resources would have to organise a protest or get the attention of mass media, to be heard.”Fijitimes
28) PNG reliant on global prices
The National, Tuesday July 26th, 2016
ANZ PNG chief executive officer Mark Baker says the performance of the country’s economy is influenced significantly by trends in global commodity prices.
Baker said as such, ANZ expected the current pressure to continue for the rest of the year.
Baker was commenting following questions about the national economy for the remainder of the year.
Meanwhile Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker said there had been some encouraging trends over recent months, giving positive stimulus to the local economy, notably strengthening of gold prices (on the back of global financial instability) and a modest improvement in energy prices (oil and gas) during second quarter, and re-commencement of Ok Tedi production on a reduced scale from March. He said cocoa prices remained firm, and there’s been a moderate improvement in coffee prices, coinciding with an improved year of coffee crop.
“The trade balance is firmly positive, based upon this and the constant shipments of LNG, but as a result of the severe cut in imports over recent months, but overall economic activity has been substantially reduced, partly as a result of the squeeze on foreign exchange, not only affecting imports, but also businesses dependent in part upon overseas supplies,” Barker said,
He said it would take some time to work through backlog of accumulated debts, with smaller PNG-owned firms most affected, but even larger companies suffering.
“The lower kina value has certainly contributed to higher inflation but improves local export earnings and stimulates some import substitution, albeit handicapped by capacity constraints, which are determined by various factors, including in some cases by lack of foreign exchange and overseas inputs, so getting out of the self-reinforcing downward spiral is needed for the economy to return to recovery mode,” he said.
Barker however said there was a need for a supplementary budget to the 2016 budget at some point as revenue had remained below what the Government had forecasted in the first quarter.
“Cutting expenditure to live within revenue can of course be achieved, but only at the expense of discontinuation of important public expenditure.”
29) PM Sogavare invites more Australian investors into Solomon Islands
7:56 pm GMT+12, 24/07/2016, Australia
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has invited more Australian businesses to invest in Solomon Islands to the extent of making Australia the leading source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country.
The Prime Minister made the invitation in his keynote address at the 8th Australia-Solomon Islands Business Forum in Brisbane, Australia, Friday.
He said Australian businesses and investors who are operating in Solomon Islands are valuable to the Solomon Islands economy and the Solomon Islands Government is grateful for the jobs, services and industry leadership they are offering in the country.
“I would like to take this opportunity to extend an invitation to other Australian investors to invest in Solomon Islands. In fact, as neigbours and good friends, we should see more of each other.
“This closeness is currently not fully reflected in the level of trade between our two countries and the Solomon Islands Government would like to believe the onset of Pacer-plus is bound to change the situation.
“We want to see more Australian businesses in Solomon Islands so that Australia can be our number one source of FDI. At present Australia ranks third after Malaysia and China and even it terms of value trade, Australia ranks second to China in receiving the bulk of Solomon Islands exports.”
The Prime Minister said up to June this year, there were a total of 48 Australian investors doing business in Solomon Islands and of this figure, 17 were newly registered businesses with a total investment value of SBD$78.7 million (US$10.1 million).
“These are encouraging statistics and we are hoping that by the year’s end, there will be more than 30 new Australian businesses registered to do business in Solomon Islands based on the trend for last year.
“This could return a total value of investment of around SBD$1.1 billion (US$141 million) – a credible figure that can still increase if more Australian businesses are keen to come to Solomon Islands.”
The Prime Minister said he believes these statistics can be improved, adding that the forum could work ‘hard’ in identifying the barriers and recommend ways of addressing them head-on.
The Prime Minister said pacer-plus has the potential of improving market access for Solomon Islands exports and the reason why Solomon Islands is leading the pacer-plus negotiations is that it strongly supports this regional trade agreement.
“I believe the potential for trade expansion will pull more Australian FDIs to Pacific Island countries including Solomon Islands. More FDIs, especially in export production is bound to increase exports for Solomon Islands and hopefully sway the balance of trade in goods in our favour,” he added.
The Prime Minister told the forum that the Solomon Islands Government under the leadership of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government is working diligently to create better opportunities for business growth with the help of its partners.
“The Bretton Woods institutions have helped us work on reducing the cost of doing business and we are working with other partners to create a better business environment to support business development.
‘Our currency is stable and balance of payments is improving. Although this is mainly due to the increased flow of development assistance payments, they do add to our foreign reserves and so we are happy.”
The Prime Minister also spoke of the Special Economic Zones initiative of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government as part of efforts to lure FDIs into the export production sector.
“The groundwork for this policy initiative has been completed and we are soon tabling the Special Economic Zones legislation which will seek to protect the investments so that investors can feel safe from the harsh socio-geographic dynamics that is often a feature of small developing countries,” he added.
Further to the SEZs initiative, the Prime Minister also spoke of the recently enacted Lands and Titles (Amendment) Act 2016, which he said would open up alienated registered land for national purposes and also business development.
“We are ready to facilitate land security for Australian businesses keen to do business in Solomon Islands. The recently enacted Lands and Titles (Amendment) Act 2016 would open up alienated registered land for national purposes and also business development.
“So please use the opportunity of this forum to talk to our investment and industry officials and let us know how best we can help you,” he said.
30) PT&I’s Pacific Hub opens at Auckland Food Show
5:04 pm GMT+12, 25/07/2016, New Zealand
Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) has partnered with eight Pacific Island companies to promote a range of high quality food and beverage products from the Pacific Islands at the Auckland Food Show (AFS) starting this Thursday at the ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane Auckland.
The four-day event will feature eight Pacific Island companies at PT&I’s Pacific Hub stand that will showcase and sell their products including, coffee, water, biscuits, coconut oil, beer, chocolate and vanilla. The companies are Banz Kofi from Papua New Guinea; Carpenters Fiji Limited, FMF Foods Limited and J Punja NZ Limited from Fiji; Samoa Breweries and Pacific Oil Limited from Samoa; C-Corp Limited from the Solomon Islands and Niue Vanilla International from Niue.
The Auckland Food Show is aimed at consumers with some 300 stands and more than 35,000 expected visitors. The show picks up on consumer trends toward fresh ingredients and flavours from around the world, sourcing top recipes and cooking at home for friends and family. It is expected to pull in around $6.3 million in revenue.
“This is the second food show that PT&I has supported this year as part of our food and beverage strategy,” PT&I NZ Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade says. “AFS is for Pacific Island companies that are established and seeking to strengthen their consumer presence in New Zealand; it’s predominantly a brand building exercise for Pacific Island companies.”
Many of the products on the stand are already available in the New Zealand market through various retailers including the major supermarkets. “The Auckland Food Show is a good opportunity for the Pacific Island businesses to interact directly with thousands of consumers. Importantly consumers can buy a range of Pacific products at this event,” said PT&I Trade Development Manager, Joe Fuavao.
“From the award-winning Vailima beer from Samoa to premium Arabica coffee from Papua New Guinea, we have a range of Pacific products at the Pacific Hub stand to appeal a variety of consumers. Additionally, we have handcrafted chocolates made with cacao beans from the Solomon Islands and a range of biscuits, wraps and bottled water from Fiji. Discover more at our stand, P5.”
Celebrity chef and award winning Pacific cook book writer Robert Oliver will be in the Whirlpool Cooking Theatre alongside entertainer Cindy of Samoa – an internationally acclaimed fa’fafine renowned for her impersonations of Shirley Bassey, Whitney Houston and Tina Turner. Cindy’s show is considered to be one of the top 10 things to do in Samoa and she’s a regular at the Sky City Casino and corporate and charity events throughout New Zealand.
SOURCE : PT&I/PACNEWS
31) Vanuatu conspiracy trial adjourned
8:01 pm on 26 July 2016
Vanuatu’s Supreme Court has again adjourned the trial of former members of parliament charged with conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.
11 of the 14 MPs sent to jail late last year for corruption and bribery, along with three lawyers, had also been charged with conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.
The charges followed the pardoning of the MPs on the bribery convictions, by the speaker of parliament, Marcelino Pepite, in his role as acting president.
Pepite is one of those convicted and jailed for bribery.
The trial is now set to begin on 1 August because defending lawyers were not ready for today’s hearing.
Most of the 14 MPs in prison for bribery are serving 3 year prison sentences, with one, former prime minister Moana Carcasses, serving a four year term.RNZI
32) Illegal firearms confiscated in Bougainville
4:49 pm GMT+12, 25/07/2016, Papua New Guinea
Police engaged in the recent South Bougainville by-election have busted an illegal firearm factory in one of the districts in South Bougainville.
According to police, on June 30, a team of police personnel led by Central regional police commander Inspector Januarius Vosivai after being tipped off that youths were manufacturing illegal firearms raided a small hamlet near Ameau police station in Siwai district and confiscated three high-powered WWII 303 rifles.
During the raid two suspects were arrested.
The suspects after they were arrested were interviewed and from the interview they revealed that the firearms were not theirs, but belonged to other people who had given them to be fixed and sold for money. The suspect further revealed that they have already sold similar firearms to other people.
Apart from the firearms confiscated, police also found a collection of old World War II firearms parts like rifle barrels, rifle bolts and magazines stacked in one of the suspect’s houses.
The discovery of these illegal firearms in the hands of youths in rural districts have prompted the Bougainville chief of police Deputy Commissioner Francis Tokura to issue a strong warning to youths to refrain from engaging in such illegal activities as this will do them any good..
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
33) Academic urges caution over Fiji defence links
4:54 pm GMT+12, 25/07/2016, New Zealand
A specialist in international defence relations Paul Sinclair says Australia and New Zealand should be wary of stepping up defence assistance to Fiji.
Last week a new Lowy Institute report which urges the two larger countries to rebuild defence ties particularly in light of Russia’s arms deal with Fiji was released.
Sinclair ran the New Zealand Defence Force’s Mutual Assistance Programme at the time of coups in Fiji and said it was unwise for New Zealand to establish a defence relationship with Fiji so quickly after the 2014 election.
“I feel until we can be absolutely certain that the coup culture has disappeared out of Fiji, and I’m not that certain of that at the moment, I think we should step quite carefully in that regard.”
Sinclair said New Zealand should concentrate its efforts on humanitarian support rather than defence assistance and should also look at bolstering the Fiji police.
34) Solomon Islands police unaware of talks for extended AFP presence
10:50 pm GMT+12, 25/07/2016, Solomon Islands
The commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force says he is not aware of any talks for a longer term Australian police presence in the country.
Frank Prendergast was responding to media reports that a permanent Australian Federal Police presence was being planned for after the departure of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands in June next year.
Prendergast said as far has he was concerned ongoing talks regarding the future development of the Solomons police centre on a return to normal relations not only with Australia and New Zealand but also with police forces across the Pacific.
“What we are talking about is some fairly normal continued assistance with police development. I think as commissioner of the RSIPF I would welcome that support.
It is really about bringing things back to the normal police to police relationships. I think what people have forgotten is that what is happening with RAMSI has been out of the ordinary and it was designed to respond to a specific situation. That situation is finished now,” he said.
35) PM to join in case
The National, Tuesday July 26th, 2016
By DEMAS TIEN
THE Supreme Court has granted leave to the Ombudsman Commission and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to join as interveners in a reference relating to 11 Constitutional questions that need to be answered by the court regarding a K3 billion government loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS).
The court also granted leave to the former Chief Ombudsman Commissioner Rigo Lua and acting Chief Ombudsman Commissioner Phoebe Sangetari to join as interveners in the reference.
The referrer of the reference was Justice Catherine Davani.
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia granted leave to the Ombudsman Commission, O’Neill, Lua and Sangetari because they were parties in the originating summons in the national court. The court directed the Ombudsman Commission to serve the reference to Attorney-General Ano Pala and file affidavit of service.
The high court also directed the referral judge Davani to produce statement of facts regarding the reference to the court before Monday when the matter returns for further directions.
Davani made an order on Jan 28 last year regarding the originating summons filed by O’Neill that the Ombudsman Commission, Lua and Sangetari, be restrained from conducting investigation into O’Neill’s part in the alleged improper borrowing of the K3 billion loan to purchase 10 per cent shares in Oil Search Ltd.
The UBS loan was approved by the national executive council on March 6, 2014.
Davani also ordered that pursuant to Section 18(2) of the Constitution, 11 Constitutional questions would be referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
One of the questions was whether the Ombudsman Commission had lawful authority, power or jurisdiction to make any comments in any report distributed or published by it (whether provisional, final or otherwise), which were adverse to or derogatory of the prime minister if such comments required an interpretation or application of provisions of constitutional laws by the Ombudsman Commission.
The Ombudsman Commission appealed the decision of Davani but the court dismissed the appeal two weeks ago because no formal documents were filed in court.
36) Man’s bribery case adjourned as cops gather evidence
The National, Tuesday July 26th, 2016
THE Waigani Committal Court yesterday adjourned the case of a man charged with bribing a policeman so that investigators can complete their evidence on the case.
Kennedy Amu, 32, of Kepai village in Chuave district, Chimbu allegedly offered K680 to Senior Constable John Max of Gordon police station in Port Moresby as an inducement to stop him from performing his duties.
Senior magistrate Cosmas Bidar commended the police officer for carrying out his duties honestly.
Bidar said that bribing activities were becoming prevalent between people who were arrested and police officers. He said police would conduct an investigation and collect statements from witnesses.
Police alleged that on June 25, Amu was brought into Gordon police station to be questioned about the robbery, break and enter and stealing along Spoonbil Drive in Erima on June 21.
It was alleged that Amu’s vehicle, a white Toyota Camry, registration number CAV 613, was involved in the incident. Police also alleged that Amu was in possession of stolen mobile phone when he was brought in for questioning.
Amu allegedly offered K680 to Max and asked for the matter to be dropped and for him to be set free.
The matter returns to court on Aug 23. Bidar extended Amu’s K500 police bail.
37) Climate financing critical: Fiji AG
7:52 pm GMT+12, 24/07/2016, Fiji
The Fijian Government is working with other Pacific Island countries on critical area of climate financing.
Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Makereta Konrote says climate finance is an interest to Pacific Island countries in terms of development.
“It is one of the areas that are critical to access. Climate financing is something that Government officials need more understanding to enable us to access these funds. We have host facilities that are available out there,” Konrote said at the Pacific Finance Ministers Meeting on Denarau Island in Nadi last Friday.
To make this possible, the Fijian Government has partnered with UNESCAP and has allocated $US100,000 ($F207,600) in its 2016-2017 National Budget
“In March this year, Fiji at the high level development meeting organised by UNESCAP, proposed the need for climate financing capacity-building in the region.
“The idea is to provide training for our governments and officials and we have the strong support from UNESCAP and some of the member countries that were represented at that meeting.
“And as the result, the Fijian Government in partnership with UNESCAP has now finance training facility available and in our 2016-2017 National Budget, we have allocated about $US100,000 to start this training initiative.,” She said.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
38) Paris ‘high ambition coalition’ to tackle unfinished business
5:07 pm GMT+12, 24/07/2016, Austria
The HAC is back. A coalition of 35 countries committed to tougher climate change policies has re-emerged at the UN’s Montreal Protocol talks in Vienna.
Born at the 2015 Paris climate summit, the “high ambition coalition (HAC)” is made up of Pacific island, African and Caribbean governments, EU member states, the US, Mexico, Canada and Brazil.
The broad alliance of developed and developing countries was widely credited with ensuring the Paris meeting ended in agreement, but few believed it would survive once the summit ended.
The group met on Friday on the sidelines of a critical round of UN talks on phasing out HFCs, a potent set of greenhouse gases used in fridges and air conditioning.
U.S secretary of state John Kerry, Canadian environment minister Catherine Mckenna and EU climate chief Miguel Arias Canete are among those attended.
“It is clear there is still a lot of work to do to secure a safe climate future… if we are to succeed, our high ambition coalition must again take the lead,” Marshall Islands climate ambassador Tony de Brum told Climate Home.
“We are already looking at what we can do to ramp up ambition and bring the Paris Agreement into force this year, and how best to bring ‘the Paris effect’ to other forums like the Montreal Protocol.
“There is a huge opportunity to double down on what we agreed in Paris by agreeing to an ambitious phase out schedule for some of the most potent greenhouse gases.”
Coalition members met at a Paris climate deal signing ceremony in New York this April, and again at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin earlier this month.
Ministers decided on three priorities: bringing the Paris climate deal to enter into force this year, pushing for a global aviation emissions deal and securing radical HFC cuts.
They are keeping quiet on UN shipping talks, where progress towards an emissions target for the sector has stalled.
With 0.5C of warming at stake, climate vulnerable countries see the Montreal Protocol negotiations as a critical step in their drive to limit temperature rises to 1.5C.
Data from US agencies NASA and NOAA suggests global land and sea temperatures have edged close to 1.3C above pre industrial levels this year, boosted by a rampant El Nino weather event.
The UN has commissioned a special report into warming above 1.5C. Studies show impacts like coral reef destruction, sea level rise and tropical heatwaves kicking in at this threshold.
With ministers from the EU, Canada and Micronesia tasked by the coalition to help deliver an HFC deal when the Montreal Protocol meets again in Kigali, Rwanda this October, de Brum hopes it can again show its worth at the UN.
“I’m very encouraged to hear from our team on the ground in Vienna that such strong progress has been made over the past week,” he said.
“The attendance of Secretary Kerry and so many other ministers shows that a high ambition coalition is already forming there and that the world’s political gaze is very much focused on securing the strongest possible outcome in Kigali.
“The science tells us this this has the potential to wipe off half a degree of warming by the end of the Century – we simply cannot achieve a 1.5C world without it.”.
SOURCE: CLIMATE /
39) Cocoa company trains 1800 farmers in Madang
The National, Tuesday July 26th, 2016
By EHEYUC SESERU
A COCOA beans buyer and exporting company has trained more than 1800 farmers in four areas of Madang for certification.
Madang-based cocoa buyer and exporter Outspan PNG Limited had trained the farmers since June, 2014 on sustainable cocoa production and environmental waste management.
Operations manager Basavaraj M Raj said the company had trained 700 cocoa farmers and fermentation owners in 2014, and 1100 last year.
“The farmers and fermentation shed owners from Usino, Mawan, Transgogol and Marik were trained and then their cocoa site inspected by cocoa auditors for certification under Rainforest Alliance, so they can be paid premium,” he said.
The first rate payment are for farmers who produce cocoa in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. Raj said environmental sustainable practices were not to do laundry in river headwaters, dispose inorganic rubbish properly, and to do pruning of cocoa trees.
He said each area has 500 farmers each and the company has trained 2000 farmers in Madang.
Raj said there were 200 cocoa fermentation owners currently under certification.
“The auditors inspect farmers and their cocoa trees, including the fermentation area.” Deputy Productive Partnership Agriculture Project (PPAP) manager Mathias Faure said the programme was an initiative of World Bank and was implemented by PNG Cocoa Board in the Momase region with eight other agricultural programmes.
40) Monopoly danger
The National, Tuesday July 26th, 2016
THE recent acquisition of InterOil by ExxonMobil Corporation may raise competition issues, Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) says.
Commissioner and chief executive Paulus Ain said yesterday that ICCC was aware of last week’s acquisition announcement.
He said the proposed acquisition may raise competition issues under section 69 of the ICCC Act.
“The ICCC aims to prevent monopolisation that may harm markets in PNG by reducing competitive tension and thus impeding development,” Ain said in a statement.
“ExxonMobil is the leading joint venture partner and the operator of the PNG LNG,” Ain said.
“If this proposed acquisition proceeds, it will give ExxonMobil about 36 per cent stake in the Papua LNG project and other potential LNG projects in the acreages that lnterOil has licence to.
“These interests would consolidate ExxonMobil and that will make it a significant stakeholder in the natural gas projects.”
Ain said it was better to safeguard the potential natural gas industry from being monopolised which may shut out possible competition in the future.
ExxonMobil announced on Friday that it was paying US$2.5billion (about K8 billion) for InterOil.
ICCC raised similar concerns when Oil Search Ltd announced its proposal to acquire InterOil in May.
“The ICCC requires a proper opportunity to analyse independently the likely effects on competition. That can occur if an application is made to the ICCC either for a clearance or authorisation of the proposed acquisition,” Ain said.
“If the transaction proceeds without a clearance or an authorisation from the ICCC, we reserve our rights to institute legal action in court to challenge the acquisition if we ultimately form a concluded view that the acquisition would have some serious negative implications on competition.”
Ain said if ExxonMobil acquired InterOil, both ExxonMobil and Oil Search (the joint venture in PNG LNG) would have significant interest in both leading LNG projects.
Among other proscribed anti-competitive conduct, the ICCC Act also prohibits certain business acquisitions deemed to produce anti-competitive outcome.
“This prohibition is provided in Section 69 of the ICCC Act. There are serious penalties involved for a breach of Section 69, including injunction, divestitures and ban on management under Section 95. In addition, any aggrieved party has the right to take legal action for damages for any loss or damage caused by the acquirer for alleged contravention of Section 69.”
However, Ain said that there were also provisions in the Act for such proposed acquisitions to be cleared or authorised by the ICCC under Sections 81 and 82.
“If the acquisition is cleared or authorised, the acquisition is protected under the ICCC Act.
41) $4m bauxite export next month
7:47 pm GMT+12, 25/07/2016, Fiji
The 70,000 tonnes of bauxite in Bua, Fiji’s Northern Division valued at $4 million (US$2 million) will be exported next month after a year of stagnant export period.
Acting director for mines at the Department of Mineral Resources, Apete Soro, confirmed that bauxite company Aurum Exploration Fiji Ltd had secured an international buyer.
The loading of bauxite would begin at the end of this month for exporting in mid-August.
“Depending on the ship capacity, the plan is to export approximately 70,000 tonnes of bauxite as first shipment in 2016,” Soro said.
The delay of export over the past year, he added, was also because of the sluggish demand in the Chinese bauxite market.
Another contributing factor was the low impurity content of bauxite from Bua.
“Major bauxite buyers target high-grade or high-quality bauxite. Fiji bauxite is not classed as high-grade, hence, the immense challenge faced by Aurum Exploration in securing a market or buyer for Fiji bauxite,” Soro said.
“Due to its low impurity content, there is increasing efficiency of processing plants and reducing processing costs and overall costs of aluminium production.
“The commissioning of a bauxite ore washing plant at Aurum’s Naibulu, Dreketi mine site has assisted greatly in the company’s efforts to remove or reduce impurities in bauxite ore before export and has significantly improved the bauxite ore quality from Naibulu Mine.”
Soro said this had enabled the company to secure a buyer for its first shipment this year.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
42) Pacific loses US$123 million to IUU Fishing, according to FFA Ministerial review
10:37 pm GMT+12, 24/07/2016, Solomon Islands
An independent study conducted by the Forum Fisheries Agency Ministerial Review has found that the Pacific loses US$123 million in revenue from Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing (IUU).
The revelation was made by Forum Fisheries Agency Director General James Movick while opening the FFA judicial conference in Honiara today.
“Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing continues to be an ongoing challenge in our region. It undermines all conservation and management efforts and robs our people of important revenue. However, the FFA has just completed a Ministerial review of our fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance mechanisms, as tasked by our Forum Leaders, said Movick.
Ministers welcomed the review and work done towards combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU Fishing) in the Pacific region.
“It is crucial that all who may come across current and emerging technologies in their work have the opportunity to discuss and fully understand such technologies, he said.
Movick said one of the inputs to that Ministerial Review was an independent study that has more reliably analysed and quantified the nature and extent of IUU fishing in the FFA member region.
“That study revealed that the value of product associated with some form of IUU fishing in our region is $US616 million, of which about $123 million is lost economic rent – or money that could have come to PIC treasuries.
While this scale of IUU and its economic impact on PICs is significantly less than had previously been estimated, it nonetheless is still a sizeable amount and we must continue to efficiently utilise our current monitoring, control and surveillance tools as well as keep improving or progressing new and innovative methods to combat IUU Fishing,” he explained.
Movick said FFA recognise the crucial role of the judiciary in interpreting the law and administering justice according to the law.
“As we improve on our current technologies and develop new technologies we need to be sure that our legal frameworks to utilise those technologies are updated, and sound. We welcome your discussions from your own expert perspectives on such technologies.
“Your comments, insights and questions will assist us to help our members to develop suitable national legislature and regulations that underpin the successful application of these new tools to successful protection of our sovereign rights and laws. We welcome the opportunity for an enhanced understanding of such technologies by this high-level forum, and your elucidation of issues that we should consider,” he said.
43) Booklet outlines basic human rights laws
The National, Tuesday July 26th, 2016
PAPUA New Guinea women and children continue to endure high levels of family and sexual violence with rates of abuse estimated to be among the highest in the world, according to a report by Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF).
To help educate Papua New Guineans understand their rights to address these issues, the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council (CIMC), Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee and other stakeholders produced a booklet – Introduction to Human Rights Law.
CIMC executive officer Wallis Yakam told The National that most people did not know their rights and it was even more challenging in the rural areas with lack of access to information.
“The booklet is all about the laws that we have in the country which have direct implication to human rights,” Yakam said.
“The good thing about this is that it is very basic, without having to guide or help you understand it.
“We have complicated laws but the team has put it together in a layman’s language so anybody on the street can understand it.
“A lot of times we think we don’t have rights in terms of demanding for things that we feel are important in having a better life.
“But according to our existing laws and supported by international laws we have rights and those rights also come with responsibilities so you have to balance it out.
“It’s there for everybody to learn and know about, information is power. It is important that you get informed about these basic things so that you know what’s out there for you to access.
“Credit goes to the officers, they are experts in that area and they were able to pull it together.”
She said the next challenge was getting the book to citizens.
“We have our booklet here but we will rely on our partners and their networks to circulate it and make a difference in somebody’s life,” Yakam said.
The booklet was produced with support from the European Union and World Vision PNG. About 90 copies were printed and they anticipate printing another 800 for distribution.
44) Island bans Papua New Guineans after fight
The National, Tuesday July 26th, 2016
Papua New Guineans have been banned from entering a Torres Straits island in Australia after a fight broke out over the State of Origin game last week, Daru police station commander Inspector Soiwa Ricker said yesterday.
Ricker said Buzi villagers in Western fought with Boigu islanders on Boigu Island in far North Queensland after an argument over the State of Origin game on July 13.
It is understood people from Buzi village and Boigu are related and are only 6km apart.
“It’s just that the international PNG-Australian maritime boundary separates them,” Ricker said.
It was reported that Buzi villagers, who are traditional border crossers, had gone to Boigu in dinghies to watch the third State Of Origin game on TV.
Reports say they terrorised and intimidated Boigu islanders.
Community leaders and police on Boigu ordered the Buzi villagers to return to the mainland.
They are now banned from travelling to Boigau for an indefinite period.
Under the border treaty between the two countries, these villagers in Western can freely enter Boigu and other Torres Strait Islands on traditional border crossing permits.
Torres Strait Islands are part of Queensland.
The islanders are culturally and genetically Melanesian people.
The Torres Strait Islands Treaty signed by Australia and Papua New Guinea allows free movement (without passports or visas) for traditional activities in a limited zone of the Torres Strait.
45) PNG edge Singapore to win series
The National, Monday July 25th, 2016
BY HUXLEY LOVAI
THE Papua New Guinea Under-21 netball team won their three-match series against the visiting Singapore side 2-1, with a 46-44 victory in game three yesterday.
Having won the opening encounter 47-46 last Friday at the Rita Flynn Netball Complex, the visitors stormed back on Saturday to take game two 48-36 as PNG, perhaps not used to maintaining the intensity, faltered.
Spurred on by a partisan crowd, the home team regained their composure to see off the Singaporeans in a taut contest that easily could have gone the other way.
The games were part of the PNG U21’s preparation for the Regional World Cup netball qualifying tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, from September 24-27.
The matches provided the chance for the next generation of the Pepes to impress the national selectors as they finalise to team that will travel to New Zealand.
PNG’s win in the opening clash was a testament to their tenacity and ability as the team, exhibiting composure and grit to subdue the Singaporeans while showing good temperament to adjust to the pace and pressure of international netball. PNG were then brought back to earth by the visitors in the second fixture 24 hours later, losing by 12-goals. The local women did well to shirk off the loss, putting in a much more polished performance as players started to get more familiar with each other.
Singaporean shooter Lee Pei Shan, using her height and shooting skills, led her side well over the series. The mid-court for Singapore, led by centre and captain Tan Shi Ni, displayed their tactical prowess, controlling the centre and goal-third, while defenders Avelyn Leong and Joanna Ton used their height to limit the PNG’s opportunities at the hoop.
PNG were able to regroup and produce a thrilling finish to the series in the third match, using their speed and athletic ability to edge the Singaporeans. Outstanding for PNG were shooters Boio Peter, Rowena Djengozov and Jeperth Tulapi. In mid-court, Eloise Vele and Nona Gamoga were strong, while defenders in captain Courtney Abel and Serena Ovia worked overtime to keep the Singaporean shooters honest.
46) Ryan ready to lead Fiji to sevens heaven in Rio
10:39 pm GMT+12, 24/07/2016, Fiji
Rugby sevens coach Ben Ryan is mobbed every time he ventures into Suva these days as locals impress upon him how much a first Olympic medal would mean to Fiji.
The bookmakers’ favourites to win the first Olympic rugby union gold medal in 92 years, albeit in the sport’s shorter format, Fiji have wedded a new-found consistency to their traditionally strong skillset under Ryan’s guidance.
The 44-year-old, who can no longer just go into the capital for a “quiet cup of coffee”, is well aware of the expectation piled on him and the side as the countdown continues to the Aug. 5-21 Rio de Janeiro Games.
“In Fiji there is pressure to win every game. There are questions if we don’t,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“It doesn’t matter if we don’t have any money or our best players are injured. They expect us to go onto the field and beat New Zealand South Africa and Australia.”
Fiji has produced some of the greatest players ever to have played the shortened version of the game, such as Waisale Serevi and William Ryder, and their success has allowed the country to wave its flag on the global sporting stage.
Since the introduction of the world sevens series in 1999, however, the team have been struggled with consistentcy, romping through one tournament only to crash out early in the next.
Ryan was brought in to rectify that.
In the 2014/15 season, his second year in charge, he guided the team to their first world sevens series crown in nine years.
They backed that up earlier this year by winning three of the 10 tournaments, but it was their consistency in making at least the semi-finals nine times that has firmed them as Olympics favourites.
After coaching the England sevens side for six years, Ryan joined the Fijians in September 2013, perhaps the worst possible time to have made the switch.
The Fijian Rugby Union encountered financial difficulties after World Rugby cut off funding and he was not paid for months. There was no national training centre, no sponsorship.
The were no clear pathways to the national side, no proper nutritional planning or strength and conditioning programmes.
On the field, a number of players had signed for overseas clubs and were unavailable for sevens selection.
“We were basically starting from scratch,” said Ryan. “In some ways it was a challenge because nothing was working, but as long as I negotiated my way around it properly then it was almost like a blank canvas.”
He brought in a strength and conditioning coach, changed the players’ nutrition away from their traditional high carbohydrate, high sugar diets, and introduced specialist skills coaches and conducted more video analysis.
“You are now seeing the results on the field,” said Ryan.
The players are now centrally contracted, while a crowd-funded national training centre has been built in Pacific Harbour, about an hour southwest of the capital Suva.
“They have really got to grips with the training, the quality of recovery and because we have planned what were going to do in each tournament.
“Prior to that it was a bit unstructured.”
While Ryan’s revamp of the high performance environment undoubtedly played an important role in the team’s improving consistency, there are intangible factors he has discovered that are just as important.
Fijians play rugby sevens from a young age and Ryan suspects most of his players have played as many 300 tournaments before they even hit the world circuit.
That experience ensures Fijian players have an innate feel for, and better understanding of, space on the rugby field.
“Better than anyone else in the world”, Ryan suggests.
In Rio, they will have the chance to prove it.
47) Taiwan assures to help ensure successful hosting of 2023 Pacific Games
10:55 pm GMT+12, 25/07/2016, Taiwan
The Taiwanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr David Tawai Lee said Taipei will work with Honiara to ensure the latter’s successful hosting of the 2023 Pacific Games.
The assurance was given to Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare when they met in Taipei last night prior to a dinner banquet he hosted for the visiting Prime Minister and his delegation.
The eight-day state visit was made at the invitation of the Taiwanese Government.
During the meeting, which was attended by the entire membership of the Prime Minister’s delegation, Prime Minister Sogavare told his host that his Democratic Coalition for Change Government is now working on the concept paper for funding of the main stadium for the games for submission to Taipei and specific talks on this project should be held shortly between the two governments. This concept paper will include the facility design and costing.
He said his government ‘must’ construct sporting facilities that Solomon Islands can be able to continue using and looking after in the long run.
The Taiwanese Foreign Minister in turn congratulated Solomon Islands for its successful bid to host the premier pacific regional games and added that, “Certainly as a true friend of Solomon Islands, we will work with you to ensure a successful 2023 Pacific Games.”
He said it was very brave of Solomon Islands to compete with French Polynesia to bid for the games, adding that Taiwan has had a very humble beginning too like Solomon Islands before gradually developing to its current state.