Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1080 ( Friday 28 October 2016 )


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2) Kalsakau to lead discussions on maritime borders

By Godwin Ligo/Vanuatu Daily Post- 28/10/16

Daily Post published an article in yesterday’s issue with the headline “Kalsakau Heads Maritime Boundary Delimitation Committee”.

We wish to clarify that Leader of the Opposition MP Ishmael Kalsakau will not head the Maritime Boundary Delimitation Committee but he will play a leading role in discussions on maritime borders.

It was only made clear yesterday morning that another Government Official is the Chairman of the Committee, of which MP Kalsakau is part of and that he would lead in dialogue and discussions.

This was also confirmed by the Leader of the Opposition to the Daily Post yesterday.

Significant pending unresolved maritime boundaries include the islands of Matthew and Hunter.

3) Kanaks march over New Caledonia roll

Several thousand people have rallied in Noumea to call for New Caledonia’s indigenous Kanaks to be automatically enrolled for the independence vote in 2018.

According to the march organisers, 5,000 people joined yesterday’s rally while police say 2,000 people were at the march.

The roll is restricted to long-term residents who are also enrolled on the general list.

The Kanaks have a customary status but an estimated 25,000 of them are not on the general roll and therefore are at risk of missing out on the poll which is part of the decolonisation process.

This comes amid claims of fraud by the French state in the vetting process.

The rally came less than two weeks before the signatories of the Noumea Accord meet in Paris to review the decolonisation roadmap.

The anti-independence Rassemblement said it is opposed to a referendum as a vote would be destructive.27/10/16-RNZI

4) Papuan pro-independence leader calls for referendum

A Papuan pro-independence leader Filep Karma has called on the Indonesian government to hold a referendum on independence.

Mr Karma is a former political prisoner who was released last year after being jailed for 11 years for raising the banned Morning Star flag.

He told the Jakarta Post that the long-demanded referendum was a win-win solution for both the government and the Papuan people, who still suffered from mistreatment and abuse despite the region being granted special autonomy status.

Mr Karma said the referendum would provide a fair mechanism for Papuans to decide for themselves whether they wanted to remain as part of the unitary state of Republic of Indonesia or independence.

He said should the referendum result show that Papuans wanted to remain Indonesian citizens, the rebels would stop demand separation.

He said however that the government should also promise Papuans a peaceful transfer to independence if the referendum showed otherwise.

Indonesia annexed the former Dutch colony after a 1969 UN-backed vote which is widely seen as a farce.27/10/16-RNZI

5a ) W Papuans to be granted citizenship

October 27, 2016The National
Article Views: 32

MORE than 1500 West Papua refugees will be granted Papua New Guinea citizenship towards the end of this year, Parliament has been told.
Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato said Cabinet last November approved action to address the situation of many West Papua refugees living in PNG without official status.
He said this in Parliament yesterday when tabling the 2014 and 2015 annual reports of the Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority (ICSA) as well as to give an update on the agency’s progress and achievements.
“NEC’s decision will move people out of this limbo and enable them to obtain all of the rights and responsibilities of Papua New Guinea citizenship,” Pato said.
“Following this decision, ICSA has commenced the significant and historic task of registering and resolving the status of the thousands of Melanesian brothers and sisters from West Papua who have resided in PNG for many years.
“This is a major achievement which the O’Neill-Dion Government must be congratulated for.
“To settle these new citizens must not only rest well with the Government but with the people too.”

5b) ABG Purchases Shares

Office of the President
26/09/16- Dawn fm Bougainville.

The autonomous arrangement on Bougainville cannot function effectively without an economic revenue stream to sustain it.
The ABG Minister for Economic Development, Fidelis Semoso made the statement during the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s purchase of five hundred thousand shares (K1 per share) in the Bougainville Import and Export General Corporation Limited (BIEG) worth K500, 000.00 last Friday.
“Despite the current economic turmoil in the country the Autonomous Bougainville Government continues to strive to create tangible economic development on Bougainville,” Mr Semoso said.
“The purchase of the shares signifies the ABG’s commitment to give meaning to economic recovery on Bougainville,” Semoso said.
Semoso said that the purchase of the shares did not mean that the government was ignoring local businesses.
“The ABG is committed helping indigenous businesses as shown through our initiative to let locals borrow from the National Development Bank start up or support capital for their businesses,” Semoso said.
Semoso said the K2 million given to NDB to allow locals to loan to support their businesses would be increased next year to allow more stimuli in Bougainville’s economy.
The BIEG is a joint venture between the ABG and a Chinese corporation that is involved in numerous projects in the agriculture and manufacturing sector on Bougainville to create a self-sustaining economic drive in the region.
ABG President Chief Dr John Momis also congratulated Minister Semoso and the Department of Economic Development for the initiative in creating more economic opportunities for Bougainvilleans.
“I want to encourage the people of Bougainville so that we can all be involved in this task of creating a common thrust to empower the people of Bougainville and liberate ourselves from the syndrome of dependency,” the President said.
The President also made mention of the current financial dilemma in Bougainville but he said the people showed exuberance in creating their own business ventures with minimal help from the government and that showed a dynamic movement of people.
Over one million shares in BIEG Limited have already been purchased by Bougainvilleans prior to the ABG’s purchase and this number has been steadily growing.
On behalf of the people of Bougainville the ABG shares will be held by the government’s business arm the Bougainville Public Investment Corporation Limited.
Despite the ABG Shares locals have been paying 500 Kina for their individual shares

6) Supreme Court’s Constitutional case judgement due next Wednesday

1) The Supreme Court will sit next Wednesday to complete the constitutional claims of the 14 ex-MPs in prison for bribery. Former MPs are also giving evidence in the case and Tuesday next week the State Law Office will file its submission in the matter. Judge David Chetwynd will sit at 9am on Wednesday before giving his decision in the constitutional case. Former Public Prosecutor John William Timakata is one appearing on behalf of the SLO. (Radio Vanuatu and Daily Post)

2) Following an announcement in Daily Post earlier this month pointing out that the kastom owners of Bouffa/Bellevue have had only three premiums paid on the 1,200 leases of their 6,020ha of land from the USP Emalus area to the Teouma River, the kastom owning families are beginning planning with Government a town which will rival Port Vila in size. Professional planning which Port Vila lacks will be a necessity and is also under discussion with Government. The area is considered much less vulnerable to natural environmental hazards. (Daily Post)

3) There are over a thousand Muslims in Vanuatu from Santo, Ambae, Ambrym, Malekula, Epi, Paama, Efate, Tanna and Erromango. This is according to the man who introduced the faith to this country in the 1970s, Mohammed Siddiq Sambo of Mele. “Bad things are happening in Vanuatu like killings and rape”, he says. But the “different faiths must work together for a common goal of promoting peace and harmony.” (Daily Post). For more background on Islam in Oceania, have a look at this photo essay by Vlad Sohkin featuring images taken in West Papua, PNG, CNMI, Tanna and Mele.

4) India has given Vt 20 million to assist with further education through ICT centres and Vt 21 million for renewable energy assistance “to help cut lighting cost and electricity use.” Vanuatu will also send students to India on scholarships provided by India. The gift cheque was handed over to Foreign Minister Leingkone by India’s Mines and Energy Minister Piyush Goyal this week. Vanuatu supports India’s bid to become a permanent member of the Security Council. (Radio Vanuatu and Daily Post)


5) All media have referred to approximately Vt 180 million worth of container handling equipment from the Japanese aid agency JICA. The equipment will be immensely useful in stacking containers at the Lapetasi Wharf. There are two 45-ton full reach stackers, two 10-ton empty reach stackers as well as spare parts and other equipment. Many attended an unveiling on Tuesday.

6) Tomorrow there is to be a Slow Food show at Saralana Park from 10am. Local food will be on sale. The intention of the Lands Desk at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre (VKS) is to “keep the fire burning” after Tanna’s Slow Food Festival. And we all do well to support it and possibly help to advance acceptance of the indigenous menu delicacies. (Daily Post)


7) Fugitive murder suspect case continued

The plea case of a man who fled Tonga before he was to appear in court there for the murder of his wife has been continued to next Wednesday in American Samoa.

US citizen Dean Fletcher was to enter a plea agreement in which the Government would dismiss the charge of illegal entry into the territory against him and he would return to Tonga to stand trial.

However the government requested a continuance in the case yesterday to allow time for negotiations with officials from Tonga concerning Mr Fletcher’s case .

District Court Judge Fiti Sunia allowed the continuance for one week and reminded the government that the courts calendar is not at the whim of the Tongan parties.

He then continued the case till next Wednesday.

The Tongan government has been negotiating with the State Department for the extradition of Mr Fletcher to Tonga to stand trial for the murder of his wife.28/10/16-RNZI

8) Niue looking for more Air New Zealand flights

The Niue Government is in talks with Air New Zealand over extending its flights to the island.

Currently the airline flies two aircraft to the island once a week through the tourism high season from April to October, with just a single weekly flight for the remainder of the year.

But with the island’s growing tourism industry it wants two flights a week all year round.

The Premier Toke Talagi said they were also factoring in bigger aircraft being used and he believed the island can cater for a further surge in tourist numbers.

With the expansion of Matavai [the island’s only hotel] as well as people doing their own accommodation, that should not really be an issue, although I suspect there will be occasions when people will have difficulty trying to get bookings and accommodation at the same time, but let’s see how that develops.

Toke Talagi said Niue, which underwrites the current Air New Zealand flights, would need to be careful not to over commit itself to higher subsidies.27/10/16-RNZI

9) Fear of radiation prompts gravel ban

A cargo ship in French Polynesia has been banned from offloading gravel on Mangareva after a nuclear test veterans’ group raised concern it may be irradiated.

The gravel was to be shipped from Hao atoll, which was the site of a military base while France tested nuclear weapons in the Pacific.

The veterans’ group, Association 193, said the gravel, which was due to be used in road construction, was contaminated with plutonium.

However, the public works ministry said the gravel was not irradiated.

It said the gravel was made up of broken down concrete structures from Hao.

The mayor of Rikitea on Mangareva imposed the ban and told the public broadcaster he did so in order to keep the peace.27/10/16 RNZI

10) French Polynesia atoll sale case goes to France’s top court

Prosecutors in French Polynesia have decided to take a former president Gaston Flosse and a leading pearl producer Robert Wan to the highest court in France.

The public broadcaster says this comes after the court of appeal in Tahiti last week acquitted the two of corruption charges over the purchase of an atoll at an overvalued price.

The appeal court upheld the decision by the criminal court two years ago which had cleared the two and four co-accused, including the current president Edouard Fritch.

Flosse was accused of abusing public funds by paying Mr Wan $US9 million to buy Anuanuraro atoll in 2002.

The sum was five times the atoll’s value but Flosse’s lawyer argued the valuations were incorrect and the embezzlement charges didn’t add up.

Flosse also said that it was the then finance minister, Georges Puchon, who approved the purchase.

The prosecution took only Flosse and Mr Wan to the appeal court, wanting to give Flosse an 18-month suspended prison sentence and declare him ineligible for public office for five years.

A verdict from the highest court in France is expected within a year.27/10/16-RNZI

11) Tahiti’s Tong Sang in criminal court

The trial has been held of a former French Polynesian president Gaston Tong Sang who was accused of abusing public funds to pay for phantom jobs eight years ago.

Mr Tong Sang and two of his former ministers, Clarenntz Vernaudon and Fernand Roomataaroa, were accused of misusing the funds by signing contracts to seal a coalition deal with the Ai’a Api Party.

The deal was allegedly struck to firm up the government coalition.

It involved giving Mr Roomataaroa the agriculture ministry and moving the incumbent into another job as well as upgrading the contracts of 20 of her staff.

The prosecution has asked the criminal court to give Mr Tong Sang a suspended one-year prison sentence, a $US20,000 fine and declare him ineligible to hold office for a year.

A verdict is expected within weeks.

The trial this week was due five months ago but was deferred when Mr Roomataaroa was prevented from attending because an Air Tahiti strike stopped flights from his home in the Austral island to Papeete.

Mr Tong Sang is an assembly member of the ruling coalition and the mayor of Bora Bora.27/10/16-RNZI


12) CNMI could lose nurses to foreign worker cap

The Northern Marianas could lose more than 30 nurses after a cap on foreign workers was reached just weeks into the new fiscal year.

Commonwealth Health Care said the nurses, along with several laboratory and radiology workers could be forced to leave next year now the cap on transitional non-immigrant worker visas had been reached.

It’s chief executive Esther Muna said the nurses from the Phillipines do not qualify for registered nursing visas as they only have two year degrees.

She said it would affect the health of people in the CNMI if the nurses go.

“We will just have to cut some of the services that we provide and ensure that the services that are critical have the nurses that they need to ensure patient safety and high quality care.”

“The bottom line is we need to keep our nurses because you just can’t have a health care system without them,” she said.

Esther Muna said they are working with the authorities on alternatives to keep the nurses and she is hopeful a solution can be found.28/10/16-RNZI


13) PNG Art Sho long Queensland

Updated 27 October 2016,
Caroline Tiriman

Queensland Art gallery nau  igat wanpla bikpla Art show em oli kolim No.1 Neighbour na emi soim ol Art wok blong ol PNG pipal namel long yiar 1966 ikam inap long 2016.

Oli bin opim despla show long stat blong despla mun na bai ron igo long mun January 2017.

As tingting blong despla show em blong soim ol pipal blong Australia, long ol bikpla  na olpla save long Art blong ol pipal blong Papua New Guinea.

Oli tok maski Australia na PNG igat longpla stori long saed blong wok politik, ol pipal blong Australia ino save gut long Papua New Guinea.

Planti Artist blong PNG igat ol wok blong ol long despla Exhibition long Brisbane.

Eric Bridgeman em mama blong en blong Simbu na papa blong en blong Australia istap tu long despla show na emi tokim Radio Australia, despla show i traem long soim ol gutpla wokbung namel long Australia na PNG.

14) Waka fo hostim Miss Solomon Pageant ino isi: Joyce Konofilia

Updated 26 October 2016, 16:28 AEDT
Sam Seke

Miss Solomon Islands Pageant Director and CEO blong Solomon Hosts, Joyce Konofilia hem se hem no isi samting fo hostim disfala kaen event olsem.

Bat Ms Konofilia hem se olsem olketa duit fo redim evri samting fo 2016 Miss Solomon Islands Pageant wea bae stat long tumora an finis long Sarere.

Hem se tumoro bae olketa sikisfala faenol kontestan bae garem float parade, long Friday bae olketa duim speech long theme blong women the pillars of sciety, an Sarere nait bae hem crowning naet.

Ms Konofilia hem se hem statim Solomon Hosts kampani fo ranem disfala pageant bikos no eni gavman agency o eniwan moa hem laek ranem.

Hem se bigfala challenge nao hem fo faedem olketa praevet sponsor o aotsaet development partner fo helpem olketa.

15) Plande Solomon MP i nosave herem politikol pati an pipol blong olketa: TSI

Updated 27 October 2016, 1
Sam Seke

Transparency Solomon Islands hem se hem garem wanem olketa lukim olsem bigfala disconnect melwan olketa executive blong olketa politikol pati an olketa memba blong palamen.

Executive Officer blong TSI, Ruth Liloqula hem se hem klia olsem olketa memba ia i no garem eni respek fo executive blong pati blong olketa nao, taem olketa go insaet palamen.

Hem se i luk olsem olketa memba i joinim nomoa olketa politikol pati ia fo go long palamen.

Ms Liloqula hem se diskaen wei hem daonim nao tingting bihaen long disfala Political Parties Integrity Act wea hem stap fo mekem strong politikol pati sistim fo kamapum stabiliti long kantri.

Hem se plande enikaen gavman polisi an legislesen wea olketa pipol ino hapi long hem inkludim disfala tax-free pei blong olketa memba ia, olketa i kamap bikos olketa memba i folom nomoa tingting blong olketa seleva.

Ms Liloqula hem se olketa memba ia ino save folom nao tingting blong pati executive blong olketa ab pipol wea vout fo olketa.ABC


16a ) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 27 octobre 2016

Mis à jour 27 October 2016, Radio Australia.

1) C’est confirmé, la Samoane Ele Opeloge est médaillée olympique. Une médaille qu’elle a en fait gagnée aux Jeux de Pékin, en 2008.

L’haltérophile était arrivée au pied du podium, dans la catégorie des plus de 75 kilos, derrière deux athlètes qui ont, depuis, été contrôlées positives. Le comité international olympique vient d’annoncer que l’une de ces deux haltérophiles, l’Ukrainienne Olha Korobka, a été disqualifiée pour la présence de traces de turinabol dans ses échantillons. Le sort de l’autre athlète contrôlée positive est toujours en suspens, mais on sait déjà qu’Ele Opeloge va devenir la première Samoane à décrocher une médaille olympique.
2) L’Australie s’interroge sur les raisons de la surreprésentation des Aborigènes en prison. En juin 2015, 27% des détenus étaient aborigènes, alors qu’ils ne représentent que 2% de la population.
Une « honte nationale », estime le président de l’association du Barreau, Patrick O’Sullivan. Le ministre de la Justice, George Brandis, parle, lui, de « tragédie nationale » et annonce l’ouverture d’une enquête : la Commission de réforme du droit australien est chargée de déterminer les facteurs qui engendrent cette situation.
Il y a 25 ans, de nombreuses recommandations avaient été faites à l’issue de la tenue d’une commission royale d’enquête sur les morts d’Aborigènes en détention, mais elles ont été ignorées, dénonce l’un des commissaires de l’époque, le sénateur travailliste Patrick Dodson.
3) Niue veut devenir membre des Nations unies. L’île est en libre association avec la Nouvelle-Zélande, comme les Îles Cook. Ses citoyens ont la nationalité néo-zélandaise, et Wellington est responsable de la sécurité et des affaires étrangères de la petite nation polynésienne. Mais 42 ans après l’instauration de ce régime, Niue estime qu’il est temps de devenir un État membre des Nations unies, avec droit de vote, rapporte la radio nationale néo-zélandaise. « L’Onu était là quand on a voulu devenir autonome et mon sentiment, c’est qu’elle devrait aussi prendre la responsabilité de nous permettre de devenir membre de l’organisation », déclare le Premier ministre niuéen, Toke Talagi.
Depuis l’an dernier, le Premier ministre des Îles Cook, Henry Puna, milite aussi pour que son pays obtienne le droit de vote aux Nations unies, mais la Nouvelle-Zélande s’y op
16b) L’Australie réduit son aide aux malades du sida en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée
Mis à jour 27 October 2016, Radio Australia

À compter du 30 juin 2017, les autorités australiennes cesseront de verser des subventions aux ONG et organisations de la société civile qui luttent contre le VIH dans tout le pays. Un porte-parole de l’ambassade australienne à Port-Moresby affirme au Post-Courier que « de nouvelles dispositions seront prises », sans préciser lesquelles.
En attendant d’en savoir plus, des milliers de personnes craignent pour leur avenir. En 2012, 34 000 Papous vivaient avec le virus ; les trois quarts de ces malades étaient sous traitement. L’Australie n’est pas le seul pays à aider la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée dans sa lutte contre le sida, mais c’est le principal. Ses dons représentent environ 50% des fonds disponibles, estime Stephen Howes, économiste en chef à l’Agence australienne pour le développement international. Or, le gouvernement papou ne pourra pas prendre le relais, explique-t-il :
« Ce n’est tout simplement pas réaliste. L’économie papoue ne se porte pas bien, les recettes ont baissé d’environ 20% au cours des deux dernières années. À cause de ça, le budget de la Santé a été réduit de plus de 30%. Le gouvernement papou ne pourra donc pas payer l’addition. »
Cette décision met « la vie de gens en danger », dénonce-t-il. Et c’est d’autant plus regrettable que l’Australie a fait un travail remarquable dans ce domaine :
« C’est une réussite, et quand vous vous penchez sur les programmes d’aide mis en place par l’Australie en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, dans un environnement difficile, vous voyez qu’il y a peu de réussites comme celle-là. La propagation du virus a été limitée et il y a un grand nombre de malades qui bénéficient de médicaments. On devrait s’en réjouir et continuer à travailler au lieu de s’en aller et de prendre le risque que ça s’effondre dans un environnement, où le succès est fragile. »
Les autorités papoues n’ont pas réagi à cette annonce.

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19) British MPs disturbed over Canberra’s Norfolk policy

A team of British MPs who toured Norfolk Island last month have called for the island’s Australian administrator to be recalled.

The MPs visited at the invitation of the Norfolk Island People for Democracy group which has been leading the campaign for the restoration of the island’s autonomy after Australia removed it last year.

The MPs have issued a statement saying they were deeply disturbed by what they found.

They said it was undoubtedly the case that the administrator, Gary Hardgrave, had lost the confidence of the overwhelming majority of people on Norfolk.

The MPs said the current situation was untenable and could not go on.

The said it was damaging the lives of the people of Norfolk Island as well as the reputation of Australia.

The MPs said it was vital that the Administrator was someone who showed empathy with the people and whom they could trust.

Last week, an Australian Senator Pauline Hanson also called for Mr Hardgrave to be replaced, saying he had misled the Australian Parliament over support on the island for the removal of autonomy.

But Australia’s Regional Development Minister, Fiona Nash, has dismissed her claim as nonsense and says the administator will not be removed.27/10/16-RNZI


20) NZ Pasifika strengths on show

New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty will get a taste of Pacific culture today.

The Pasifika in the Bay Festival is being held for the second time in the region.

About 300 students from 15 primary and secondary schools, and kindergartens will be performing at the event in Mt Maunganui.

Event organiser Melanie Cottingham said the event shows the strength of the Pacific community in the Bay of Plenty, which is one of the fastest growing in New Zealand.

“I’m a teacher at Arataki School, 6 percent of our children here are Pacific Island,” she said.

“This kind of event, we had our first Pasifika in the Bay Festival last year, and there I think everybody was quite surprised to see how many Pacific Island children there are actually are in the area, it’s kind of like a day when we can go, oh gosh yes there are quite a few of us.”

Ms Cottingham said the festival will help foster relationships between schools and the Pacific community in keeping with the Education Ministry’s Pasifika plan.28/10/16-RNZI


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25) Oxfam wants poverty reduction focus on women

Oxfam New Zealand’s executive director told a discussion in Wellington that any focus on poverty reduction must target women and girls.

Rachael Le Mesurier was among a group of economists, trade negotiators, and NGO leaders exploring the right combination of aid and trade to lift people out of poverty in developing countries.

The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal of halving the world’s extreme poverty by 2015 was achieved five years early.

But Rachael Le Mesurier says most of these figures apply to males.

She says the UNDP’s figures from 2014 show 70% of the estimated 746 million people who still live in extreme poverty are female.

“So one of the things in this panel is we need to look at what can we do to try and get to that last 10 to 11 percent [of the world’s population]. Oxfam’s position would be, focus on women and girls.”

Rachael Le Mesurier says the significant economic gains women have made in developed countries have been achieved by participation in the workforce, but this is not the case in developing nations.28/10/16-RNZI


26) Hospital recruits cancer specialists

October 27, 2016The National

TWO additional cancer specialists are being recruited by the Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae to expand the cancer treatment services currently available, Health Minister Michael Malabag says.
He was responding to Anglimp- South Waghi MP Joe Koim in Parliament yesterday about the increased cases of cancer affecting the people.
Malabag said this was one of the developments the government was implementing to curb the rise in cancer.
He said the radio therapy machine at the Angau General Hospital had not been operational for the past two weeks.
“It has taken time for the staff in the radio therapy clinic to identify the problem,” Malabag said.
“An Australian company provides servicing for the machine and they are sending an engineer next week to fix the machine.”
Malabag said there were multiple other treatments, medicines, chemotherapy and surgery currently available in Papua New Guinea.
He said there was sufficient supply of chemotherapy and anti-cancer drugs at the Port Moresby General Hospital and Angau General Hospital to continue cancer treatments.
Malabag said a bachelor of radio therapy degree course was offered at the University of Technology in Lae.
He said the first students graduated in January last year, providing more assistance to cancer patients in the country.
Malabag said a contract was also signed with the US government to ensure security of the cobalt (therapy machine) source.

27) Solomons recalls retired nurses to help with dengue outbreak

The Solomon Islands Ministry of Health is recalling retired nurses and health workers to try and ease the burden an outbreak of dengue has placed on the national health system.

At least one child has died from the virus.

Solomon Islands main National Referral Hospital has been overwhelmed by an influx of new patients since the outbreak was declared on the 8th of this month.

The Chair of the National Health and Emergency Operations Committee, Chris Becha, said there was no sign that the outbreak was peaking and was warning against misleading reports to the contrary.

Dr Becha was calling on people to remain vigilant and said health authorities are reaching out to NGOs, churches and civil society organisations to help with awareness and prevention activities.

Dr Becha said he was waiting on official statistics on the outbreak to be vetted by the ministry but local media reports indicate confirmed cases are in the hundreds.28/10/16-RNZI


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29) Shady land deals uncovered in Morobe

October 27, 2016The National

THE Morobe government has uncovered cases of land fraud involving the illegal transfer and selling of State land in the province.
Benson Nablu, who is leading the investigation into the land deals, said there were cases going back to three decades ago.
Nablu is the chief executive officer of Morobe Investment Limited, a business arm of the provincial government.
Nablu said there were looking into cases in which prime government land had been fraudulently obtained by developers.
These included land at the Old Lae Airport, Tent City, Eriku and Miles.
Nablu said some prominent people, including senior public servants, were implicated.
“I will not reveal their names but they know who they are,” Nablu said.
“There are a lot of government asset being transferred over to the hands of people without due diligence being followed.
“In a lot of these cases, there have been no contract of sale but the titles were issued to new owners. We have won two cases and reclaimed our land. We have taken others to court.”
Nablu said his team would ensure that all State lands acquired through fraudulent means would be taken back.
Morobe Governor Kelly Naru praised Nablu and his team for their work.


30) PNG opposition says Govt failure to free tuition fees hurting

The Papua New Guinea opposition leader says 3380 schools around the country are yet to be paid subsidies to cover free tuition.

Don Polye said since the Government announced the policy many more children have enrolled in PNG schools.

He said the schools are overcrowded and in some cases students have been sent home.

In other instances parents have been forced to come up with more money to pay the fees while the opposition leader said up to 70 percent of schools around the country are contemplating shutting their doors.

Mr Polye said while this was happening Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his Education Minister say subsidies have been paid on time and in full.

He suggests the millions being allocated to prepare for the APEC summit meeting in 2018 should instead go into the education budget.27/10/16-RNZI

31) Fiji opposition leader says Education Minister must look at ‘basic needs’

The leader of the opposition in Fiji says the education ministry is too distracted and needs to help children in red zones who are learning in poor conditions.

Ro Teimumu Kepa has returned from a tour of Tailevu and Ra to view progress since February’s Cyclone Winston and says there hasn’t been much.

She said the tents provided by NGOs and international donors had reached their life-span, and cyclone season begins in days.

She said the Education Minister, Mahendra Reddy, was making statements about every child receiving a computer or a tablet, but the reality is that many children don’t have basics.

“You don’t really need to go into other areas of the school curriculum which is also very important. But mostly it’s basic needs and when he is asked in parliament as to what is happening he brushes us off and thinks it’s of no consequence and everything is under control.”27/10/16-RNZI

32) France ups education funding for New Caledonia

The French education minister has promised more funding for New Caledonia.

In an address to the territory’s Congress, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem also said 75 additional positions would be created in the education sector.

She promised funding to expand the University of New Caledonia to the northern town of Kone and announced contributions towards the construction or extension of high schools.

As part of the decolonisation process, Paris transferred the authority to run education to the territory four years ago.

Mrs Vallaud-Belkacem, who arrived from French Polynesia, is the first French education minister to make an official visit to New Caledonia.26/10/16-RNZI


33) PNG electoral officials attacked by mob

The Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission has condemned the attack on five electoral officials by more than 500 people near Mendi.

The Post Courier reports the officials were on their way to take part in the changeover ceremony of the provincial election manager of the Southern Highlands.

The Chief Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said the Acting Deputy Electoral Commissioner of Administration and four others were travelling for the ceremony to replace David Wakias, when they were stopped by people in 20 vehicles a few kilometres out from Mendi.

Mr Gamato said the people blocked the road, assaulted a senior manger, pushed female officers and threatened to attack them with knives and stones.

The women had their personal belongings searched and money stolen.

Mr Gamato said the attackers asked the group why Mr Wakias was being replaced and he has condemned the attack in the strongest terms and appealed to the public to respect the Electoral Commission officers as they carry out their constitutional duties.

PNG is due to hold its general elections next year.27/10/16-RNZI

34) Fiji PM labels NFP racist

Fiji’s prime minister Frank Bainimarama says he thinks the opposition National Federation Party is now a racist party.

Mr Bainimarama, who is also the leaders of the FijiFirst Party, made the comment to FBC News following reports that the NFP and other opposition parties might form a coalition.

Mr Bainimarama described the NFP as racist because they are in the cane fields for the vote of the Indo-Fijians.

He said there is no possibility of such a coalition given that the party policies will not align.

The Fiji Times reported that Sodelpa, the Fiji Labour Party and the NFP were in talks to forge a coalition ahead of the next election due by 2018.27/10/16-RNZI


35) Media role vital

Charlene Lanyon
Friday, October 28, 2016/Fijitimes

THE media plays an important role in informing the public on work carried out to ensure humanitarian standards in the region are met, says International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) head of delegation in the Pacific, Fred Grimm.

Mr Grimm said at a media workshop held in Suva on Wednesday that ICRC was part of the world’s largest humanitarian movement that delivered protection and assistance to those in need regardless of race, religion or politics.

“In the Pacific, ICRC has its main office in Suva, with a presence in Papua New Guinea and Canberra,” Mr Grimm said.

“The ICRC continues to promote and build an enhanced understanding of International humanitarian law and humanitarian standards.

“In Fiji, for example, we have a very good training interaction with the military and police forces.”

Mr Grimm said the organisation conducted yearly trainings with Republic of Fiji Military Forces personnel who were about to be deployed and covered issues such as interrogation and detention procedures.

“In a world of fast-paced development, the media is seen as a critical partner through its ability to report on and analyse issues ranging across a whole wide spectrum, from politics to humanitarian issues.

“Most sadly, fundamental rights of people are also being disregarded and international humanitarian law is violated and disrespected.

“When international humanitarian law is violated and disrespected, this can lead to conflict and when this happens, it becomes difficult for a person caught up in such circumstances to live a dignified life.”

Mr Grimm said the long-term effects of conflicts could affect multiple generations.



37) Air Van to welcome new ATR72-600 Monday

By Harrison Selmen-28/10/16-Vanuatu Daily Post

Air Vanuatu will welcome its new ATR72-600 YJ-AV73 at the Bauerfield Airport, in Port Vila on Monday next week.

An opening ceremony will be held at the Bauerfield Airport to mark this new development and the inclusion of the new aircraft, that is ready to provide service to the people of Vanuatu.

According to information released by the CH-Aviation one of the World’s leading Airline Intelligence Provider since 1998, the Air Vanuatu (NF, Port Vila) has taken delivery of its maiden ATR72-600 following a ceremony held at Toulouse Blagnac on Tuesday, October 25.

The ATR72-600 is currently being ferried home and is expected to arrive in Port Vila on Monday, October 31.

Once in country, it will replace the existing Avions de Transport Régional fleet of two ATR72-500s, one of which is leased from Nordic Aviation Capital.

The new ATR72-600 is expected to provide domestic services as well as fly on Air Vanuatu’s regional routes such as to Noumea, New Caledonia.

38) Solomon Islanders off for seasonal jobs

More than 80 Solomon Islanders have left for Australia and New Zealand to take part in seasonal workers programmes over the next six months.

29 have travelled to Darwin while the other 55 will work in various farms around New Zealand, engaging mostly in fruit picking.

The Solomons’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the numbers taking part in the programmes is increasing due to market intelligence identifying the needs of employers and a cohesive relationship with Australian companies.

The workers received pre-departure training in which they were encouraged to perform well, respect the laws and cultures of their host countries and to represent their nation with pride.

Solomon Islands is expected to send more than 300 workers to New Zealand before the end of the year.27/10/16-RNZI


39) Highways to be sealed: Abel

October 27, 2016The National

THE National Planning Department will work with development partners to identify the 16 national highways and have them properly sealed, Minister Charles Abel told Parliament yesterday.
Abel said, in response to Pomio MP Elias Kapovore’s query whether the South Coast Road in East New Britain was included as a national highway, that the department had received submissions for different agencies.
He said Planning’s role was to ensure that impact projects such as the 16 national highways were implemented by the relevant agencies such as the Department of Works, Transport and the National Road Authority.
“After that it is then the critical missing links and that is the subsequent roads connecting some of our provincial links that are still missing,” Abel said.
“Behind this is to link up the country, linking Port Moresby to all provincial capitals and other regional headquarters through the provincial capitals and then in a cascading manner provincial capitals down to districts, to LLGs through zone headquarters and right down to the council wards. “This is all contained in the national delivery framework. All these roads are important and we must approach it systematically.
“In terms of Pomio and East New Britain, the East West Highway is a national highway.
“All the national highways and the missing links are important and this government has done more than any other government to comprehensively address this infrastructure issues.
“I will bring the particulars to this parliament in relation to the development partners to show how each and every national highway is being funded,” he said.
Abel said he would give more detailed explanation on the funding and implementation of the East-West highway project.
The south coast economic corridor runs from Kokopo in East New Britain through to some parts of Kandrian Gloucester, Talasea and Kimbe in West New Britain.


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41) Police lack experts

Aqela Susu
Friday, October 28, 2016/Fijitimes

THE Fiji Police Force, Anti-Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Unit does not have the expertise to deal with certain aspects of money laundering cases.

This was revealed by Inspector Aiyaz Ali of the Anti-Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Unit during a presentation to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economic Affairs yesterday.

“We need recruiting of expertise. We need forensic accountants. In one case we had 20 plus cartons of documents (these are payment vouchers and bank statements) so we needed forensic accountants to analyse and give us meaning to these volumes of documents,” Insp Ali said. “We need lawyers and asset managers. This is in relation to the types of properties we seize. We seize outboard engines, we seize hazardous chemicals and we do not have the expertise on how to keep these things.”

Highlighting their challenges, he said the two suggestions they had were either to recruit more expertise or outsource it to other law enforcement agencies.

Inspector Ali said there was a need for more specialised training.

42a ) Vanuatu bribe case decision expected Wednesday

The Vanuatu Supreme Court is expected to rule next Wednesday on an attempt by 14 jailed former MPs to have their convictions quashed.

The 14 men, who were jailed last year for taking bribes to cross the floor, had sought to have the convictions overturned by claiming parliamentary immunity.

They told the court that they were attending a session of Parliament when they were prosecuted and this is prohibited under the constitution.

Vanuatu media reports that some of MPs are expected to give evidence in the case next Tuesday, with judge David Chetwynd due to sit at 9am on Wednesday before giving his decision in the constitutional case.28/10/16 RNZI

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43) PNG court rejects Manus refugees and asylum seekers application

Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court has rejected an application by a group of refugees and asylum seekers from Manus Island who sought to be taken to Australia.

That application was dismissed on a technicality and follows an earlier PNG Supreme Court ruling which found holding people on Manus breached their constitutional right to personal liberty and was thus illegal. said had it succeeded, Australia could have been ordered to take away 302 asylum seekers transferred to Manus Island under the former Labor government’s “Pacific solution”.

The case was apparently rejected because court filing documents were signed by the group’s main lawyer rather than the actual claimants.

The lawyers now plan to return to Manus to collect the signatures they need to relaunch the application, Reuters reports.

The Australian government has repeatedly declared that none of those on Manus or Nauru, who sought to reach Australia aboard people smuggler boats from Indonesia, will be allowed to settle in Australia.

So far no third country has been found willing to accept any of the detainees. New Zealand has been mentioned as a possibility, as has Costa Rica in Central America.

In September, the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the government was continuing negotiations with unspecified third countries to settle those on Nauru and Manus.

“We remain engaged with several countries to alleviate these issues but negotiations will necessarily be protracted,” he said.

The government says any relaxation would lead to an immediate resumption of people smuggler boats heading south from Indonesia.

However, the case has raised hopes from some in PNG that they will finally reach Australia.

Abdul Aziz, 24, who fled Sudan in the bloody civil war, told Reuters he was optimistic he would finally be sent to Australia.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed. We sought asylum from Australia, not PNG,” he said. 28/10/16-RNZI


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46) Quake fear

Litia Cava
Friday, October 28, 2016/Fijitimes

THE possibility of a bigger earthquake occurring in Fiji is high after tremors felt over the past few months, says National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) director Akapusi Tuifagalele.

“The NDMO is not trying to frighten the public but the possibility of it happening is there because we are in the Ring of Fire so it is important for us to prepare,” he said. An agreement was signed yesterday between the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) for the provision of five new tsunami warning sirens by next year which would also be situated in the Suva area such as the other two.

Mr Tuifagalele said the NDMO was always thinking back on the 1953 Suva earthquake which had measured 6.75 on the richter scale.

He said the earthquake was a shallow one thus the tsunami attack was quite devastating along the Suva Peninsula.

“This event occurred 50 years ago and according to scientists, occurrence of such event can happen again between a 50 to 100-year period.

“As we are in the zone and the frequent tremors that we currently have here in Fiji and also in the region, it may trigger something like that,” he said.

Mr Tuifagelele said NDMO was working on stepping up its awareness and preparation program for members of the public in case history repeated itself.

He said one of the reasons this project was focused on Suva was because it was a highly populated area, saying there were plans to expand it to other coastal areas in Fiji.

“I think for the time being we are working on a system that perhaps we use the radio for the maritime, perhaps we use a siren signal for them to hear and know that this is it, there is a tsunami coming and for them to move to safer grounds.”

Mr Tuifagalele said the role of the NDMO was to make people aware of hazards around Fiji “because if something were to happen, then they should know what to do”.

“We have also completed the Fiji Response Plan for Tsunami and once that is out through the National Management Council, it will enable us to use it not only for the NDMO but also for other agencies and stakeholders where they can draw from to help them draw up their own response plan for a tsunami.”

According to, there were three earthquakes in Fiji in the past seven days, 14 in the past month and 213 in the past year.

47) PNG’s Morobe seeks govt aid after floods

The administrator of Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea has asked central government for 2.4 million US dollars to repair infrastructure damaged during recent heavy rain.

At least seven people were killed in the province where landslips and flash floods washed away houses.

The National reports that Morobe’s provincial administrator requested the money to fix roads and bridges in six districts including the capital, Lae.

Morobe is know as PNG industrial heartland, but its governor, Kelly Naru, says the province does not have the money to help people affected by rain as well as repairing damaged infrastructure.27/10/16-RNZI


48) New guava variety

Monika Singh
Friday, October 28, 2016/Fijitimes

THE Ministry of Agriculture plans to introduce a new variety of guava for commercial production next year and it will be targeted for local markets, especially in supermarkets and hotel industry.

In astatement from the Department of Information yesterday, the ministry said it would launch the new variety of guava in collaboration with the Taiwan Technical Mission.

Principal research officer horticulture, Shalendra Prasad said some farmers had shown keen interest in accepting the new crop and were willing to specialise in the commodity at a commercial level.

A field day was organised by the research division of the ministry and TTM officials at the Sigatoka Research Station, to put up a proposal to farmers living in Valley Rd to plant this new variety of guava as well as to specialise in commercial farming in the future.

Mr Prasad said they were working with TTM on various fruits and vegetable research and development projects and they had conducted the research on the new variety for the past 10 years.

“TTM has been in the country since the 1970s and the ministry has been working closely with them on some research activities and now our focus is to also include fruit production in research and development,” Mr Prasad said.

He said the new variety of guava would be officially released next year and the ministry would facilitate farmers with planting materials.

“The ministry is also going to organise training for extension officers and the growers so that they are fully aware of the production packages that are involved in the production of this high quality guava.”


49) Fiji hoping to get NSW Cup green light

Fiji could have their entry into the New South Wales Cup rugby league competition rubber stamped as early as Friday.

The bid team, which is being spearheaded by Petero Civoniceva, will make their case to the NSWRL Board as they aim to enter the reserve grade competition next year.

The consortium earlier in the year hosted NSWRL CEO Dave Todden to present their case and the final hurdle is to prove they have the financial and corporate backing to stand on their own two feet.

Civoniceva told AAP the push for a local team was born out of his experiences playing for the Fijian national side in the 2013 World Cup, where he heard first hand from his teammates the difficulty they had finding a pathway to the NRL.

“Unless they’re scouted or found at school by an NRL scout, there’s no real pathway into the game,” Civoniceva told AAP.

“Someone like Suliasi (Vunivalu from the Melbourne Storm), he was in New Zealand and seen there playing rugby union.

“What we want is a direct, local pathway in a professional environment. We’ll have a camp set up. They’ll be fulltime and live out of it.”

The Fiji bid model is based on the PNG Hunters, who debuted in the Queensland Cup in 2014, making the playoffs in the past two seasons.

The Fiji Bid Team had initially hoped to join the NSW Cup in 2016 but was told by the NRL to hold off for 12 months to ensure they were completely ready.

Earlier this month, a Fijian team was confirmed to join Australia’s National Rugby Competition.

Fiji National Rugby League CEO Timoci Naleba said having Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama as President of the Fiji Rugby Union helped push that proposal forward.

He had been told the Bid Team had been given a deadline of October 1 to raise a six figure sum for a 2017 debut.

27/19/16 -AAP/RNZI

50) FNRL saga

Peni Mudunavonu
Friday, October 28, 2016/Fijitimes

THE Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL) has raised their concerns and disappointment against some international groups which are organising tournaments in the country without their approval.

FNRL CEO Timoci Naleba said this in response to a rugby league 9s tournament to be staged in Nadi today which is believed to have inputs by National Rugby League (NRL) and Nadi Aviators Rugby League Club.

The tournament is expected to be attended by two greats of the sport, Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler. They are in the country.

“We would like to send a message to all. If you organise a rugby league event or competition without our knowledge, we will not endorse it and we will not condone it,” Naleba said.

He said this was because of some incidents in the past where players were taken out of the country without their involvement.

“We have made a lot of investments on our clubs and on the welfare of our players, their development and getting them to a stage where they are competitive enough to play for clubs overseas.”

He reiterated that it was important for all clubs to know that all events and competition they wished to organise should have the endorsement of the FNRL.

“For those clubs and individuals who are members of the league who are colluding with other agents and if they are found to have breached this then they would be suspended or terminated completely from the registration of the league.”

He said this was how serious they would treat this matter.

“It is about time the FNRL clarify where we stand on such matters.”

Speaking on behalf of the organisers of the tournament, Nadi Aviators Rugby League Club president Joe Grey said FNRL should indicate to them what part of the FNRL constitution stated that they should consult with the FNRL every time they organised a tournament.

“A board member hosted a 9s tournament in Nadroga two years ago and how come they did not have any objections to that? What harm is this one doing to them,” Grey said.

He said the FNRL was informed of today’s competition.

“If they were not aware of it, why would they be stopping it. How is this to affect the credibility of the board and all I know they should tidy up their act. Period,” he said.


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