Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1084 ( Sunday 05 February 2017 )

MELANESIA

1) Landowners Accuse Past Gov’t Over Sale of Island

By Jonas Cullwick/Feb 4, 2017

The photo of Lenur Island as it appeared on Private Islands Magazine online

Landowners of Lenur Island off South Malekula are accusing the Government of Vanuatu over the alleged sale of the island about 10 years ago without their knowledge.

The sale of the island appeared in the latest edition of Private Islands Magazine and its online edition for an amount of Vt70 million and the story of the sale appeared on the front page of the Daily Post Issue No. 4999 on Monday, January 23, 2017.

Representative of the landowners of Lenur Island, (Lenwur meaning ‘let’s talk about’ in the local dialect), Alfred Rolland Orah, explained that in 2007, when Mr Jacklyn Reuben Titek, was MP for Malekula and held the position of Minister of Lands, the island was allegedly taken by government.

Read more: http://dailypost.vu/news/landowners-accuse-past-gov-t-over-sale-of-island/article_c431a7ab-0b18-5fa7-b650-1ee39eebef55.html

2) Bougainville disaster office owes K4m to service providers

4:04 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2017, Papua New Guinea

A K4 million (US$1.2 million) debt has been effectively rendered to Bougainville’s emergency services which could not provide emergency assistance to victims of the January 22, 7.9 magnitude earthquake centred there.

Its disaster directorate owes the money to service providers which it has not paid and is now requesting assistance from the MPs.

Secretary of the ABG Department of Community Government and District Affairs, Wesley Kenneth said his department is responsible for coordinating disaster and emergency services.

He said in the event of a natural disaster the department takes on the responsibilities to provide administrative and coordinated emergency services through the provision of relief assistance with either shelter or food.

Kenneth said the districts greatly affected were Buin, Bana and Panguna with a death toll of 10.

He said Panguna recorded seven, Buin two and Bana one death as a result of landslides during the tremor.

“Other districts experienced fallen homes, cracks in the soil and bitumen, damages to food gardens and as stated by Matthew Kusa of Wakunai, a lagoon was created that is 1.5km inland from the coast and 200 metres wide with coconuts, trees and houses sinking in when the land gave in and water filled up,” Kenneth said.

Kenneth said some districts are still conducting assessments and will soon provide the department with more updated information.

He said it was unfortunate that the Government accounts were still closed but the department was committed to providing the services in terms of soliciting resources for relief assistance to those that are badly affected.

Kenneth said officers have been deployed to conduct thorough assessments and based on their findings will put in a contingency plan to address those affected and damages.

“But we have moved in to provide relief supplies in certain areas and we are expecting to extend it to other areas if we obtain support from our local MPs.

“I am calling on all leaders, business houses, development partners, other government sectors, community organisations and churches to assist in providing relief supplies to the affected people as with the close of accounts it is putting us in a difficult situation and we are working on seeking assistance from our four Bougainville MPs,” he said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

POLYNESIA

3) Tongan PM not worried about no-confidence motion
10:51 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2017, Tonga

Tonga’s Prime Minister says he believes he has the numbers to easily defeat a proposed motion of no-confidence.

The motion was submitted this week and signed by seven Noble Representatives and three People’s MPs including former Deputy Prime Minister Samiu Vaipulu and sacked Internal Affairs Minister Fe’ao Vakata.

‘Akilisi Pohiva said he continued to have the majority support of the 26-member parliament.

The motion is currently before the Parliamentary Privileges Standing Committee before a date for the motion is announced.

Pohiva said he wanted to know on what basis the motion had been submitted.

“The most interesting element of the motion is to see, to know the grounds for the motion. What are the allegations provided in the motion? These are the things we are waiting for,” he said.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

4) Samoa Government move threatens religious freedom

7:42 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2017, Samoa

The government’s push to amend the Constitution to define Samoa as a Christian State could undermine freedom of religion.

That’s the opinion of the National University of Samoa’s Director of Samoan Studies, Leasiolagi Dr. Malama Meleisea.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, he said he is unclear whether the Bill will guarantee religious freedom as the original Constitution intended.

He said the Constitutional Amendment Bill (No.2) reflects concerns about the influence of other religions.

“They are framing their concern about Islamism and so on in a very emotional way,” Leasiolagi is quoted as saying.

“So the leaders of the main Christian denominations are more or less saying that we want to protect our turf but in order for us to air these concerns we are going to frame it in the context of what is happening in the world.”

Read more : SAMOA OBSERVER

MICRONESIA

5) Marshall Islands Declares Health Emergency Over Zika, Hepatitis A Outbreaks

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 01/30/2017 – 16:05

Resources being mobilized for prevention efforts

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, Jan. 31, 2017) – The Marshall Islands has declared a health emergency to respond to recent outbreaks of Hepatitis A and the Zika Virus in the Marshall Islands.

The government announced the development late last week in order to mobilize resources for prevention work.

As of last week, 89 cases of Hepatitis A had been confirmed and 14 more were suspected, pending laboratory confirmation, said health officials.

Acting President Mattlan Zackhras signed the proclamation for the immediate mobilization of people and resources to mitigate the spread of disease. The health emergency was adopted over two months after the first spike in Hepatitis A cases began in Majuro, last November.

The proclamation and all emergency orders will remain in effect for ten days, with the expectation that the parliament, which returns to session Monday this week will extend it by resolution.

The cabinet also approved a resolution asking the parliament to confirm that the proclamation declaring a state of health emergency issued last week will extend for six months.

The number of confirmed Zika virus cases, which are mainly transmitted by mosquitoes, is still low, with only two confirmed. But this follows nearly a year with no further confirmed cases since the first handful were discovered in early 2016. From a drought early last year, Majuro has been experiencing heavy rainfall since late last year as the El Niño weather phenomenon has abated. This has generated a significant increase in mosquitoes in the capital atoll.

In an outbreak of dengue fever several years ago, the Marshall Islands received assistance from U.S. Navy spray teams to spray mosquito breeding locations around Majuro. There has been no U.S. government participation in mosquito prevention since the Zika emergency.

Marianas Variety

6) Kiribati continues to top Western Pacific in TB cases


8:03 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2017, Kiribati

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services in Kiribati says TB has increased steadily over the last five years recording 518 cases in 2016 from 354 in 2011.

According to the National TB Programme (NTB), Kiribati continues to have the highest incidences of TB in the Western Pacific region.

South Tarawa and Betio have been identified as places with the highest incident rates of TB, recording 85% of all cases in Kiribati. This is due to the easier transmission through overcrowded areas with buildings with poor ventilation.

North Tarawa and Kiritimati (Christmas Island) have the second highest rates of TB in Kiribati. Other Outer Islands have varied levels of TB, which fluctuates annually.

The National TB Programme is working closely with local Public Health Clinic staff to provide upskilling on case identification and active case finding in the community.

NTB is also finalising the National TB and Leprosy Strategic Plan (2017 – 2020) which will provide the framework for TB eradication services over the next four years.

SOURCE: RADIO KIRIBATI/PACNEWS

7) Kiribati prepares for possible Hepatitis A and Zika virus arrival from Marshall Islands

4:17 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2017, Kiribati

The Public Health Department of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has embarked on its preventive measures to avoid Hepatitis A and Zika Virus from entering Kiribati.

Deputy Director of Health Tebikau Tibwe told Radio Kiribati News, the Ministry has been prompted to embark on this following the recent outbreaks of the Hepatitis A and Zika virus in the neighboring country of the Marshall Islands.

Tebikau said the Ministry has agreed to number of measures to be imposed to prevent the arrival of the diseases in the country such a thorough health screening and inspection to all incoming passengers from the Marshall Islands at the Bonriki International Airport, outreach and awareness programmes in communities and on Radio Kiribati.

Tebikau said the preventive measures should be implemented as soon as possible to ensure that Hepatitis A and Zika virus does not infect expectant mothers.

Hepatitis A has been diagnosed in country except for the Zika virus. However, it could spread rapidly once it reaches the shores of Kiribati.

The Ministry has advised the general public to cooperate with local health authorities and start cleaning around their houses and destroy mosquito-breeding grounds.

It says these preventive measures will continue to be in effect until the State of Health Emergency in the Marshall Islands has ceased.

SOURCE: RADIO KIRIBATI/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN


8) Pipol long Solomon Islands imas gohet fo talem aot olketa korap lida

Postim 3 February 2017, 15:46 AEDT
Sam Seke

President blong Forum Solomon Islands international hemi enkarejim pipol long kantri fo gohet fo ripotim long nius an social media olketa enikaen korap fasin wea olketa lida i save mekem.

Banjamine Afuga i mekim disfala toktok bihain  wanfala ripot long saet long korapsin long wol i soam impruvmen long korapsin long Solomon Islands.

Korapsin insaet long olketa sistim blong gavman long Solomon Islands wetem olketa evri kantri long Melanesia tu hemi wanfala bigfala problem olsem iumi save herem evritaem.

Transparency International 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index blong Solomon Islands hem bin soam bigfala imprumen long saet long korapsin. Long 2011, Solomon Islands hem bin stap long naba 120 wea hem minim saet long korapsin long gavman hem barava nogut. Bat niufala ripot blong Transparency International wea olketa autim las wik, hem rankim Solomon Islands long naba 72 wea hem big impruvmen from daon long 120.

Papua New Guinea nomoa hem narafala Pacific aelan kantri wea hem garem CPI ranking tu an hem stap long kolsap botom long list long136 aut long 176 kantri.
Solomon Islands hem garem skoa blong 42 aot long 100 and Papua New Guinea hem garem skoa blong 28 aot long 100. Olketa narafala kantri wea garem semsem skoa olsem PNG nao hemi Nigeria, Myanma, Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan an Guatemala

New Zealand and Denmark nao tufala kantri wea i stap long naba wan long top blong list wea tufala garem skoa blong 90 aot long 100. Australia hem stap long naba 13 wetem skoa blong 79.

Forum Solomon Islands International hemi wanfala social media grup long kantri. FSII hem save toktok aot evri taem an garem olketa post long Facebook abaot enikaen toktok and stori long saet long korapsin long kantri.

President blong FSII, Benjamine Afuga hem se disfala ranking blong Transparency International hem encouraging saen long faet agensim korapsin long Solomon Islands.

An Mr Afuga hem enkaregim evriwan long kantri fo gohet fo toktok aot an talem aot olketa stori blong korapsin wea olketa i save gut long hem. Hem se tu dat, olketa lida i mas save olsem pipol i nao save lukluk long olketa and olketa kanot haet sapos olketa duim samting wea hem nop stret.ABC

9) Gold Ridge Landowners Council i hapi long waka fo openem baek gold mine

Updated 2 February 2017, 16:00 AEDT
Sam Seke

Chairman blong Gold Ridge Landowners Council, Dick Douglas hem se olketa i hapi long hao Solomon Islands gavman i luksave an helpem olketa  long waka fo openem baek moa disfala gold main long Central Guadalcanal.

Maen ia hem bin finis waka long April 2014 folom olketa problem wetem tailings dam, an ona blong kampani long tyaem ia St Barbara i lusim an go baek long  Australia.

Kampani blong Gold Ridge Landowners Council, Goldridge Community Investment ibin tekova long taetol blong Mining Lease area – an hemi getem wanfala kampani wea hemi beis long Melbourne, AXF Group fo divelopem moa disfala mine.

Mr Douglas hem se olketa waka fo openem baek moa Gold Ridge mine i gohet gut and olketa i hapi wetem help blong gavman long help blong hem.ABC

FRENCH

10a) Brèves du Pacifique – vendredi 3 février 2017

Mis à jour 3 February 2017, 18:24 AEDT

a) Le Gouverneur de Guam, Eddie Calvo, a ordonné à l’Agence de Protection de l’Environnement de l’Ile de faire analyser l’eau potable et la terre pour voir si elles contenaient des traces d’agent orange. 

L’armée américaine continue de dire qu’elle n’ a jamais utilisé ce produit hautement toxique sur Guam, malgré les affirmations d’un vétéran américain, stationné sur l’ile dans les années 70 et 80 et qui souffre aujourd’hui de plusieurs cancers. Selon l’Agence de protection de l’environnement de Guam, l’enquête est déjà en cours et implique aussi les témoignages sous serment d’anciens combattants américains. Son porte-parole, Nic Lee, dit que l’Agence travaille avec son homologue américaine et qu’il est trop tôt pour dire combien de temps l’enquête prendra.
b) Le président américain, Donald Trump a fait clairement savoir à maintes reprises à quel point il désapprouvait l’Accord de transfert des réfugiés de Manus Island et Nauru vers les Etats-Unis. Hier, il a qualifié le deal conclu par Barack Obama de « stupide », dans un Tweet. Aujourd’hui, il dit qu’il « aime l’Australie ». L’Ambassadeur australien à Washington, était ce matin à la Maison Blanche. Joe Hockey a rencontré le conseiller de Trump, Steve Bannon, et son chef de cabinet Reince Priebus pour discuter des 1250 réfugiés qui se trouvent dans les camps australiens de rétention offshore. Pendant que Malcolm Turnbull suggérait ce matin que le président américain lui avait dit qu’il admirait la politique d’immigration de l’Australie et qu’il lui avait confirmé qu’il honorerait ses engagements.
c) En Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, les propriétaires traditionnels près de Port Moresby refusent de céder leurs terres. Ils ont averti qu’ils résisteront à toute tentative du gouvernement de prendre leurs biens pour y installer une base navale. Des accusations avancent que le ministre de l’entreprise, William Duma aurait acquis les 80hectares de terre en utilisant la société de son beau-frère, puis les aurait vendus à la Défense pour plus de 19 millions de dollars. Selon le quotidien papou « The National », Le Premier Ministre Peter O’Neill a déclaré hier qu’il allait permettre aux gens de Manumanu de continuer à vivre sur leurs terres et envisager la possibilité d’annuler la vente. ABC
10b ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-04/french-election-could-another-political-outsider-be-on-the-verge-of-winning-a-presidential-election/1649126
AUSTRALIA
11) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-03/older-australians-reject-calls-to-include-family-home-in-pension-test/1648956

12 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-03/tasmania-eases-airbnb-regulations-for-renting-out-rooms-in-sharing-economy/1649026

13 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-04/toowoomba-to-shanghai-australian-farmers-head-to-china-to-turn-promise-into-profit/1649118

14 )
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-05/sydney-weather-city-sizzles-with-mercury-expected-to-pass-40c-in-some-areas/1649266

PACIFIC 


15) Registration opens for South Pacific Tourism Exchange 2017

10:54 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2017, Fiji

Online registrations are now open for South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) 2017 – the South Pacific’s biggest tourism trade event.

Now in its fourth year, SPTE brings together tourism operators from 16 Pacific Island Countries and international travel wholesalers and agencies under one roof for two days of scheduled business appointments.

This year’s event will take place at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Sydney, Australia from May 18 to 20, immediately after the Australian Tourism Exchange, which is being held in the same venue.

Opened in December 2016, the AUD$1.5 billion (US$1.1million) ICC is at the heart of the revitalised waterfront precinct in Darling Harbour, a fitting home for the Pacific’s premier tourism event.

SPTE is growing in both size and reputation – attracting more sellers and buyers year on year. This year, wholesale buyers from Australia, New Zealand, North America, China and Europe and United Kingdom are expected to attend.

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), which organises the annual event, is aiming up to 95 buyers and the same number of sellers this year, with ‘Early Bird Specials’ on offer for its private sector members.

For sellers, the standard registration fee is FJ$4,250 (US$2,060) per exhibitor. SPTO Pacific Premium members pay FJ$4,000 (S$1,939) while Pacific Jewel members pay $4,100 (US$1,987).

For buyers, the standard registration fees are FJ$400 (US$193) per person. SPTO Pacific Premium members pay $325 (US$157) while Pacific Jewel members pay FJ$360 (US$174).

To qualify for discounts, new members can join SPTO’s revamped Private Sector Membership Programme at www.spto.org/members by Thursday 2 March and enjoy a host of other benefits and services.

To register for SPTE 2017, visit www.sptexchange.org   or contact SPTE Secretariat on spte@spto.org.

Online registrations open Friday 3 February and close Thursday 2 March. Online appointment scheduling opens Wednesday 8 March.

SOURCE: SPTO/PACNEWS

ASIA


16 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-03/tigerair-dumps-flights-from-australia-to-bali-blames-indonesia/1648960
17 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-04/donald-trumps-immigration-order-sparks-fear-in-muslimmajority-indonesia/1649166

18 )
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-05/alibaba-chinas-online-retail-giant-new-melbourne-hq-will-put-squeeze-on-local-retailers-industry-gro/1649228
WORLD

19) German mini-world park builds a wall around US

Reuters
Sunday, February 05, 2017

HAMBURG, Germany – A German tourist attraction that features miniature models of various parts of the world has put up a wall around the United States, in a dig at President Donald Trump’s plan to build a full-sized one on the border with Mexico.

The display at Miniature Wonderland, which Trip Advisor rates as the top destination in the city of Hamburg, is a hit with tourists, including some from the United States, who are usually drawn by its vast model railway.

Visitors on Friday could be seen peering over a miniature concrete wall topped with razor wire to look at sites such as a tiny Mount Rushmore and a Las Vegas skyline.

The slogan “Let the world be great again” was scribbled on the wall, a reference to Mr Trump’s election slogan “Make America Great Again”.

“I don’t want to tell anyone what to think. Everybody should look at that wall, and then decide regardless of whether they are on the left, right or center,” said Gerrit Braun, co-founder of Miniatur Wunderland.

“The main thing is that the people think about it.”

Ryan Ott, a tourist from the United States, said: “I think it’s a good use of humour, which is what the world needs, I think, right now to help cope with what’s happening in our country.”

20 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-05/donald-trump-says-judges-block-on-travel-ban-will-be-overturned-as-passengers-board-flights/1649214

21)  http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-04/iran-defies-trump-sanctions-with-military-exercise-vows-roaring-missiles-if-threatened/1649210

HEALTH

22)  20 toxic fish species

Mere Naleba
Sunday, February 05, 2017/Fijitimes

MA

FIJIANS across the country should avoid consuming the 20 fish species named by the Ministry of Fisheries that may contain ciguatera toxin, a poisonous toxin.

Director research at the Fisheries Department Aisake Batibasaga said ciguatera in fish could not be destroyed by freezing, cooking or any other process and it also could not be detected by appearance, odour, texture or taste.

He said to minimise the risk, members of the public should avoid eating head, liver or other viscera (intestine) of the fish as the toxin was concentrated in those parts of the fish.

Members of the public have also been advised to avoid eating large fish and to limit the whole weight of a fish to around three kilograms per fish.

Mr Batibasaga said people who may have consumed ciguatera toxin fish may experience symptoms within two to 24 hours after eating the fish.

He said the most common signs were numbness in fingers, toes, lips, mouth and throat.

“Other symptoms include burning sensation when in contact with cold water, joint and muscle pain and nauseous feeling, vomiting, diarrhoea and headache,” he said.

“Anyone showing the abovementioned symptoms must seek medical attention immediately.

“It is important to note that there is no defined treatment for ciguatera poisoning in Fiji, however, medical practitioners can prescribe medications for relief of pain and discomfort.” He said the fish species listed should be avoided for the next three years.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=388093

EDUCATION

23) Do not accept student transfers without NCAB, principals warned

By Anita Roberts/ Feb 4, 2017

Principals who are caught accepting student transfers without approval by the National Curriculum Assessment Board (NCAB) will be dealt with, the Chairman of the NCAB, Luna Tarsong, has warned.

Students’ direct transfer to schools is forbidden under the Education Act no.9 of 2014, the Director of Education Services, Roy Obed, declared immediately after when the national examination results have been released.

Under the Act, only the Curriculum Assessment Board has the power to make the selection and replacement of students.

http://dailypost.vu/news/do-not-accept-student-transfers-without-ncab-principals-warned/article_ea1eed48-dbcd-557e-a0b5-f7d6cfcd12d5.html

24) First law diploma class starts in Honiara

Published: 01 February 2017

THE first ever class for the Professional Diploma in Legal Practice (PDLP) Program started on Tuesday evening at the University of South Pacific (USP) building at Chinatown.

This followed the historical launching of the PDLP program last Friday at the Mendana Hotel by the Head of School of Law, USP, Professor Eric Colvin and Assistant Lecturer Pamela Kenilorea.

Thirty of our local lawyers who have studied at the Emalus Campus will be doing their PDLP program here in Honiara rather than going to Fiji for that program.

The first class was conducted by Mrs Rachael Olutimayin, a legal advisor from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) on Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

Members of the Solomon Islands Bar Association will be assisting the program in lecturing, guest lecturing and thesis.

By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN/Solomon Star.

POLITIC

25) Police operations ongoing in New Caledonia’s St Louis: French HC

1:28 pm on 4 February 2017

The French High Commissioner in New Caledonia has expressed concern at inflammatory comments over the security problems around the Kanak village of St Louis where shootings have repeatedly prompted the police to close the road.

Thierry Lataste issued a statement after about 2000 people rallied outside his offices in Noumea yesterday to show their exasperation over the insecurity and nightly road closure which affect most residents in the south of the main island.

Mr Lataste has urged political leaders to refrain from calling St Louis the disgrace of the French Republic, pointing out that security forces are present to enforce the law.

He said in the past three monhts, 60 police operations were carried out in St Louis, involving at least 40 police officers every time.

Since the end of October, he said, 11 people had been jailed and 48 had been detained.

He said the individuals who shot at police last weekend and injured two officers must be arrested and this should happen soon.

Mr Lataste said next week, the nightly road closures might end if the security situation allowed it.

Kanak leaders have been alarmed at earlier comments by a High Commission official who warned of a military-style operation if St Louis residents failed to hand over the suspected gunmen.

The warning by Laurent Cabrera said there could be fatalities, should such an intervention be launched.

In response, an anti-independence Congress member Philippe Blaise said he would like to know whether Mr Lataste’s priroties lay with managing the sensitivities of pro-independence leaders.

He said some leaders in St Louis were part of the problem and not part of the solution.http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/323786/police-operations-ongoing-in-new-caledonia’s-st-louis-french-hc

26) New Electoral Commission for Fiji announced

3:20 pm on 4 February 2017

Fiji’s new Electoral Commission has been appointed following a delay.

The three-year term of the Electoral Commission expired on 9 January, and an oversight body chaired by the Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, was supposed to appoint a new commission by that time.

Opposition parties voiced their concerns over the lapse, saying it was worrying that the constitutional office was allowed to remain vacant when preparations for next year’s elections were already underway.

However, FBC reports that a new commission has now been formed and it will be chaired by Suresh Chandra.

The commission’s six other members will be Simione Ratabacaca Naiduki, Margot Marie Jenkins, Graham Bruce Southwick, Jawahar Lal, Kavita Raniga and Ratu Paula Halaiwalu.

Under Fiji’s 2013 constitution and the 2014 elections decree, the electoral commission is an independent body tasked with supervising the elections office, which is responsible for preparing the vote.RNZI

27) Threat fails to ruffle party

Nasik Swami
Sunday, February 05, 2017/Fijitimes

THOSE seasoned politicians in the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) who are threatening to resign from the party have been told to do so.

Party general secretary Adi Litia Qionibaravi said those who wanted to leave the party would be replaced.

“Who are they? We would like to know so we can replace them,” Adi Litia said.

She said such resignations from the party would not affect their preparation for the 2018 general election.

Adi Litia said the party was geared towards the election and also accepted Dr Tupeni Baba’s resignation.

Earlier this week, Dr Tupeni Baba informed the SODELPA president and SODELPA leader of his intent to assist the proposed Hope party, as an adviser, and of his intent to persuade the proposed Hope party to work with SODELPA and the other opposition parties in the 2018 general election.

On Thursday, Dr Baba also claimed other resignations to follow in the coming months, including resignations from the party’s parliamentary caucus.

Mick Beddoes, Peter Waqavonovono and Dr Baba have resigned from the party.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=388094

MEDIA

28) Vanuatu Public Servants Cautioned About Misusing Media To Voice Concerns

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 02/02/2017 – 16:22

Public Service Commission also tells media to report responsibly

By Glenda Willie

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 3, 2017) – The media is not a place for public servants to air their dirty laundry.

Acting Secretary of the Office of Public Service Commission (PSC), Jacques Gideon, made these stern remarks as he cautions public servants who are using the media to voice their concerns.

“This Commission will not entertain such attitudes and will take disciplinary measures accordingly against government employers, in relation to this matter,” he said.

Mr. Gideon also reminded the public servants of their obligations and reserves as mandated by the PSC, their employer.

He says prior to conveying their concerns to the media, public servants must be conscious on whether or not the information they are about to provide is relevant and is not misleading to the public.

The PSC also called on the media to be responsible and acquire facts from all parties concerned before going public with the information they have.

Meanwhile, Daily Post Editor, Royson Willie says the newspaper welcomes reports from whistleblowers on activities that may be deemed illegal or unethical in public offices.

Vanuatu Daily Post

BUSINESS

29) BRED Bank grows

Monika Singh
Saturday, February 04, 2017-Fijitimes

A BANK which began its Fiji operation in 2012 has successfully spread its reach to more than 30,000 customers in Fiji and opened its sixth branch yesterday.

BRED Bank now has six branches located in Suva, Valelevu, Nausori, Namaka, Nadi and Lautoka with more to come.

The bank’s regional manager, Darryl Constantin, said it was a momentous occasion for the bank as it showed the group’s growing presence in the Pacific.

Read more : http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=387940

30) Devaluation affects firm

February 2, 2017The NationalBusiness
Article Views: 338

By SHIRLEY MAULUDU
TRUKAI Industries Limited says the devaluation of the Kina has resulted in driving inflationary costs for the company.
Chief executive officer Greg Worthington-Eyre (pictured) made the statement on Tuesday.
SunRice chief executive officer Rob Gordon in a recent media report said “PNG was one of those uncertain and volatile factors”.
“A weak economy and devalued PNG currency (down almost 10pc against the Australian dollar since October 2015) has undermined SunRice’s traditional pricing power and attracted competition from Asian long grain rice exports,” he said.
“We continue to maintain a close watch on PNG issues, including the risk of sudden further Kina devaluations which would considerably reduce trading margins.” SunRice is Trukai’s major shareholder.
Worthington-Eyre said: “Trukai concurs with the statement made by Mr Rob Gordon in relation to currency devaluation. Ongoing access to currency is placing pressure on our business, as it is for many companies in PNG. For us it does make the cost of imports more expensive and is driving inflationary costs of doing business versus 12 months ago.
“Having said that, we believe the Bank of PNG is doing all it can to manage the currency rates and supporting Trukai.
“The rate of the fall being managed as it is, is minimising inflationary pressure in more recent times, albeit, inflation is a result of other factors also.”
In the recent quarterly economic bulletin, BPNG governor Loi Bakani noted that there had been some good inflows of foreign exchange in recent months,
“The good inflows have resulted in the relative stability of the kina exchange rate at US$0.3160 in June 2016 to US$0.3150 as at 30th December 2016,” Bakani said.
“Given the substantial depreciation of the kina exchange rate of around 37 percent since April 2012 to last December, the bank does not believe any further large depreciation of the kina would clear the foreign exchange market, but rather increase inflationary pressures.”

31) Businesses view 2016 as a tough year

February 3, 2017The NationalBusiness
Article Views: 232

LAST year was “very tough” for businesses compared to previous years, according to Business Council of PNG president David Toua.
Toua said reasons ranged from lower commodity prices to foreign currency challenges.
“After several years of unprecedented growth leading into 2016, last year was a very tough year for business,” he said.
“Shrinking to fit became a priority for many in order to remain viable. Coupled with the tough economic environment was the uncertainty generated by several proposed pieces of legislation and policy such as the proposed changes to the Mining and MRA (Mineral Resources Authority) Acts, amendments to the Lands Act and the SME policy.
“While recognising positive intent within the proposals, the private sector was quick to recognise the unintended consequences.

“It sought the opportunity to dialogue with Government and the bureaucracy in what seemed to be the outcomes that would bring out certainty, encourage investments and foster growth that benefits the Government, business and the people.”

INFRASTRUCTURE

32) Struggle for parking

Consumer Council Of Fiji
Saturday, February 04, 2017-Fijitimes

WITH the high percentage of vehicle ownership increasing every year in Fiji, parking has become a conflicting and confusing situation for a number of people.

Read more: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=387948

33) Power expensive: Bank

February 3, 2017The NationalBusiness
Article Views: 57

THE Pacific Island nations have some of the most expensive electricity prices in the world, according to International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group.
But there is a new partnership between IFC and Smart Commercial Solar (SCS) where Pacific businesses struggling with high energy costs can get help to evaluate more competitive options.
The first phase of the project will begin with a free energy report offered by SCS to businesses interested in calculating how much they can save if they switched to solar.
The report is targeted at commercial and industrial customers who pay commercial rates for electricity.
The report, accessed after filling in a small online survey, shows the savings a solar system will generate for an organisation.
Huon Hoogesteger, the chief executive officer of Smart Commercial Solar, said the Pacific solar campaign had a dual focus – supplying electricity users in the Pacific islands with information on how to reduce costs, and gathering data on the challenges businesses face and what assistance they might need in making the transition to solar.
“Solar panel prices have fallen 80 per cent since 2009 making solar electricity very competitive especially in the Pacific Islands which experience some of the most expensive electricity prices in the world,” he said in a statement.
IFC’s regional manager Pacific Tom Jacobs observed that despite the high cost, the Pacific had lagged behind in the use of renewable energy especially solar power.
“The aim of the research is to determine the barriers to solar development and increase commercial solar use throughout Pacific,” he said.

LAW&ORDER

34) New appointments in police force

TALEBULA KATE
Sunday, February 05, 2017-Fijitimes

Update: 3:28PM THERE have been two new appointments within the hierarchy of the Fiji Police Force.

Deputy Divisional Police Commander Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Manoj Singh has been appointed as the new Divisional Police Commander East taking over from Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Maretino Qiolevu.

SSP Qiolevu now takes up the post of Director of Operations taking over from SSP Tito Elo who has taken pre-retirement leave.

Chief of Operations Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Rusiate Turdavu said the onus was on the two to maintain the momentum of work conducted by their predecessor.

“When an appointment is made, the decision is a reflection of the Commissioner?s trust place in you that you are capable of doing the work,” ACP Tudravu said.

35) Juffa claims dept syndicate brings people illegally

February 3, 2017The NationalNational
Article Views: 142

Northern Governor Gary Juffa yesterday tabled documents in Parliament of an alleged syndicate operating in the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations that brought people in illegally.
The department went on the defensive and took out newspaper advertisements denying the existence of such a syndicate.
Juffa claimed in his question to Labour and Industrial Relations Minister Benjamin Poponawa last week  the “existence of a criminal syndicate operating out of the Labour Department that was procuring work permits for expatriates to come and live here and do business illegally”.
“I also highlighted the fact that there were a number of foreigners who were working in Oro (Northern) province unlawfully, or they were residing there and living there unlawfully, with work permits that had been obtained illegally and visas that were obtained illegally,” he alleged.
“The Labour Department took out a press statement on Tuesday, signed by the secretary (Mary Morola).
“My name has been raised here, specifically questioning whether I had any substance in asking that question.
“The Labour Department states that they have no idea of such a syndicate and also state that they have no idea that such things existed in this country.
“According to them, everybody is here in this country working legally, which is not true.
“All they have to do is to take a walk down any street, go into any shop, speak to any expatriate in there, and I tell you, you’ll find out for yourself that they are illegally here.
“They are not here legally because they cannot speak English, which is a prerequisite for having an employment permit and a visa.
“I have reports here to counter.
“There was a report that was given in Oct 2016 by a former employee of Labour Department highlighting all those issues, including the existence of such a syndicate and the corruption that exists within that department. That report was given to my office and to the Labour Office, so for them to say that they are not aware of this, is quite strange.
“I have another report here with copies of work permits and visas, which I obtained myself and physically in the presence of administration officers in Oro (Northern), and copies of all the work permits unlawfully obtained.
“This is a matter of grave interest to our nation.
“It’s about our jobs, our businesses.”

36) Juffa highlights lack of intelligence in the country

February 3, 2017The NationalNational
Article Views: 105

Northern Governor Gary Juffa has highlighted the lack of intelligence in the country as Apec 2018 closes in.
He said this during debate on the Apec Safety and Security Bill (2017) yesterday.
“This is a major world event that will bring to our shores VIPs, important people, who will expect a certain degree of security, of protection,” Juffa said.
“It is a big call for a small nation like Papua New Guinea.”
He said this was a good opportunity for the Government to look at security.
“In particular, I would like to refer to our intelligence community,” Juffa said.
“Papua New Guinea intelligence community has deteriorated significantly since we took Independence.
“For example, the National Intelligence Organisation, which used to have staffing level of right up to 100, is now reduced to a staffing level of few than 30.
“It is important that as an economy grows and develops, it develops a vibrant intelligence community.
“The purpose of an intelligence community is to produce high-quality intelligence for all levels of decision-making.
“We have significant national security threats to our jobs, to our businesses, to our culture, to our resources.
“These threats would be exposed, would be identified, by a very active intelligence community, which could also provide the solutions, how to mitigate these threats.
“We do not have intelligence capability offshore, most nations do: they call them diplomats.
“We need our intelligence community also offshore, screening people who are coming into this country for whatever reason.”

37 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-04/manus-island-refugee-charged-over-fake-passport-after-fiji-deportation/1649192

CLIMATE CHANGE, CONSERVATION

38) $30 Million Earmarked For Climate Change Response In Fiji

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 01/30/2017 – 16:11

$165 million from Green Climate Fund for 5 projects in Pacific

By Vishaal Kumar

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 31, 2017) – Thirty million US dollars ($F61m) has been set aside in the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for projects to deal with the impacts of climate change in Fiji.

This was revealed by the Australian ambassador for the Environment, Patrick Suckling, who is in the country to take part in a three-day meeting with the Fiji Government and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Mr Suckling said the Australian Government was very supportive of the GCF.

“We coach the GCF. The whole global board came together last December in Samoa and made a decision about funding,” Mr Suckling said.

“At this stage there is $US10.3 billion in the fund. $US1.5b is allocated for projects and over $US150m is actually agreed to be funded in the region for different projects.

“We are playing a strong role in advocating GCF’s role in the Pacific.”

Under the GCF, $US165m has been allocated towards five projects in the Pacific.

The GCF has allocated $US1.5b for 35 projects and programs since it began approving funding proposals in November 2015.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama updated the UNFCCC on its preparatory work to meet the duties and responsibilities leading up the COP 23 presidency and its agenda for the upcoming negotiations.

Mr Bainimarama said Fiji had identified climate adaptation finance, effective monitoring of adherence through the rule book to the Paris Agreement and the objectives of the Climate Action Agenda as key issue areas for the Fijian presidency at the COP 23 later this year.

He highlighted the need for greater engagement from the private sector, non-government organisations and civil society in support of Fiji’s global effort to boost access to climate finance and reduce climate risks to developing economies

Fiji Times Online.

MINING.FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE

39) Total starts drilling at Antelope 7

February 3, 2017The NationalBusiness
Article Views: 92

INTEROIL says more than 1900 meters in depth has been drilled with the side track appraisal well at Antelope-7.
This was carried out by Total E and P PNG (Total) as the operator of Petroleum Retention License 15 (PRL15) in Gulf.
“On January 31, 2017, according to information provided by Total, the Antelope-7 side track appraisal well reached 1,980 meters measure depth below rotary table (MDRT) and is drilling ahead in the Orubadi Formation” Interoil said in a statement.
“The well is designed to provide structural control and reservoir definition on the field’s western flank. It has a proposed total depth of around 2,300 meters (7,545 feet) MDRT and is located about 1.45 km west-south-west of Antelope-5.”
The New York listed company said the side appraisal was due to difficulties that arose from initial drilling in the Orubadi Formation late last year.
“On December 22, 2016, InterOil announced that the initial Antelope-7 well had reached 2,127 meters measured depth below rotary table,” Interoil said.
“After encountering drilling difficulties in the Orubadi Formation, Total E&P PNG Limited, the operator of Petroleum Retention License 15 (PRL 15) in the Gulf province of Papua New Guinea commenced the Antelope-7 side track appraisal well.”
InterOil holds a 36.5375 per cent interest in the well. Total has a 40.1275 per cent interest, Oil Search has 22.8350 per cent, and the remaining 0.5000 per cent is held by minority parties.
Total is the world’s fourth-largest oil and gas company and a world-leading solar energy operator through SunPower.
With operations in more than 130 countries, it has nearly 100,000 employees who are fully committed to better energy.
Supplying affordable energy to a growing population, addressing climate change and meeting new customer expectations are the three main challenges Total must meet as an energy major.
That is what guides the company.
We are also a world-class natural gas operator and a global leader in solar energy through our affiliate SunPower.
The company’s activities span oil and gas production, refining, petrochemicals and marketing where it operates.

WOMAN,YOUTH,CHILD

40 ) http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/323768/the-voices-are-different-pacific-women-in-politics

SPORT

41) Fiji out of cup contention

MAIKELI SERU
Sunday, February 05, 2017-Fijitimes

Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Update: 2:27PM A DISAPPOINTING end to Fiji’s campaign in the cup competition of the Sydney leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series.

The Vodafone Fiji 7s team lost 21 -24 to New Zealand.

The Kiwis struck first through Iopu Iopu Aso before Fiji replied through tries to Sevuloni Mocenacagi and Kalione Nasoko (2).

Nasoko and Vatemo Ravouvou were sin binned.

Baber said they would regroup and improve for the next leg.

42) State oil firm backs PNG Games

February 3, 2017The NationalSports
Article Views: 277

KUMUL Petroleum Holdings Limited (KPHL) this week became a gold sponsor of the seventh PNG Games in Kimbe, West New Britain, from March 18  to April 1.
KPHL managing director Wapu Sonk announced the  KPHL board’s endorsement of the gold sponsorship of K500,000 on Wednesday.
Sonk, pictured, said that as Papua New Guinea’s national oil and gas company, KPHL’s vision was to create value and opportunity for Papua New Guineans and the gold sponsorship gesture was a demonstration of that. “The PNG Games is an event that promotes pride and good sportsmanship and we believe our sponsorship is helping to create a platform to provide opportunities to our athletes,” Sonk said.
“Our aim is to see as many athletes from the 22 provinces attend the PNG Games in Kimbe. We believe by making available funds for provincial teams, we will enable equal representation at the games,” he reiterated.” The sponsorship will be coordinated through the PNG Games host organising committee secretariat.
The PNG Games were to be held initially at the end of November/December 2016 but was deferred to this year.

43 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-03/aflw-carlton-v-collingwood-packed-house-for-firstever-womens-match/1649038

44 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-05/anthony-mundine-may-appeal-against-loss-to-danny-green-as-he-hits-out-at-bitch-opponent/1649248

45 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-04/afl-womens-venue-changes-could-happen-after-collingwood-v-carlton-lockout/1649136

46) Italy upsets Argentina at home

Reuters
Sunday, February 05, 2017

LONDON – Raucous home support for holders Argentina did not make up for the absence of Juan Martin del Potro and Federico Delbonis on Friday as they fell 2-0 behind to Italy in the first round of the Davis Cup.

Croatia, runners-up last year, were without their top man Marin Cilic but managed to end the opening singles level 1-1 with a Spanish team lacking Rafa Nadal after Franko Skugor upset Pablo Carreno Busta over five sets.

Only Serbia, champions in 2010 and facing Russia at home in Nis, had the services of a top ten player in Novak Djokovic and they took a 2-0 lead.

Djokovic, who readjusted his start to the season after a shock early exit from the Australian Open, had a scare when he dropped the first set to Daniil Medvedev but prevailed 3-6 6-4 6-1 1-0 when the young Russian retired.

Viktor Troicki had earlier beaten Karen Khachanov 6-4 6-7(3) 6-3 1-6 7-6(6).

Del Potro, like most of tennis’s leading men, had announced before the season began he would not be available for the opening round of the World Group.

This left top seeds Argentina, a British team without Andy Murray and the Swiss minus Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka vulnerable to defeat.

Argentina won away in every round last year, but in Buenos Aires Guido Pella lost 6-3 6-3 6-3 to Paolo Lorenzi and Andreas Seppi beat Carlos Berlocq 6-1 6-2 1-6 7-6(6) to leave the holders on the brink of elimination.

“For the first time I felt uncomfortable playing the Davis Cup,” Pella, who had last helped Argentina upset Britain in the 2016 semi-final in Glasgow, told reporters.

Croatian Skugor, ranked nearly 200 places below Carreno Busta, won 3-6 6-3 6-4 4-6 7-6(6) in just over four hours in Osijek before Spain recovered with Roberto Bautista Agut’s 6-4 6-2 6-3 win over Ante Pavic.

47) Ben Ryan says Fiji Super Rugby team a matter of time and money

11:05 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2017, Australia

Ben Ryan has his three acres of island paradise and his face on a limited edition Fiji seven dollar bill.

The Englishman who coached Fiji to a historic first Olympic gold medal in Rio last year doesn’t have to keep caring about a tiny island nation. He did what he promised and they honoured him in return, with the Companion of the Order of Fiji and a traditional chief’s name from one of the country’s 14 provinces.

Ryan’s work is well and truly done, his legacy assured, not to mention his future much brighter and more lucrative, as befits his success with the once-perennial underperformers of the men’s sevens circuit.

Yet here he is – admittedly on the paid ambassadorial circuit, but six months after leaving Fiji – speaking as passionately and as plainly as ever about the challenges facing rugby in Fiji, from within and without.

“You spend time with the players – we all made a lot of sacrifices over the last three years – and you don’t want to see it suddenly disappear,” Ryan says.

“Also, being there for three years, you understand what needs to be done to improve it. I’ve spent time with the players’ association, I understand what the problems are with the guys that go overseas, and I’ve worked within the Fiji Rugby Union and I understand exactly what’s wrong and what’s right about it.

“Perhaps now, away from Fiji, I can voice all of that. If I don’t, I don’t think anyone else will. We can just peter along for the next 20 years and Fiji rugby will never improve, or I can get a bit of grief from the FRU and all sorts of things, but I might be able to cause a few things to happen.”

Ask Ryan what needs to happen and he answers straight away.

“We need a Super Rugby team on the island. Simple as that, really. Stop moaning about losing players and just have our own. That’s why people leave, there’s no professional team on the island. If there was, the best boys would stay and that would solve 80 per cent of our problems.”

It isn’t the first time he has spoken publicly about the concept. In November he floated the $33 million proposal for a privately-backed franchise to play in a 20,000-seat stadium on the resort island of Denarau, but it generated a quizzical denial from his former employers, the FRU. Ryan, in Sydney this week with sevens world series sponsor HSBC, chuckles at this, then takes his former employer to task.

“The FRU have got the best sevens team in the world – back-to-back world champions, Olympic gold medallists, one of the most iconic teams in the world – and they’ve lost sponsors and they’ve not paid their players for the first three months,” he says. “It shows me they’re not fit for purpose to run a team. They need to allow the team to be franchised and commercially operated to make the most of it, and give us a long-term stability.”

Ryan is spearheading the Super Rugby bid, reportedly with four global companies and two leading kit manufacturers at his back. He admits it has been stalled over access to land on which to build the stadium, but is adamant there is still a groundswell of momentum on the islands to get the concept off the ground. With due respect to World Rugby efforts to halt the player drain from Fiji and its neighbours, Ryan says it is the only way to parlay the country’s abundant talent and passion for rugby into something internationally competitive.

“It would be incredibly successful if done right and a great marketing strategy for Super Rugby. This could be a team with a lot of flair, within three or four hours’ flight of about 10 of the Super Rugby teams, so it’s a good fit for everyone,” he says.

As long as the Fiji Rugby Union leaves well enough alone. Despite his gratitude for three life-changing years, Ryan’s loyalty is to the people in villages all over Fiji who showered him in affection after that stunning campaign in Rio.

“FRU governance needs to change … the people are at a point now where they’re fed up with it,” he says. “They want long-term success, demand it, but you can’t do that if you’re operating on sand and not on stone.”.

SOURCE: SMH/PACNEWS

Philippe Saibir Pako -Tenene
w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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