Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1085 ( Thursday 16 February 2017 )
1) A walk against impunity
An activist from Netherlands will be arriving soon in Vanuatu to conduct what is call ‘A walk against Impunity’, devoted for the people of West Papua and Maluku that are struggling to be free from Indonesia.
Initiated by the Dutch activist Francis Janssen, the walk against impunity pays respect to the five foreign journalists who were reportedly murdered 42 years ago in Balibo, Timor Leste.
Janssen said it is also a tribute to other journalists who lost their lives in search of truth and all Timorese victims of the 24 years of Indonesian occupation.
In Timor-Leste, the initiative was welcomed and joined by activists, journalists and many local organizations that have been working many years to tackle impunity.
A statement sent to the Vanuatu West Papua Re-unification and Decolonization Association Members to announce the walk stated:
“What happened in Timor-Leste is still happening in West Papua and Maluku today.
“No freedom of press, no freedom of expression, no freedom — while the people still deal with occupation, oppression and violence.
“Impunity is a green light for perpetrators to continue and repeat, over and over again.”
In Vanuatu, the event started on February 14, at the village of Lavatu in north Pentecost to south.
From Lavatu to Bwatnapi with a short stop at Laone, the birth place for Father Walter Hayde Lini.
From there to Baravet then to Pangi before returning back to Efate to complete the walk before Lini Day.
This year’s walk in Vanuatu will remember the founding father of Vanuatu, a strong advocator of Melanesian socialism.
He openly supported the struggle for freedom of Kanaky.
Vanuatu was the only country in the region to support the independence of East Timor, then under Indonesian occupation, to self-determination.
In his (Hayde Lini) eyes Melanesian is truly free when all countries are free in Melanesia, Kanaky, Maluku and west-Papua.
The walk concur with Lini Day, a national holiday in Vanuatu.
The activist said in the statement that it is a better time to ask attention again for the situation in Maluku and west Papua, remembering the life of Father Walter Lini while celebrating the independence of Vanuatu.
He said he hope that the walk would be an inspiration to young Timorese, international activities and to all those who care about human dignity, freedom of press and self-determination.15/2/17 http://dailypost.vu/news/a-walk-against-impunity/article_f03fe545-4029-51b7-96fd-ba8f6e442e35.html
2) Ord Valley seasonal workers return home to East Timor
Updated 7 September 2016, 12:35 AEST
A group of men from East Timor have returned home after spending 16 weeks working on farms in the Kimberley’s Ord Irrigation Scheme.
Employed through the Seasonal Worker Program, the team of 10 have been busy doing a number of jobs including stick-picking, and weeding crops such as chia and chickpeas.
“It’s been pretty smooth sailing with the Timorese, because we also had a big group of backpackers and I know which ones I’d prefer to work with,” he said.Farm labour contractor Rowan Clarke said the Timorese workforce was a first for the Ord Valley and it had been really successful.
“I think a lot of the growers have been looking at this, and looking for another option to backpackers.
“The reliability of the Timorese is just outstanding.
“Everyone turns up to work everyday, they’re never late, always ready to go, nothing is ever too much trouble.
“The language isn’t a barrier, they’re just happy to be here and earning an income, and living the Australian lifestyle as they keep calling it.”
Mr Clarke said he was keen to bring Timorese workers to the Ord again next year and possibly expand the program.
Wages make huge difference to Timor families
One of the Timorese workers, Carlito Gabriel, said it was “amazing” to work in crops such as chia and quinoa, which he had never seen before.
Mr Gabriel said the money saved during the past 16 weeks would make a big difference to his family back home.
“Next month my baby will be born, so this is good preparation for me to help invest in my future and my family,” he said.
“I want to build my own house.
“This is a good opportunity to earn money for our family.”
The Seasonal Worker Program started in 2012 and contributes to the economic development of participating countries by providing access to work opportunities in the Australian agriculture and accommodation industries.
Participating countries include Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Previously restricted to horticulture, aquaculture and cane farms, the Federal Government expanded the program this year to allow guest workers to work on cattle, sheep, grain and mixed farming enterprises.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-09-07/ord-valley-seasonal-workers-return-home-to-east-timor/1615350
3) Urban drift in Honiara a complex problem with no easy fix
The problem of urban drift in Solomon islands is a complex one, with no easy or simple answers.
That’s according to Osborne Cains, Design, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager for World Vision Solomon Islands.
He’s been in Canberra recently, attending the Pacific Research Colloquium at the Australian National University.
Mr Cains tells Bruce Hill that the capital, Honiara, was designed in the colonial era and simply can’t handle the number of people from all over the country who have moved there looking for work.
Bruce Hill/ Pacific Beat | ABC 15/2/17.
4) Acting President on NZ Visit
The Referendum to decide Bougainville’s political future remains the focal point of the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
The ABG’s expectations are not limited to the issue but consider a wide spectrum of issues that will uphold the successful implementation of the referendum.
Acting ABG President Raymond Masono in meeting with the New Zealand Minister for Foregin Affairs, Murray McCully said Bougainville has a long history of shared cooperation, from your their support in the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement to ongoing development cooperation.
“Through ongoing cooperation we can do much more, for the ABG we want to see our relationship strengthened and enhanced further, drawing on continued opportunities for practical support,” Masono said.
“Specific examples I have in mind include, examining ways that New Zealand can provide additional support for the upcoming referendum and the newly established Bougainville Referendum Commission,” he added.
“There are also other avenues such as exploring ways that we can enhance trade ties, potentially through the establishment of a New Zealand Trade Office in Bougainville; and
Looking at opportunities for enhancing ties between ABG Ministers and their New Zealand counterparts to help our Ministers understand the complexities of working with an advanced bureaucracy and exercising ministerial powers,” Masono said.
“I would particularly like to place on record my appreciation for the diverse range of development projects which have been, and are being support by the New Zealand government in cooperation and partnership with other development stakeholders and non-government organisations,” Masono stated.
Masono said these projects are helping to enhance security and policing, governance, electoral support, infrastructure development, economic mobilsation and health and education outcomes.
Through this work Bougainville has enhanced development outcomes and genuine improvements in the lives of its people.
“By working in partnership we are progressing down the path of autonomy, building our own capacity and learning how to develop our own priorities,” Masono said.
“All of this has led to a strong foundation of partnership and bilateral cooperation.
Through the ongoing support of the New Zealand Government Bougainville is increasingly being seen by the National Government and its development partners as being firmly on the right path – a path of economic growth, development and stability. Anthony Kaybing – /2/17 Dawnfm Bouganville.
5) Launch of new Buka Urban Office
The launch of the new Buka Urban Council Office Complex will ensure that the progress of the town’s continuing facelift is on point.
The building which is worth more than K600,000 was co-funded by the New Zealand and Australian Government’s as part of the former Governance Implementation Fund (now PGF) that provides development support in the autonomous region.
Buka Town Mayor, John Angamata graciously thanked the New Zealand and Australian Governments for funding the building which would go a long way in Town Council’s drive to develop Buka Town.
“Our development partners have always been an integral part of the development on Bougainville and we are all very appreciative of this,” he said.
He further stated that he hopes this partnership with these two nations would continue to help Bougainville’s further development.
The New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully said that Bougainville and people of New Zealand have shared a long history as neighbours in the pacific.
“It is a history that New Zealanders are very proud of, particularly the peace process and the reconstruction period and we are trying to play an active partnership role,” Mr McCully said.
“My visit to Bougainville is to check on the relationship that we have with Bougainville to ensure that we have thought our way forward and ensure that our support arrangements are relevant,” he further stated.
McCully said that one of the important vehicles of the GIF program in partnership with the Australian Government has been their support of the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
“In terms of capacity building that needs to take place on Bougainville including the role of the Urban Council is very important and the contribution to this development is part of the mechanism that is GIF and its functions on Bougainville,” he said.
“It is my pleasure on behalf of the GIF partnership to launch this important office complex and I further thank those who have been involved in its development,” he said
“On behalf of the New Zealand Government I would like to say that we take our responsibilities as partners very seriously and we’ve been in this for the long haul and we will stay for the long haul especially as you deal with challenging and exciting times ahead,” he said.Dawnfm Bouganville.Anthony Kaybing-15/2/17
2:09 pm GMT+12, 14/02/2017, Papua New Guinea
Applications for dual citizenship in Papua New Guinea will be ready by March this year.
In a statement, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Rimbink Pato, said the arrangement will be ready once all administrative arrangements are finalized.
He said the delay in the legislative amendments certified at the end of 2016 has been completed and will now enable administrative steps to move forward.
“Dual Citizenship is a new concept for Papua New Guineans and creates great opportunities for our people at home and around the world.
“Through dual citizenship our best and brightest can retain their connection with their homeland and not be hampered by bureaucracy.
“With dual citizenship we are better able to attract skilled workers who will be able to stay and build a home in Papua New Guinea, but still be able to return with ease to their place of birth to see family,” he said.
Pato also stated dual citizenship was not an automatic process and that an applicant must demonstrate the eligibility to be considered.
Currently there are two categories of people who can seek citizenship: PNG citizens who want to hold citizenship of a prescribed country and to retain their PNG Citizenship; and people who hold citizenship of a prescribed country and wish to gain dual citizenship with PNG. The prescribed countries are Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, United Kingdom, and United States of America.
Pato says single citizenship by naturalisations is still available should one wish to renounce their foreign citizenship and retain only PNG citizenship.
The Government has approved new application fees for those applying for dual citizenship and sand at:
* Kina 5, 000 (US$1, 574) – Current PNG citizen or former citizen seeking dual citizenship with a prescribed country;
*Kina 2, 000 (US$629) – Children of mix parentage turning 18 years old and intend to retain their PNG citizenship; and
*Kina15, 000 (US$4,724) – Citizen of a prescribed country seeking dual citizenship.
SOURCE: LOOP PNG/PACNEWS
7) VNPF CoI Report
By Jane Joshua
The 27,400-plus members of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) have been assured that their savings are safe, but the performance and situation of the Fund must be improved without any further delay.
This much was confirmed when the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) handed its 127-pages report on the CoI into the alleged mismanagement, illegal and improper conduct of the past and present VNPF staff to Justice Minister Ronald Warsal and Acting Finance Minister, Jean Pierre Nirua, yesterday afternoon.
The Commission uncovered multiple examples of alleged conflicts of interest in which rules appear to have been ignored.Read more – http://dailypost.vu/news/vnpf-coi-report/article_73975d10-ece2-51cc-b61a-3941f1397c39.html
8) Cooks Health Minister says budget is appropriate
3:23 pm on 15 February 2017
The Cook Islands Health Minister has hit back at claims his country’s expenditure on health care is a disgrace.
The health budget of 3.4 of GDP has been criticised by prominent New Zealand surgeon George Ngaei, who was born in the Cook Islands.
Health Minister Nandi Glassie said while the figure was below the World Health Organisation standard of five percent, it’s equivalent to nine million US dollars.
The Minister said he argued for more money for health but it was the best that could be done within budget constraints.
“The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health has got the larger portion of the budget beside Internal Affairs or Welfare. So I would say that rather than looking at the ratio but the way we appropriate our budget to the two key social policy areas of education and health are at this stage appropriate.”
Mr Glassie said health delivery in the Cook Islands was one of the best in the region
9) Tonga Prime Minister Confident Government Will Survive Vote Of No-Confidence
Pohiva says seven nobles, three people’s representatives introduced motion
NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Feb. 14, 2017) – Tonga’s Prime Minister doesn’t think that a group of 10 Nobles and People’s Representatives will win a Motion for a Vote of No Confidence in the PM and Cabinet, when it goes through the House next week.
Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva commented to Matangi Tonga following a function at Tungi Colonnade in Nuku’alofa where he launched the Tonga Development Bank’s new money remittance service, ‘Ave Pa’anga Pau this afternoon.
The Prime Minister who was not in the House yesterday when the Motion was distributed by the Speaker, said that he had seen the Motion, which he believed was supported by “… seven nobles plus three Representatives of the People.”
He did not want to say who was leading the Motion. “I don’t know, it could be one of the nobles,” Hon. Pohiva said.
When asked if he thought the group would win the Motion against him, the Prime Minister who typically keeps a straight face in public, shrugged and grinned broadly, saying “No, I don’t think so!”
He was not disappointed to see the motion. “They have a constitutional right to do it.”
Hon. Pohiva said the Motion will be read in Parliament on Monday, “and then I hope I can give you my response.”
Nine Nobles Representatives and 17 People’s Representatives make up Tonga’s 26 member Parliament.
Matangi Tonga Magazine
10) Questions In American Samoa Arise About Nationality Of Foreign Nationals In Territory
Submitted by PIR Editor on Tue, 02/14/2017 – 15:12
Attorney General says whether all persons born in Territory are U.S. Nationals needs more research
By Fili Sagapolutele
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Feb. 14, 2017) – Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale says more research is needed on the issue of a child born in American Samoa to a foreigner residing in the territory, taking the nationality of the child’s parents, and not that of a US national.
Federal law considers persons born in American Samoa as US Nationals and with the influx of foreigners to the territory, especially Asians, lawmakers over the last two decades have raised the issue with government officials.
They have argued that children born here to parents from foreign countries, would in the future control American Samoa’s land, take seats in the Fono, and even the governorship post, as they would be US nationals.
And during a recent Senate committee hearing, senators shared with the Attorney General that some countries have laws in place where a child born to a foreign parent is considered a citizen of the parents’ country and not the country in which the child was born.
Sen. Tuiagamoa Tavai brought up the issue with the AG, to which Talauega said he has thought about the same issue because it can also prevent the influx of foreigners to American Samoa.
However, he said this issue needs thorough research and noted that the Fono now has one of the best legal counsels – referring to former deputy attorney general Mitzie Jessop-Ta’ase, who is assigned to the Senate, who can conduct the research work for the Fono.
Talauega said Jessop-Ta’ase is a hard working legal counsel and very familiar with these types of issues and a bill to make such changes could start from the Senate. However, the 49-year-old AG reminded senators that the only difficulty in this matter is that it involves federal law.
Senators pointed to the many Asians, especially Chinese, in the territory operating businesses, with Sen. Fai’ivae A. Godinet saying that Samoans are sweeping the floor in these businesses while Asians are giving orders and operating the businesses.
Sen. Tuaolo Manaia Fruean said he witnessed on a KVZK-TV program that there are so many Chinese on island, during a celebration of the Chinese New Year in the territory. He asked as to why there are so many Chinese and other Asians here.
Talauega responded that the influx of foreigners to the territory didn’t happen yesterday or in the first four years of the Lolo Administration. He said the problem goes back years and it’s American Samoans who brought Asians here to set up stores and other businesses.
He said the law is clear on the number of Chinese allowed into the territory per quota, which is 5 a year, but over the years, the law was not followed and it will take time to address this issue.
With the influx of Chinese and other Asians to the territory, and their children born in the territory, Tuaolo says that he is concerned with the future of American Samoa and that the Senate would end up having a “Senator Ho or a Senator Hin” occupying senatorial seats reserved for local Samoan traditional leaders.
“Fix this problem,” said Tuaolo, to which Talauega called on all America Samoans to work together in order to address this long-standing issue.
And this issue of influx of Asians to the territory and operating local businesses is expected to come up again in the Fono during the next four-years of the Lolo Administration.
The Samoa News
11) Commonwealth Of The Northern Mariana Islands Carrying $472 Million In Debt
Submitted by PIR Editor on Tue, 02/14/2017 – 15:29
By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa
SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 15, 2017) – Representative Edwin Propst said he has learned that the CNMI government has 15 types of debts which “cannot be simply written off.”
Propst recently asked the Legislature’s fiscal analyst, Dave Demapan, to provide a list of the government’s outstanding debts, including land compensation payments and judgments.
Demapan said the CNMI government’s total debt as of Sept. 30, 2014 was $471,758,182. Of this amount, $136.4 million was current while $335.3 million was long-term debt.
He said the government debts included bonds payable, notes payable, claims and judgments, compensated absences, accounts payable, tax rebates payables, recovery rebate payable, accrued interest payable, other liabilities and accrual, due to pension and trust fund, due to external parties, due to component units, unearned revenues, landfill closure and obligation under the Settlement Funds.
According to Demapan, bonds payable are the series of general obligation refunding bonds, ending balance as of Sept. 30, 2014 while notes payable are related to debts owed to the Commonwealth Development Authority and the Marianas Public Land Trust.
He added that claims and judgments include the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. stipulated orders; accounts payable are debts owed to vendors and suppliers while unearned revenues are resources collected in advance that have not been realized and recorded as a liability.
“We have several debts that continue to collect interest, thereby growing our debt,” Propst said. “That is one of the reasons we must do what we can to pay it down.”
He added, “Governments in general have a bad habit of spending and not saving. We need to challenge the status quo and do it differently. What would be most ideal is if we have economic experts who can help our government plan ahead and plan properly. But in order to accomplish this, we must all do our best to be frugal with taxpayer dollars and be as fiscally conservative as possible. Salary increases should not be considered until we have paid down some of our debt.”
Propst has introduced a bill that will remove the salary increase of elected officials mandated by Public Law 19-83, whose constitutionality has also been challenged in Superior Court by the Attorney General’s Office.
12) Fishermen Who Break Kiribati Shark Ban To Face Severe Fine, Jail Time
Submitted by PIR Editor on Tue, 02/14/2017 – 14:44
Catching sharks for commercial purposes could bring $6,000 fine, 4 months in jail
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 14, 2017) – Kiribati Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Development has outlined the penalties for breaking the ban on shark fishing for commercial purposes.
The ministry last year announced sharks could only be fished for consumption and not for re-sale.
Under the Fisheries Act 2010 together with the Shark Sanctuary Regulation 2014, severe punishments and fines will be imposed on those who are found breaching these regulations.
A fine of $US6000 or imprisonment for four months will be given to offenders while fishing boats will be fined US$7643 or impounded for six months for the same offence.
Radio New Zealand International
13) Australia i noken wari long influence blong China long PNG: David Conn
Updated 15 February 2017,
Chief Executive blong Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce David Conn itok Australia i noken wari nating long China influence long Papua New Guinea.
Mr Conn i mekim dispela toktok bihain long ol nius ripot long wari blong Australia long wei China iwok long putim bikpela moni long ol wok projek na investment long ol bisnis long Papua New Guinea.
Emi tok strongpela wok poroman blong Australia na Papua New Guinea bai istap strong long planti yar ikam, tasol PNG emi independent kantri na imas mekim tingting long future blong em yet.
Mr Conn i tok long dispela taim ol investment blong China igo long planti ol small na medium size bisnis na tu ol bikpela wok projek long Papua New Guinea iwok long go bikpela, na dispela emi gutpela samting long kantri.ABC
14) Vanuatu kokonas oil biofuel laitrik projek
Updated 15 February 2017,
Gavman blong Vanuatu i wok long gohet wantaim plan blongen long kamapim laitrik long ol rural eria long kantri.
Laitrik we i yusim renewable energy i stap pinis long sampela aelan long olgeta provins long Vanuatu.
Na stat long Mande dispela wik, Praim Minista Charlot Salwai na Minista blong Climate Change, Ham Lini tupela ibin wok long go raun long tripela provins long opim sampela moa ilektrisiti projek.
Public Ralations Ofisa long Ofis blong Praim Minista, Hilaire Bule i tok ol biofuel laitrik projek ia i yusim oil blong kokonas.
Dispela Vanuatu biofuel rural electrification project ia, European Union nau i givim moni long hem.
Mr Bule i tok ol pipol blong bigfala aelan blong Vanualava long Torba provins stat long Mosina village ikam kaesem long Sola oli kat laitrik pawa stat long yestede.
Hem se Prime minister Salwai hemi officially launchem long Sola. Ol pipol ikam long ol nara aelan olsem Motalava, Mota mo Gaua oli kam witnesem launching ia.ABC
15a) Brèves du Pacifique – vendredi 3 février 2017
15b) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 2 février 2017
A Hawaï, un torrent spectaculaire de lave en fusion se jette dans la mer. Les images sont à couper le souffle. Baptisé «firehose», lance d’incendie, le flux de lave s’écoule en continu, à l’entrée de l’océan Kamokuna, sur la côte sud-est de la Grande Île, attirant des curieux inconscients venus assister au spectacle. La lave fondue est maintenant arquée et tombe environ 230 mètres plus bas. Au Nouvel An, un énorme delta de lave de 10,5 hectares s’est effondré dans l’océan, provoquant des explosions et des vagues énormes. Il n’y avait d’abord qu’un ruisseau de lave qui s’en échappait mais le flux a récemment augmenté en intensité. Les scientifiques craignent maintenant qu’une grande fissure ne déclenche un nouvel effondrement et entrainent de nouvelles explosions. ABC
16) Australia’s struggle
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
SYDNEY – Australia is failing to meet almost every target for improving the lives of its indigenous population, including reducing the infant mortality rate, getting children in school and adults in jobs, according to a government report released on Tuesday.
Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders make up just three per cent of Australia’s population of 23 million people but have disproportionately high rates of suicide and incarceration, tracking near the bottom in almost every economic and social indicator.
The ninth annual Closing the Gap report marks 50 years since Australia’s constitution was changed to count Aborigines as part of the population and allow laws specifically targeted at indigenous communities in a bid to improve welfare and living standards.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said there were more indigenous Australians in school, employment, business, and in better health.
“We have come a long way over the last 50 years … but we have not come far enough,” Mr Turnbull said in a breakfast address to aboriginal community leaders.
“There are still significant challenges that remain.”
The report said the government’s target to close a 10-year gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians by 2031 was behind schedule as the rate of deaths from cancer increased.
A target to halve the child mortality rate by 2018 also missed its target in 2016, however, improvements to antenatal care and smoking rates during pregnancy would help move closer to the 2018 goal, the report said.
Australia’s historic apology almost a decade ago for its mistreatment of Aborigines was supposed to herald a new era of race relations, but with progress in addressing inequality stalling, tensions between the two communities are high.
Late last month, thousands of Australians marched in protests across the country, demanding the date of the national holiday be changed.
For many Aborigines, who trace their lineage on the island continent back 50,000 years, Australia Day January 26 is “Invasion Day”, the anniversary of the beginning of British colonisation of their lands and their brutal subjugation.
The Closing the Gap report showed that education levels are falling behind targets, a key driver for the huge disparity in national employment statistics.
The report pegged unemployment for indigenous people of working age at more than 20 per cent, 3.6 times the non-indigenous unemployment rate. Indigenous unemployment rates in the remote areas of the country are in excess of 40 per cent.
17) NZ discussing post RAMSI security with Solomons
5:12 pm on 15 February 2017
The New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully says his country has plans for how it can assist Solomon Islands when the Regional Assistance Mission, RAMSI, pulls out in July.
The Australian-led RAMSI, to which New Zealand contributed significant numbers of soldiers, police and civil servants when ethnic strife dominated life in the Solomons in 2003, has been scaling down and will withdraw completely in just over four months.
Mr McCully is in Honiara for discussions on the post-RAMSI phase and says New Zealand is ready to make commitments to help ensure the ongoing security of the Solomons.
But he says he is not yet able to reveal details.
“I have got specific details now of what’s proposed. I am not really in a position where I can announce that,” he said. “There are still some further conversations to have with the authorities here.”RNZI
18) Asian Development Bank challenged to put more resources on the ground in the Pacific
A major report into the Asian Development Bank by the Lowy Institute argues that the 50-year old organisation risks losing influence and relevance in the region in the years ahead.
Although the international policy think-tank believes the Bank has contributed to remarkable economic and social development across the Asia-Pacific region, it says the pace of change and the emergence of more flexible sources of financing mean the ADB will have to demonstrate its continuing relevance to donors in particular, and borrowers.
Jonathan Pryke is a Research Fellow in the Lowy Institute’s Melanesia Program and one of the co-authors of the report.
He says the challenge for the ADB will be to provide more support on the ground in Pacific Island countries that have relied on the bank for many years.
Richard Ewart/ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-14/asian-development-bank-challenged-to-put-more/8268134/ Source: Pacific Beat | ABC 15/2/17
19) Vanuatu’s Tanna records 115 dengue cases
8:14 pm on 15 February 2017
115 dengue cases have been recorded in Tanna, southern Vanuatu.
The hospital on Vanuatu’s Tanna island has recorded 115 dengue cases.
A hospital manager, who is also part of the Dengue Taskforce, says 435 people were tested for the mosquito-borne disease.
He says of the 115 people who tested positive four were hospitalised.
He says one patient suffered spontaneous bleeding.
The number of dengue cases has also risen in neighbouring New Caledonia where an epidemic was declared last month.RNZI
20) Dengue claims life in New Caledonia
3:42 pm GMT+12, 12/02/2017, New Caledonia
This year’s dengue epidemic in New Caledonia has claimed its first life.
A 25-year-old woman in the Noumea area died of dengue type 1 and authorities said she was not considered to be at special risk.
They said she had not travelled in the three weeks before her death.
Hundreds of people have been infected this year and an epidemic was declared in the first week of January as about 20 people a day were being infected with the mosquito-borne disease.
Another two dozen patients have contracted dengue type 2 which was brought into the territory through Vanuatu.
21) Eradication of TB will take 200 years at present rate says British MP
Global efforts to combat tuberculosis need to be urgently expanded to avoid millions of deaths in the future.
That’s the message from British MP Nick Herbert, Co-chair of the Global TB Caucus, who is in Australia to meet with Australian politicians.
He says the Pacific has high rates of TB infection, and PNG in particular faces a major challenge thanks to the spread of a drug-resistant form of the disease.
Nick Herbert tells Bruce Hill that while advances are being made in combating HIV/Aids and malaria, at the present rate it will take 200 years to wipe out tuberculosis.
Bruce Hill – Source: Pacific Beat | ABC/ 15-02-17 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-15/eradication-of-tb-will-take-200-years-at-present/8274088
22) Free medicine for 24,000 people
Wednesday, February 15, 2017=Fijitimes
Update: 5:03PM MORE than 24,000 Fijians will benefit from a free medicine program run by the government, a statement from the Department of Information stated today.
Minister for Health and Medical Services, Rosy Akbar told parliament last week the Free Medicine Program, which started in 2015 would be funded with the ministry’s budget allocation of $8million.
“In 2016 the Government added another 70 medicines to the Program, bringing the medicine list to a total of 142, and at the same time increased the budget allocation to $10million,” the government statement said.
“Those arrangements are being maintained in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.”
“As of December 2016, the Ministry has purchased around $4.8 million worth of medicines. These were received at the Ministry?s warehouse in Nabua before being distributed to dispensing points. The consumption of Free Medicines is monitored on a monthly basis to ensure that stocks are minimized.”
23) Doctors 32-hour shifts
Wednesday, February 15, 2017-Fijitimes
FIJI’S Health and Medical Services Minister Rosy Akbar says she has not received any concerns from doctors regarding their working hours.
In Fiji, public doctors on duty work more than 32 hours continuously.
“This practice has been ongoing,” Ms Akbar said.
“I believe that when they work those long hours they also get their days off too and we have not had any issues with that.”
Ms Akbar also said the doctor to patient ratio stood at 1:1400.
Meanwhile, Fiji College of General Practitioners president Dr John Fatiaki said doctors were expected to work normal 40 hours a week.
“In addition to that because there are obviously shortage of doctors, many doctors are required to do what we call after hours or on call in the hospitals and mini health centres.
“Even though you’re on call you may just have to work continuous and that is where you get your 32-hour shifts,” he said.
“This has been a problem that has been there for a long time and it is not an ideal situation.
“Obviously sometimes those long working hours may affect the doctor’s performance, unfortunately it is a reality of life,” he said.
Dr Fatiaki also said improvements had been made over the years regarding the doctors, but there was still room for more improvements.
24) Fiji Village Bylaw Consultations Discuss Limiting Kava Consumption, Abuse
Submitted by PIR Editor on Tue, 02/14/2017 – 14:41
Excessive consumption, drinking of grog by women raised as issues of concern
By Serafina Silaitoga
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 15, 2017) – Yaqona (kava) consumption in villages has been abused and proposals have been made for stringent measures to address the issue including that of women’s involvement in the practice.
The proposals, made at village bylaws consultations in the North, stirred grave concerns among traditional leaders and district reps.
Consultations in Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata over the past week heard there was an urgent need to limit grog consumption to certain age groups.
And if it was affecting women’s household chores especially preparing children for school, then women should be banned from grog consumption.
Wainunu District rep Jale Sigarara said it was OK if women consumed grog, but excessive consumption should be stopped.
He said women could drink grog only at traditional functions.
Mr Sigarara proposed at the consultation in Nabouwalu on Monday that villagers under the age of 18 should be restricted from drinking grog.
He said men should also limit their time spent on drinking grog so they could have more family time.
District reps in Macuata also proposed that women be banned from grog consumption because children usually arrived late to school as mothers woke up late after consuming yaqona.
Labasa District rep Isoa Baleirotuma proposed that villagers be informed of the reasons for grog ceremonies.
He said the elders used to consume grog only during important meetings and it was never abused.
Village bylaws committee chairman Saimoni Waibuta assured that all concerns and proposals had been considered and would be confirmed when the iTaukei Afairs Board meets.
Fiji Times Online.
25) MPs FAIL PARLIAMENT
Published: 15 February 2017
A day wasted due to lack of quorum
PARLIAMENT resumes today after it was suspended yesterday because MPs failed to show up for the meeting.
The Speaker of Parliament adjourned the meeting because of lack of quorum.
The issue of quorum was raised by the leader of Opposition Jeremiah Maneleand the Speaker gave an extra 15 minutes start time to allow members to turn up.
After 15 minutes, no further MPs show up, prompting the Speaker to adjourn the meeting to 9.30am today.
This is not the first time parliament was adjourned due to lack of quorum.
This practice has been heavily criticised many times before by members of the public.
Some used social media to call on MPs to be responsible and do their job.
The Solomon Star has observed that since parliament resumed last week, less than half of the members attended each sitting.
However, yesterday’s attendance was the lowest recorded since parliament started this year.
In the meantime, parliament did pass the Town and Country Planning (Amendment Bill) on Monday afternoon after a marathon session.
By AATAI JOHN/Solomon Star
26) PNG Opposition leader Polye welcomes Electoral Commissioner’s decision on election dates
1:49 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2017, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea Opposition leader Don Polye has welcomed the Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato’s unwavering stance on staying the original election dates.
Despite him being recently under the spotlight for a few controversial decisions regarding the election, Polye commended him for taking heed of the Opposition’s warning to manage the affairs of the election “independently without any undue influence”.
“Our people would eager to see him continue to discharge his duties independently without fear or favour like this until the return of writs on July 24.
“Our alternate government will continue working side by side with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders to see a fair, free and democratic election delivered this year,” said Polye.
He said now that Gamato had indicated that the Common Roll update would resume, he should be cautious of sitting MPs in the government plotting to inflate their supporters’ names and (or) decrease their opponents in the roll.
Polye has assured the people that their alternate government would continue to scrutinise the electoral processes to avoid electoral fraud.
Meanwhile, Polye said the Opposition was ready to challenge the nomination fee increase from K1000 to K10, 000 (US$314 – US$3,147) in the Supreme Court.
He said the constitutional amendment Bill had gone through only the first reading with 75-14 votes in its favour in the last Parliament session.
The Opposition Leader is calling on the people to mount pressure on their parliamentarians to shift their plan to vote against it, citing the Bill is “draconian, and a direct abuse of human rights”.
Polye said they should use their ‘moral conscience’ to vote against it.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
27) Chair of Fiji election commission vows independence
2:08 pm GMT+12, 14/02/2017, Fiji
The newly-appointed chair of Fiji’s electoral commission says he’s committed to fighting for the body’s independence.
Suresh Chandra was appointed to head the constitutional body tasked with supervising the elections office last week.
The last commission, whose term expired on 09 January, had battled the elections office and the supervisor of elections, Mohammed Saneem, in court over his acting contrary to the commission’s advice.
And a former commission member, Vijay Naidu, stepped down in 2015 citing difficulty in working with the office and Saneem.
But Chandra said that is all water under the bridge and the commission would be starting fresh, although he said he isn’t afraid to fight for the commission.
“We will be making independent decisions and if that decision needs to be reviewed or if in the process of making the decision there is any conflict there, then it will have to be resolved by way of legal opinions and if not then, yeah, whatever is necessary we can go ahead and resolve it,” said Chandra.
After the 2014 elections, a multinational observer group recommended the commission increase its transparency.
Chandra said maintaining transparency and ensuring the fairest possible elections are his biggest priorities.
“Provide all these reports and things that come out from the commission to the public and the parliament, and that the report goes to the president and all.
“So we will make sure that the transparency is maintained and we need to see that the credibility of the process is maintained and the election procedures are followed,” he said.
28) Traditional Fiji Leaders Concerned About Bylaws Which Could Allow Police To Enter Villages
Submitted by PIR Editor on Tue, 02/14/2017 – 15:20
Alleged police misconduct does not help reputation of police
By Serafina Silaitoga
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 15, 2017) – The proposed village bylaw which states police shall be given access to conduct investigations within village boundary has been greatly argued at provincial consultations.
During consultations at Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata, district reps and traditional leaders argued that past media reports highlighting alleged police mistreatment of villagers during drug raids had not painted a good reputation of the Fiji Police Force in village boundaries.
Therefore, most submissions on this issue proposed that police also seek the approval of the village headman before entering any village.
The proposed bylaw in Part XX — Compliance to the Bylaws in Clause 85 states that police shall be given access to conduct its investigation within the village boundary.
At the Macuata consultation, Sasa villager and traditional leader Samuela Tuidravu said all village headmen should be informed of police access to villages.
In Nabouwalu, where the Bua consultation took place, Wainunu district rep Jale Sigarara supported the motion that village headmen should also be informed if police were to visit villages.
Wainunu villager, Epeli Matawalu, also asked the village bylaw committee to ensure that police get permission before entering villages.
Similar concerns were raised by traditional leaders.
But committee member Aminiasi Katonivualiku told the forum that by law, police had the right to enter villages for investigation purposes.
Mr Katonivualiku agreed that past cases of police mistreatment published in the media had stirred concerns in villages.
However, he stressed to traditional leaders to inform their villagers that under the Constitution, they could question police on the reasons of arrest and demand a warrant.
Fiji Times Online.
CLIMATE CHANGE, CONSERVATION
29) Weather update: Flood warning for low lying areas
Wednesday, February 15, 2017=Fijitimes
Update: 5:44PM HEAVY rain and flood warning remains in force for the whole of the Fiji group, particularly low lying areas.
As of 5pm this evening, the weather forecasting centre in Nadi maintained these forecasts in its special bulletin as the active trough of low pressure with associated cloud and rain remained slow moving over the northern parts of the country, and gradually moving southwards onto the rest of the group.
Forecast of occasional and frequent rain that will be heavy at times from tonight remain in force for Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands, northern Lau group, Yasawa group, northern and eastern parts of Viti Levu, Lomaiviti group and the rest of the country.
Localised heavy rain may lead to flash flooding.
Flood warning, on the other hand, has been issued to all low lying areas and areas adjacent to Rakiraki Town and downstream Rakiraki station.
Included in this alert are low lying areas and small streams adjacent to major rivers for the whole of Fiji.
Another special bulletin will be issued at 8pm.
30) Vanuatu earthquake no threat to Fiji
Wednesday, February 15, 2017-Fijitimes
Update: 1:58PM A 5.1 MAGNITUDE earthquake occurred at 8.14am this morning 68km north from Luganville, Vanuatu.
The moderate sized earthquake occurred at an intermediate depth of 96km.
The earthquake�s source location was 68km north from Luganville, Vanuatu, 340km northwest from Port Vila and 1259km north-northwest from Suva, Fiji.
The Seismology Unit of the Mineral Resources department has confirmed that this earthquake posed no immediate threat to the Fiji region.
31) Giving Oceans a break could generate US$83 billion in additional benefits for fisheries
8:29 pm GMT+12, 14/02/2017, United States
Fishing less, and better, could generate an additional US$83 billion each year for the fisheries sector, creating a much-needed revenue stream in developing countries and improving global food security, according to a new World Bank Group report.
The Sunken Billions Revisited, an update on a 2009 study, shows that reducing the global fishing effort would allow fish stocks to recover from overexploitation and lead to increases in the weight, value and price of fish landed, boosting the profitability of the fisheries sector from an estimated US$3 billion a year to US$86 billion. It would also lead to more fish being caught and landed, because stocks would have recovered to healthier levels, thus helping meet growing global demand for seafood and improving food security in many countries around the world.
“This study confirms what we have seen in different country contexts: Giving the oceans a break pays off,” said Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. “Moving toward more sustainable fisheries management, through approaches that are tailored to local conditions, can yield significant benefits for food security, poverty reduction and long-term growth.”
The bio-economic model used in The Sunken Billions Revisited, developed by Ragnar Arnason, professor in the Faculty of Economics at the University of Iceland treats the world’s marine fisheries as one large fishery. It examines the mismatch between the increasingly high level of effort put into fishing and stagnant or even declining fish catches, and calculates the incremental benefits that could be derived from global fisheries reform.
The analysis reveals foregone economic benefits of about US$83 billion in 2012, compared with what could be generated under the optimal scenario. This result is not statistically different from the sunken billions estimated for 2004, which were revised from an estimated US$50 billion in the 2009 study to US$88 billion in The Sunken Billions Revisited, based on improvements in the model, better data, and adjustment to 2012 dollars. Both figures emphasise the urgent need for reform and the important economic gains that could be made through a more sustainable management of the world’s fisheries.
While the report makes a strong case for investing in the recovery of fish stocks, it does not prescribe a particular reform path. Reform experiences in countries and regions as diverse as Peru, Morocco, the Pacific Islands and West Africa show it is possible to reduce overfishing through locally appropriate reforms that ultimately improve the livelihoods and job security of coastal populations.
Reducing the global fishing effort would allow biological processes to reverse the long-term decline in fish stocks seen in many parts of the world. About 90 percent of marine fisheries monitored by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are fully fished or overfished, up from about 75 percent in 2005. Fish stocks are also under pressure from pollution, coastal development, and the impacts of climate change.
The World Bank helps countries improve the management of their fisheries, invest in sustainable aquaculture, and manage competing pressures on coasts and oceans, to improve the livelihoods of coastal communities and put growth on a more sustainable and resilient footing.
SOURCE: WORLD BANK/PACNEWS
32) Mother registers cultural group as entertainment business
February 15, 2017The NationalBusiness
By JACKLYN SIRIAS
HAVING the knowledge to perform cultural dances with traditional songs had prompted a mother of six to register her cultural group as an entertainment business.
Hailing from a part of PNG where people jump confidently to the beat of the garamut (traditional drum), Susan Okem inherited the dance from her ancestors on the island of Pitilu in Manus.
She started the Pitilu cultural group in 2008 when she was invited to entertain tourists at a hotel in Port Moresby.
“That time, I do not have any instruments like garamut so I had to borrow,” Okem said.
Since her late husband was a relative of East Sepik Governor Sir Michael Somare, Okem went to borrow a garamut from his house when he was the prime minister.
Using that garamut, she performed on a number of occasions at the hotel where she was paid K180 for each performance.
She started saving up and bought seven garamut drums and other traditional bilas (decorations) that she need during her performances.
Okem told The National that she registered her cultural dancing group with the Investment Promotion Authority.
“This was because I see that people and organisation started hiring my group to perform on a regular basis on events such as a marriage ceremony or a conference or meetings for big organisations, graduations for schools and so forth,” she said.
She set up a committee in her group to oversee all the functions.
They will participate in the farewell ceremony for Sir Michael Somare.
33) Fiji Times, FPRA ink MOU for Hip Hop award
Wednesday, February 15, 2017-Fijitimes
Update: 5:39PM FIJI Times Limited has once again put pen to paper in sponsoring the Hip-Hop award at the upcoming Fiji Performing Rights Association (FPRA) music awards.
The award was firstly introduced last year to which the Fiji Times had the privilege to sponsor.
Today the Fiji Times Limited yet again signed a Memorandum Understanding with FPRA to sponsor the award.
Fiji Times General Manager, Hank Arts said that the Fiji Times has been a proud sponsor for music for the past 25 years.
Meanwhile FPRA executive member Laisa Vulakoro said there will be fifteen awards up for grabs at this year’s event.
34) Barras beat NSW by four wickets, face ACT today
February 15, 2017The NationalSports
THE Papua New Guinea Barramundis beat the New South Wales XI by four wickets in another close encounter at Blacktown yesterday.
Batting first NSW posted 114/7 off their allotted 20 overs, with Ben Manenti (36) and Scott Copperfield (20 not out) the main contributors with the bat.
The Hebou-sponsored Barramundis bowlers were on their game with Alei Nao (2-14) and Willie Gavera (2-28) the pick of the bowlers.
In reply PNG got off to a shaky start, losing Tony Ura (2) and Vani Vagi Morea (2) early to leave the visitors in trouble at 19/2 after six overs.
Then Lega Siaka (21) and captain Assad Vala (30) steered the side out of trouble, before an unbeaten 20 off just 10 balls from veteran Mahuru Dai guided PNG to their first victory on tour with four wickets and two balls remaining.
The Barramundis travelled to Canberra immediately after the match to prepare for their T20 fixture against the ACT XI in the curtain raiser to the Australian Prime Minister’s fixture between Australia and Sri Lanka today at Manuka Oval.
Of the Barramundis squad Lega Siaka is the only player who has participated in a PM’s XI match having been part of a Michael Hussey-captained side in a match against England in 2015.
New South Wales XI 114/7 (Ben Manenti 36, Scott Copperfield 20 not out, Jordan Gauci 18; Alei Nao 2-14, Willie Gavera 2-28, Nosiana Pokana 1-7, Chad Soper 1-17) PNG 116/6 (Assad Vala 30 (24), Lega Siaka 21 (22), Mahuru Dai 20 not out; Devin Malone 2-11). PNG won by four wickets.
35) Warriors to defend title next month
Wednesday, February 15, 2017-Fijitimes
Update: 4:29PM THE Fiji Warriors will be out to defend their title during the World Rugby Pacific Challenge next month.
The side will take on Samoa A, Tonga A and Junior Japan in Suva next month in a round robin competition.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumount said the Pacific Challenge helps develop the sport in pacific island countries which in turn creates quality competition pathway for targeted investment unions.
“The Pacific Challenge helps local and academy players gain beneficial game time and gives exposure to a high-performance tournament environment. Fiji won last year?s tournament but I expect they’ll face tough competition to retain the trophy next month. It’s certainly an exciting event for fans in Suva,” he said.
The venue for the much anticipated matches will be announced later.
36) Nasi tunes in the Spirit of the Games-ShefNA Season 2017
By Kathie Simon
Shefa Netball kick starts the New Year’s Opening Championships yesterday, Tuesday 14 February.
The highlight of the Opening Championships this year is to feel the spirit of the Games. The Pacific Mini Games Mascot “Nasi” has positively responded for his presence to be at ShefNA’s Opening Season 2017 at the Vanuatu Netball courts, Stade.
When Daily Sports approached the President of Shefa Netball, Eileen Nganga she said, “As we kick-start this year, it is very important for our players and members to get into the spirit of the Games that we are hosting at the end of the year.
“Netball is one of the games included in the Games and for Shefa Netball we will probably have some players in the squad. The Head Coach Vanessa Laloyer is a member of Shefa Netball and we are very proud that she has been chosen in this very important role.
“Thus for this Opening we feel that having Nasi to shoot the first goal is important to encourage the Spirit of the Games.
“Nasi will also be present to shoot the first goal during the Opening Tournament of our Junior League which starts on Friday 17 February from 3pm to 5pm. It’s also another way to get our junior players to be a part of the lead up to the Games and to feel the Spirit of the Games.
“It is our hope that during the Games — our Junior League players of both Port Vila and Shefa Netball will be the ball girls, so getting them interested through Nasi will provide that interest in good time
“We take this time to thank Nasi and VAN2017 for their cooperation and support in our programs”, the President of ShefNA said.
The Opening Tournament event is expected to stage qualifying test matches for new comer teams to determine their skills for grade categories. The tournament can also determine the number of clubs registered in the New Year.
Meanwhile other netball member associations are expected to begin the New Year’s programs soon.
15/2/17 – Raymond Nasse/dailypost.vu
37) Vanuatu National Cricket team departs for ICC World Cricket League Qualifier
The national cricket team departed on Sunday 12th February for Bendigo in Victoria, Australia to participate in the International Cricket Council East Asia Pacific (ICC EAP) World Cricket League (WCL) Division Five regional qualifier.
The rural Victorian town of Bendigo will play host to the six nations; Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Samoa and Vanuatu. The WCL qualifier will commence on Saturday the 25th of February. The competition will act as a qualifier for the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Five competition.
Vanuatu after their fourth place finish in the 2016 ICC WCL Division 5 will start the tournament as favourites and will be looking to replicate their first place finish that they achieved in the 2015 Pacific Games. Six grounds will be used throughout the week with teams playing five matches in a round robin competition over seven days. There will be no finals so each game counts toward the ladder with the nation at the top earning qualification and being crowned the EAP Champion.
In other cricket news the VCA would like to acknowledge Coburg Cricket Club for hosting a T20 curtain raiser match versus Vanuatu on Thursday 16th February.
“I am extremely pleased with the support from Coburg Cricket Club, organizing a T20 Super Smash match between Coburg CC versus Vanuatu XI,” said VCA President, Mark Stafford.
15/2/17 Raymond Nasse/ dailypost.vu
|8:47 pm GMT+12, 14/02/2017, Fiji|
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe is highly likely to visit Fiji for the 2017 Oceania Athletics Championship.
This was confirmed by the Athletics Fiji chief development officer Joe Rodan Jr.
“Before the Oceania Athletics Championship, they have the Oceania Congress with the venue in Suva and they are still working on the details,” Rodan Jr said.
“The congress will have all the presidents, general secretaries and the Oceania representatives attending the event. The IAF president Sebastian Coe is also expected to come down as well.
“He had tentatively said he would be here for the event. We are hoping that he turns up which would be a big boost for the region and to discuss of plans what all happens in the region. The regions counts for eight votes in the annual general assembly. We play a big part in the IAF election, which is why he is coming because there is going to be an annual general meeting at the World Championship as well. He is coming to hear the voice of the Oceania. He knows what is our needs in this part of the world.”
He said it was a busy year for Athletics Fiji.
“It is a big year for us since we have Coca-Cola Games coming up and then we have Oceania Athletics Championship. We will have the trials straight after the National Athletics Championship for the Oceania competition.
“There will be 22 countries competing and it also serves as the qualifiers for the World Championship in London.
In the addition to their international engagements, he said they also had the Commonwealth Youth Games.
“If no one qualifies then we will have two track athletes representing under universality and then we have Mini Pacific Games.”.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
Philippe Saibir Pako -Tenene