Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1091 ( Tuesday 11 April 2017 )


1) Cyclone Cook : un septuagénaire disparu à Kouaoua


Mis à jour le 11.04.2017 à 17h33

Depuis hier après-midi lundi, un homme de 73 ans a disparu sur la commune de Kouaoua.

Le septuagénaire a quitté à pied son domicile de la tribu de Konoyes aux alentours de 15 heures, alors que la zone était en alerte 2 cyclonique. Sur son trajet, il était obligé de traverser une rivière en crue.

Suite à cette disparition inquiétante, les gendarmes de la brigade de Kouaoua ainsi que de Canala, aidés par l’hélicoptère de la sécurité civile, ont mené d’intenses recherches afin de retrouver le disparu. Sans succès. Les opérations reprendront dès demain, mercredi matin.

2) Cyclone Cook alarm

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

SYDNEY – New Caledonia was bracing for high winds, massive waves and heavy rain as a powerful cyclone bore down on the French South Pacific territory yesterday.

Cyclone Cook had already swept through Vanuatu as a Category 1 storm over the weekend, causing flooding.

The storm was forecast to strengthen to a destructive Category 4, one rung below the most dangerous wind speed level, before it makes landfall in New Caledonia yesterday afternoon local time, Fiji’s Meteorological Service predicted.

The storm was expected to hit the main island’s north almost at the same time as high tide, with winds of up to 200 km per hour (124 miles per hour). Flooding rain and waves as tall as 10 metres (33 feet) have been forecast by New Caledonian authorities.

“The threat to New Caledonia is very serious,” the territory’s meteorological service said in a cyclone alert bulletin yesterday.

Flights from the main airport at Noumea were to be cancelled yesterday evening, a spokeswoman said in a telephone interview.

In Vanuatu, where Cyclone Cook had already passed through, no injuries were reported and the storm did little damage to property, but low-lying areas were evacuated as floodwaters rose, the Vanuatu Daily Post reported.

Cyclone Cook was intensifying as the threat from Cyclone Debbie, which struck Australia and New Zealand, dissipated.

3) New Caledonia ‘relatively unscathed’ post-cyclone

All cyclone alerts have been lifted in New Caledonia as the French territory takes stock of the damage from Cyclone Cook.

The cyclone is now a category two storm, after hitting New Caledonia as a category three last night, and it is heading south towards New Zealand’s north.

In Noumea this afternoon, business had been gradually returning to normal.

According to local media, around the mainland there were numerous areas with damaged homes, amid scattered debris such as torn roofs and fallen trees.

A number of creeks and rivers were flooded, while some residents were reporting problems with drinking water.

Among the signs of infrastructure damage, thousands of families were also without electricity supply, particularly for populations north of Noumea.

As of this morning there were about 70,000 who had been without electricity since last night, but local works units had been tyring to restore the supply.

The president of the government Philippe Germain has praised New Caledonians for taking heed of the warnings which left the territory relatively unscathed.

Scheduled flights in and out of Tontouta are set to resume tomorrow.11/4/17 RNZI

4) Flooding, landslides

Published: 11 April 2017

HEAVY rain on Sunday night has caused wide spread flooding and landslide to parts of the city and the outskirt communities of Honiara.

The rain which continued for several hours had caused flooding to the main highway from Fishing Village and down to Rove.

Traffic movement was badly affected which restricted their movement along the main highway from Fishing Village down to Bahai.

Other parts of the highway at Honiara city council, High Court and Rove were also flooded.

The heavy rain had also bring back memories of the 2014 April 3rd flash flood.

White River area in West Honiara was badly hit by the rising water which inundated many homes, including clinic, shops and police station.

Many families had to evacuate from their homes and took refuge at the White River Community High School assembly hall.

Many residents were left sleepless as they continue to watch for the flood waters to subside.

There were also reports of landslide in many areas within the city.

The heavy rain is linked to a low trough located in the Western part of the country.Solomon Star

5) Lighting strikes boy unconscious

Published: 11 April 2017

A CONCERNED citizen is calling on responsible authorities to provide awareness about the effects of lightning during stormy weather after a young boy was struck by lightning on Saturday when watching movie from a laptop.

According to the man, who refused to the named, the young boy in his early twenties was watching movie from a laptop with his two friends in their lodge at Gilbert Camp when the incident happened.

“The lightning struck three times.

“It was the third strike that hit the boy who was laying closest to the laptop.

“It came down following a stud of the house and struck the boy unconscious,” the man said.

The young man was rushed to the National Referral Hospital where he was kept overnight for observation. He was discharged the next day.

However, the concerned man said responsible authorities should inform the public about the precautionary measures against lightning storms.

“At the moment we are not sure how the lightning struck the boy.

“Those responsible should tell us if laptops and other appliances are risks to lighting because this is all new to us.

“Before we normally see lightning coming down along tall trees or coconuts but not like what happened on Saturday,” the concerned man said.

He said if what happened on Saturday was a result of the laptop then those selling electrical appliances should also warn people against using these products during lightning storms.

“We often buy mobile phones and electrical appliances but never heard the suppliers warning us against their use during lightning storms.

“It would be good if those selling these items also tell us about the dangers of using these items,” he said.Solomon Star


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7) Walk for West Papua to be held between Geelong to Melbourne in Australia

APRIL 8, 2017

Sign up to join the Walk 4 West Papua here

From 26th to 30th April, a 73km awareness raising walk for West Papua will be taking place from Geelong to Melbourne to signify the distance between Australian territory (Deliverance Island) and West Papua, Australia’s closest neighbour.

The walk is being hosted by the West Papuan community of Melbourne and supporters. You can find out more info about the walk through the Facebook Event.

“JOIN the Walk 4 West Papua in solidarity with the Papuan community calling for self-determination over their land.” #Walk4WestPapua!

Walk for West Papua to be held between Geelong to Melbourne in Australia


 8) Possible hitmen hired in Tonga to attack Chinese business rivals
8:24 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2017, Tonga

The Tongan government believes some Chinese businesses in the kingdom might be hiring hitmen to harm their rivals.

But Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva said he forgot to tell Chinese Ambassador Huang Huaguang about their concerns at their last meeting.

Pohiva said a government taskforce investigating crimes against Chinese in Tonga was trying to confirm reports about hitmen being hired.

He said even there was no hard evidence yet, the matter was important and if he had remembered to talk about it at their meeting with the Chinse community last month people attending might have been able to help.

PM Pohiva said Minister of Police Mateni Tapueluelu had mentioned it to him after the meeting was finished.

Pohiva said he would raise the issue with the Chinese community at their next meeting.

The Prime Minister met with the Chinese Ambassador and a group of Chinese community leaders and members at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nuku’alofa on March 30.

The Prime Minister told Kaniva News in Auckland last week he had publicly apologised to the Chinese community after it had been proved some of them had been victims of violent crimes.

“The Tongan Government does not tolerate such violence whether it is against members of the Chinese community or any other community,” the Prime Minister told the Chinese ambassador.

“The Government and the people of Tonga greatly and sincerely appreciate the enormous and ongoing assistance of the Chinese Government and people to Tonga.

“However it is obvious that a minority within Tongan society do not appreciate such assistance. On behalf of the Government, I would like to apologize to each and every person against whom violence was committed and to the Chinese community as a whole.”

Ambassador Huang said he was happy with the Prime Minister’s remarks.

“The Chinese in Tonga still faced many difficulties and challenges,” Ambassador Huang said.

“Crimes against the Chinese community happened frequently in 2016 and some brutal cases remained unsolved.

“The criminals have not been brought to justice and the reasonable compensation claims by the victims were not earnestly responded [to] or implemented. The impact of the overseas deportees to the social security of Tonga made the situation even worse.”

“The Embassy is looking forward to working closely with the Tonga Government and Tonga police to create better safety environment for all the Chinese living and working in the Kingdom.”

The Tongan government has set up a sub-committee to investigate crimes against Chinese and other expatriates in Tonga.

The subcommittee is chaired by Justice Minister Sione Vuna Fa’otusia and also includes the Minister of Police, the Commissioner of Police, the Commander of the Tonga Defence Force and the Commissioner of Prisons.

The Chinese in Tonga have been a target of criminal activities because of their businesses.

Fa’otusia said attacks on foreigners were a grave concern to the government.

Police in February established Operation Great Wall with the aim of reducing crimes against the Asian community in Tonga.

Deputy Commissioner Pelenatita Fe’ao Vaisuai said that while Chinese made up three percent of victims of crime, the offences committed against them were quite serious.


9) Multi-million dollar grant from China to underpin Tonga’s preparations for 2019 Pacific Games

After the long-running personal battle between Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva and organising committee chairman Lord Fred Sevele, preparations for the 2019 Pacific Games in Tonga appear to be back on track.

China is set to play a big part in ensuring the Games happen, with Beijing stepping in with a construction grant in excess of $US30 million.

The President of the Pacific Games Council, Vidhya Lakhan, is determined to bring the Tonga Games to fruition, and Lord Sevele’s confident that he and his team will be left to get on with the job now, free from any further political interference.

Joe Yaya

Source: Pacific Beat | 10/4/17 ABC


11) American Samoa public servant pay cut irks

An unsuccessful candidate in last year’s election for the America Samoa House of Representatives has pleaded with the governor not to cut the working hours of government employees who are minimum wage earners.

Last week, the governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga announced the reduction of working hours from eight to seven hours per working day, effective today.

This means workers will be employed and paid for 70 hours every bi-weekly pay period instead of 80 hours.

The cuts were announced amid uncertainty over whether the territory would continue to get federal grants from Washington after the election of Donald Trump.

In an open letter to the governor, Su’a Lucia Bartley questioned whether it was morally ethical, justified, fair and honourable to cut the 10 hours from the minimum wage earners.

Su’a said this reduction in pay was nothing to the high-paid employee but it was a huge cut to the low income earners who make below $US20,000 per year.

Su’a asked Lolo to cancel or reduce the monetary gifts given to groups as well as teams participating in the long boat race on Flag Day.11/4/17 RNZI

12) Cook Islands Internal Affairs minister and Sports ministers to resign

8:12 pm GMT+12, 09/04/2017, Cook Islands

Albert Nicholas, whose roles in the Cook Islands government include Internal Affairs minister and Sports minister, has decided to quit to end the controversy of his defection from the Democrats to the Cook Islands Party.

His move was announced by Prime Minister Henry Puna.

It is believed a by-election will be held for his seat in Rappa within seven weeks and it is understood Nicholas will stand again, but this time under the CIP banner.

Earlier this year an Opposition legal bid to have Nicholas’ seat declared vacant was dismissed by the High Court saying the move could not have succeeded on the facts.

But the court did clarify a number of matters regarding the anti vaka-hopping legislation. The prime minister told CI News: “His resignation is really the right thing to do, because the High Court has given its judgement in the case challenging the minister’s (Nicholas) continued membership of parliament and so now we know what the legal situation is.

“It is up to us to do the right thing following on from that pronouncement. The right thing was not unclear in our minds. We’ve always been certain of what we need to do and we’re just waiting for the court pronouncement to come out.

“The member himself, all credit to him, has actually been instrumental in initiating this step and it’s because he wants to do the right thing.

“He doesn’t want to take a free ride for the rest of the parliamentary term. He wants to be an active participating MP in all the business of parliament and government.”

Puna said: “If he votes for supply for government that will trigger the anti vaka-hopping legislation and the law is quite clear on that. “We have done things up to now to protect him from being exposed to that sort of consequence.”

Puna also said: “The court made comments that if a member who is elected to a particular party does not support that party – it seems even by not turning up to parliament – that when vote is held that could be taken as not supporting.”

Implicit in that is a warning to parliamentary Opposition leader Rose Brown, who originally entered parliament as a Cook Islands Party MP.

Asked if that was what he was saying, Puna said: “No question, Rose Brown is caught by this judgement and by the language of the Act. It is up to her what she does.

People will see there is a challenge that faces her in doing the right thing – the right thing that Albert Nicholas is doing.

“I imagine there will be quite a bit of pressure on her to do the right thing. It makes her position completely untenable as Leader of the Opposition.”

The prime minister said things had moved quickly since the party floated the idea with its two committees in Avatiu – Nicholas’ own committee through the last election, and the CIP committee. “They have met in Avatiu and they will combine and merge and their new committee is everybody on those two committees, and they have agreed to only have one candidate.

“He is a very popular man because he is very active in his constituency and we are there behind him to support him in his actions.

“He has initiated a lot of new things in his constituency and has extended a helping hand to all pensioners.

“Helping clean their yards, mow their lawns, rake their rubbish.”

And the prime minister said if re-elected Nicholas will go straight back into his ministry.

He said he had been advised that a by-election could be held within seven weeks.

“Well that is necessary before parliament convenes before the Budget. That’s the next important thing for parliament to do when called together in June.”

He said he expected Nicholas to formally resign early next week. And is the prime minister tempted to go for a snap election along with the by-election.

“That wouldn’t be fair to the people. One thing at a time.

“There is no need for a snap election at the moment, but let’s see how things work out in the by-election.” .


13) Samoa Tourism Could Benefit From Direct Flights, More Asian Language Skills

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 04/10/2017 – 14:21

Cultural authenticity also seen as key attraction for visitors

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, April 10, 2017) – Two of the key aspects identified by tour operators and retailers as lacking in the development of Samoa tourism are language and the authenticity of Samoa.

The language barrier was raised by China and Korea’s travel and tourism operators, while Sebastian Sarrasin, Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) representative in the United Kingdom, said tourists want to see Samoa’s authenticity in its culture and traditional way of life.

They were part of last weeks’ Samoa Tourism Exchange 2017 where they saw first-hand what Samoa has to offer the tourists.

Speaking to Talamua media, Sunny Xu, New Prestige Tour operator from China said Asian people struggle with English, and “it would help if local Asians such as Chinese, Japanese and Koreans can be used by tour operators to communicate with tourists when on island.

He said from the Asian’s perspective, “language barriers need to improve, as most Asian people do not speak English.”

Siyam Kuang and Moon Sung from Korea, agreed and they pointed out the need for a direct flight between Samoa and Korea.

“I did not know about Samoa, now I feel I know what real Samoa is after meeting so many travel agencies, wholesalers, and tourism operators and seeing Samoa,” said Kuang

“I will promote Samoa, but with no direct flight between Samoa and Korea, it would be hard to enter that market.”

Kuang said there are tourists who prefer flying direct to their destination, and there are others who like to overnights at different countries. However, for the success of tourism between Samoa and Korea, a direct flight is needed.

Huge potential for Savai’i

They agree that Samoa has a lot to offer to tourists, pointing out Savai’i as a much better tourist destination over Upolu.

She said Samoa is a perfect place “to relax and I have never seen such beautiful beaches like the ones in Savaii.”

Sebastian Sarrasin, Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) representative in the United Kingdom understands what the European tourists are after when they go on holiday.

Sebastian said that Samoa has a lot to offer historically and is what European tourists want.

“Authenticity really is to discover Polynesian culture and that is why we tell them where they should be going for holidays,” he said.

Sebastian said tourists want to see historical sites and the authentic Samoa with its culture, traditions and way of life.

“There should be less on commercial and more on authenticity,” said Sebastian.

As for direct flights, he said there will never be a direct flight from the UK to Samoa, and it is not an issue with EU tourists.

“Lots of visitors from the UK are going down to Australia and New Zealand as the prime destination because their families are there, and Samoa is an add on for a paradise experience,” said Sebastian.

Out of Europe, the largest market for Samoa as a destination is Germany due to the historical connection of Germany and Samoa in the past, then Switzerland and Austria and the UK.

“We are not talking massive numbers but it’s definitely a growing interest in Europe,” he said.

Sebastian said he had a chance to travel around Europe recently promoting and selling Samoa as a destination.

I have seen big differences versus loss, but Samoa is definitely making a name internationally in the tourism industry, said Sebastian.

Tourism is a $370 Million tala [US$143 million] industry for Samoa that generates and contributes about 25% to National GDP.

Through the Tourism Exchanges Samoa is developing partnerships to grow its tourist market share and increase visitor arrivals from an average of 135,000 visitors per year over the past 5 years, to 150,000 by the year 2019.



14) 2,800 H-2B workers needed for Guam buildup
4:13 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2017, Guam

The U.S Department of Defense has acknowledged that projects for the construction of a Marine Corps base and related facilities on Guam would strain the island’s labor force, and the Pentagon continues to work with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to help the island, according to a recent federal report.

Guam’s nearly depleted pool of skilled foreign construction workers on H-2B visas now numbers 170, down from about 1,300 a year ago, said Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo last Thursday, who said he’s withdrawing support for the military buildup in Guam until the labor issue is resolved.

Calvo said with the worker shortage, most of the remaining skilled labor in Guam will work on the military base projects, leaving the civilian community with a shrunken labor pool. This will delay civilian projects and make them costly, compromising the local economy, according to the governor.

The Defense Department, in a response included in an April 5 U.S. Government Accountability report on the military buildup, said it recognises the labor problem and continues to work on a solution.

“The Navy expects that construction contractors will need to supplement their labor workforce with 2,800 foreign laborers to meet the demand for labor during the peak of construction,” according to the GAO report.

“In its response, DoD cited actions it has previously taken and plans to mitigate risks for infrastructure construction and sustainment, such as coordinating with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to address foreign-worker visas,” according to the GAO report.

In addition to the labor shortage issue, the GAO report identified other challenges that could lead to higher costs and construction delays involving the construction of a Marine Corps base and its support facilities on Guam.

Explosive ordnance detection, cultural artifact discovery and preservation, and endangered-species protection have been identified as additional challenges which could affect the cost or the schedule for each of the various individual projects on the island.

In one instance, Navy officials stated that they had to modify the initial contract for a utilities project to include a US$4.9 million cost increase and a 10-month schedule delay because the contractor detected more anomalies that DoD had to address, according to the GAO report.

In May 2016, the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations issued an exemption to aspects of the Navy’s guidance on the detection of explosive ordnance in an attempt to ease standards that resulted in cost overruns and schedule delays in Guam, the report states.

Under the exemption, civilian construction labor does not need to evacuate a site during the detection process for explosive ordnance in certain circumstances, when follow-up analysis show they’re not explosive ordnance after all.

“DoD officials stated that the exemption reduced some of the cost and schedule risks related to detecting explosive ordnance, but the current process for the detection of explosive ordnance may still affect the cost and schedule for a project,” according to the GAO.

According to the Navy, DoD has experienced schedule delays as it has waited for the Fish and Wildlife Service to complete biological opinions that outline protection strategies for endangered species in construction areas.

For example, DoD experienced delays with two construction projects due to the discovery of endangered orchid and butterfly species on site, which, according to the Navy, has caused delays in awarding the contracts for both construction projects, the report states.

The proposed Marine Corps base on Guam has a budget of US$8.7 billion, and of that amount, US$3.1 billion would be paid for by the Japanese government, which wants to reduce the presence of Marines in Okinawa.

Okinawa’s U.S. bases house approximately 29,000 military personnel, including about 18,000 Marine Corps personnel on any given day, according to the report.

In April 2012, the U.S. and Japan governments adjusted the realignment plans.

“In an effort to reach this balance and re-align its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, the Marine Corps plans to consolidate bases in southern Okinawa and relocate 4,100 Marines to Guam, 2,700 to Hawaii, 800 to the continental United States, and 1,300 on a rotational basis to Australia,” according to the report.

It has been estimated that the proposed relocation to Guam will start around 2021 or 2022.

The report is a public version of a sensitive report the GAO issued.

The report was submitted to Sen. John McCain, chairman of Armed Services in the U.S. Senate, and Sen. Jack Reed, ranking member of the committee on Armed Services, and other Senate members who deal with military and appropriations issues….PACNEWS


15) More Than 1,000 ‘Tourists’ Overstayed, Illegally Worked In CNMI

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 04/10/2017 – 14:33

Casino construction company only one of several who hired illegal foreign workers

By Jon Perez

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, April 11, 2017) – The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol revealed that majority of the 1,032 tourists who they uncovered violated their parole authority by overstaying in the CNMI worked illegally in several companies. MCC International was among the companies that allegedly hired workers who have parole authority.

The parole authority is reserved for Chinese and Russian tourists while visitors from Japan and Korea enjoy the visa waiver program.

CBP Field Operations director Brian J. Humphrey, in a joint presentation to members of the Legislature yesterday, said although there’s no specific breakdown of those who illegally overstayed it is safe to say that most of them were Chinese.

“There’s no specific breakdown but we safely believe that a large number of those who unlawfully overstayed have the sole purpose of illegally working here. A number of those 1,032 come here under the Chinese parole,” said Humphrey.

“Some of these illegal workers had already left. For how long they stayed? It varies. But anyone that exceeds the 45 days, authorized by the [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary, overstayed. We work closely with DHS investigators and the task force.”

Humphrey said that additional consequences should be imposed for anyone that came into the CNMI as tourists, overstayed, and worked illegally. The same also should be done to those who enter the CNMI illegally.

He added that these actions done by some tourists had an adverse effect and would be inconvenient to other visitors whose sole purpose is for vacation and relaxation.

Humphrey said DHS’ primary responsibility is for all inland enforcement actions. “We’re working with [DHS] and have an agreement with them that if they come across individuals that have overstayed, they are going to bring that to our attention.”

“Of course, we share information on those that have illegally overstayed. We would then work with them to cooperatively having these individuals who overstayed removed.”

He said they would then revoke the parole authority of violators and send them home. “Those who violated are removed and the airlines that brought them here are ultimately responsible in providing space for them to return.”

Concern for CNMI

House Floor Leader Glenn L. Maratita (R-Rota) and Rep. Gregorio M. Sablan Jr. (R-Saipan) are united in saying that steps should be taken to put an end to the practice of hiring workers that enter the CNMI as tourists. They said it would gravely affect the CNMI’s tourism industry.

“What we are facing today is something that we can’t just sit down and wait. We need to take drastic measures over this and try to resolve it at the earliest possible time so we could provide convenience to our visitors,” said Maratita.

“Bear in mind that [the Marianas Visitors Authority] and [the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands] said we’re seeing growth in tourism. If this would be factored in, it won’t look good. It would have a devastating affect to us and there goes our economy. Again, we have to work together and try to resolve these issues for the sake of tourists.”

Sablan added that some of CBP’s roles are protecting the borders, the islands, and screen the papers of visitors if they are coming in legally for tourism purposes. “What’s going on with [Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC] that’s one of the things that we wanted to prevent.”

“We can’t blame IPI but the companies that hired these workers illegally. Those who had done illegal work,” added the first-term lawmaker who was also a former Customs officer.

He then suggested to Humphrey to ask the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to bring additional agents or expand the local task force to reduce the number of those who are overstaying in the CNMI.

“It would be a deterrence to people that if you decided to stay here illegally, well guess what there’s a strong enforcement presence. You may be hiding, but eventually we’re going to catch you. We welcome anybody but come in legally, this is the message that we wanted to send.”

Saipan Tribune


16) Moa long 1,000 West Papuan i kamap PNG Citizen

Updated 11 April 2017, 16:06 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla lida blong ol West Papua pipal long Papua New Guinea itok tenk yu long gavman long givim citizenship long ol West Papua pipal em oli stap nau long ol refugi kem long kantri.

Fred Mambrasar husat i coordinator blong Free West Papua Campaign group long  PNG i mekim despla toktok tede taem PNG gavman i givim ol nambawan citizenship pepa long moa long wan tausan ol  refugis em oli stap nau long East Awin Camp long Western Provins.

Mr Mambrasar i tok planti moa West Papua refugee long arapela hap blong PNG bai kisim PNG citizenship bihain.

Emi tok emi hamamas tru long lukim olsem gavman i bihaenim tok promis blong en we ibin mekim sampla yia igo pinis long larim ol  West Papua pipal long kamap tru tru olsem ol PNG pipal.

Planti West Papua pipal isave ronowei lusim ples blong ol na go insaet long PNG bihaenim ol heve blong wok politik na tu ol human rights abuse em oli save sutim tok long ol securiti fosas blong Indonesia isave mekim agensim ol.ABC

17) Forum Solomon Islands International Strategic Review

Updated 11 April 2017, 16:03 AEST
Sam Seke

Board blong Forum Solomon Islands International wea hem mein social media grup blong kantri i lukim olsem wanfala samting olketa i nid fo impruvum nao hem long saet long Research and Data Collection.

President blong Forum, Benjamin Afuga hem se olketa i nid fo mekem moa research an kolektem stret infomesen long olketa isiu olketa i toktok abaot long forum.

Mr Afuga hem se diswan hem important espesili long olketa isiu we olketa i laek fo toktok abaot wetem olketa policy makers mekem olketa i lukim gut tru samting wea olketa i laik mekem change long hem.

Diswan hem wanfala long olketa eria wea Board blong FSII i gohet fo lukluk long hem long wanfala review long olketa strategy an plan blong  disfala social media forum wea hem nao garem winim 21,000 memba ABC

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20) Who is Lucy Gichuhi? Why the woman likely to be the next SA senator is tough on welfare

Updated 11 April 2017, 16:30 AEST
By political correspondent David Lipson

Lucy Gichuhi grew up with next to nothing on the slopes of Mount Kenya, and she’s likely to become Australia’s next senator for South Australia.

She grew up with next to nothing on the slopes of Mount Kenya, walking barefoot to school and sharing a bed and single blanket with her eight sisters.

Lucy Gichuhi, who’s likely to become Australia’s next senator for South Australia, has told Lateline how in between school, she would work gathering food her family.

“You have to help with going to the garden to pick the next meal for the day, because we didn’t go to the shops for food, or you go help milk the cows,” she told Lateline.

“Here we call it child labour.

“Sometimes there wasn’t electricity. You make do with what you have.”

But said the concept of poverty never entered her mind, and these days she is firmly against government handouts.

“The trouble with handouts is they create victims and nobody wins,” she said.

“And it’s a bottomless pit … and then, given we are in an ageing community and very soon we’re going to have few people working and a lot of people to support, is it sustainable?”

At last year’s election, Mrs Gichuhi was listed second on Family First’s ticket in South Australia, behind Bob Day.

Last week, the High Court ruled Mr Day’s election was invalid and ordered a special count of South Australian ballot papers from last year’s poll.

Despite the fact Mrs Gichuhi only received 152 first-preference votes, she’ll receive the rest of Family First’s votes, placing her as favourite to take a seat in the Senate.

Questions have been raised over whether Mrs Gichuhi held dual citizenship at the time of the election — something that would bar her from being in Parliament.

Kenya’s High Commissioner to Australia said she automatically lost that citizenship when she became an Australian citizen, however legal experts argue a challenge could still be launched against her.

“I would be absolutely honoured to serve south Australians. Absolutely honoured. And I will take that challenge and run with it,” she said.

Gichuhi ‘fell into’ politics after studying law

Her hard-line position on welfare handouts could help the Government in its attempt to make budget savings — if she ends up on the Senate crossbench as expected.

But Labor sources have told Lateline they don’t expect the Kenyan-born migrant to vote along Government lines as often as former senator Bob Day.

Mrs Gichuhi came to politics late in life, saying she “fell into it” after studying a law degree.

“I just followed one step after another. One door opening and then I’m going through and I found myself in a situation where the political door opened and that’s where I am,” she said.

She said her Christian faith was the backbone of her political beliefs.

“I believe I’m here for a reason and a purpose and that reason can only come from God. That is my key belief,” she said.

She believes strongly in freedom of religion, but wouldn’t be drawn on whether same-sex couples should be free to marry.

“I don’t want to talk about that now. I think it’s too specific,” she said.

Mrs Gichuhi insists she’s got what it takes to make it as an Australian senator.

“I was tough enough to land in Australia 19 years ago knowing no one. Only with [my husband] William and three toddlers. If I could do that,” she said.

She added she wouldn’t change a thing about the path her life has taken, despite the poverty she experienced as a child.

“I think it was a rich life. Because this concept of poverty never existed in our mind,” she said. “That taught us to share. That taught us to care.”

Watch the story on Lateline tonight at 9.30pm on ABC News or 10.30pm on ABC TV.

21) Australia to tread with care on aid issue with PNG
8:11 pm GMT+12, 09/04/2017, Papua New Guinea

Australia is conscious of its aid to Papua New Guinea because it is supporting health, education, infrastructure on roads and a whole series of projects.

And they will be very cautious of how they handle the issue with PNG in the long term. Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was asked what Australia’s position was on PNG’s push to make some dramatic changes regarding its foreign aid to the country.

Turnbull said at a news conference last weekend that they will work in close consultation with PNG to ensure the best approach, and to get the best outcomes for the aid programme.

Australia’s aid is more than A$500 million (K1248m) but has also provided an estimated A$558.3 million (K1394m) in total ODA to PNG in 2016-17. This will include an estimated A$477.3 million (K1191m) in bilateral funding to PNG managed.

Australia has also put up its hand to help PNG with the APEC Leaders’ Summit and the 2017 National Election.

At the 25th Papua New Guinea-Australia Ministerial Forum, the PNG Government sent signals that by 2020, Australian aid, which is worth more than A$500 million (K1248m), should be chanelled through the budget system by 2020.

PNG is the biggest recipient at more than 60 percent of Australia’s total assistance package for foreign countries.

Currently, Australia aid targets specific programmes outside PNG’s development budget, which the Government has complained, was not in conformity with its development priorities.

PNG National Planning Minister Charles Abel said that there was now a need to continue to evolve the relationship to one based on a mutually beneficial trading and investment partnership. He said PNG needed trade and not aid.

Turnbull said: “PNG is the largest recipient of the Australian aid, and we are very conscious of that as it is supporting health, education, infrastructure on roads and a whole series of them.

“So we work in close partnership with the Government of PNG and the prime Minister, and that enables us to ensure that we get the best outcomes for the aid which the Prime Minister has acknowledged is substantial, and he understands the commitment of the Australian people who are supporting the development of PNG, our closest neighbour,” he said.


22) 5000 Australian firms in PNG: Turnbull

11:32 pm GMT+12, 09/04/2017, Papua New Guinea

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says almost 5000 Australian businesses and companies are operating in Papua New Guinea.

He said during a business breakfast in Port Moresby the two-way trade between the two countries was valued at A$5.8 billion (K13.7 billion).

“We are glad to discover that there are some fine coffee left in PNG, despite the fact that you have exported the record volume of New Guinea Arabica to the baristas and kitchens of Australia in 2016,” Turnbull said.

“But also our investment in Papua New Guinea – A$18 billion (K42.5 billion) – is more than Australia’s total investment in Indonesia, for example.

“And that says a lot about the level of commitment to Papua New Guinea.

“It involves so many industries and sectors particularly gold mining, oil and gas.

“It contributes to PNG’s economic growth and employment, directly benefits the quality of life here.

“A great example of this is Origin Energy’s programme to provide solar panels to homes.

“Our investments in infrastructure, health, education, promoting and empowering women and girls, law and justice, governance, throughout our development cooperation and partnerships in private sector, all by supporting the PNG government to build strong foundations for economic growth.

“This year we’ve opened a consular general in PNG’s commercial capital, Lae, which reflects confidence and the opportunities now and into the future.”.



23 )


24) Newly Upgraded Port Moresby Hospital Faces Critical Medicine Shortages

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 04/10/2017 – 14:26

Gerehu General sends people away with drug prescriptions knowing they will never been filled

By Rebecca Kuku

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 11, 2017) – A hospital in Port Moresby recently upgraded to a level-five Public General Hospital, does not have medicine for asthma patients or antibiotics for infants, sources have revealed.

During the launching of the Gerehu General Hospital, sources who asked that they not be identified for fear of losing their jobs, said they were concerned about the welfare of patients.

“We are sending sick babies with their parents away with prescription forms to go and buy medicines at pharmacies. (But) only those who have money are able to buy,” one said.

Another source said the Gerehu General Hospital had no supply of drugs for asthma such as Salbutamol and Aminophylline.

“There are asthma patients. If we don’t give them their supplies, they are just going to die,” the source said.

The source said the Health Department continued to downplay the actual risks involved and did not understand the hardship health officials were experiencing to cope with the medicine shortage.

But Health Secretary Pascoe Kase yesterday continued to deny that there was a medicine shortage in the country.

“The department will procure medicines using the Secretary Authority to buy medicines while awaiting the tender process to take effect,” he said.

Kase said the process was not new and that it had been done before.

”We can buy medicines from established companies that have the capacity to supply,”Kase said.

Kase advised hospital chief executive officers, officers in charge and pharmacists to inform the department two weeks in advance when the medicine supply is running out so that the stock can be replenished on time.

It is understood that the health secretary has the authority to spend about K500,000 [US$152,000] to buy medicine while waiting for the tender process to be implemented.

Kase said the tender process could take up to five months.

Meanwhile, the Misima General Hospital has also run out of medicine and has been turning away patients.

The concern over the shortage of medicine around the country was exposed recently after it came to light that the contract for the pharmaceutical company supplying medicine to the Government had expired and no effort was made to renew it.

The National


25) PNG Preliminary electoral rolls to be finalised

8:18 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2017, Papua New Guinea

About 4.5 million people will actually cast their votes from 5.6 million eligible Papua New Guinea voters who are registered on the 2017 Electoral Roll.

The PNG Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, said last weekend that in 2012 a total of 4.8 million people were registered as eligible voters on the roll, but only 3.7 million voters cast their votes.

Gamato said this while presenting the updates on the preliminary electoral roll for the 2017 National Election, which he said, has been completed following the completion of data entry in all the 22 provinces last week.

He said that he was pleased with the effort put in by temporary electoral workers in updating the roll.

Gamato said the preliminary roll will be used for nominations when the 2017 National Election writs are issued on April 20.

“What this means is that the process of updating the 2017 roll is still continuing until all verification is completed right across the country,” he said.

Gamato said that once verification is completed, preliminary rolls for all the 22 provinces will be submitted to the PNGEC headquarters in Port Moresby to be finalised, printed, and ready for polling on June 24.

He said that at the moment, the preliminary roll is going through the verification and objection process.

“People are a bit confused about what’s happening. We are only updating the 2012 roll, so if a voter has voted in the 2012 election, his or her name is still on the roll.” The roll update exercise started towards the end of July 2016, as funding was not made available quickly by the National Government to PNGEC for the exercise to commence earlier.

“Had we started earlier, we would have completed the roll update exercise by December 2016 or by January and February this year (2017).

“Nevertheless, we have progressed and data entry activities in all the 22 provinces have been completed. “I hope that by the middle of May we should finalise and print the final roll for the 2017 election.”.


LAND ( & Melanesia Indigenous affairs )

26) Konebada landowners: Reconsider land allocation

April 11, 2017The NationalBusiness

THE landowners of the Konebada Petroleum Park outside Port Moresby have written to Lands and Physical Planning Minister Benny Allan to reconsider the allocation of their traditional land to the Konebada Petroleum Park Authority.
Allan, through a National Gazette (G76 dated February 7, 2017), declared more than 23,000 hectares to come under the administrative authority of the KPPA.
The declared area covers sea, land, the villages (except for Tatana and Baruni), plus all businesses within the declared area.
The land belongs to landowners of Tatana, Baruni, Roku, Kouderika, Porebada, Boera, Papa and Lealea.
It also includes the business community along Fairfax Harbour, starting with Puma at Napanapa on the west, and Motukea and Edai township towards the PNG LNG site – the Konebada petroleum park.
The landowners, through their company LNG Plant Landowners Association, claimed it was an intrusion of their customary land by the Government without proper consultation and regard for their interests and rights.
Association secretary Tau Baru said they came to know only this month that there was a declaration called the Konebada Petroleum Park Zone covering more than 23,000 hectares.
“Our purpose is to raise our objection that we completely reject this declaration,” he said.
This is because:
l The declaration was done without any consultation with affected communities and customary landowners; and,
l the park zone covers a large sea and land area for which they assumed that the Government and proponents must have a plan for;
l  As the indigenous people and traditional landowners of the declared area, they have been marginalised.
Chairman Nao Nao said they would also be presenting a petition to Allan on the matter.

27) Vanishing languages

Vishaal Kumar
Tuesday, April 11, 2017-Fijitimes

“OUR mother tongue is slowly but surely becoming endangered in certain areas of the society.”

Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy said this while launching the Zonal Urdu Competition at Nasinu Primary School yesterday.

Dr Reddy said the onus was on people in the country to preserve their mother tongue.

“While modernisation and globalisation are pivotal to this occurrence, it can also be attributed to the lack of determination from people to conserve and preserve the mother tongue and pass it to future generations,” he said.

“It is beyond doubt that all stakeholders, including parents, communities and authorities, have to share a common agenda to conserve the diverse mother tongues in Fiji.

“Competitions of this nature organised regularly create the development of interest in children who then see the knowledge and training they get from it as lifelong learning.”

Dr Reddy revealed that Urdu language studies in schools were vital in educating students in their culture.

He said in the past few years, there was an increase in students taking up Urdu language in schools.

“In 2015, we had 5292 students taking Urdu in primary schools in Fiji. In 2016, the number grew to 5314 students and in 2017 there are estimated to be 5320 students doing Urdu language.

“For secondary schools, in 2015, a total of 412 students did Urdu language. In 2016, the number increased to 420 and which is estimated to remain as such this year.

“As such, the increase in the number of students taking up Urdu language studies is indeed very encouraging.”

Dr Reddy said Urdu had been taught in Fiji since the early 1960s with many schools around the country engaged in the process.

“Many schools across the country also ensure that Urdu is thoroughly inculcated in their school curriculum,” he said.

28) Fiji’s iTaukei Lose Out On Rightful Share Of Lease Monies: Trust CEO

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 04/10/2017 – 14:35

Indigneous Fijians called ‘generally worse off than other ethnic groups’

By Kalesi Mele

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 11, 2017) – The bose ni momo ni yasana ko Ba trust says the iTaukei are the least economically advanced ethnic group because they are not receiving their rightful share of lease monies.

Trust CEO Isimeli Bose said during a consultation on draft village bylaws at Nailaga Village in Ba that despite owning 80 per cent of the country’s land, the iTaukei community was generally worse off than other ethnic groups.

“Every where land resources have been utilised or developed and leased, proceeds from such leases are not made available to them but are kept in trust by a government created institution, denying them their right to the proceeds of the property and the opportunity for members of the landowners iTaukei community to exploit opportunities of investment and entrepreneurship,” he said.

“Even when it is distributed like now, it is done in such a way that the amount received is of little impact and benefit.”

iTaukei Affairs Board deputy CEO Apakuki Kurusiga said they were grateful for the submission and that there was some truth to the observation that the iTaukei were economically disadvantaged.

“That is what is commonly known, that villagers are poor but we are people of goodwill,” he said.

“We have that kind of customs and traditions that are full of social capital so to speak. We cannot put financial figures on that.”

Mr Kurusiga said the equal distribution of lease monies was a decision by the State and not something he could alter.

“There is a provision that indicates villagers can collectively agree to assign or transfer lease money to their chiefs if that is their will.”

Fiji Times Online.


29) Workshop to help journalists report well

11:27 pm GMT+12, 09/04/2017, Fiji

The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission together with the United Nations Human Rights Council has organised a workshop to help journalists’ better report on court stories that deals with children.

Director, Ashwin Raj says when journalists’ reports on such matters, they must ensure the privacy and the welfare of the child is protected.

“So one of the things that we will be looking at in these discussions is about the ways in which journalist can ethically report on these matters. The importance of entering protocols of our courts, the role of the national human rights commission can play in these matters, particularly as amicus.”

The workshop has more than twenty participants including local journalists’ from various media organisations and will end tomorrow.

Meanwhile, National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad says he will not debate publicly with Director Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Ashwin Raj.

Professor Biman was invited on FBC TV’s talk-back show 4 The Record a week ago but did not attend.

The National Federation Party has said on its official facebook page that its Leader will only debate other politicians and leaders in government.

Professor Prasad has since spoken to FBC News saying Raj is a civil servant.

“He’s paid for by the government, he’s the chair of MIDA – we don’t have to debate with him. If we have to debate on any of these issues, then we will debate with political leaders not Raj. Who is he to debate with us about issues we articulate? He should stick to his job.”

Human Rights Director Ashwin Raj has called out to NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad and SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka to debate publicly on issues of racism, hate speech and discrimination.


30) Australian journo deported from PNG
4:18 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2017, Papua New Guinea

An Australian freelance journalist who entered Papua New Guinea on a tourist visa but got engaged in social work at the Manus regional processing centre has been deported.

Nikala Sim, a freelance journalist from Port Macquarie arrived on Manus Island last week. She is also a refugee advocate who has kept in touch with a number of asylum seekers on Manus.

Acting chief migration officer Solomon Kantha said that Sim was put back on the plane on Saturday after immigration officials detained her in Manus.

She was caught visiting the refugees at the processing centre in Manus doing social engagements. Sim sent a message back to PNG saying: “I was approached by PNG Immigration due to a technicality with my visa. Because I am a journalist it was considered I should have applied for a journalist visa.

“I applied for a tourist visa because I went on a holiday to visit friends. I would like to thank PNG Immigration for their kindness and understanding during this unfortunate event. It has been reported that I was arrested and detained but this is not true.”

“My interest in PNG goes beyond my few friends seeking asylum with my country.

“I intend to return to gather information for a cook book, which was my intention on this trip. I am also working with a Manusian friend who is creating programs for the island in his official capacity with the government of PNG. “I look forward to returning to PNG and picking up where I left,” she said.



31) PNG Air design recognised internationally

April 11, 2017The NationalBusiness

THE logo and design of PNG Air is included in a list of the 12 best airline livery by the American cable and satellite television news channel Cable News Network (CNN).
PNG Air chief executive officer Muralee Siva said the livery represented the airline’s plans of “getting it right” when it was introduced in 2015.
“When we adopted the new livery, it was to announce ourselves as a fresh, dynamic, new airline.  We want to give a world class airline experience to every Papua New Guinean,” Siva said.
And that means doing everything right – down to choosing a logo.
PNG Air was included in the list of 12 best aircraft liveries published by CNN online.
The CNN list included British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, All Nippon Airlines, Qatar Airways and Taiwan’s EVA.
CNN stated that it was a contemporary depiction of ancient patterns that was designed to reflect the nation’s diversity and that traditional icons from around the country were incorporated on the unusual and striking design.

32) Solomon Islands secure multi-million dollar funding for Tina Hydro Project
11:34 pm GMT+12, 09/04/2017, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Government has secured cornerstone finance with USD$86-million for the Tina Hydro Project at the 16th meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board in South Korea last week.

Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga, announced last Friday that, “ Cornerstone finance worth USD$86 million for the Tina River Hydro Power Project (TRHPP) has been secured from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with formal approval for the funding proposal being granted at the 16th meeting of the GCF Board in South Korea.

“GCF is the operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the TRHPP is one of our contributions under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector.

“This undertaking of both national and international significance is, by virtue of the project’s financial composition and commercial structure, the first funding application of its kind to be submitted that was recognised as exceptional by Civil Society Organisations and endorsed by the GCF Board as a transformative project with a very strong environmental impact analysis and an Impressive goal for reducing the expensive cost of fuel. The GCF should be proud of a project such as the TRHPP.

“With the GCF funding now approved, to date a total of USD$101 million has already been formally secured by the SIG for the TRHPP in the form of both grants and concessional loans, with a minimum of USD$65M in additional funding which also has preliminary approval and though subject to pre-conditions, can be progressively made available over the coming months from various financial institutions which include the World Bank, South Korea’s Economic Development Corporation Fund and the Asian Development Bank. The aim of the SIG is to have all financing and administrative requirements in place by October 2017 so construction of the TRHPP can commence immediately thereafter,” Maelanga said.

The Deputy Prime Minister added that, “This is an exemplary achievement for our small Island Nation that is categorised as a Least Developed Country by global standards, yet with the bilateral assistance of our development and donor partners, we have been able to submit and successfully secure the necessary approval for such a complex funding proposal that will now ensure timely delivery of the TRHPP.

“Commendations to all those who have been instrumental towards this successful outcome, including the Minister’s, Officials and Project Officers who were recently in South Korea for negotiations with project stakeholders and attending engagements with the GCF to ensure that SIG mandated objectives were achieved.”.


33) Tropical Cyclone Cook Forces Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes in the South Pacific

4:28 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2017, Australia

An end of season cyclone formed over the South Pacific’s Vanuatu islands has caused at least two cruise lines to reroute ships in the region.

Tropical Cyclone Cook has been graded a Category 3 storm — with wind speeds reaching 75 kilometres per hour — and is currently located southeast of New Caledonia.

Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas — which departed Sydney on April 6 on a 13-night South Pacific and Fiji voyage — dropped a call to the Isles of Pines in New Caledonia on Monday in favour of a sea day to avoid the cyclone.

In a statement, the line said: “The remainder of the itinerary will proceed as scheduled and guests have been informed onboard of the itinerary change and the rationale for the change. As always, the safety of our passengers and crew remains our number one priority and we will keep them updated if there are any further changes.”

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Spirit, which departed Sydney on April 7, has been forced to drop both ports that featured on its original seven-night Pacific Islands itinerary. The island of Noumea was dropped from Monday’s schedule and replaced with a sea day, while the Isle of Pines has been dropped from today’s schedule. The ship will instead call at Moreton Island off the coast of Queensland later today.

The cruise line added: “We do not take the decision to change a route lightly, but the safety and wellbeing of guests and crew are always our number one priority.

“Our thoughts are with the residents of Vanuatu and New Caledonia at this time and we look forward to returning to their shores.”

The Pacific’s cyclone season runs from November to April.


34) Fiji pearls impress

8:22 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2017, Fiji

The World Jewellery Confederation has pledged its support for Fiji’s efforts to develop its pearl industry and become a leader environmental and social responsibility.

In a meeting with the confederation’s president Dr Gaetano Cavalieri, Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau outlined Government’s long-term plan for its pearl sector. The pair met in Hong Kong and Koroilavesau reiterated the goal to make Fiji a significant producer of high-quality pearls of distinctive appearance and character.

He said in Fiji, pearls were not simply jewels of the ocean but also represented the promise of a better and sustainable future.

“Fiji, which is a relative newcomer to the South Pacific pearl industry, is home to a growing perliculture sector, which in 2017 is forecast to produce about 30,000 pearls,” Koroilavesau said.

“The country’s Ministry of Fisheries, which has jurisdiction over the sector, is strategically committed to developing the economic potential of the country’s marine sources, ensuring that such activities are environmentally sustainable and have wide-ranging positive social impacts.”

He invited Dr Cavalieri to join the Fijian delegation at the World Oceans Day Session at the United Nations in New York on June 8, where its plan for an environmentally and socially sustainable national pearl sector would be publicly presented.

Meanwhile Dr Cavalieri said Fiji was an exciting prospect for the industry apart from its already proven ability to produce pearls of exceptional quality.

“Its pearl industry will flourish also through the respect it shows for the marine environment, and through the support it provides the farming communities and their stakeholders,” he said.

“The confederation is proud to be associated with such an enterprise,” he said.


35) Commonwealth assists Vanuatu Supreme Court

8:20 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2017, Vanuatu

Commonwealth assistance to the Supreme Court of Vanuatu has strengthened the Pacific island’s capacity to deal with the volume of cases and the time they take to be processed.

Like many small states, Vanuatu faces distinct challenges owing to its small size, geographical isolation, high cost of public services and limited pool of professional expertise. This impacts on judicial delivery, particularly institutional capacity.

Cybelle Cenac, a Saint Lucian/British lawyer was deployed by the Commonwealth for 18 months as the Master or Associate Judge of the Supreme Court to introduce new procedures in the capital, Port Vila.

According to Cenac, “the establishment of the Master’s office allowed all cases to be actively tracked from commencement to conclusion. This meant the Master managing all preliminary judicial procedures up until trial, and following trial, until enforcement of judgment. The Master took on the bulk of applications and other peripheral responsibilities of the Judges and significantly opened up their schedule, allowing them to devote more time to trials and judgement writing. This ensured that more cases proceeded to trial at first instance and the length of time to deliver judgments was considerably reduced.”

Cenac also noted that cases were now more court-driven than Attorney-driven, thus improving the overall speed with which cases were proceeding. The output of Attorneys meeting the required standards of the court was also enhanced.

Cenac added that the use of mediation had dramatically increased, with more lawyers and Judges referring matters to be mediated. She attributed this, not only to the availability of a Master to conduct such mediations but also due to confidence in the process, stemming out of a high success rate for settlement of matters before her.

Cenac, who completed her consultancy last month, said she was proud to have strengthened adoption protocols on the island for the greater protection of Ni-Vanuatu children. This included the engagement of two qualified psychologists and trained social workers in the absence of government resources to assist in assessments.

She added: “The protection of Ni-Vanuatu children through the new adoption protocol also indirectly protects women in a highly patriarchal society by ensuring that every measure is taken to guarantee that their decision to forego their parental rights is done voluntarily and not coerced by the biological fathers or other male members of the family.”

The Commonwealth provides judicial technical assistance to member countries on request. Cenac is one of eight Commonwealth judicial experts assigned to strengthen the delivery of justice over the past five years.


36) Possible retrial after former Vanuatu MPs’ convictions quashed

Eleven former Vanuatu MPs cleared of convictions for conspiring to pervert the course of justice could be facing a retrial.

The Court of Appeal in Vanuatu on Friday quashed the convictions of the 11 jailed former MPs one of whom in October 2015 controversially used his acting presidential powers to pardon himself and the ten other then MPs of bribery convictions.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reported that the Court of Appeal ruling said the main reason for overturning their convictions was that it felt the trial judge at the time should have tried them as a group of people committing a single offence and not as individuals committing multiple offences.

The appeal court judgement however also said it was now up to the public prosecutor to consider whether to lay the charges again for a retrial, since the ruling did not declare them innocent.

The Vanuatu Daily Post’s media director Dan McGarry said the judgement had been overshadowed by Cyclone Cook which was passed through Vanuatu over the weekend.

He said the office of the public prosecutor in Vanuatu was yet to indicate whether or not it would be pursuing a retrial.

“You know nobody is getting out of jail as a result of this although…if there is no retrial some of them will face much shorter sentences than originally thought. And that also means that they would be eligible for parole because they are approaching the halfway point of their sentence,” Dan McGarry said.11/4/17 RNZI


37) Solomon Islands Secures $86 Million Climate Financing For Hydo Project

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 04/10/2017 – 14:29

Tina Hydro Project to provide clean energy to 100,000 people

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, April 10, 2017) – The Tina Hydro Project has cleared a massive hurdle, with the Solomon Islands Government confirming it has banked cornerstone finance worth $US86 million ($670 million) from the Green Climate Fund.

The Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga announced the funding over the weekend, with formal approval granted at the 16th meeting of the GCF Board in South Korea.

Mr Maelanga said with the GCF funding now approved, a total of $101 million USD was now formally secured by the SIG for the project  in the form of both grants and concessional loans, with a minimum of $65 million in additional funding, which has also gained preliminary approval and though subject to pre-conditions, progressively made available over the coming months from various financial institutions.

They include the World Bank, South Korea’s Economic Development Corporation Fund and the Asian Development Bank.

He said the Government aimed to have all financing and administrative requirements in place by October 2017 so construction of the Tina Hydro project could commence immediately after.

When built, the Tina Hydro project will provide access to renewable energy for more than 100,000 people in the greater Honiara region.

It and has been under preparation since 2011 with donor support primarily from Australia and the World Bank.

Tina Hydro is also the priority project for the Solomon Islands sustainable national development as it is expected to offset 100 per cent of the national determined contributions to climate emissions by 2025.

The Hydro project will provide more than 200 jobs during construction and once complete will offset more than 44,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum in diesel emissions.

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation


38) Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries working in the Municipality of Liquiçá

Fri. 07 of April of 2017, 10:54h

The Minister of State, Coordinator of Economic Affairs and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Estanislau Aleixo da Silva, visited the Municipality of Liquiçá on April 5th, for a series of activities.

In the village of Mota Ulun, in the Administrative Post of Bazartete, he took part in the planting of the Bertar variety of bamboo (one of the five types existing in the country). The Minister stressed that its plantation can help the economy of small and medium-sized enterprises or groups, and is one of the factors for economic diversification in the country. Currently, the production of bamboo covers the national territory, with plantations in all 12 municipalities and the Special Autonomous Region of Oe-cussi Ambeno. The product has the potential not only for the domestic and international markets, particularly through arts and crafts for the development of tourism, but also for soil protection against erosion.

Later, the Minister Estanislau da Silva inaugurated the Processing Centre of the Bamboo Institute, in the village of Hatunau. In order to monitor the activities of the institute and to better understand the items made with this plant, a website was also launched.

Finally, the Minister took part in the first of three debate days with Commission D of the National Parliament regarding the approval, in the specialty, of the Private Investment Law, in Lauhata. This law aims to create a transparent, modern and competitive legal framework, which promotes both private investment and foreign direct investment. The meeting ends on April 7th.


39) Aussie league to expose sport throughout Fiji

Tuesday, April 11, 2017-Fijitimes

Update: 5:31PM AUSTRALIAN Football League (AFL) Fiji officials are trying their best to improve and expose the sport in other parts of the country.

AFL Fiji development coordinator Siteri Tadrai said they were trying to expose the sport outside of Suva.

“We have been travelling to the highlands of Namosi teaching school children on the basics of AFL and developing them as well in villages,” Tadrai said.

“Our aim is to expose the sport to other parts of Fiji.”

The AFL Fiji are also preparing for the senior competition, the Coca-Cola Cup, where four men’s and two women’s team will compete over the month-long competition to see who takes out the cup.

It will also act as selection trials for the national squads, with the best players from training and also from this competition going into the men’s and women’s national squad.

40a) League power shifting

April 10, 2017The NationalSports

SYDNEY: Samoa coach Matt Parish has boldly predicted that the days of Australia, England and New Zealand dominating the international game are over and at least one of the big three will be toppled by another nation during this year’s Rugby League World Cup.
“I don’t think it is the big three anymore,” Parish said.
“I actually think it is the big six or the big seven because they have changed the international eligibility rules for players and I think the gap between the third and fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh nations isn’t that great now.”
While Scotland secured a draw with New Zealand during last year’s Four Nations and Italy shocked England in a warm-up match before the 2013 World Cup, no tier two country has beaten one of the big three in a Test or major tournament for more than 35 years.
However, Parish said the new eligibility rules would enable the likes of Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and Papua New Guinea to field their strongest possible teams for the first time during this year’s World Cup in Australia, New Zealand and PNG.
“Everyone wants to see the best players playing and that is what is going to happen in this World Cup, which is fantastic,” Parish said.
“We can get players that we have always wanted to pick so I think you will find that Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, PNG and even Scotland are going to be very competitive against Australia, New Zealand and England.”
The PNG Kumuls could have one of their strongest squads for their three World Cup fixtures in November.
With hooker James Segeyaro settled in at Cronulla as well as Kato Ottio (Canberra), Justin Olam (Melbourne), Rod Griffin (Canterbury) and David Mead (Brisbane) all involved in the NRL and its feeder competitions, the stage is set for coach Michael Marum to have the best PNG talent available in years.
Added to that is the possiblity of snaring North Qld Cowboys rising star Gideon Gela-Mosby, the Kumuls could be field an exciting if not competitive side.
The Kumuls are set to play the Cook Islands in a revamped May Test structure.
Samoa plays England while Fiji and Tanga lock horns in the other clash of the representative period. –

40b) Spots wide open

April 11, 2017The NationalSports

WITH the Papua New Guinea rugby league Test team to be named after the Intrust Super Cup round nine clash against the Northern Pride on April 29, Kumuls coach Michael Marum has already started his selection process.
The Kumuls will face the Cook Islands in a revamped test schedule in Sydney on May 6.
PNG Rugby Football League chairman Sandis Tsaka said the national selectors would meet this Easter weekend and a squad would be pencilled in and announced after Easter, with injuries, judicial results and form dictating changes over the course of the next three weeks until the final 18-man squad is named the day after the Pride match.
Among the names that will be automatic inclusions, if fit, are David Mead, pictured, who has spent most of the season playing for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls, Cronulla Sharks rake James Segeyaro (if he makes himself available), Canberra Raiders pair Kurt Baptsiste and Kato Ottio (has yet to play a NSW Cup match for the Mounties after recovering from major knee surgery), Nene Macdonald (St George Illawarra Dragons), Rhyse Martin (Canterbury Bulldogs) and Rod Griffin (Canterbury Bulldogs).
Under the new International Rugby League Federation eligibility rule, a player can now represent a second country he qualifies for under the criteria (residency, direct parentage, birth or place of birth of a grandparent) meaning Rabbitohs winger Alex Johnston, who played for Australia in 2014, can don the red, black and gold if he chooses to.
But Marum will also have his eyes firmly set on the Q-Cup, which is expected to provide the bulk of his squad.
Justin Olam’s form for the Sunshine Coast Falcons in last Saturday’s 38-14 thumping of Marum’s SP Hunters side brought out a word of praise from the normally-reserved mentor, who described his former charge as having an “outstanding” game.
In the lead up to Saturday’s match, Falcons vice-captain Alex Bishop described the Olam as a “great ball runner” and a “class player” reaffirming the Simbu man’s credentials.
But Olam would not be the only player on Marum’s radar with Redcliffe recruit Thompson Teteh expected to be part of the Dolphins side to face the Hunters on Sunday at the National Football Stadium, another genuine contender for a Kumuls berth.
In round eight, Marum will get to see Kumulk prop Luke Page in action when the Hunters play the Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park on the Gold Coast.
Other PNG eligible players, outside of the Hunters, in the Q-Cup are Ipswich Jets Pandia brothers Richard and Sebastian, Ray Thompson (Townsville Blackhawks/North Qld Cowboys) and Tommy Butterfield (Easts Tigers).

40c) Basketball grooms next generation of stars

April 10, 2017The NationalSports

THEY may not know it just yet, but the next generation of Papua New Guinea basketballers are on the right track to making a positive difference.
Each Wednesday for the last three weeks, children between the ages of eight and 12 have been coming together for the Basketball Federation of Papua New Guinea’s (BFPNG) Pikinini Hoops programme.
Not only are children being taught fundamental skills like dribbling, passing and shooting, they are also learning important life values including friendship, teamwork and enjoying their sport.
Last Wednesday’s get-together was special as it was also the United Nations International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
“We are seeing young people from a variety of backgrounds coming together each Wednesday to have fun with each other,” BFPNG chief executive officer Joel Khalu said. “Most are too young to understand now, but what these children are actually doing is help break down barriers through basketball.”
“It’s exciting for us to see them on this journey.
“Papua New Guineans love their sport and we want to be the leading national federation that’s educating kids about vital things like fair play and sportsmanship.
“It’s important that they learn at this age that sports is fun,” the BFPNG CEO said.
“We want our younger players to learn to love the game, so they become life-long hoopers.”

40d )

40e )

40f )

41) Female AFL players in Solomon Islands hoping for a chance in Australia

The unexpected success of the inaugural AFL Women’s competition in Australia has caught the eyes of many female athletes keen to get involved in the action in season two.

But the level of interest has spread well beyond Australia.

As Bindi Bryce reports, the members of a budding women’s football community in Solomon Islands are looking forward to the day when one of their own makes their mark on the AFLW, and gets the chance to become a superstar.

Bindi Bryce

Source: Pacific Beat | 10/4/17 ABC



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