Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1093 ( Monday 24 April 2017 )

MELANESIA

1) Focus on New Caledonia decolonisation as Pacific territory casts their votes
5:56 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2017, New Caledonia

Unlike the high security in France, in this Pacific Island just a two-hour flight from Australia, there is only a low level of security, if any, at polling booths after the terrorist attack in Paris last Thursday.

The big issues are not candidates’ policies aimed at the French “metropole”, but the New Caledonian independence referendum due in 2018, and law and order.

Every vote, in every corner of the Republic counts in this election, including the 190,000 in New Caledonia.

Political violence during presidential elections three decades ago left dozens of Indigenous Kanaks dead but led to promises of an independence referendum under the Noumea and Matignon Accords.

Traditionally New Caledonia is a Republican stronghold, but support here too has been fractured for the traditional parties.

None of the eleven candidates have visited the territory during the campaign. Five presidential hopefuls have not hung posters in New Caledonia on the designated campaign bill boards.

In the final hours of campaigning, far-Right National Front supporters used unashamedly unorthodox tactics and unfurled a banner over the highway leading out of capital Noumea to catch the Friday commuter traffic.

Marine Le Pen’s party wants to leave the European Union, but is making the strongest pitch for the anti-independence vote in the referendum.

“National Front has always been against decolonisation of New Caledonia, what we want is to stay French,” said Bianca Henin, local secretary for the National Front.

“Not like other candidates, who want Caledonians to decide.”

Le Pen has promised to increase prison capacity in a crackdown against “delinquent” youth and to promote maritime and tourism-based economic development.

Voters are due to return to the polls late next year for the referendum, and all the leading presidential candidates have one thing in common, saying they will respect its outcome, even if they do not agree with the process in varying degrees.

New Caledonia is traditionally a conservative Republican stronghold, and Francois Fillion’s supporters are confident they can beat Le Pen’s National Front.

“He has his own convictions on New Caledonia, he is not influenced by any other candidate,” said Bernard Deladrière, president of local Fillion campaign.

“Francois Fillon has clearly stated that he wants New Caledonia to stay in France.

“He will restore the law and order and public safety on the island and support economic development.”

Fillion has committed to increase security forces, build prisons, maintain the overseas public service and address “Caledonian citizenship” issues.

Two-in-five voters are indigenous Kanaks, the drivers of the independence movement, with one faction backing the Socialist candidate, an election rank outsider.

“We support Benoit Hamon because he is with the Socialist Party, and it is with them that we are discussing decolonisation from the country,” said Charles Washetine from the Parti de Libération Kanak (PALIKA), part of the broader Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) grouping.

Fellow FLNKS group Union Caledonie has not endorsed any candidate, saying the election is a distraction from the coming referendum.

Splitting the Left vote is other leading contenders in France, far-Left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon and former Socialist finance minister Emmanuel Macron, who is treading softly on independence.

“The latest polls say New Caledonia will probably stay French, but he confirmed he would accompany New Caledonia, whatever the result,” said Patrick Louis, local spokesman for the En Marche party founded by Macron.

“He has confirmed that his personal choice is the New Caledonia stays within the nation.”

Macron has also promised the overseas territories more police, maintaining conditions for public servants and pre- and post-referendum community engagement plans.

Melechon said he would promote renewable energy self-sustainability in the French overseas territories but SBS received no response to enquires from his New Caledonian representatives.

After the presidential election is over in May, there will be legislative polls in June and one for the French senate in September, leaving less the 14 months to meet the referendum deadline.

Whoever wins the presidency, and eventually government, will determine how smoothly the independence referendum proceeds.

SOURCE: SBS/PACNEWS

2) ‘Change’ approach needed in Fiji’s political environment
5:52 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2017, Fiji

The political environment in Fiji has got to change in becoming more positive and responsive.

This was the view of Munro Leys partner Richard Naidu while speaking at the 45th Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa in Sigatoka.

Naidu, while presenting on the issues for consideration in the 2017/2018 National Budget, said there was no room for dissent or criticism even of economic policy and politicians.

“Why are we so afraid of dissent?

“Because if we can’t dissent, we can’t debate, we can’t innovate and we can’t improve,” he said.

“The climate for dissent and criticism has got to be there.”

Naidu said while Fiji had a “democracy dividend”, he believed there was a need to extend it by actually behaving democratically political.

“Democracy involves an alternative government,” he said.

“Opposition must be respected as the alternative government — offered support, given the opportunity to offer policy input.”

This, he believed, included the need to reach consensus with Government and improve predictability of policies.

“The country needs to see its leaders working together, even if they don’t always agree on the big issues,” he added.

Naidu also raised the need for Government to rethink its attitude and role on regulations.

“Regulation does not mean control for its own sake,” he said.

Some legislations, he believed, were reactive, rushed and unexplained such as the Fair Reporting of Credit Act and the Land Sales Amendment Act.

Naidu also reiterated that investment regulations needed a complete rethink.

“We just need to stop and start again. Understand why we are regulating and then work out what we are going to regulate. Businesses are generally not crooks, frauds and tax evaders, so don’t start with that assumption,” he said.

“Government does not need to control and micromanage everything.”

He believes there is also a need to harness the skills of the private sector.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

3) PNG: More activity from Manam Volcano possible, villagers advised to be cautious

Vulcanologists in Papua New Guinea are still monitoring the volcano on Manam island in Madang Province, but they say the eruption over the Easter weekend is considered to have been small.

The volcano observatory’s assistant director, Ima Itikarai says villagers have been warned to stay away from the area, but fearful of a further eruptions it appears many want to leave the island altogether.http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/pacific-beat/2017-04-21/png:-more-activity-from-manam-volcano-possible,/8460776

4) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-04-24/east-timor-war-coffee-and-australias-debt-of-honour/1666908

5a ) Vanuatu anti-corruption advocate says justice has been served

An anti-corruption advocate in Vanuatu says she feels justice has been served, and has no problem with convicted MPs being released early.

On Friday, the former Prime Minister, Serge Vohor, and a former MP for Efate, Steven Kalsakau, were the first of 14 MPs who were jailed for corruption in 2015 to be granted parole.

Eleven of the other inmates are understood to have submitted their applications for parole, having served half their sentences.

The chair of Vanuatu Women Against Crime and Corruption, Jenny Ligo, said while some might disagree with them being released early she feels justice has been served.

“Vanuatu has seen justice done. The 14 MPs have served their time, they have learned their lessons, they have gone through a lot of crisis. In this case, justice has been done.”

She said the politicians still had to abide by the conditions of their parole, and they are prohibited from standing for public office until 2025.  24/4/17 – http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/329358/vanuatu-anti-corruption-advocate-says-justice-has-been-served

6) Plans to improve quality of life

Monika Singh
Saturday, April 22, 2017-Fijtimes

FIJI has a lot of opportunities to grow in the areas of construction, real estate, farming and renewable energy, which has prompted an overseas company to invest in the country.

Kinton International Group Ltd was officially launched on Thursday and the company hopes to improve the quality of life in Fiji by bringing together innovative solutions for infrastructure, sustainable farming and to create jobs and business opportunities.

Company founder and lifelong chairman of the Fiji Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Doctor Peter SP Ho said construction, real estate, farming and renewable energy would be the core areas the company hoped to venture into.

Kinton Construction Company Ltd, Kinton Real Estate Development Ltd and Kinton Global Enterprise Ltd are the three subsidiaries of the company.

The company also handed over $200,000 to the Prime Minister’s Relief and Rehabilitation Fund on Wednesday.

Consul for Fiji to Hong Kong, Desmond Lee presented a cheque for $200,000 to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

7) Need to reform JSB
Anthony Kaybing

There is an immediate need for reform in the Joint Supervisory Body which is responsible for implementing the autonomous arrangement on Bougainville
The JSB operates under the Bougainville Peace Agreement and is underpinned by the National and Bougainville Constitutions. It is an important mechanism through which the two Governments manage the complex arrangements related to autonomy. Under the Agreement, the role of the JSB is to act as; an oversight body in relation to Peace Agreement implementation, a consultative forum; and a dispute resolution mechanism.
Other than the signing of the Overarching Memorandum of Understanding on the Drawdown of Powers, and implementation work to establish the Bougainville Referendum Commission, no other work had progressed.
The ABG President Chief Dr John Momis in his discussions with the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill last week also expressed concern at the level of inaction on the part of our officials.
The Prime Minister is committed 100% to the peace process, but like me agreed that we needed to review how the JSB operates and to provide stronger direction to officials, we agreed on the need for reform to ensure that the JSB returns to its original intended role, as spelt out in the National Constitution,” the President said.
“If we are to make real progress there is a need for reform, it is not enough to drift from one JSB to the next without achieving goals and delivering on expectations, if we are to deliver on the intent of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the expectations of our people we must take action to enhance the systems, processes and mechanisms that can give life to autonomy arrangements,” Momis said.
“The Prime Minister and I both agreed that for this to occur there must be more direct consultation at all levels across government – between officials, between Ministers, within committees and directly between the Prime Minister and myself, If we are to do that and progress meaningful change this will provide future JSBs with real issues to consider and discuss,” Momis added.
The JSB is supported by the Joint Technical Team (JTT) which is a team of officials from both Governments responsible for negotiating arrangements associated with Peace Agreement implementation.
As part of his discussions with the Prime Minister they have agreed for the JTT to engage in meaningful consultations and negotiations to progress a number of outstanding important issues that the JSB has to date been unable to resolve.
This will enable important work to continue during the caretaker period for the National Government election.20/04/17 DwnFm Bougainville.

POLYNESIA

8) Samoa a gateway for drugs to bigger countries : Police Commissioner
8:37 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2017, Samoa

Samoa’s Police Commissioner Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil admits that it is fair to say that Samoa is one of the gateways for the smuggling of drugs to bigger countries.

“But it’s not just Samoa, it’s the same for Tahiti where a yacht was recently caught with a large quantity of cocaine with a street value in millions of dollars,” he said in response to Samoa Observer questions during an interview at his office.

The Commissioner was elaborating on the importance of having the Pacific Transnational Crime Network (PTCN), in all the Pacific islands.

Currently, there are 16 countries which are members of the PTCN with the newest member, being American Samoa where their Transnational Crime Unit was officially opened last month.

He emphasised the importance of PTCN which provides an inter-connected, proactive transnational criminal intelligence and investigative capability for the Pacific. The network is a multi-agency law enforcement approach, primarily consisting of police, customs and immigration officers with close links to various other agencies.

According to the Commissioner, Samoa is not immune as the “bad guys” target the small island nations to get through to the bigger countries which have the money to buy and sell these types of drugs.

“When there are drugs, there are guns and when those two mix up, it’s always deadly and that’s why the TCU in the Pacific works day and night to stop these types of transactions,” said Fuiavaili’ili.

In Radio New Zealand reports, the cocaine seized in the Tuamotus last week was destined for New Caledonia or possibly Australia.

Authorities found 237 kilogrammes [522 lbs] of cocaine on a burnt-out yacht on Faaite after its two sailors had been detained by the police.

The prosecutor, Herve Leroy said the two Spanish men, in their forties, deny any knowledge of the cargo. The yacht had run aground and was on fire when the two men were rescued and given medical care. When locals tried to clean up the debris of the burnt yacht, they found the cocaine amid signs that a huge quantity had already been burnt.”

In January, 1.4 tonnes of cocaine was seized in the region on two other yachts.

Samoa’s Police Commissioner further told Samoa Observer that currently they are keen to get their law enforcement officers to undergo training and workshops to upskill their methods of tackling these issues.

“It’s (drug trafficking) happening in the Pacific and it will happen in Samoa if we are not watchful  about securing our borders and that’s why it’s relatively important to work with Customs and the Attorney General’s Office to tackle these difficult issues.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Prime Minister’s Office, Agafili Shem Leo, shares the same concerns as the Police Commissioner.

Last month, during the Pacific Immigration Directors Conference (PIDC) press conference, Agafili said criminals are using Samoa as a gateway to New Zealand and Australia.

He said aside from dugs smuggling, there is also human trafficking or people smuggling that is becoming more common and this is because of the Samoa’s proximity to New Zealand and Australia.

He further stated the increase of organised crime is increasing due to the availability of technology and these crimes are happening all over the world and Samoa is no exception from being affected indirectly from these crimes.

Agafili at the time of the press conference stated that having the Samoa Transnational Crime Unit in Samoa alongside other law enforcement agencies will assist in border protection for Samoa.

SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS

9) Tuvalu install’s Pacific’s first early warning system for natural disasters

Tuvalu has become the first Pacific Island nation to install an early warning system, using mobile phone text messages and sirens.

The most populated four islands in the eight island group have just installed the system, which aims to let people know if they need to take action in case of a tsunami or a cyclone.

Soseala Tinilau is the Department of Environment coordinator of the project and he says households in Tuvalu are being given solar powered radios so they don’t have to rely on electricity and batteries to listen to radio warnings.http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/pacific-beat/2017-04-24/tuvalu-installs-pacifics-first-early-warning/8468064

10) Nearly half contesting Niue’s common roll seats are women

Nearly half of those hoping to run for common roll seats in Niue’s election next month are women.

The provisional roll released on Friday includes what’s believed to be a record 24 candidates contesting the six nationally elected seats, ten of them women.

The other 14 seats are elected by majority vote in single-member constituencies representing the 14 villages of Niue.

MP for Mutalau Bill Vakaafi Motufoou was among those pushing women voters to part with tradition and vote for their own sex.

“Somehow men get blamed for not having enough women in politics. But I look at it this way, there are more women on Niue than men. So why aren’t they voting themselves in and stop blaming us men?”

Va’aiga Tukuitonga who has been in parliament for 17 years said she hoped to see new faces in the fono this year.

“I hope that there will be new members in the house, new blood in the house. We have very intelligent people here in Niue. So I’m encouraging all the young ones – this is the time to come forward, be counted.”

Niue goes to the polls on 6 May.RNZI 24/4/17

11) Academic says kava good for mental health

A Tongan academic is urging more people to consider kava drinking as a valid means to fight mental illness and stress.

Massey University lecturer, Sione Vaka researched how kava use had a positive impact among people with mental health issues, based on his previous doctorate research that focused on Tongan men.

He said while kava drinking was common in many social and formal Pacific cultures and traditions, the crop contains relaxant properties and the setting provides a forum for people to reconnect with others around the kava circle and share their views on life.

Dr Vaka said the busy lifestyle of a country like New Zealand was in sharp contrast to the slow pace of life in the islands.

“I think kava should be taken by anyone because it has a very calming effect. In this day and age, people are rushing and there are lots of stressful events and things, and kava gives you that calming effect for you to have a bit of a stop, have a think and reflect on your day.”

Dr Sione Vaka has received a health research grant to do more research in this area and presented some of his research at a kava conference.RNZI

12) French Polynesia’s Largest Commune Rebels Against Lack Of Support From State

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/20/2017 – 16:43

Faa’a Mayor, independence leader Temaru, council officials block main road to draw attention to problems

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 21, 2017) – French Polynesia’s largest commune is rebelling against a perceived lack of support from the territorial government and the French state.

The mayor of Faa’a Oscar Temaru and top council officials decided to block the main road to draw attention to problems experienced in their area.

They cited the repeated flooding of homes because of a waterway management system that is outside the commune’s control.

However, the territorial government rejected the criticism, saying assistance to the Faaa victims was a priority.

Faa’a also wants to charge an airport tax to counter the negative impact of Tahiti’s international aiport on its soil.

Mr Temaru told Tahiti-infos that he doesn’t want a foreign or French company to run the airport.

Earlier this month, a Paris court annulled the contract of ADT, the company currently running the airport after finding that it had been awarded without first going out to tender.

Radio New Zealand International

13) Digicel Samoa Plans To Cut Workforce By 25% Through Voluntary Separations

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/20/2017 – 16:50

Company undergoing ‘global transformation’

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, April 20, 2017) – Digicel Samoa has offered all its employees a chance to voluntarily apply to leave the company under what it calls an Enhanced Voluntary Separation Programme (EVSP).

Digicel Chief Executive Officer, Deepak Khanna confirmed with Talamua that the Enhanced Voluntary Separation programme “covers all its businesses as part of its Digicel 2030 global transformation programme.”

He says the programme covers Digicels’ global workforce and will result in an approximate 25% reduction of the global workforce over the next 18 months.

“The first step was the offer of an Enhanced Voluntary Separation Programme to all staff across the globe. This was a generous package and was well received by our staff,” explained Khanna.

But some employees who spoke to Talamua said the programme was officially introduced to them last week and is not fully understood y many, especially the part where they have to voluntarily apply to leave the company.

Khanna explains, “Telecoms providers across the globe are moving to benefit from significant technology advances and manage changing customer needs in terms of data usage and competitive threats from unregulated OTT operators.

“Digicel is one of the first communications and entertainment providers in the world to initiate a wide scale transformation agenda. We are building Digicel for 2030 and beyond. Our transformation programme sees us taking the bull by the horns and daring to be different by challenging the status quo and by innovation-led growth. That’s what we are known for and that’s what we will continue be known for into the future.

“Over the years, we have built a great company with a proud legacy of democratising communications and making an impactful contribution to countries and people across the globe. Now we’re on a mission to build Digicel for the future with our sights set on delivering an amazing network experience and putting our customers in control.

“In terms of the organisational design,  our future market structure will comprise a small number of regional hubs (two for the Caribbean and Central America regions and two for the Pacific region) housing back office centralised functions and delivering shared services. This means that staff in our 31 markets will be focused on sales and enhanced service delivery and resources and investment are prioritised to drive competition and innovation.

“This will result in an approximate 25% reduction of the global workforce over the next 18 months. The first step was the offer of an Enhanced Voluntary Separation Programme to all staff across the globe. This was a generous package and was well received by our staff.

“Specifics on both the number of staff who applied and the applications accepted under the Enhanced Voluntary Separation Programme remain confidential,” said Khanna.

He also emphasized Digicel’s commitment to Samoa and continues to invest in its infrastructure in the country.

Digicel Samoa is part of the group of one of the leading global communications provider with operations in 31 markets in the Caribbean, Central America, Asia and the Pacific.

The Company’s website says after 14 years of operation, total investment to date stands at over US$5 billion worldwide.

Talamua

14) Cook Islanders Express ‘High Level Of Concern’ About Lack Of Action To Protect Lagoon

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/20/2017 – 15:57

Outcomes from workshop show community is frustrated with pollution in Muri lagoon

By Cameron Scott

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, April 20, 2017) – A summary of the outcomes from a workshop held by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management’s steering group governing the Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai project has revealed a high level of community concern and frustration at the lack of action taken to manage Rarotonga’s lagoon pollution issues.

A newsletter issued by Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai management said the workshop, held at the Ngatangiia/Matavera Club House, Rarotonga in February, showed Rarotonga residents were highly concerned about the way the lagoon looks, particularly with the large amount of green seaweed washed up at Muri and other beaches around the island.

The outcome summary showed there were also concerns about impact of lagoon environmental issues on the tourist industry and Cook Islands economy, and recognition that it was not just a local issue but a nationwide problem.

Workshop participants had acknowledged government needed to take a leadership role, and work with the community to remedy the lagoon problems. There was a high level of interest in the Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai project. People and organisations were committed to work together.

There had been approval of the need to address issues via early measures and a long-term solution, as well as “some concern” about the 18-month timeframe involved in investigating environmental issues. However, there had been “broad recognition” that this timeframe was reasonable, provided all efforts were made to proceed as quickly as possible and that measures were implemented earlier.

At the workshop anecdotal and historical information about changes to the lagoon was shared and questions raised about the involvement of agriculture in issues affecting the lagoon, the newsletter said.

Questions about an Environmental Impact Assessment had been lodged by the Muri Lagoon Action Group and workshop attendees had shown a preference for regular communications via email and workshops, as well as a preference for broad community involvement.

There had also been a request for communications and engagement to be based on “mutual respect”, the newsletter added.

Around 60 people attended the workshop, including Aronga Mana, government and elected representatives, local residents, resort and tourist operators and members of community groups. It was the first community workshop to be held on Rarotonga regarding the project. Its aim was to introduce the project and to gain a better understanding of what participants wanted it to achieve, to discuss any issues and concerns, and find out how participants wanted to be informed and consulted.

Cook Islands Financial Secretary Garth Henderson spoke about the importance of the project, the commitment to intergovernmental collaboration and community engagement and PMU team member, Adrian Teotahi, translated Henderson’s words into Maori.

Project management unit manager Evan Mayson explained the background of the project, the team, the importance of community engagement and key components of the project.

He also discussed what could realistically be expected from efforts to remedy lagoon issues, given there was no “silver bullet” that would restore the lagoon to a pristine state within the next year or two.

More details about key points raised at the workshop in CI News soon.

Cook Islands News

MICRONESIA 


15) Kiribati Parliament approves Government loan for outer islands
8:49 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2017, Kiribati

The Kiribati Parliament has approved a government motion to obtain a loan of $70 million (US$52.8 million) for the development projects in the outer islands.

In his remarks, Minister of Finance and Economic Development Dr Teuea Toatu says the loan will be used to fund for development projects such as the rehabilitation of roads in the outer islands, revamping of sea ports and construction of ramps for landing crafts, renovation of airstrips in the outer islands including schools and many more.

The Minister says the loan will help government to speed up infrastructure developments in the outer islands without any future delays.

Dr Teuea Toatu says most of these infrastructure will be completed within 2 to 3 years.

SOURCE: RADIO KIRIBATI/PACNEWS

16) Former Nauru MPs charged over protest fight to halt controversial trial

5:02 pm GMT+12, 20/04/2017, Nauru

A controversial criminal trial in Nauru that could see three former MPs and their supporters jailed has begun, with a senior Australian judge set to be the star witness for the defence.

Opposition MPs Squire Jeramiah, Sprent Dabwido and Matthew Batsiua are among 18 defendants facing trial following a violent demonstration outside parliament on June 16, 2015.

They were among hundreds protesting against the former MPs’ suspension from parliament after the opposition MPs made comments critical of the Nauruan government in parliament.

The MPs had spoken out about the erosion of the independence of the judiciary in Nauru after the deportation of resident magistrate, Australian lawyer Peter Law, and the barring of Nauruan Chief Justice Geoffrey Eames from re-entering the country in 2014.

Eames, a former Victorian Supreme Court judge, served as Nauru’s chief justice between December 2010 and January 2014.

Eames was critical of what he described as the erosion of judicial independence in Nauru following his resignation.

He is now preparing to give evidence for the defence in the trial.

The group of 18 are defending charges of riot, serious assault, unlawful assembly, disturbing parliament and entering a security restricted area at Nauru’s aerodrome.

Most have pleaded not guilty.

Three defendants pleaded guilty to some — but not all — of their charges last November.

They received jail terms of between three and six months and are currently on bail pending an appeal to Nauru’s Supreme Court. Acting chief justice Mohammed Shafi Khan currently presides over that court.

The group is being represented by a team of Australian barristers, instructed by Sydney solicitor Christian Hearn, who are attempting to halt the trial on the basis that their clients would not receive a fair hearing.

The trial was listed to start Wednesday but sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the ABC that proceedings were delayed by the absence in court of Nauru’s Solicitor-General Jay Udit.

Udit is attempting to prevent the defence’s bid to cross-examine key government officials including powerful Justice Minister David Adeang.

Magistrate Penijamini Lomaloma ruled that the trial could not start until Udit appeared in court.

SOURCE: ABC/PACNEWS

17) Marshall Islands Red Cross Looks At Fast-Tracking Membership To International Federation

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/20/2017 – 17:05

Local operation, officially established in 2013, seeks international recognition

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, April 21, 2017) – The first secretary general of the Marshall Islands Red Cross said Thursday he hopes to fast-track international membership of the fledgling Marshall Islands entity in the International Federation of the Red Cross.

While the Marshall Islands Red Cross was officially established here in 2013, it must meet a variety of organizational requirements before it is fully recognized by the international body.

Jack Niedenthal, who was hired as the organization’s first secretary general a month ago, said he was informed this process could take several years. But Niedenthal wants to get all the pieces in place by late this year when the International Federation of the Red Cross or IFRC holds its global assembly so it can fully join the international organization.

Niedenthal is the first secretary general hired by the Red Cross program in the Marshall Islands. He first came to the Marshall Islands in the early 1980s as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and later worked for several decades as the Bikini local government’s trust liaison until he left the post last year.

“My goal is to show them (the international body) how serious we are about getting this done this year,” he said. “One hundred and ninety nations are recognized by the International Federation of the Red Cross. We’re one of the last not recognized.”

This doesn’t mean the Marshall Islands Red Cross doesn’t get support from the IFRC. The local office is receiving funding, training opportunities and technical support from the IFRC. But opportunities for the Marshall Islands will expand greatly once formal recognition is complete, Niedenthal said. “It will allow us to expand the scope of our work,” he said. “The beauty of the Red Cross is that it is not only disaster-related. It is very broad, involving betterment of people’s lives.”

The approval process has much to do with having financial systems, employee manuals, policies and a National Governing Board in place. Staff and volunteers have established a functioning program since 2013 and his job is to work with everyone to take it to the next level, said Niedenthal.

The Red Cross is hosting its first general assembly on June 21, which is expected to ratify the organization’s constitution and elect a National Governing Board — important steps for international acceptance. The Red Cross is now overseen by an interim committee headed by Dr. Alexander Pinano, the major mover behind establishment of the Marshall Islands Red Cross organization.

Red Cross isn’t hiring lots of staff, but it is training dozens of volunteers to assist its program. “It’s an opportunity for young people to get involved in the community,” he said. “We can’t employ you, but we can make you employable.” He said Red Cross volunteers are working with government staff on outer island drought surveys in addition to ongoing first aid and other humanitarian work.

Once the hurdle of international recognition for the Marshall Islands Red Cross is cleared, Niedenthal said he’s keen to see Red Cross develop a first aid program for local schools, focused on students aged seven and up. “We’ll try to pilot it at one school, fine tune it, and then offer it to others,” he said. Such a program would support the Ministry of Health when it’s responding to outbreaks in schools, such as the present situation of Hepatitis A and mumps outbreaks.

During a recent visit to the Philippines, Niedenthal met with Red Cross officials there and came away impressed with their active youth programs that give a boost to overall readiness of the population to improve living conditions and respond to disasters. There is no reason why the Marshall Islands Red Cross cannot design its own youth-related programs, he said. “How often do you get to design a program from the ground up?” Niedenthal said, expressing his enthusiasm for the new post.

Marianas Variety

AUSTRALIA

18 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-04-24/immigrants-advance-australian-economy-but-what-happens-if-we-close-the-door/1666722

19 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-04-24/holocaust-denial-materials-prompt-concerns-after-distribution-at-australian-universities/1666820

20 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-04-24/national-recognition-talks-show-indigenous-appetite-for-real-change-not-lip-service/1666876

21) Bring in nannies from the Pacific Islands to help Australian women get back to work

5:22 pm GMT+12, 20/04/2017, Australia

The Turnbull government’s 457 visa scheme replacement should have made it easier for unskilled nannies from the Pacific Islands to be brought into Australia to help Australian women get back to work, says leading businesswoman Diane Smith-Gander.

Smith-Gander, a non-executive director of AGL Energy, Wesfarmers and Safe Work Australia, said the government should have provided an opportunity for nannies from Pacific Island nations to come to Australia to help address the childcare shortage.

As reported in April 2015, the government is funding a trial to subsidise 4000 nannies, which it says make sense for shift workers, but Labor is sceptical.

She said many countries use nannies from abroad, pointing to Filipino nannies working in Canada, Europe and Asia as an example.

“If we were to provide a mechanism for those workers to come to Australia in way that Filipino workers help out in [other] countries that could address the high cost of domestic childcare,” said Smith-Gander, who is also immediate past president of Chief Executive Women.

“I would have liked to have seen some consideration [in the changes to the 457 visa scheme] of where you might want [to] hire foreign workers to release Australian women to follow their careers.

“Women often have to park work while they are going through child rearing and it’s a big loss to the economy.

“We know one of the biggest levers that we could pull to increase GDP in Australia is to get more women working and more older people working.”

The Lowy Institute has previously proposed opening Australia to workers from Pacific nations including Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands as a way of easing some of the shortages predicted as a result of changes to the backpacker tax and as a way of helping workers from those nations far more powerfully than could foreign aid.

The Institute’s report, The development benefits of expanding Pacific access to Australia’s labour market, says allowing a relatively open market could boost the incomes of those who migrated by around $33 billion, “around 40 times Australia’s current aid budget to the region”.

Allowing offshore nannies to come to Australia would also help ease childcare shortages in Australia and take pressure off government subsidies for child care.

The mid-year budget update released in December said that the number of children accessing subsidised child care is anticipated to grow by almost 300,000, from 1.7 million in 2016-17 to 2.0 million in 2019-20.

The Productivity Commission had recommended in its recent report into Australia’s childcare system that parents who use qualified nannies to care for their children should be allowed to claim the taxpayer funded child care rebate.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s “nannies pilot programme” was also designed to help women return to work after having children. But in December, the Turnbull government slashed the program’s 3000 places to just 500, saving $170.4 million (US$127 million) over two years.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull this week scrapped the controversial 457 visa program and announced a stricter replacement for people wanting to work on short-term visas that includes tougher English language tests and at least two years of work experience and a mandatory police check.

Turnbull said the policy change would ensure “we are putting jobs first, we are putting Australians first”.

But Smith-Gander was not convinced it would see a surge in local jobs.

“Surely restricting supply of overseas workers isn’t going to result in a sudden rush of Australians wanting these jobs,” she said.

But she agreed the 457 visa scheme needed a revamp and said it will make companies better prioritise who they hire.

SOURCE: SMH/PACNEWS/

NEW ZEALAND

22) Brownlee replaces McCully as NZ foreign minister

Gerry Brownlee has been announced as New Zealand’s new foreign minister.

The current minister, Murray McCully, has resigned ahead of an election later this year, after eight years in the job.

Mr McCully’s work in the Pacific was marked by measures including a change in New Zealand’s approach to foreign aid spending, and the rekindling of relations with post-coup Fiji.

He has also overseen a two-year term for New Zealand at the United Nations Security Council.

Mr Brownlee, a long-serving MP from Christchurch, has served as the minister for city’s earthquake recovery and defence.

The appointment is part of a wider cabinet reshuffle by the prime minister, Bill English.24/4/17 RNZI

TOK PISIN

23a) PNG saintis i wuas iet long Manam Volkeno

Updated 21 April 2017, 14:48 AEST

Ol Vulcanologists long Papua New Guinea i gohet long wuas gut long volcano long Manam Island long Madang Province, em ibin stat long pairap long Easter wiken.

Mauden paia ibin pairap long Rabaul wankaen olsem Manam Island volkeno
Odio: Assistant Director long PNG Volcano Observatory we i stap long Rabaul, Ima Itikarai i toktok wantem Sam Seke

Tasol Assistant Director long PNG Volcano Observatory we i stap long Rabaul long East New Britain Province, Ima Itikarai i tok aktiviti long Manam Volcano ibin go daun pinis.

Mr Itikarai i tok taem volcano ibin wok long pairap long Easter wiken, ol ibin apim alert levol i go antap long 3 na nau ol i putim daun gen long levol 2.

Taim Manam Volcano ibin pairap bikpela long 2004, 5 pela pipol ibin dai na ol ibin autim moa long 9,000 pipol blong Manam Island na putim ol long Bogia long meinlan.

23b) Rally agensim meda long Honiara

Postim 24 April 2017, 15:23 AEST
Sam Seke

Samfala handred pipol ibin march long street long Honiara yesterday fo soim strong filing blong olketa agensim meda blong wanfala Chinese bisnisman an waef blong hem long Easter wiken.

Plande handred pipol i stap long rally long meda blong tufala Chinese couple long Honiara (Sammy Sikisima photo)
Odio: Gina Kekea blong SIBC hem toktok
Forum Solomon Islands International social media grup nao hem organaesim disfala rally and plande memba blong Chinese Association and memba blong paklik nao olketa i tek pat long disfala rally.

March ia hem bin stat long National Art Gallery long 3 kilok long aftanun go kasem LGZ building long Twon Ground wea samfala pipol ibin kilim dae Chinese man and waef blong hem ia long hem.

Gina Kekea blong SIBC hem se plande long olketa posta an pipol wea i toktok long rally ia olketa i tokaot strong aganeim meda blong tupela pipol ia, an laekem fosin olsem fo hem mas stop.ABC

FRENCH

24a) GRAND NOUMÉA
Un week-end très animé au centre culturel Tjibaou
Imprimer
Tina. Les activités ne manquaient pas en cette fin de semaine au centre Tjibaou. Avec une première ce dimanche matin : l’installation d’un marché des femmes rurales qui vise à les soutenir. L’événement a drainé de nombreux curieux. Sans oublier le spectacle autour de l’exposition Tù et le Festival des arts du pays qui avaient lieu samedi après-midi. Trois animations qui mettaient, comme toujours, à l’honneur la culture kanak.

1 > C’était la grande nouveauté du week-end au centre culturel Tjibaou. Dimanche matin, l’institution a tenu son premier marché des femmes rurales. Une vingtaine d’exposantes, venues de toute la Calédonie, ont vendu leurs productions : bananes, ignames, avocats, noix de coco, mais aussi de la vannerie. Si c’était une première, le public a répondu présent. Ce qui différencie ce marché ? « Nous misons sur la proximité pour les habitants de Tina, de Rivière-Salée et de Magenta », explique Aude-Christelle Konyi, responsable du service jeune public au centre Tjibaou. Celui-ci aura désormais lieu un dimanche par mois. 2 > Autre rendez-vous ce samedi : l’animation autour de l’exposition Tù en l’honneur de la baleine. Quatre danseurs de Lifou ont entraîné le public au cœur d’un spectacle déambulatoire mêlant danses traditionnelles, contemporaines, slam et théâtre. « Ils valorisent par les arts de la scène tout ce que les plasticiens ont voulu exprimer. Le message étant d’œuvrer à la sauvegarde des océans », indique Aude-Christelle Konyi. Ce spectacle sera réinterprété une fois par mois, jusqu’à la fin de l’exposition le 27 août. 3 > C’est également ce samedi que le centre Tjibaou abritait la troisième édition du Festival des arts du pays qui parcourt la Calédonie depuis février. Les amateurs ont ainsi pu contempler dessins, peintures et artisanat local.http://www.lnc.nc/article/grand-noumea/noumea/un-week-end-tres-anime-au-centre-culturel-tjibaou

24b )  http://www.lnc.nc/article/grand-noumea/noumea/premiere-montee-a-bord-du-futur-neobus

24c ) http://www.lnc.nc/grand-noumea/paita

24d ) http://www.lnc.nc/nord/canala

PACIFIC


25) Fiji and PNG opt out as PACER Plus trade deal reached

5:17 pm GMT+12, 20/04/2017, Australia

Australia has finally wrapped negotiations with New Zealand and 12 Pacific Island countries to reach an historic trade and development deal, but two of the region’s major players Fiji and Papua New Guinea have opted out.

Trade Minister Steven Ciobo, flanked by his New Zealand counterpart Todd McClay, said the deal would directly benefit one million people in the Pacific Island region.

The deal, reached in Brisbane, includes 12 Pacific Island nations and was eight years in the making.

In the wake of the collapse of the much bigger Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus) was touted as a unique, unprecedented trade and development deal for the sustainable economic development of the region.

“This agreement will drive economic growth and raise living standards in our region,” Australian trade minister Steven Ciobo in a statement.

“Closer economic integration of the region with larger economies such as Australia and New Zealand is essential for sustainable economic growth in the Pacific. Australia will … continue to work to increase Pacific-wide trade, tourism and investment.”

The agreement covers goods, services and investment and includes tariff phase-out periods. It will also include a development package of more than $55 million (US$38 million) to help create jobs and boost export capacity in Pacific Island countries, New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay said.

McClay termed PACER Plus “a very modern agreement” that strikes a balance between development and trade.

He said in an interview the deal had the “potential to lift and increase trade, not only between the Pacific and Australia and New Zealand, but between the Pacific islands … You will see over time an increase in investment and trade.”

Significantly, the two biggest island economies, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, said last year they would not sign up to PACER Plus. Papua New Guinea had pulled out, saying it felt it could negotiate better bilateral deals while Fiji said the PACER Plus terms were not attractive enough. But McClay left the door open for further negotiations.

“The door remains open … They will see the benefits in time,” said McClay, calling PACER Plus a “model agreement” that could be replicated elsewhere.

Ciobo confirmed both Fiji and Papua New Guinea had elected not to sign up.

“We of course collectively encourage them to come to the table,” Ciobo said in Brisbane.

“It would certainly be even stronger with Fiji and PNG in it.”

Despite Fiji and PNG opting out, Ciobo said those who backed the agreement collectively felt it was the right time to push ahead and finalise it.

Australian FairTrade and Investment Network slammed the deal.

“PNG and Fiji’s rejection shows that the agreement is heavily skewed towards the interests of Australia and New Zealand – despite early rhetoric that the agreement was about development needs,” spokeswoman Patricia Ranald said.

The trade deal could help these South Pacific nations that face substantial challenges growing their economies as a result of poor infrastructure, limited phytosanitary measures for agricultural exports, weak regulation and low standards. These 14 nations account for just 0.05% of world trade.

PACER Plus includes a development package worth a total of $39 million (US$27 million) that McClay said would help raise standards of living, create employment opportunities and increase export capacity in Pacific countries.

The agreement includes tariff phase-out periods which recognise the vulnerability of many Pacific economies and their strong ties with Australia and New Zealand. Pacific countries currently have duty-free access to Australia and New Zealand and PACER Plus improves this with flexible rules of origin.

But Tess Newton Cain, founder of the Devpacific Thinknet think tank in Port Vila, Vanuatu, said it was hard to see how PACER Plus could be significant in dollar terms given that the two biggest Pacific island economies are not signatories.

The 12 Pacific Island nations participating in the deal are Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Kiribati, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The agreement will be signed in Tonga on 16 June.

SOURCE: AAP/REUTERS/NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW/PACNEWS

ASIA

26a ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-04-24/north-korea-ready-to-strike-us-aircraft-carrier-carl-vinson-as-it-heads-for-korean-peninsula/1666734

26b ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-04-24/north-korea-chinese-president-xi-jinping-asks-for-restraint-during-call-with-donald-trump/1666928

WORLD

27a) ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-04-24/exposing-the-darkness-within-domestic-violence-and-islam/1666800

27b ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-04-24/french-election-pollsters-get-it-right-with-marine-le-pen-and-emmanuel-macron-through-to-runoff/1666812

27c ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-04-24/donald-trump-being-sued-by-nineyearold-levi-draheim-over-his-climate-policies/1666936

28) Medics vital in achieving goals

Alisi Vucago
Sunday, April 23, 2017-Fijitimes

HEALTH plays a central part in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3, focusing on ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all ages, says Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar.

Ms Akbar said nursing had a major role to play in other SDGs such as to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, to ensure inclusive and quality education for all, promote lifelong learning and to reduce inequality within and among countries.

“Factors such as poverty, education and inequality are known to have a significant impact on health as they are often termed the social determinants of health,” she said.

“The work of nurses frequently involves addressing not just injury and illness at the individual level, but much of what you do affect, and is affected by the broader social determinants of health.”

Ms Akbar said nurses were key factors to the achievement of the SDGs.

“I strongly believe that nurses are well and strategically placed to map out the best possible way forward to achieving SDGs and with nursing numbers and their wide distribution across the globe, nurses are among the best resources available to work towards achieving these SDGs,” she said.

HEALTH

29) Nurses encouraged to lift services

Alisi Vucago
Sunday, April 23, 2017-Fijitimes

HEALTH and Medical Services Minister Rosy Akbar has encouraged nurses to stay true to their professional duties and behaviour.

Ms Akbar made these comments during the opening of the Fiji Nursing Association’s annual general meeting in Suva yesterday.

The minister said she had received reports of nurses who were rude, abrupt, unhelpful and could not be bothered to take the time to communicate clearly and carefully with a patient.

She said she was disturbed by the occasional lapses which could easily put nurses’ professional reputation in jeopardy.

“I understand the stress you face in your daily work and I know patients can sometimes be rude or ungrateful, make unreasonable demands or have unrealistic expectations,” she said.

“I know that you are often working under pressure in a busy ward or clinic and it can often be difficult to be calm and caring in such circumstances.

“But I ask you not to allow patients to push you to the point where you show anger or intolerance. As nurses, you can be the circuit breaker who steps in to prevent people from losing their temper.”

She said as professional nurses, they needed to rise above such behaviour to remain polite and helpful, even when they faced the most awkward and argumentative patient or family member.

Ms Akbar warned nurses to be aware of their behaviour on social media as it could be easily misunderstood and directly breach the ministry’s social media policy.

She said social media was a wonderful tool but it must be used with care.

“Just as I have asked you not to ‘fight fire with fire’ when dealing with angry or offensive behavior, I also remind you not to engage in debate or discussion on ministry issues via social media,” she said.

“Even if a post is rude, insulting or simply wrong – don’t rise to the bait, don’t respond because if you do respond, you may well be deemed to be in breach of our policy and thus liable to disciplinary measures.”

30) MASIU DELIVERS AMBULANCE TO WISAI HEALTH CENTRE

By Aloysius Laukai
The member for South Bougainville, TIMOTHY MASIU presented a brand new AMBULANCE to the Wisai Health Centre on Monday this week after presenting two Police vehicles to the Southern Command of thye Bougainville Police Service in Buin.
In his address to the recipients, MR. MASIU said he felt with the people the hardships been faced by rural communities and the Ambulance will ease these sufferings by at least saving the lives of rural communities.
MR. MASIU said where ever he visited during his short term in parliament he has come to realise that the people have been living without a leader for a long time.
He called on the people to look after these vehicles to look after them in the long run.
He said that if he returns to power he will make sure those who missed out in the last eight months he has served the people of South Bougainville from Torokina to Wisai.20/4/17 Dwn Fm Bougainville

EDUCATION

31) Marshall Islands, Fiji sign deal

Vishaal Kumar
Sunday, April 23, 2017-Fijitimes

Fiji has a duty to build capacity in Smaller Island States in the region in terms of development co-operation, says roving ambassador and High Commissioner to Pacific Island Countries and Territories Litia Mawi.

She made the comment at the signing of a memorandum of agreement on the Fiji Teachers Volunteer Service Scheme between Fiji and Marshall Islands in Suva.

The MOU, which allows teachers from Fiji to take up positions in the education system in the Marshall Islands, was renewed for the second time under the Fiji Teachers Volunteer Service Scheme.

Ms Mawi said the signing involved the Ministry of Employment in Fiji and the Ministry of Education in the Marshall Islands.

“It is part of the overall understanding between the two countries on nine areas of development co-operation and this one in particular involves the educational sector,” she said.

“In fact already some teachers are there. These are teachers that have reached 55 years of age, retired from the public service here and are being granted service under the scheme.”

Deputy chief of mission of Marshall Islands to Fiji, Albion Ishoda, said the teachers from Fiji brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the country’s education system.

” They are very valuable to us. They pretty much are regarded very high in their ability to apply their skills in our education system,” Mr Ishoda said.

“The response from the students and the education department has also improved. Our local teachers have learnt a lot from these teachers.”

Mr Ishoda highlighted that they were also working with the Fijian Government to get more skilled people deployed in other sectors.

Currently about 50 teachers from Fiji are deployed under the Service Scheme in the Marshall Islands.

POLITIC

32) No review process under 2013 Constitution: Fiji PM Bainimarama

11:23 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2017, Fiji

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made it clear in parliament Monday that there is no review process under the 2013 Constitution.

Responding to a question posed by Opposition MP, Mosese Bulitavu, Bainimarama, said the Constitution provides for the process for amendments to be made to it.

Meanwhile Opposition MP, Niko Nawaikula was asked to withdraw his statement – where he made an allegation that the original Constitution was burnt.

“Too many problems with this Constitution – not counting the fact that they burn it, they burnt the real one,” he said.

A Point of Order was raised by the Prime Minister.

“Madam Speaker, the honorable member has made an accusation that we burnt the Constitution if he has prove of that, then bring it to this House,” said Bainimarama.

Nawaikula was ordered to withdraw his statement which he did.

Bainimarama says the 2013 Constitution looks after the rights of the indigenous people.

Meanwhile, sign language has been introduced from today for Parliament sitting.

Officers who are proficient in this area are providing simultaneous interpretation of the sitting to the viewers.

Parliamentary Speaker, Dr Jiko Luveni is happy that information and communication from the sittings is now accessible to those that have a hearing impairment.

“I am grateful to the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation for responding positively to our call for assistance in this respect. My appreciation also goes out to the Fiji Association of the Deaf, the Department of Communications and the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation for their commitment towards this worthy cause.”

Fiji’s Parliament faced some technical challenges earlier and was unable to use the sign language services for the February and March sitting.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

33) U-Bloc reaffirms allegiance to Gov’t

Thompson

The U Bloc-a newcomer to the Charlot Salwai-led coalition Government has reaffirm its commitment to the Government, under the leadership of MP William Tasso as the new chairman.

MP Tasso of the Paama constituency said he had led the U-Bloc grouping of three MPs along with Port Vila Constituency MP Kalo Seule of Green Confederation party to join the government.

“This was purposely to support Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and his leadership, ” he conveyed through a statement yesterday afternoon.

MP Tasso acknowledges the Prime Minister’s willingness to openly discuss with them the issue of increasing number of youth unemployment and rising social problems.

“The Prime Minister has raised concerns that Vanuatu is about to graduate from the Least Developed Country and that is also a big concern”.

He described their meeting with the Prime Minister as “very short and fruitful”.

“I believe the time was right to team up with the current PM who was originally proposed by the Vanua’aku Party (VP) and seconded by the National United Party (NUP), supported by Reunification of Movement for Change (RMC) and other parties,” he said.

The three U-Bloc MPs, namely MP Tasso, MP Ephraim Kalsakau from the Port Vila Constituency and MP Albert Williams from the Ambrym constituency recently joined the Prime Ministers grouping, along with Green Confederation’s Kalo Seule from Port Vila Constituency.

“Since the establishment of the Salwai government, there has been some political turmoil along the way, with this new approach we are here to stabilize this government,” said MP Tasso. “Therefore, the four solid Member of Parliament would like to guarantee the Prime Minister that as long as we are here, he can rely on us.”

MP Fred said the U-Bloc also bring their own concerns and issues, for the government to address to the nation.

thompson@dailypost.vu

34a ) http://dailypost.vu/news/mahe-reappointed-psc-chairman/article_26c83724-7e65-53e0-8820-2e5bc92fc33d.html

34b) MASIU COVERS THE ENTIRE SOUTH BOUGAINVILLE
By Aloysius Laukai

The member for South Bougainville, TIMOTHY MASIU becomes the first South Bougainville member to have visited all the districts including the remote mountain villages of South Bougainville in six months.
Since his election in the South Bougainville By election last year, MR. MASIU had development meeting in Torokina, BANA and Siwai and covered nearly all invitations in South Bougainville.
And with the setting up of his office in Buin he has created another eye opener that the next member has to match and move to another level.
In his final speeches to the communities he visited Member Timothy called for continuity for South Bougainville to progress.
Like in the bible, he gave parables of only a foolish farmer can uproot a good bearing fruit.20/4/17 DawnFm Bougainville.

35) 12 countries to send observer missions for PNG election

Papua New Guinea’s elections commissioner says 12 countries and organisations will be sending observer missions for this year’s election.

Patilias Gamato’s announcement comes as the Governor General Sir Bob Dadae issued the writs to formally begin an election period that will last until July.

Mr Gamato said the electoral commission had enlisted the United Nations Development Programme’s assistance to help co-ordinate the influx of observers.

So far, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Transparency International, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, the United States, China, France, Japan, and the Pacific Islands Forum have expressed interest.24/4/17 RNZI.

36) O’Neil told seat is safe no need to campaign
11:22 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2017, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister  Peter O’Neill has thanked the people of Ialibu-Pangia for supporting him as their MP in the past 15 years, and seeks their endorsement for another five-year term.

As a show of support, the Yaro tribe led by Ben Jope paid his K1000 nomination (US$314) fee to Returning Officer Michael Ariando last Friday.

In addition, East Pangia local level government president Daniel Piopo said there was no need for O’Neill, to campaign as it was a foregone conclusion that he would win the seat for a fourth time.

He said the 68 councils “declare today that our prime minister must go back”.

“Prime minister, you are the champion,” Piopo said.

“We are sending you back to be the prime minister.”

O’Neill said the nomination process allowed everyone the right to contest the election.

“This is good, but it is not an easy job,” he said.

“I want to thank the people of Ialibu-Pangia for giving me their support for the last 15 years, with no evidence of foul play in the ballot boxes.

“You have created history and have shown a good example to the rest of the country.

“Our work has not ended – we have just begun.”

Meanwhile, the ruling People’s National Congress party has dropped Hela Governor Francis Potape from its list of candidates to contest the 2017 general election.

He was not named for either the regional seat (for governor) or the Komo-Magarima seat.

O’Neill announced the list of the party’s candidates at Pangia on Friday.

He said Tari-Pori MP James Marape would lead a strong team in Hela.

He announced that Koroba-Lake Kopiago MP Philip Undialu would contest the Governor’s seat which the late Anderson Agiru won in 2012. The party is putting up Edward Alina for Potape’s Komo-Magarima seat, while Isaac Matiabe will replace Undialu in Koroba-Lake Kopiago.

“This is a very-strong four-man team for Hela,” the prime minister said.

Meanwhile, provincial administrator William Bando said Potape had no power to suspend him as per the directive from Personnel Management Secretary John Kali.

Bando told The National yesterday he remained the provincial administrator for Hela, according to Kali.

“Governors and provincial executive councils have no power to hire and fire – only the National Executive Council based on advice of the secretary for the Department of Personnel Management,” Bando said.

He has just signed his four-year employment contract….

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

MEDIA

37) Capital FM, vois blong Vanuatu mini Games

Updated 21 April 2017, 14:45 AEST
Sam Seke

Pacific Mini Games Organising Committee long Vanuatu hem makim finis Capital FM 107 long Port Vila olsem vois blong 2017 Pacific Mini Games we Vanuatu bai hostim long December.

Sports ripota blong FM 107, Harry Atisson hem se diswan hem minim olketa pipol raon long Pacific an long wold i save herem olketa kavarage blong games “live” long radio long internet.

Hem se bae olketa brodkastim tu olketa update  risalt long evri sport wea olketa i pleim long Mini Games.

Harry bae toktok moa long diswan bihaen, bat fastaem, mi askem hem fo stori kam long raon 2 blong Port Vila Digicel Premier League 2017.

Ifira Black Bird wea Coach Batram Suri and plande pleia long hem olketa i blong Solomon Islands nao hem gohet fo topim kompetisin.ABC http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2017-04-21/capital-fm-vois-blong-vanuatu-mini-games/1666370

BUSINESS

38) Vanuatu’s Grand Hotel & Casino on sale
8:15 pm GMT+12, 20/04/2017, Vanuatu

The Grand Hotel & Casino in Vanuatu has been placed on the market to be sold within the range of AUD$25 million (over Vt2 billion).

Melbourne’s Zagame Corporation is moving to sell Vanuatu’s Grand Hotel & Casino in Port Vila to capitalise on surging buyer interest in leisure oriented accommodation assets.

The 74-room waterfront property is the premier hotel and casino venue in Vanuatu.

Situated 10km from the airport at the heart of Port Vila’s business and entertainment precinct, the eight-level waterfront hotel offers a variety of income streams from its casino, accommodation and food and beverage facilities.

CBRE Hotels’ Rob Cross and Andrew Jackson will steer the Expressions of Interest campaign, which closes 30 May 2017.

Cross said long time owners Zagame Corporation were selling the hotel and casino complex to focus on their extensive pub and accommodation interests in Australia.

“We’re expecting considerable interest, predominantly from Australian and New Zealand investors,” Mr. Cross said.

“The campaign provides an opportunity to acquire the best hotel and casino in Vanuatu, which is currently owner operated but is being offered with vacant possession.

“While the hotel and casino has enjoyed trading growth in recent years, the introduction of a professional management company with a strong brand reputation could lead to further trading upside.”

Constructed in 2003, the four-star hotel overlooks Port Vila Harbour and offers views towards Iririki Island.

The casino, regarded as the best in Vanuatu, features 15 gaming tables and 136 slot machine, with a VIP top floor gaming room.

The hotel also features a restaurant, conference rooms, four bars and pool and spa facilities.

CBRE’s Jackson said investors were increasingly targeting leisure-oriented investment opportunities given the tightly held nature of Australia’s CBD hotel markets.

This had been highlighted by a series of Cairns hotel transactions in 2016 – specifically the Rydges Tradewinds, Novotel Oasis and Rydges Esplanade – for a combined total of $122 million (US$91.7 million).

“In the case of the Grand Hotel & Casino, the property is poised to benefit from the Vanuatu Tourism and Infrastructure Project, which is funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme,” Jackson noted.

“The project will concentrate on the rehabilitation of Port Vila’s seafront and the main wharf areas, providing a central pier observation platform, sea steps, a water taxi jetty, seawall promenade and walkways, markets buildings and playgrounds.”.

SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS

39) Business operator offers management skills

April 21, 2017The NationalBusiness
Article Views: 299

By ZACHERY PER
A LOCAL business service provider has launched a business incubation product in Goroka, Eastern Highlands.
Jabez Business Services Founder Linda Voyorite calls it the ‘sit on your business and hatch it’ initiative.
“I have a vision to train Papua New Guineans to get into serious business. Our business incubation product will closely support and guide aspiring businessmen and women to become successful. I am targeting small people to train and establish them,” she said.
Voyorite who trains people in business management said more than 75 per cent of the people were involved in micro-enterprises, 15 per cent in small businesses and five per cent in large businesses.
Jabez Business Services is ready to train people to start their own businesses and incubate them to grow big.”

40) Caution on online shopping

Faria Begum
Sunday, April 23, 2017-Fijitimes

THE Consumer Council of Fiji is warning consumers to be mindful of the repercussions of making purchases online because most goods sold are not price controlled items.

“Enough information is circulated via mass media but consumers fail to exercise consumer responsibility and are not vigilant when it comes to researching about a particular online trader prior to purchasing goods,” the council said in a statement.

Fiji Commerce Commission CEO Joel Abraham said as the consumer protection enforcement agency, it was committed to creating awareness regarding smart shopping options.

“Online trading, while very common overseas, is still something new for most Fijians while some frequently use such services, others are starting to explore online trading as an alternative to conventional shopping,” said Mr Abraham.

“Unfortunately, at times we lack co-operation from consumers in reporting matters as such and breaches to us.

“While the commission is doing its best to protect consumer interest, the lack of co-operation by stakeholders, including consumers in helping develop laws and guidelines, is disappointing.

“I plead with all Fijians to come out and participate and help us develop robust laws to protect their interests.”

41) $20 million spent annually on seafood imports

Alisi Vucago
Saturday, April 22, 2017-Fijitimes

THE Government imports more than $20 million worth of seafood yearly and plans are being made to have investments in the fisheries sector so money is not lost overseas and employment is provided for locals.

This was shared by Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau who stated that the ministry needed to look at attracting investors both local and foreign to invest in aquaculture as an import substitution exercise.

“This is an immediate project that the newly independent Ministry of Fisheries need to look into and we need to substitute the importing of prawns and other seafood that we can culture locally,” he said.

“Prawn, lobsters and crabs can be farmed and other high value fish species like groupers and local donu and kawakawa can be farmed and traded.

“This can also relieve the pressure on our reef systems.”

Mr Koroilavesau said this would not be an overnight achievement as it involved investment by local and overseas partners but it could be considered in the short and medium terms as the government needed investment incentives and the ministry had some that investors can source.

“We have carried out wide consultations and recently visited Hainan and Guanzhou as these two provinces both produce and are the biggest market in the region,” he said.

He stated the Government had recently spent funds in securing overseas technicians to visit its research and development stations to carry out scoping and provide advise.

He stated the exportation of seafood products was only a secondary consideration as their primary aim must be self sufficiency and export was to be considered after.

INFRASTRUCTURE

42) Suva roads lined up for reconstruction

VISHAAL KUMAR
Sunday, April 23, 2017-Fijitimes

Update: 2:38PM THE Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) is working towards a permanent solution in upgrading the roads in the Suva area.

Various roads in Suva will undergo major reconstructions under the Fiji Roads Authority’s (FRA) ‘Suva Arterial Road Upgrading Project’ (SARUP), according to CEO John Hutchinson who said the project was about upgrading and improving sealed roads to accommodate large volumes of traffic in Suva.

“This is FRA’s 2016 provisional program in which a number of roads in the Central Division will be undergoing reconstructions,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“The SARUP program is a multi-phased and multi-year program so work will be carried out over a number of years.

“This is common around the world that has major infrastructure development projects.”

Roads that will undergo repairs in the coming months are parts of Waimanu Road, Amy Street in Toorak, Usher Street, Thompson Street and Foster Road.

43) Vanuatu Airport Does Not Need Landowners Permission To Proceed With Upgrades

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/20/2017 – 17:11

Airports Vanuatu Limited disputes statements by lessers

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 21, 2017) – The Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL) and the Government do not require Custom Owner Consents to proceed with the present runway upgrades.

The clarification was made by AVL Chairman, Bakoa Kaltongga yesterday.

The custom owners had written to the previous management and board as well as the Shareholders of AVL on numerous occasions since 2014 requesting settlement of a premium Vt 12,480,000 [US$114,000] for the transfer of the Lease Title No. 12/063/014 from Government to AVL.

AVL would like clarify Bauerfield Airport sits on three leases Titles 12/0631/014, 12/06234/005 and 11/0K31/001.

Whilst the latter lease covers the major part of the airport and is an Urban Land Lease, the first two are Class E Special Leases giving AVL the right to use, erect, replace and maintain any infrastructure related to airports and aerodrome activities and runway upgrades fall within the extent of the special lease conditions, hence, AVL believes no consent is needed for present upgrades to be undertaken by CCECC and World Bank had been previously assured there would be no safeguards issues during preliminary discussions.

“With respect to outstanding land rents mentioned in their press release, AVL has paid in advance an amount of Vt7,075,840 for 2017 and 2018 and therefore would like to state there are no outstanding land rents owing to the Lessors,” the AVL Chairman conveyed.

“With respect to outstanding premiums as per their statements, AVL confirms its records indicate when Government transferred both leases to AVL, the premiums for the said leases would have already been settled in 1989 and AVL was never legally obliged to pay a premium the second time.”

The custom owners in their previous notices to the Board demanded payment from AVL of an amount of Vt12,480,000 which would appear to be part of the transfer fee paid to the original declared sole custom owner, the late Aloan Chichirua in 2011.

They said owners’ demands are based on rectification in 2014 by Ministry of Lands for the same two leases to include the three new perpetual custom owners being Sope Family (Imere), Kalsakau Family and Chief Nunu Naperikmala as per a later court determination and they would therefore be entitled to a similar payment.

AVL accordingly is not obliged to make a repeat payment of the said transfer fee for Title 12/0631/014 as it is indemnified by a Deed of Release signed between Government and Late Aloan Chichirua in 2011 as the said claim was part of the VT 31,771,000 [US$291,000] paid out for both Lease Titles 12/0631/014 and 12/06234/005. The Deed clearly stipulated that payments made were for full settlement of Premiums and any outstanding Land Rents due at that time.

The Chairman wishes to reiterate, the board nor its management would be unable to commit to making any extraordinary and unjustified payment legally, particularly as a State Owned Enterprise.

The Chairman of AVL stated that he is misled by the timing of a statement of this nature by the said parties, especially when AVL is on the verge of undertaking a very critical runway project for Vanuatu.

He further encourages the custom owners to be patient as they stand to gain from these extensive developments including the extra land being purchased by the Government of Vanuatu for airports development.

Vanuatu Daily Post

LAW&ORDER

44) Fiji Kava confiscated in PNG

11:31 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2017, Papua New Guinea

More than 170 kilogrammes of Fijian kava have been confiscated by the National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority (NAQIA) because they were illegally imported.

NAQIA officers confiscated the 11 cartons containing the Bilo Sinai kava powder in 500 grams packets which arrived on an Air Niugini flight last week.

NAQIA managing director Joel Alu said each passenger was allowed a maximum of one kilogram of kava. Alu told The National that the illegal import of large quantities of kava from Fiji could have been taking place for some time without being detected.

“This incident occurred last week when we sighted this consignment of kava in 11 boxes which was not declared,” Alu said.

He said it was illegal to bring kava in such a large amount into the country.

“NAQIA views this incident as very serious and illegal. We will be looking into this especially with the particular importer that brought this from Fiji,” Alu said.

“When you bring one can of Ox and Palm to Nadi airport, the Fijians almost immediately like a guard dog jump onto the Ox and Palm or our Paradise biscuit. This is 170 kilograms of kava being illegally imported into this country. We will properly investigate this matter.

“And if there are criminal charges to be laid against these people involved, then we will lay criminal charges.”

He said the consignment was for a textile company based in Port Moresby.

“With a large quantity like this, it could mean that the illegal kava imports have been taking place for a while and that it was for commercial purposes to resell rather than personal consumption which is only one kilogramme allowed to be brought in without declaring it.”.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

45) Honiara Mayor calls for reintroduction of death penalty

11:21 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2017, Solomon Islands

Honiara City Council Mayor Andrew Mua says he is in full support on the call to resurrect capital punishment to people who commits brutal murder in Solomon Islands.

The City Mayor during tribute ceremony and condemnation of barbaric killing of the Chinese couple calls on government to impose tougher laws to deter further killings of the same nature in the near future.

“I condemn this recent barbaric killing of the couple and I truly support the debate to hang people who commit such heartless killing.

“I call on the government through its judicial arm to review it laws to bring tougher penalties to this kind of people,” City Mayor Mua said.

“We cannot keep on going and allow merciless people to take out other people’s life prematurely.

“So policy makers must relook at bringing tougher laws to deter such barbaric killing in the near future,” Mayor Mua said.

The Honiara City Mayor adds that also sets time for us to reflect to past brutal killing in the past which our country has experienced.

“We come together with a common purpose which is to condemn what has happened over the Easter weekend in this building.

“And also to reflect on past barbaric killing of loving citizens of this Hapi Isles,” Mayor Mua added.

He reminded the more than 1000 city residents that attended the protest rally to be good and loyal citizens.

‘Today we stand at this place regardless of our culture or origin-we are one Hapi Isles of the Solomon Islands.

“We must uphold our Christian values at all times and remember that only God is the giver and taker of lives,” Mayor Mua said.

West Honiara came to a standstill on Sunday afternoon after more than a thousand people took part in a solemn procession to condemn and denounce the barbaric killing of the Chinese couple murdered over the Easter weekend.

The march kicked off from the Art Gallery to Town-ground LGZ building where the murder took place.

The march was organised by Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII), the Chinese Association in Solomon Islands and other private business houses.

Demonstrators carried a large banner denouncing the ‘barbaric killing’ act.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

46) ‘CLEAN FORCE’ PLEA

Published: 23 April 2017

THE media and the public are urged to help clean up the police force of those who want to use it for their own benefit.

Supervising Police Commander Juanita Matanga stated this in response to the recent media reports saying detectives working under the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) within the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) have demanded an increase and pay back in their work and cloth allowance.

The report stated the officers warned that failure to do so by the police administration will lead to possible sit-in protest and the scaling down of JANUS taskforce.

“The police force is not an agency to earn money from but to serve our people,” Ms Matanga said.

“When any officers unprofessionally handled a situation like this, I urged the media to help straighten up the police force,” she added.

“The Police Force belongs to all of us.

“I know you received a lot of information that you want to disseminate but at the same time we want those information too to straighten up the policemen,” Ms Matanga told reporters on Thursday during the Police Commissioner’s weekly conference.

Ms Matanga said RAMSI will finish in June and therefore expect everyone to straighten out the police force.

“I urged the media to help us to get rid of officers who take police force as ransom for their own benefit.

“I have told the investigators if they step outside of their job as professional police officers then either you step up or step out,” Ms Matanga said.

She said police officers are expected to act professionally and if one of them go out to media and used that sort of tactic to deprive the good cause of investigations that people expect police to do, then it is not good.

“We will deal with officers who did this.

“I know you have the responsibility to report on issues like this but if any police officer take up this allowance as means to subject the work of police then I am sad.

“He or she is not in the right area to do this job.

“I know we have our own responsibility administratively to deal with things but we have to deal with it professionally.”

By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN/Solomon Star.

47) EASTER PEACEFUL
By Aloysius Laukai

The newly appointed Commander for South Bougainville Police, Senior Sergeant EMMART TSIMES today praised the Buin Police for creating peace in South Bougainville.
He also thanked the people for abiding to peace and harmony in South Bougainville.
MR. TSIMES said that he was happy the Easter in South Bougainville was incident free and he thanked Police and the communities for creating Peace.
He said that the presence of Police in our communities is a sign of community support for Peace and normalcy throughout the region.
The new commander will be welcomed as the Commander tomorrow.17/4/17 DawnFm Bougainville.

48) Fiji Defence Minister Says There Is A Need For More Police Officers

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/20/2017 – 16:54

Ratu Inoke conducts tour of police stations on Viti Levu

By Repeka Nasiko

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 21, 2017) – There is a need for more police officers, says Minister for Defence and National Security Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

Ratu Inoke said the lack of manpower within the Fiji Police Force was evident during his recent tour of police stations on Viti Levu.

“In terms of resources one thing that continues to come out very clearly is that the police stations are undermanned,” he said.

“There are not enough police officers.”

He said the police to population ratio in the country showed Fiji’s need for more officers.

“The international standard says the ratio should be one police (officer) for every 200 people. This (yesterday) morning after our briefing at the Lautoka Police Station, there is one police officer to 850.

“So definitely there is a lack of people and that’s why we need to have more police officers on the ground.”

Ratu Inoke said despite the lack of manpower, police officers were still able to carry out their work.

“They are doing very difficult work.

“So I urge and encourage them to keep doing what they are doing and we will see what Government can do.

“I know the Commissioner of Police is trying his best by introducing some reforms.

“I was briefed about their KPIs a few months ago and they are hitting those KPIs.”

“The crime rates seem to be dropping especially in the Western Division compared to the other divisions.”

Fiji Times Online.

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION

49) Fijian PM holds talks with China’s top climate change negotiator
5:15 pm GMT+12, 20/04/2017, Fiji

Fiji’s preparations for its upcoming presidency at this year’s UN Climate Chance Conference (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany dominated talks between Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and China’s Special Representative of Climate Change Affairs, Xie Zhenhua, at a meeting held in Suva.

At the meeting, Prime Minister Bainimarama stressed that a key priority of the Fijian Presidency would be to bring the challenges faced by Small Island Developing States to the forefront of the upcoming negotiations.

“Fiji and the other Pacific Island nations are on the front line of the battle against climate change – bearing the brunt of its terrible impact. We do not need to be reminded of the urgent need for global action. Just over one year ago, the biggest cyclone ever to make landfall in the southern hemisphere slammed into Fiji. It killed 44 of our people, displaced many thousands of others and destroyed one third of our GDP,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Bainimarama also emphasised the importance of advancing the full implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change during Fiji’s Presidency.

“I am committed to fulfilling my primary responsibility as COP 23 President, which is to advance the Rulebook and the Facilitative Dialogue. We believe that advancement of the modalities, procedures and guidelines of the Paris Agreement is critical,” he said.

The two men also discussed possible avenues of Chinese support for Fiji’s Presidency, and the Prime Minister thanked China for being the first country to provide Fiji with financial support toward its upcoming presidency last year.

SOURCE: DEPTFO NEWS/PACNEWS

MINING,FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES

50) Coffee industry accuses PNG government of not taking borer beetle outbreak seriously

The Coffee Industry Corporation in Papua New Guinea says the government has let them down by giving them less than half the money they were originally promised to fight the pest that is threatening to devastate the livelihoods of coffee farmers.

The CIC has warned repeatedly of the threat posed by the berry borer beetle if it is left unchecked, and back in February the Agriculture Minister, Tommy Tomscoll, pledged to release 50 million kina to help contain the spread.

But up to now the CIC and the PNG Quarantine Authority have received just 20 million kina, and the corporation’s Chief Scientist, Dr Nelson Simbiken, says it’s not enough.http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/pacific-beat/2017-04-24/coffee-industry-accuses-png-government-of-not/8466430

51) New  investment deal to help Vanuatu coffee farmers get back on track post cyclone

A Vanuatu coffee producer has secured what’s known as an ‘impact investment’ to revive its fortunes after the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam.

Unlike traditional forms of development aid, impact investment involves the use of private capital to generate a social return as well as a financial one.

Tanna Coffee says the money will help it, and hundreds of farmers get back on their feet.http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/pacific-beat/2017-04-24/new-investment-deal-to-help-vanuatu-coffee-farmers/8468006

52) Bougainville Copper Mine Makes Final Compensation Payment To Panguna Landowners

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/20/2017 – 14:54

$4.3 million is last royalty payment under 1990 compensation program

By Romulus Masiu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Apirl 21, 2017) – Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) has completed the 1990 Panguna landowners’ compensation payment verification program.

A total of K14 million [US$4.3 million] has been paid directly into the bank accounts of the landowners as their royalty payment, as agreed in the Bougainville Copper Agreement. This is the landowners’ last royalty payment, unless BCL returns to dig the mine again in the future.

The program, which started in December last year, covers the Special Mining Lease areas, starting from Port Mine Access Road to the Lower Tailings of the Emperor Augusta Bay in Bana and Torokina districts of South Bougainville.

To date, the two districts are still facing the marine and environmental damages from the polluted Jaba and Kavarong rivers even though the mine officially shut down operations in 1989.

The program has also covered the middle tailings and the SML areas, including the mine pit and the surrounding villages.

Full credit must go to the hardworking team led by Bruno Babato and his officers from the Office of Panguna Mine Negotiations who tirelessly worked for five years for this to finally happen.

BCL was well represented during the verification process by Port Moresby-based officer, Justin Rogers, who was on the ground to oversee the smooth running of the program, which was finally completed at Pakia village, Ioro constituency of Panguna district.

Mr Babato appealed to the recipients to use whatever amount they’re paid wisely because this is the final land compensation payment since BCL started operations in 1972.

Apart from the 1990 outstanding land compensation payment, which the resource owners of Panguna received, they also want BCL to progress with the belkol ceremony before any discussion with the company on the mine reopening issues is discussed. The belkol will involve the whole of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville population from North, Central and South Bougainville.

PNG Post-Courier

53) UN against seabed mine in PNG
5:05 pm GMT+12, 20/04/2017, Papua New Guinea

The United Nations is against the world’s first seabed mining operation which is set to start in two years time in the Bismarck Sea, off the coast of New Ireland Province in Papua New Guinea.

Copper and gold deposits will be mined from the seafloor at a depth of 1600 metres.
The UN says this will cause major environmental destruction not only to the communities in New Ireland but the entire Pacific Ocean, and is against the 14 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.

“There is a high likelihood that mining will disrupt life under the sea and potentially cause mass devastation for biodiversity,” UN resident co-coordinator Ray Trivedy said. The 14 SDG states the importance of conservation and the sustainable use of the ocean, seas and marine resource.

Oceans, especially the Pacific Ocean which PNG is in, contain nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may lie in the millions. UN main targets were to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans as stated in the UN Convention Law of Sea.

“I am against sea bed mining because despite what some companies say, I am not convinced that it will lead to sustainable development,” Trivedy said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

54) Technology is changing the game for fisheries management

5:20 pm GMT+12, 20/04/2017, Marshall Islands

Real or near-real time management of Pacific purse seine tuna fisheries is now possible for the first time in history, changing the game for fisheries management.

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) and WWF are celebrating the rollout of observer electronic reporting tools – through the new Observer eReporting App – that will reduce Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and bolster supply chain transparency and traceability in the Western and Central Pacific tuna fisheries.

A 2016 analysis conducted by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) showed that non-reporting, misreporting, and under-reporting represented the greatest proportion of IUU fishing, resulting in a USD $600 million loss for the region.

WWF’s Western and Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager, Bubba Cook said, “Transparency and traceability are crucial for good fisheries management, and this technology was a significant step towards combatting IUU and securing sustainable fisheries”.

“Up until now, Pacific fisheries observers only had pen and paper to make their recordings. This initiative should serve as the catalyst for expansion of these kinds of technologies in the region, which are designed specifically to address the increasing challenges of IUU fishing.”

“Once this technology becomes standard and widespread in the region, it should ratchet down IUU to negligible levels when used effectively with other existing and emerging monitoring, control and surveillance technologies – as a driving force in improving the way that oceans are managed”.

From 2015, WWF has supported the trial and implementation of the Observer eReporting App developed by Integrated Fisheries Information Management System (iFIMS), into a durable hardware platform. The PNA, a sub-regional governance body that controls the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery, was the first in the region to adopt this technology as part of their fisheries observer programme.

The initiative places ruggedized tablet computers and Rock7 Satellite Personal Communication Devices (PCDs) into the hands of fisheries authorities, so they can better monitor fish catches and, in turn, verify and validate catch records and regulatory requirements such as Vessel Days at Sea allocations. The hardware will support one of the most prominent information management systems in use in the Western and Central Pacific at this time: the Integrated Fisheries Information Management System (iFIMS).

“We’re proud to be part of this initiative and see the RockSTAR personal communication device as an important tool for near real time reporting of catch and other activities at sea, as well as supporting safety at sea with two-way communication,” said Nick Farrell, a Director at Rock7.

The PNA is fully engaged and committed to expanding the work towards better information for management and enforcement purposes. The PNA maintains 100% observer coverage of all purse seine fishing operations and, with support from WWF, the PNA Observer Agency has 100% electronic PCD communications for their observers with an aim of 100% electronic reporting by observers through rugged tablets paired with the PCD by the end of 2018.

“The transition to fully electronic reporting, from vessel logbooks to observer reports to port inspection represents the logical step toward full verification and validation of our supply chain in a real time basis,” said PNA’s Commercial Manager Maurice Brownjohn. ”

With roughly 60 per cent of global tuna catches, the western and central Pacific Ocean is home to a variety of tuna species that supply markets around the world. Estimates have put the value of the fishery as high as US$7.2 billion in recent years.

The role of observers has become extremely important for not just scientists in ascertaining the stock levels of the fishery but for compliance. The data they send to authorities helps to understand the state of the fish stock as well as helping with compliance with fishing rules.

Given the critical role observers play, Pacific nations and other organisations need every tool available to ensure they can operate safely and effectively..

SOURCE: PNA/PACNEWS

SPORT

55) Vanuatu Chiefs unveil and name Van2017 Pacific Mini Games “SAGOA”

Members of the Malvatumauri, Vaturisu and Fat-Kor-Pau Council of Chiefs in partnership with representatives of the Vanuatu Government, Vanuatu Kaljorol Senta and Van2017 assembled in a quaint yet significant ceremony in the newly opened Nakamal Blong ol Jif for the unveiling and blessing of the “Sagoa” (pronounced Sangoa), witnessed by Van2017 Sponsors, the media and members of the public on Wednesday April 19.

A group of custom dancers from Pango village led the Chiefs, VIPs, invited guests and members of the public into the Nakamal where they were warmly welcomed by MC Ambong Thompson of the VKS who then invited Mrs Eileen Boe to give the traditional pre-TokTok blessing of an opening prayer.

In his opening remarks the Minister responsible for Culture, Ronald Warsal, acknowledged that Vanuatu’s hosting of the Games in December is yet another milestone for the country, reflecting also, “The Games are not only about sports but about show casing our rich culture, traditional values, the environment, healthy lifestyles and habits, social inclusion as well and above all, it is about uniting the peoples of the Pacific”.

Van2017 Goodwill Ambassador, Ms Hilda Lini, acknowledged their commitment in support of the 10th Pacific Mini Games by the Government, Chiefs and the Pacific Games Authority, and made a call to each and every individual in Vanuatu to pledge theirs by asking, “What about you? How will you show your commitment to support the Van2017 Pacific Mini Games?”

President of Malvatumauri Chief Senimao Tirsupe during his official speech gratefully acknowledged that this partnership between the Chiefs and Van2017 is the first time ever for them to be involved in a sporting event in Vanuatu and showed their appreciation by honoring Van2017 CEO Clint Flood with traditional gifts.

Together with the Minister for Justice and Community Services, , Vaturisu President Chief Manlaewia proceeded to unveil the “Bubu Sel” followed by the declaration and acceptance of its “Kastom” name on behalf of the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs by its CEO Chief Meameadola.

Chief Meameadola explained to all present that the “Kastom” name of Sagoa, bestowed upon the symbolic “Bubu Sel” (Conch shell) by the Fat-Kor-Pau Council of Chiefs of South Efate signifies “The Call to Festivities: in Unity; in the Revitalizing of long lost Indigenous traditional and cultural ties and relationships and in the Reestablishment and Resolidification of the real Peace, Love, Friendship and Joy amongst the peoples of the Pacific”.

The Fat-Kor-Pau Council of Chiefs of South Efate were given the honor of bestowing on behalf of Vanuatu the name Sagoa — a name common in the collective languages of the people of Erakor, Pango, Mele, Eratap villages and Ifira Island, in their recognition of their being the indigenous custodians of the land on which the Games will take place.

Popular sand drawing artist Edgar Hinge then revealed and drew his new sand drawing depicting the meaning of the Vanuatu Games.

To seal the unveiling of the Sagoa, the official Kastom call to unite all of Vanuatu and the Pacific to the 10th Pacific Mini Games sounded three times, in the form of a conch shell blowing.

Raymond Nasse/Daily Post

56 )  http://dailypost.vu/vanuatu_sports/van-going-green/article_68c960d7-2860-505c-9974-d172ea985226.html

57 ) http://dailypost.vu/vanuatu_sports/tupuji-amicale-erakor-mo-ifira-oli-win-long-dei/article_4169e8e8-efec-50e1-8c81-803296acf4dc.html

58) Commemorative rugby 7s note and coins launched in Fiji

5:23 pm GMT+12, 20/04/2017, Fiji

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama launched the commemorative Rugby 7s banknote and coin in Suva last night.

He says the commemoration is an acknowledgement not only of the tremendous feat Fiji accomplished but the meaning it has for every Fijian.

“The image that we choose to place on our coinage carries enormous importance because it says so much of who we are as a nation. Our national narrative is woven into depictions and symbolisms on our currency and together those images proudly display our story to the world. This is for every woman and every child because you showed us that while we maybe small – we are strong and when we work together, we are unbeatable. In Fiji, rugby is an intimate part of our collective identity and no nation has the passion, the energy and the raw emotion that Fijian ruggers and fans bring to the game.”

Former Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan told FBC news that the note and coin show the hardwork and sacrifice of all the players.

“It’s really amazing and I had a vision of what the note might look like but this is a beautiful looking note and it’s full of color and I am so pleased that everyone in that group, the coaches, the management the players and the Prime Minister their all in that picture. It was a team effort and it’s brilliant that we’re part of history now.”

Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Barry Whiteside says the new seven dollar note and fifty-cent coin will be circulated in commercial banks from today.

SOURCE FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

59) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-04-24/fa-cup-arsenal-beat-manchester-city-in-extra-time-to-reach-final-with-chelsea/1666760

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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