Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1095 ( Tuesday 02 May 2017 )
2 ) SEVENTY THREE CANDIDATES
By Aloysius Laukai
A total of SEVENTY THREE candidates have nominated to contest the four Bougainville seats in the 2017 PNG General elections.
Nine candidates are contesting the Bougainville regional seat whilst Twelve candidates have nominated to contest the South Bougainville open seat.
TWENTY ONE candidates are running for the Central Bougainville Open seat whilst THIRTHY ONE candidates will be fighting for the North Bougainville open seat.
There are also women contesting for the seats of South Bougainville, Central and North Bougainville whilst only male candidates have nominated for the Bougainville Regional seat.
Women candidates are, ROSE PIHEI for South Bougainville, LYNETTE ONA and GLORIA G. TERIKIAN contesting the Central Bougainville Open seat and RACHAEL OPETI KONAKA and ELIZABETH BURAIN are contesting the North Bougainville open seat.
Out of the Seventy three candidates FORTY- ONE candidates are running under Political parties whilst THIRTY TWO candidates are running as independents.
One interesting case is that the SOM PIONEER party has fielded more than one candidate in the four Bougainville seats.
Two in South Bougainville, Two in Central Bougainville, four in North Bougainville and one for the Regional seat.01/5/2017 Dawn Fm Bougainville
3) Regional Kava Standards Proposal
7:49 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, Vanuatu
The work with Codex New Zealand to develop a regional standard proposal for kava, has come to an end.
The purpose of the regional Codex standard for kava products intended for human consumption, is to protect the health of consumers and assures its quality for fair trade.
The standard is intended to cover kava products for use as a beverage when mixed with cold water and does not apply to kava beverage as such, or products used for medicinal purposes, or as ingredients in foods, or for any other purposes.
This specifically applies to (i) Fresh kava products, which are prepared using part of the basal stem, rhizomes and roots; and (ii) Dried kava products, which may be in the form of powder, chips or plant parts.
Emily Tumukon, the Codex Liaison Officer during the 14th session of the Codex Committee for North America and South West Pacific (CC NASWP-September 19-22, 2016) said one of the resolutions was for Codex New Zealand to assist Vanuatu as the Regional Coordinator, to work on the proposal for the development of a Regional Codex Standard for kava.
Tumukon told Vanuatu Nightly News’ Kizzy Kalsakau that the proposal is slated for presentation this year.
“The work with Codex New Zealand has come to an end,” she said. “We have a more well-documented paper, a proposal ready for the upcoming 73 session of the executive committee for the Codex Alimentarius, which will be meeting in Geneva in July, 2017.
“We have submitted the proposal to the Secretariat in Rome, to register it as an agenda item for the executive meeting. Once it gets endorsed, it will go on to the Commission meeting after the meeting in Geneva, for 189 member countries to deliberate on the proposal.”
If the Commission endorses the proposal, it allows the region to develop a regional standard for kava.
“For the presentation of the paper itself, our regional coordinator who is the Director of Biosecurity will present the paper at the executive,” she added.
On the question of the period that kava-producing countries would have to work on compliance if the Commission endorses the proposal, Tumukon reflected that the discussion started in Samoa back in 2004.
She explains the 8-step process of the Codex Alimentarius, a process that is endorsed by the commission and any development of a standard has to follow this process.
If this proposal is endorsed, they will start on Step 3.
“This is not only for Vanuatu but for the kava producing countries. There has been a lot of issues with the safety and quality aspects of kava,” she said.
“This proposal that we are putting forward through the Codex process is to set a benchmark, where any producing countries within the region trading kava will have to ensure that it meets the standards.”
Currently Vanuatu has a national quality standard and Fiji has recently endorsed theirs.
This work not only enhances the existing national standards but it sets the regional standard whereby countries that are trading the product ensure that they meet the requirements.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS
4) Calls in Cooks to prioritise Family Law Bill
The leader of the Cook Islands opposition Democratic Party, Tina Browne, says the passing of the Family Law Bill must be prioritised.
She said it had taken on greater urgency after controversial comments in court by veteran lawyer Norman George when defending a man charged with assaulting a woman.
Our correspondent said Mr George questioned the woman’s sexual history, her dress, level of intoxication and called the accused a “knight in shining armour”.
Ms Brown said violence in all forms was unacceptable and the Family Law Bill needs to be enacted to ensure there is zero tolerance for perpetrators of violence.
She said the Bill had been sitting in Parliament since 2013 and has not been passed because Parliament rarely sits.
Ms Browne said the Democrats had been promoting the measure but the government’s agenda was not about looking after women and children, so enacting it had not been a priority for it.RNZI 1/5/2017
5) French Polynesia president to repay public money
4:19 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, French Polynesia
French Polynesia’s president says he won’t join his precedessor’s bid to go to the European Court of Human Rights after they were told to repay more than US$2 million misspent two decades ago.
Edouard Fritch said he would comply with the French courts while Gaston Flosse has said he will pursue the matter in Strasbourg after the Supreme Court in Paris last week rejected his bid to quash a repayment order.
22 people are implicated in the case and compelled to jointly repay to the public purse the US$2.1 million disbursed illegally over eight years to support Flosse’s Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party.
Flosse had said he never abused public funds, adding that all contracts at the centre of the court case were approved by successive French high commissioners.
In 2014, Flosse was given a suspended four-year jail sentence for running a network of phantom jobs and, after failing to get a presidential pardon from Francois Hollande, he had to resign.
Fritch said he was committed to reimburse his share of the debt, although it is not clear when this will be done.
Last June, he was fined almost US$20,000 for a corrupt deal to support the Tahoeraa which he has since left
6) Yasaki to go in August – Samoa PM
The Samoan automotive parts company, Yasaki Samoa, is yet to tell its 670 workers when it is shutting its doors, but the Prime Minister, Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, says it will happen in August.
A senior company employee said they had not decided on the exact day to close operations because they still had overseas orders.
The official, who asked not to be named, said training was being provided to staff in areas such as driving, with 140 licences already being issued by the Land Transport Authority.
Other workers were developing skills in hospitality, printing, computing, accounting and secretarial work, with the company covering the costs.
Meanwhile the prime minister, on his weekly radio show, said a number of overseas companies had shown an interest in using the state owned facilities that have housed Yasaki for the past 25 years.
The include companies from New Zealand – one of which plans to manufacture wiring for air conditioning machinery and refrigerators.
Another New Zealand company has an interest in manufacturing beds and mattresses.1/5/2017 – RNZI
7) Micronesian Islands Forum Opens Today On Guam
11:20 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, Guam
Three presidents and six governors of island states and territories — Palau, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia and its states of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae — will gather in Tamuning starting Monday for the annual Micronesian Islands Forum (MIF).
The MIF, formerly known as the Micronesian Chief Executives Summit, is underway this week in Guam.
The agenda includes climate change, Micronesia Challenge, Invasive Species Council, regional health, transportation, regional labor development, public safety and recycling initiative.
The Micronesian Chief Executives Summit was first hosted in Palau in 2003.
President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., arrived on Guam Sunday for the meeting. Remengesau will be joined by President Peter Christian of FSM and President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands. Others expected to join includes Governor Johnson Elimo, of Chuuk; Governor Tony Ganngiyan, of Yap; Gov. Lyndon Jackson, of Kosrae; Governor. Marcelo K. Peterson, of Pohnpei; and Governor. Ralph D. Torres, of the CNMI. Governor Eddie Baza Calvo of Guam will formally assume the chairmanship of the 22nd MIF at the start of the first day.
The two-day event provides an opportunity for the regional governments to establish arrangements and regional cooperation on various issues that of mutual interest to the region.
Last week, representatives from the respective governments met ahead of the summit to review the progress of their assignments from their last meeting in Palau, and to formulate recommendations for the Chief Executives’ support and endorsement.
One major result of the meeting in Palau last year was to rename the MCES and the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit into a one organisation.
Remengesau said the renaming of the organization would put more strength in the Micronesian region will all leaders collaborating to voice out their issues.
In the 2016 meeting, leaders agreed that the workforce development is a critical issue in both the public and private sectors.
SOURCE: PACIFIC NOTE/PACNEWS
8) Air Kiribati increases domestic fare as part of new business plan
11:26 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, Kiribati
The Government of Kiribati has confirmed and welcomed a new business plan that ensures more services and the long term sustainability the national airline, Air Kiribati.
Minister for Communications, Transport and Tourism Development (MICTTD) Wille Tokataake said the Government is committed to ensuring that Air Kiribati is best placed to increasing domestic services and to start to operate international services so as to increase aviation access in and out of Kiribati.
“Our nation needs a stronger Air Kiribati so as to increase access as well as drive competition internationally.
“Air Kiribati has already announced that it will form a partnership with Solomon Airlines to start services in the coming months from Tarawa to Honiara, Fiji and Brisbane and they are also in discussions on other options our airline can boost international services,” Willie said.
“I can today confirm that not only supporting the business plan, the Government of Kiribati has approved the AKL Board’s desire to purchase a DE Havilland Dash 8 aircraft that will significantly increase the capacity of our air services. This plane is due to be operational in July and will be a major boost in services for our nation, “the Minister said
“The plane also has the ability to reach Canton Island as well as service many of the Gilbert Island airstrips and some nearby international ports, according to sources at flight operations in Air Kiribati.
The other key component of the Air Kiribati business plan is a review of its domestic fares.
CEO of Air Kiribati, Tarataake Teannaki said that Air Kiribati’s current fare structure was significantly below the same fares offered by other small pacific island carriers.
“Our current fare structure is not sustainable and should have been changed many years back,” Teannaki said.
“If we are to grow and prosper as an airline so as to allow us to not only be a domestic but an international carrier, we need to make changes to our airfare structure,
“Firstly we undertook a full review of Air Kiribati’s fare structures to ensure that the airline can meet its financial and social responsibilities.
“When we did this review we noticed that in some ports it was actually cheaper to travel by Air Kiribati compared to taking a ship, “ Teannaki said.
“We understand that many people would like to keep the air fares low, but that will not allow Air Kiribati to undertake and grow services both domestically and internationally, Teannaki concluded.
New changes for the domestic fare structures will be changing as of today new fares starting as May 1, 2017 as part of Air Kiribati’s new business plan .
Tokataake thanked the Board and Management of Air Kiribati for taking the leadership on making the necessary changes required to put Air Kiribati on a more sustainable footing.
source: RADIO KIRIBATI/PACNEWS
9 ) Ol disasta na bilip long God
Long taim long wanpela bigpela disasta, planti manmeri long Pasifik bai toktok, ’emi wok blong God’.
Na long taim long wanpela disasta olsem Cyclone Pam long Vanuatu o long ol bigpela wara long Honiara long yia 2014, ol sios grup i bin kam kwiktaim long halvim ol manmeri.
Tasol i nogat planti save long wanem stret ol Kristen tingting, na tu ol kastom tingting, i wokim lo rispons blong ol manmeri long taim blong wanpela disasta.
Wanpela meri blong New Zealand, Alice Banfied, i lukim long em nau long PhD blong hem long Deakin Universiti na em i bin tokim lo wanpela konferens long Melbourne long wik hia.1/5/2017 ABC
10a) University blong PNG i stap oraet
Acting Chancellor blong University of Papua New Guinea Dr Nicholas Mann itok trabal wantem ol sumatin long 2016 nau i samting blong bifo na ol sumatin i stap isi na oli laik skul gut.
Ol sumatin ibin statim ol protes we ol sumatin blong ol narapla Universiti long kantri ibin bihaenim na askim strong long Prime Minister Peter O’Neill i lusim wok bihaenim ol tokwin blong korapsan.
Despla protes ibin katim sot yiar blong skul blong ol sumatin blong PNG iet na tu ol sumatin blong Solomon Islands na Vanuatu.
Skul yiar ibin stat ken long mun September 2016 na pinis lonb mun March, na ol sumatin bai graduate long mun July, tasol University bai sasim ol graduants K600 kina long graduate.
Ol sumatin itok oli no wanbel long wonem despla moni i bikpla tumas.1/5/2017 ABC
10b ) Munda International Airport hem important long Solomon Islands: Premier Maepioh
Premier blong Western Province long Solomon Islands hem toktok out strong agensim wei wanfala researcher long Australian National University hem se New Zealand aid fo upgradim Munda Airport hem westem selen nating.
Wyne Maepioh hem se olketa kaen toktok blong Terence Wood hem soam olsem hem no save long ril nid an olketa challenge long saet long divelopment long olketa Pacific Island kantri.
Mr Maepioh hem se disfala Munda Airport Upgrading projek wea New Zealand hem gohet fo waka long hem, hem barava impotant tumas long saet long tuarism an evrikaen divelopment long Western Province an Solomon Islands.
Hem se fo upgredim Munda olsem naba tu international airport long Solomon Islands hem impotant tu long saet long international emergency.
Premier Maepioh hem talem aot tu historikol koneksen blong Munda Airport long taem blong World War Two wea olketa military blong New Zealand nao i stap long Munda.
Mr Maepioh hem toktok long disfala 20 million dollar project.1/5/2017 ABC
10c ) PNG Hunters igat 10pla players long Kumul side
Long Papua New Guinea Rugby League, Hunters Coach Michael Marum i hamamas long win blong ol agansim Northern Pride by 26 points to 10 long Port Moresby last wiken.
Long dispela wiken ol PNG Hunters ai ol i bye, tasol 10 pela players blong ol PNG Hunters bai go long training camp long Sydney wantaim PNG National Rugby League tim, ol Kumuls.
Bai ol Kumuls i pleim wanpela test match agensim Cook Islands long Sydney long Sarere.
Michael Marum husat i coach blong ol Kumuls tu i tok, Cook Islands emi strongpela saet, tasol em i tok ol Kumuls bai redi long pleim best blong ol.
Em i tok ol i makim ol fit na in-form pleia long plei agensim Cook Islands.1/5/2017 ABC
13) Conservative Christians push to stop Australian aid funding Pacific sexual health services
Australian aid for reproductive and sexual health services in the Pacific is under threat from a push by the Australian Christian Lobby to remove funding for organisations who provide guidance, education and counselling on abortion services.
Women in the Pacific have some of the worst reproductive and sexual health outcomes in the world; with high rates of maternal and infant deaths, unintended and teenage pregnancies and high rates of cervical cancer.
The head of Family Planning NSW Professor Ann Brassil says redirecting funding away from family planning organisations could have a profound impact on a range of sexual health services for women in the Pacific.http://www.abc.net.au/
14) Nonprofit leaders look to future, embrace ‘Pacific way’
4:17 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, Guam
Pacific non-profit and policy leaders on Wednesday looked toward the past to envision a future of regional prosperity for the people of Oceania.
“In order for the Pacific to become a beacon of hope, we’ll need policies that reflect Pacific knowledge and wisdom,” said Emele Duituturaga, keynote speaker of the 7th Micronesia Non-Profit Congress. “The Pacific way is about working together as island nations through a regional interconnectedness.”
Duituturaga is the executive director of the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO) based in Fiji.
Her sentiments reflect that of Fijian scholar Epeli Hau’ofa, who in the early 1990s presented the concept of a regional Oceanian identity which allows Pacific Islanders to see themselves connected to each other by the Pacific Ocean, rather than as small and isolated rural communities.
Hau’ofa’s and Duituturaga’s proposition for a more interconnected Oceania comes from Pacific communities sharing resources, culture and knowledge through seafaring trade for thousands of years before Western intervention.
The keynote speaker also called for Pacific governments and policies that met the needs and realities of Pacific communities.
“For instance, women need to be embraced, our communities should be gender-sensitive and family-friendly,” she said. “These are just some of the traditional concepts that can be reinforced and perpetuated through policy.”
One speaker at yesterday’s morning session, attorney Marstella Jack, of the Pohnpei Women’s Council, elaborated on that concept.
“In (the Federated States of Micronesia), 1 in 3 women have experienced violence,” Jack said. “And 80 percent of women have reported spousal rape, which unfortunately isn’t even considered an offense. Pacific culture is supposed to protect women and families from harm, and our legislation should reflect that.”
During the first two days of the annual event, PIANGO facilitated pre-conference workshops and sub-regional training sessions focused on a variety of issues including decolonization, Post files state.
The conference ended Friday with a plenary panel on “Pacific Policies and Practice” as well as the adoption of a number of resolutions, including a measure in support of a recent petition made by PIANGO to the United Nations seeking their formal accreditation as a non-government organisation.
The 7th Micronesia Non-Profit Congress concluded Friday with a meeting of the Pacific Coalition at the WestCare Pacific Islands Office in Hagåtña.
SOURCE: THE GUAM DAILY POST/PACNEWS
15) NZ Green MP Says PACER Plus Deal Could Divide Pacific Region
Submitted by PIR Editor on Wed, 04/26/2017 – 16:04
Aid, development agreement will bring few benefits to island signatories: Coates
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 27, 2017) – A new Pacific trade deal could prove divisive in the region, according to NZ Green Party MP Barry Coates.
PACER Plus is designed to enhance the economic development of Pacific island countries through greater regional trade and economic integration with Australia and New Zealand.
The agreement covers 12 island countries, but missing from it are the two biggest economies among the island nations, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
While PACER is being touted by Australia and New Zealand as a great deal for the island countries, Mr Coates – a veteran of the aid and development sector – said they get few benefits.
[PIR editor’s note: On April 26, 2017 RNZI reported that ‘The MP, Barry Coates, said most of the gains would go to New Zealand and Australia. … He said market access was still denied for many fruits and vegetables, particularly into Australia, there was no long-term commitment on visas for seasonal labourers and only a fraction of the aid needed for the island countries to build their exporting capacity.’]
The MP said the deal also went against the emphasis placed on regionalism by Australia and New Zealand.
“They have put a lot of their aid programmes in the past to promote regionalism but now they have signed a trade deal that misses out on the two major countries,” Mr Coates said.
“And I think it stands to potentially drive a wedge between the Pacific and I think it is a very unhealthy dynamic to have.”
A formal signing of the agreement between 14 nations is scheduled to take place in Tonga in June.
The countries participating in PACER Plus are New Zealand, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Kiribati, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Radio New Zealand International
16) Pacific Chief Trade Advisor Says Pacific Will Greatly Benefit From PACER Plus
Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/27/2017 – 14:50
Kessie dismisses concerns of NZ Green MP; Coates is ‘wrong’
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 28, 2017) – The outgoing Pacific Chief Trade Advisor is taking issue with a claim many tropical fruits will still be excluded from the Australian and New Zealand markets under the PACER Plus deal.
The trade arrangement among Pacific nations is due to be signed in June after negotiations were completed last week.
Edwini Kessie said the New Zealand Green Party MP Barry Coates was wrong to claim there is a lack of access.
He said the issue was the difficulty Pacific Island countries often have in establishing rigorous bio-security systems, but under the deal New Zealand and Australia were committed to help the smaller nations achieve this.
“So the statement that they don’t have access to Australia for tropical fruits is not accurate,” Dr Kessie said.
“I mean I think it should be said in the context that they cannot meet their applicable bio-security requirements.
And in PACER Plus Australia and New Zealand have undertaken to assist the countries to meet those standards.”
Dr Kessie, who has returned to his position at the WTO in Geneva, said he was confident PACER Plus would bring immense benefits to the island nations.
He said if the island leaders didn’t also think this they would not have agreed to the deal.
The two largest Pacific island economies of Fiji and Papua New Guinea were not included in the final negotiations.
[PIR editor’s note: On April 27, 2017 RNZI reported that ‘Fiji’s trade minister Faiyaz Koya says Fiji will approach Australia after missing out on last week’s conclusion of the PACER Plus talks in Brisbane. … Mr Koya told parliament that next week, the prime minister Frank Bainimarama will outline Fiji’s stance when he meets his Australian counterpart Malcom Turnbull. … Mr Koya said because the agreement has not been signed yet, Fiji would continue to negotiate and demand its rights until they are satisfied that PACER Plus is in Fiji’s interest and does not constrain its potential for development.’]
Radio New Zealand International
17) ACP top official slams UK colonial-style trade deals
7:54 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, Belgium
The head of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of nations has ruled out a free trade deal with the UK until at least six years after Brexit and taken a sideswipe at the idea of a new British trade empire.
The ACP chief, Dr Patrick Gomes, condemned “reactionary” Whitehall talk of a second era of British colonialism – dubbed “Empire 2.0” – and poured scorn on the government’s trade strategy.
A six-year delay to any post-Brexit deal would be a bitter setback to the government, which had hoped to use the 2018 Commonwealth summit in London as a springboard for closer trade ties with Anglophone states such as South Africa, Nigeria and Jamaica.
Gomes said: “Any trade deal would take a very long time. A transition period of at least six years would be necessary and, within that, you can’t introduce uncertainty to traders and exporters in an abrupt manner.”
He said that it had taken six years for his home country, Guyana, and other Caribbean states to negotiate a trade pact with the EU and that it would be “very disruptive” to push for a deal with the UK within two years of a formal Brexit.
Informal UK-ACP trade talks have already begun, with a focus on non-tariff barriers and regulatory harmonisation, and the Department of International Trade is considering a joint working group.
But the mood has been soured by reported comments from Whitehall officials about an “Empire 2.0” trade strategy. “This is in our view reactionary, trying to recreate what we’ve gone beyond,” Gomes said.
Barry Gardiner, Labour’s shadow international trade spokesman, said the warning from Gomes should send a shockwave through Whitehall. “It exposes the anger and offence that is caused by the Tories’ deluded imperial vision of trade,” he said. “The government must stop acting like a neo-colonial power that picks and chooses when and how to engage with the world.”
A spokesperson for the Department for International Trade said: “The UK enjoys strong trading relationships with many developing countries, including in Africa. This is why the EU exit white paper confirmed in February that we are seeking to achieve continuity in these relationships.”
Theresa May’s pledge to continue earmarking 0.7% of gross national income for overseas development aid may have partly smoothed ruffled feathers. But questions persist over changes to the way aid is being defined.
Gomes said changes would be “lamentable – and are already beginning”. He said Brexit posed “very serious” dangers to the EU’s current levels of aid spending, which run until 2020.
The UK currently contributes €4.5bn (£3.8bn) (US$4.1 billion) to the EU’s European Development Fund – 15% of the total – and Brussels is offering no guarantees that Britain’s input will be replaced. The money has been spent on projects including infrastructure that counteracts coastal erosion in Guyana’s capital, Georgetown, which is below sea level.
Gomes called on May to continue the UK’s “moral obligation” to aid spending.
“We’d like to see that money managed in a mutually beneficial way, not a handout or a picking and choosing where you see an opportunity for your benefit,” he said.
ACP states fear that the UK may be angling for what Gomes called “quasi-protectionist” bilateral deals with selected countries, after Brexit.
These would almost certainly offer worse terms than the current economic partnership agreements, which are more generous than the World Trade Organisation’s “most favoured nation” status arrangement.
ACP and Commonwealth countries fear that the UK may push them to favoured nation standing, triggering a “double impact” of higher tariffs on their exports, and greater competition in the UK market.
A recent report by the Commonwealth’s Ramphal Institute said that Brexit posed “serious threats to ACP economic interests, which should not be underestimated or ignored”.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN/PACNEWS
20) French amphibious carrier visits Japan ahead of Pacific show of power
4:21 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, France
As tension spikes on the Korean peninsula, a French amphibious assault carrier sailed into Japan’s naval base of Sasebo on Saturday ahead of drills that risk upsetting China, which faces U.S. pressure to rein in North Korea’s arms programmes.
The Mistral will lead exercises next month near Guam, along with forces from Japan, the United States and Britain, practicing amphibious landings around Tinian, an island about 2,500 km (1,553 miles) south of the Japanese capital of Tokyo.
The drills, involving 700 troops, were planned before Saturday’s test-firing of a ballistic missile by North Korea, in defiance of world pressure, in what would be its fourth successive unsuccessful missile test since March.
Japan and the United States are worried by China’s efforts to extend its influence beyond its coastal waters and the South China Sea by acquiring power-projecting aircraft carriers, a concern shared by France, which controls several Pacific islands, including New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
Even as they seek stronger economic ties with China, both France and Britain, which has two navy helicopters aboard the Mistral, are deepening security cooperation with Japan, a close U.S. ally that has Asia’s second-strongest navy after China.
The Mistral forms part of an amphibious task force mission, the Jeanne d’Arc, that is “a potent support to French diplomacy,” the country’s defence ministry said in a statement.
Officials and children’s welcome dances greeted the Mistral in Sasebo, on the western island of Kyushu, a major naval base for Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF) and the U.S. Navy.
The Mistral, which left France in February, can carry up to 35 helicopters and four landing barges, besides several hundred soldiers. It will stay in Sasebo until May 5.
This month China launched its first domestically-built aircraft carrier. It joined the Liaoning, bought from Ukraine in 1998, which led a group of Chinese warships through waters south of Japan in December.
China’s military ambitions, however, have been overshadowed in recent weeks by tension on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang conducts long-range missile tests, and prepares for a possible sixth nuclear test.
“We did not expect the start of our visit to coincide with a North Korean missile launch, France’s ambassador to Japan Thierry Dana said on the Mistral’s bridge. “Cooperation between our four nations in upholding laws, peace and stability in the region will display our readiness to deal with North Korea,” he added.
In a show of force, the United States has sent the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group to nearby waters, where it will join the USS Michigan, a guided missile submarine that docked in South Korea on Tuesday.
The Carl Vinson entered the Sea of Japan on Saturday, where it completed naval drills with two Japanese warships dispatched from Sasebo, an MSDF
21) Fiji’s dengue fever outbreak confirmed
11:17 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, Fiji
A dengue fever outbreak has been confirmed by Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
913 people across Fiji have been diagnosed with Dengue Fever between January to April this year.
National Advisor Communicable Diseases, Dr Mike Kama confirms one person has died during this period but there were other related complications.
Dr Kama says out of the 913 cases, more than 85 percent were recorded in the Western and Central division.
4646 tests were carried out to detect possible cases of Dengue fever.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is calling on all Fijians to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease and to seek medical attention in cases where severe dengue fever is suspected.
The Ministry is also urging people to reduce mosquito density by cleaning up and discarding the breeding sites of dengue mosquitoes.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS
23) SHAME, SHOCK
Published: 27 April 2017
Bad day for hundreds of graduating students
HUNDREDS of Solomon Islands National University (SINU) students who were part of the 1,700 eligible graduates were turned back and refused entry into the Maranatha hall, on graduation day.
This came following the omission of their names in the final listing of the eligible graduates.
What was supposed to be a proud moment for the students and parents turned into shock and shame as they were told in the last minute that their names were not in the final listing.
One eye witness told the Solomon Star that it was a sorry scene, when the disappointed students all dressed in their best attire were turned back from the venue.
The Solomon Star was aware of the situation yesterday morning, after a prompt call was made by the students concerned.
After leaving the Maranatha Hall premises, they head straight to the Kukum Campus to demand explanation from the University SAS, finance, and administration.
“We were in the parade as the graduation tune was played in the hall,” one affected student told the Solomon Star.
“To our surprise, some lecturers showed up with lists of names and told us to leave the procession,” he added.
“What they did to us was shameful and shocking.”
The student, who spoke on behalf of those affected, added it was sad that their parents and family members were present for the big occasion, but things turned out badly for them.
“I was in my gown already, joined in the procession but was told to leave.
“Imagine this painful feeling, this is unacceptable,” one student commented.
From accounts gathered from the students, some even shed tears when told to leave the parade.
The student rep said they are demanding explanation from the University as to why the change happened in the last minute.
“We were part of the rehearsal on Monday and Tuesday and our names were in the final list that was released.
“We showed up, enjoyed the rehearsal, and filled with joy, because we knew that our big day is today (yesterday).
“However, it turned out painful and shocking for us.
“The university must clarify why they are omitting our names in the last minute,” he said.
Further to that, students and parents who traveled all the way from the provinces to be part of the graduation ceremony also raised their disagreements.
“It costs us thousands of dollars to come here prepared for the graduation.
“Some of us, our parents even flew in from the provinces by plane to attend this graduation ceremony only to see us ended up not graduating,” one female student told the Solomon Star.
She said they were very sorry that they could not join some of their other friends who are graduating yesterday.
That said, the student rep advised the university that they did not want to see students that will be graduating next year treated the same way.
When contacted, Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Basil Shelton Marasinghe said he will enquire into why this had happened.
Professor Marasinghe however, explained that in order to graduate, students have to fulfill two requirements:
1.Academic Requirements such as passing the exams
2. Paying the fees in full.
“It is possible that some students or their sponsors may have notpaid the fees by the deadline,” he told the Solomon Star.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA/ http://www.solomonstarnews.
24) University of the South Pacific gets new campus in Majuro
7:47 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, Marshall Islands
The first phase of the new University of the South Pacific Campus in Majuro is scheduled for an official opening in less than a month — an opening that will bring the Cook Islands Prime Minister, who doubles as Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific, to Majuro for the historic occasion.
May 23 will see the opening of USP’s new campus at the former Long Island Hotel, which was purchased several years ago by the Marshall Islands government so that USP could develop a new campus for the Suva-based university that currently uses two smaller sites on Majuro from which to operate. A graduation ceremony will follow the opening of the new campus. In addition to Cook Islands PM Henry Puna, education ministers from USP’s 12 member countries and top USP Suva administrators will meet in Majuro for the USP Council’s 84th meeting that is being timed to coincide with the May 23 opening.
Majuro Campus Director Dr. Irene Taafaki provided a tour of the new school facilities this week. The former hotel building has been transformed into a fully appointed university setting, with classrooms, a wet laboratory for science experiments, computer labs, library, book store, and administration offices. What was once the hotel’s restaurant and conference rooms will continue to be used for meetings and workshops, though it has not been the subject of renovations as the first round of USP Campus development focused on the one building.
Taafaki said she anticipates that later this year, German government funding for a new Micronesian Center for Sustainable Transport will become available that will launch this new program, based at the new USP Campus. An important focus of the center’s initial work will be evaluating Marshall Islands domestic shipping fleet looking for options to reduce costs and reliance on fossil fuels. “What they learn from the assessment can be transferred to other island countries, especial atoll nations where transportation is so expensive,” she said.
The new USP Campus will house both the Marshall Islands/USP Education Project that is a college preparation program, and its university students who now are at a small campus in another location in Majuro. In addition to the benefits of bringing both USP operations under one roof at the new campus, Taafaki said a key goal has been developing the new facilities into a “model green campus” for energy efficiency.
Students will actually begin using the new facilities in June, after completing final exams the end of next month at the existing school locations.
While maintaining its focus on developing degreed professionals through their BA and master’s programs, the new USP Campus also plans to focus on certain vocational areas. “We hope to engage students who are not on a straight university path,” said Taafaki. “We also need to offer vocational programs, but not the hammer and nail variety.” She said vocational focus areas for USP will be accounting, culinary and hospitality programs.
The graduation ceremony that will follow the opening of the new campus on May 23 is an “opportunity for more than 150 students to receive their certificates, diplomas and degrees,” said Taafaki. “Among those participating will be 18 post-graduate and master’s level students.”.
SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS
25) Workshop to finalise election strategies
May 1, 2017The NationalNational
THE Electoral Commission will hold its fifth and final election managers’ workshop and conference in Port Moresby this week under the theme “finalising operational strategies for the 2017 national election”.
Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato told The National that the commission held four regional workshops and conferences for the managers and assistant managers as part of its election planning and operation.
This workshop will focus on candidates’ posters and the conference will focus on updating strategic plans, updates on nominations, recruitment of temporary election workers, training for poll officials, polling updates, issues and feedbacks, operational plan and policy, ICT, logistics, information communication and awareness branch, 2017 election budget, 2018 LLG election budget and election security.
“What’s happening now is that all our election managers will be flying in for the workshop which starts on Monday (today) where we will receive all the nomination forms,” Gamato said.
“In the nomination forms, we have pictures of the candidates.
“On Monday and Tuesday we will start working on the candidates’ posters.
“We have the template ready.
“We’ll basically get the information from Form 29 (candidates’ bio-data) and start putting them on.”
26) More than 3,000 candidates to contest PNG election in June
7:52 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, Papua New Guinea
Over 3000 candidates will contest for the 111 seats in the Papua New Guinea Parliament, with an increase in female candidate numbers.
PNG Electoral Commission media officer, Alphonse Muapi, said: “Electoral Commissioner has released the updated candidate nomination figures today (Sunday), which stand at 3,332 candidates who will contest for the 22 provincial and 89 open seats.”
The one week nomination for intending candidates for the 2017 National Election ended on April 20, with a slight drop in candidate numbers.
“In 2012, a total of 3,344 candidates nominated but one died during the campaign period leaving 3,343 who contested,” Muapi said.
“In 2012, a total of 135 female candidates nominated, and 3 won – Eastern Highlands Governor Julie Soso, Sohe MP Delilah Gore and Lae MP, Loujaya Kouja.”
Muapi revealed that from the 3,332 candidates, 165 women have nominated to contest the 2017 National Election.
“West New Britain is the only province that did not register a woman candidate.”
Muapi said Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato will make an official statement this week.
“Communication difficulties and transportation problems due to remoteness of certain electorates are contributing factors in getting in the final candidate nomination figures.”.
SOURCE: LOOP PNG/PACNEWS
27) Vanuatu national broadcaster called onto increase advertising revenue
The Vanuatu government is demanding its national broadcaster, the VBTC do a better job in future in raising its own revenue, claiming it can no longer ‘subsidise’ the media organisation.
Eight senior staff, including the general manager, were given their redundancies on Friday after the government issued a soft loan worth 99 million vatu – more than $AUD1.2 million.
Hilaire Bule, the Government’s media spokesperson says VBTC, which has both a radio network and TV station, has long struggled financially, receiving an annual grant from the government.
28) Fiji media freedom ranking subject to debate: MIDA
11:15 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, Fiji
The argument that Fiji is ranked the lowest in the Pacific in terms of press freedom is a moot one, says Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) chairman Ashwin Raj.
Raj said this was because these rankings needed to be contextualised taking into full account the historical and political exigencies.
A recent report published by Reporters without Borders ranked Fiji 67 in the world in terms of press freedom.
Although this was an improvement from being placed 80th last year, Fiji was the lowest ranked country among three other Pacific Island countries, Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.
The report claimed that the Fijian media was still restricted under the 2010 Media Industry Development Decree.
“A longitudinal assessment of the rankings compiled by Reporters Without Borders on the world press freedom index would show that Fiji has made considerable strides over the years rising in ranks from 107 to 93 in 2015, to 80 in 2016 and again going up 13 ranks to 67 in 2017,”Raj said.
“This, however, should not dissuade Fiji from developing its own jurisprudence on freedom of expression that balances its constitutional imperatives on freedom of speech, expression, thought, opinion and publication including freedom of the press with justifiable limitations set out in the Constitution that are consistent with international law.”
“This expressly provides that freedom of the press does not protect advocacy of hatred on any prohibited grounds of discrimination.
“This includes protection from hate speech and attacks on the dignity of individuals and groups of individuals or institutions in a manner likely to promote ill will between ethnic or religious groups, give credence to oppression or discrimination against any persons or groups of persons.
“This is precisely why the Constitution under section 17(h) provides for the enforcement of media standards including the regulation, registration and conduct of media organisations,” he said.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
29) Media association offers to be mediator in Tongan dispute
A New Zealand-based organisation representing Pacific Island journalists has offered to mediate in a dispute in Tonga between the Prime Minister and the state owned broadcaster.
Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva is unhappy with what he sees as anti-government reporting on the Tonga Broadcasting Commission, threatening to privatise it or sell it off.
The Pacific Islands Media Association, which until now has been a New Zealand organisation, is expanding its role and becoming more regional in scope.
Spokesman Will Ilolahia says they would like to start their new wider role by trying to help resolve the problem between the Tongan Prime Minister and the TBC.http://www.abc.net.au/
LAND ( Melanesian Affairs )
30) No zoning and development plan since 1975
By Anita Roberts
Port Vila draft zoning and development control plan
The Port Vila Municipal Council (PVMC) does not have mandatory ways to regulate urban land use, since its establishment 42 years ago.
This has resulted in residents taking control of what is to be build and where, leaving the municipal council with the challenge of creating a suitable urban town for everyone to live in, drive to work, to the market, schools, and stores without suffering from environmental hazards.
The population density is expected to keep growing and it is unfortunate for Port Vila, a very small town in the Pacific not to have a zoning and development control plan, said the Mayor of Port Vila City, Ulrich Sumptoh.
Having a zoning plan has been the public talk for a long time.
However, things will change soon as the Senior Town Planner, Jerry Samson, announced has announced the Port Vila draft zoning and development control plan is near completion, mid- 2017.
The national zoning team needs to complete mapping before the final draft document is submitted mid of this year for endorsement.
Once approved, it will be used to regulate geographic zones.
It identifies where and what type of building should be built, where residents should live, separates rural area from urban, industrial from recreational zones.The town’s infrastructures are also covered to ensure a good flow of movement by people and traffic.
The plan can also be use to enforce density while controlling zoning.
According to Town Planner Samson, the municipal council have spends Vt3million for the development of zoning plan. Last year, the current council endorsed another Vt2million as continuous support towards zoning.
While applauding those who contributed enormously to the development of the zoning plan, Mayor Sumptoh said the council will continue to allocate and make sure that the plan is formalized and implemented.
The lack of proper zoning has resulted to development in the urban area spilling over to rural area, said Town Planner Samson.
“Development tends to lead planing,” he added.
Mayor Sumptoh explained that the draft plan will be distributed to stakeholders. Members of the public are encouraged to give feedback.
31) ‘DON’T HARM WITCHCRAFT SUSPECT’
IT’S against the law to assault someone being suspected of practising sorcery because its a criminal offense under our law.
Therefore the public is being warned to refrain from assaulting people suspect of practicing sorcery on others or the law will punish them.
Speaking to the Solomon Star Secretary to the Law Reform Commission (LRC) Phillip Kanairara urged the public not to assault any person suspect of witchcraft, but rather encouraging them to lodge reports to the police with evidence.
This came after a man was assaulted which led to his death over the Easter weekend at the Guadalcanal Plains area.
He said taking another person’s life is against the law, thus any allegation of death, illness or misery which is blamed on sorcery must be reported to the police with evidences for the court to deal with.
“There is an existing law that addresses sorcery offenses, but that has to be proven in court, which complainant or the victim of sorcery allegation have to report such matter to the police to deal with, rather than taking the laws in their own hands.”
Kanairara said in the rumour over the recent incident at Guadalcanal Plain last Easter, in which an elderly man was murdered for allegation of sorcery and claims that the deceased’s bag contains some sacred items believed to be associated with black magic, should be kept for court purposes.
However, he said since the person was beaten to death police will treat the matter as a homicide case and the perpetrator will have to face the full consequence of taking away another man’s life.
Mr Kainairara said the matter should have been reported to the police while the suspect was still alive, so that things could be taken to court with evidences.
He added that court will see the case as murder since the suspect is dead, thus it will depend on the lawyer defending the killer to persuade the court to consider the allegation of sorcery, which was the motive of the action.
The LRC Secretary cautioned that allegations related to sorcery is quite difficult to deal with and this problem is also face by other Melanesian countries like Papua New Guinea (PNG).
“We cannot based our allegations on claims by Tasiu (Melanesian brotherhood) or someone’s night dream to blame others for practising sorcery to spoil another man or woman.”
Reiterating that this cannot be proven in court and should not be practice to the extent of assault, murder or arson as common in the communities of Solomon Islands.
32) Fiji Methodist church says by-law submission went too far
Fiji’s Methodist Church is to look into how a submission to the government, about changes to village by-laws, sparked warnings from the military about stirring up ethno-nationalist tensions.
A church subcommittee is now said to have ‘exceeded its terms of reference’ when its submission included the idea of Fiji becoming and official Christian state, and a proposal to reinstate the Great Council of Chiefs.
The Republic of Fiji Military Forces last week issued a public statement warning the church not to raise such matters.
Reverend James Bhagwan, the Fiji Methodist Church’s Secretary for Communication and Overseas Missions says the submission did not represent the church’s formal position.http://www.abc.net.
33) Sir Kostas explains BSP’s rating outlook
May 1, 2017The NationalBusiness
STANDARD and Poors has issued a B+ long-term and B short-term rating outlook to the Bank of South Pacific, according to the bank’s chairman Sir Kostas Constantinou.
Sir Kostas in a market release said it was a revised ratings assessment of BSP.
“S&P, in its report released on 27 April 2017, continued to affirm its B+ long-term and B short-term ratings outlook on the bank,” Sir Kostas said.
“At the same time, S&P’s long-term issuer credit rating outlook for BSP Ltd remains negative.”
He said the re-affirmed rating reflected the bank’s strong domestic market position, extensive distribution model and big investment in information technology and sustainable profitability.
34) New Zealand And Australia Seasonal Employer Programs Benefit 700-Plus Fijians
Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 04/30/2017 – 10:57
Fijian workers were engaged with 20 NZ employers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer program and seven Australian employers under the Seasonal Work Program
By Timoci Vula
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 30, 2017) – A total of 727 Fijians have benefited from the Seasonal Employer Program with New Zealand and Australia as at April this year from when the program was rolled-out in 2015.
Of that figure, 13 were sent to New Zealand under the Christchurch rebuild-skilled carpenters one year contract; 454 sent to New Zealand for the recognised seasonal employment; 13 to Australia to work in the hospitality and accommodation sector for six months; and 247 to Australia for the seasonal workers six-month program.
Fiji’s Employment Minister Jone Usamate said the Fijian workers were engaged with 20 New Zealand employers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) and seven Australian employers under the Seasonal Work Program (SWP).
Fiji Times Online.
35) Tuvalu watches anxiously as Trump changes US climate policy
7:51 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, Tuvalu
While rising seas nibble away at fast eroding shores and saltwater intrudes the thin coral atolls, shrivelling crops and contaminating water supplies, the people of Tuvalu are watching.
The roughly 10,000 people of the low-lying nation, who are already battling the impacts of rising sea levels and changing weather conditions, are watching the climate change debate re-emerge in the United States with anxiety over whether or not President Donald Trump will follow through on his promise to remove his country from the landmark Paris Agreement.
“We see this box in front of our eyes every day with BBC and CNN beaming into the homes of our families,” said Enele Sopoaga, the Prime Minister of Tuvalu and a key proponent of the 2015 Paris Agreement. “It’s really distressing to see this.”
“These positions from the White House [are] giving people a very uncertain future and a feeling of distress and distrust on the whole idea of big countries helping,” he said.
The Paris Agreement was signed by most of the world’s countries in December 2015, with each signatory agreeing to lower their greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to stave off the most drastic effects of climate change.
Negotiations for the deal received a significant push by the administration of former United States president Barack Obama, who at the time of signing said the agreement sent a “powerful signal that the world is fully committed to a low-carbon future.”
But that was then. Now, President Trump is at the helm of the world’s second largest emitter. A leader who in the past has called climate change “a hoax” devised by the Chinese government.
On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump vowed to “cancel” the deal, calling it “bad for US business” and allowed “foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use.”
In an interview last week, Trump told Reuters he would announce a decision on whether Washington will remain “in about two weeks.” In that interview, he complained that the United States had been treated unfairly in the deal because China, India, Russia and other countries were paying too little to help poorer countries under the Green Climate Fund.
“It’s quite a worrying scenario for us vulnerable countries like Tuvalu,” said Sopoaga. “We certainly hope that the Trump administration would reconsider and remain with us to work together. This is a global issue and therefore it requires a global response, particularly strong leadership coming from the leadership of the world.”
For Sopoaga, there could be a glimmer of hope as a United States departure increasingly seems far from assured.
In recent weeks, Trump’s cabinet colleagues and other influential advisers have urged him to stay, a move that would break one of his signature campaign promises.
His secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, a former oil company executive, has spoken in favour of “keeping a seat at the table” in the pact and major corporations, including ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and BP, have also stepped forward to embrace that position.
But some of Trump’s powerful allies remain steadfast opponents, including his chief strategist Steve Bannon and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier.
While a departure by the United States would not undo the multilateral United Nations accord, the exit of the world’s largest economy and second-largest greenhouse gas emitter would have serious consequences, weakening the agreement substantially.
Sopoaga warned a withdrawal would also weaken American leadership around the world, especially in the Pacific.
“Walking away from this would be a serious defeat to multilateralism, a serious defeat to humanity, and a great shame for us as human beings to walk away from these instruments that we worked so hard to achieve,” he said.
“The youth of every nation would look at this as very destructive leadership…and island nations like Tuvalu would see this as very damaging leadership, very destructive and obstructive, and therefore quite discouraging.”
Still, opting to remain in the agreement would not necessarily mean the United States would abide by its commitment to slash carbon emissions.
Already, Trump has eliminated restrictions imposed by Obama on fossil fuel exploration, committing to further oil drilling and coal mine development, and directed his interior secretary to review national monuments in an effort to roll back the borders of protected land.
But with China and the European Union among other powers declaring a willingness to step up to the plate on climate leadership, Sopoaga said the fight would go on with or without the United States.
“The people of Tuvalu, we are never giving up and we will maintain our leadership for global action against climate change,” he said.
“I’m sure the White House will reconsider the importance of us working together and remaining in the Paris Agreement for the sake of everybody. That’s my prayer,” said PM Sopoaga.
36) Climate focus at Fiji PM – Turbull talks
4:27 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, Australia
Australian assistance for Fiji’s COP23 presidency has been the subject of talks in Sydney between Fijian Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, and his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull.
Bainimarama is in Australia for a four day visit and left soon after arriving to meet Turnbull at his home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
The Australian leader is about to leave for the United States for his first face-to-face meeting on Thursday with the American President, Donald Trump. Trump administration officials have been meeting to decide if the US will proceed with Trump’s pre-election undertaking to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
They have indicated that a decision will be announced before the President attends the G7 meeting of the major industrial nations in Germany in June.
Prime Minister Bainimarama told Turnbull that it was critical to preserve the multilateral consensus contained in the Paris Agreement for decisive cuts in carbon emissions to arrest the current rate of global warming and reduce the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events such as Tropical Cyclone Winston.
He said Fiji had deeply appreciated Australian assistance in the wake of the devastation caused by Winston last February. And he appealed to Australia to stand shoulder to shoulder with Fiji as it worked as COP23 President to keep up the momentum to tackle the underlying causes of such events on behalf of every global citizen.
Bainimarama also asked Turnbull to use his influence with countries like New Zealand and Japan to fully support Fiji’s leadership of the ongoing UN climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany, in November.
During his visit to Australia, the Prime Minister will deliver the keynote address at the 4th Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit in Melbourne on Tuesday. He will outline Fiji’s priorities as incoming COP President, which include advancing the Rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and laying the groundwork for more decisive global action to address the impact of climate change through the Facilitative Dialogue of 2018.
PM Bainimarama returns to Fiji on Thursday.
SOURCE: DEPTFO NEWS/PACNEWS
37) Temotu member questions mining as Solomons development option
A member of the Temotu provincial assembly in Solomon Islands says mining is a poor option for the remote province.
There is strong opposition in the local community to the activities of Australian company Pacific Bauxite Ltd which last year won a license to prospect for bauxite at Nende.
However the Temotu provincial executive under new premier David Maina recently awarded the company a business license, promising it would foster economic development.
An assembly backbencher, Simon Barclay, said the new executive lacked a policy to properly manage mining.
“And you know, when you’re talking about such development, mining is one of the developments that I think would be the last thing to think about here. The landmass here is too small to do such operations,” said Simon Barclay.
Mr Barclay said adequate community consultation was not conducted before Pacific Bauxite Ltd was awarded the license.RNZI 1/5/2017
38) Bougainville landowners detail opposition to BCL
A group of Bougainville land owners have presented a petition to the president of the autonomous Papua New Guinea region detailing their opposition to Bougainville Copper Ltd’s application for a mining exploration licence.
The Osikiang Landowner Association, which owns the land at the site of the long shut mine, says it wants to make its opposition clear.
It said this was in response to statements from the government suggesting BCL had unanimous backing to return.
The Bougainville Government is now the largest shareholder in BCL after the multi-national Rio Tinto walked away from its involvement and gave away its shareholding to the PNG and Bougainville governments.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has said the PNG shares from Rio would go to Bougainville landowners.
But the chairman of Osikiang Philip Miriori said they would never accept BCL resuming mining at Panguna because of the damage the company had caused.
The group was not opposed to mining though and has established links with Australian-based mining conglomerate, RTG Mining, to form Central Me’ekamui Exploration Ltd.
Together they developed a proposal for what they say would be a 50 percent Bougainville-owned venture, emphasizing rehabilitation from the outset and aiming to be in full production by 2026.1/5/2017 RNZI
39) First Regional Agreement for safety of Domestic Shipping
Vanuatu has joined other Pacific Island countries and territories to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Flag State Implementation for Domestic Ships, a global first.
Nine Pacific Ministers signed the MoU on behalf of their maritime administration late on Thursday as part of the Third Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers’ Meeting in Tonga.
The Pacific MoU on Flag State Implementation (FSI) was signed by Ministers from Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu in a regional response to some persistent issues in relation to the safety of domestic ships.
Factors that contribute to maritime casualties include inadequate resources, the technical complexity of safety standards, the need for high-level training for surveyors tasked with the implementation of these instruments, the inability to effectively collect and analyse data and political or commercial pressures.
Flag State Implementation is the exercise of the jurisdiction and control in administrative, technical and social matters over ships flying the flag of a country. These include inspection, survey and certification of ships to make sure that they only sail if they are certified as seaworthy.
Pacific Community Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga said: “The main objective of the Pacific MoU is to provide Pacific Island countries and territories with a framework to harmonise their standards and cooperate in or coordinate their activities concerning Flag State Implementation.”
“The Pacific MoU supports improved regional coordination in the delivery of safe domestic shipping services with reduced impact to the environment through regional standards, training of ship safety inspectors or surveyors and exchange of information,” he concluded.
40) Pacific Mini Games organisers struggling to recruit staff
8:01 pm GMT+12, 30/04/2017, Vanuatu
A staffing shortage is proving problematic for Pacific Mini Games organisers in Vanuatu with just over seven months to go.
Van2017 CEO Clint Flood said a number of key roles still need to be filled to help them deliver the Games on schedule.
The Games website lists vacancies for a Client Relations Supervisor, Sports Competition Supervisor and an Operations Assistant.
It also says there are a variety of roles on offer locally in program/project management and support, operations, media, communications, sports, graphic design and technology.
Clint Flood said recruitment was proving a challenge.
“People leaving jobs to come for six month stints is difficult so we’re working with the government to try to get some secondments over,” Flood said.
“We’ve got to launch our volunteer program.
“We’re right in the throws now of doing some detailed analysis of how many volunteers we need and where we might get those, so that’s a key component of our delivery, to make sure we have our 2000 plus volunteers,” he said.
Organisers are also looking to appoint a producer and director for the opening and closing ceremonies, while Flood said there were some financial challenges being worked through around the broadcasting of the Mini Games.
41a ) Profile of a member of VAN2017 staff
Viviane Obed joined VAN2017 as Volunteer Manager in March this year. She has been a volunteer herself in her youth and she has been very well known for her contribution in youth development work as a volunteer throughout Vanuatu.
Until recently, Mrs Obed had been working with the CARE Women and Girls program as the Women and Girls Life skills Coordinator from 2013 to 2017, after attending training on Engineering Solar Energy at the Barefoot College in Rajasthan in India.
VAN2017 is very privileged to have Mrs Obed join the team, a woman who has worked with local and international volunteers for more than 25 years as well as being a strong advocate for volunteers herself, to manage its Volunteer program for the Pacific Mini Games which will be held in December this year.
Through her work, she has supported a lot of young people as volunteers who did not have good educational backgrounds and who today are working in most NGOs as well as Government departments in Vanuatu.
“I am very proud to be part of the Van2017 Games and believe I am able to ensure that the Van2017 Volunteer Program will be the best program for volunteers before, during and after the Games.
This is an experience and opportunity of a life time and I will have stories to tell to my children and grandchildren”, stated Mrs Obed.
For more information on the progress of the Van2017 Pacific Mini Games preparations, please visit our website: www.van2017.com.
42) World Cup trophy on tour
May 1, 2017The NationalSports
THE Paul Barriére Trophy, the prestigious Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) trophy left PNG yesterday after a very short historical visit — courtesy of Oil Search Limited’s PNG trophy tour.
During this short visit, many people from all walks of life — school children, villagers, sports people and the public — had an opportunity to see it.
Many former Kumul greats from the villages of Hanuabada and Porebada also joined the occasion, with former Kumul and PNG Rugby league legend Marcus Bai.
The trophy arrived on Thursday afternoon and was taken to the Oil Search head office in Port Moresby, accompanied by RLWC officials and Oil Search Trophy Tour ambassador Marcus Bai.
It then paid a visit to the NCD City Hall.
The next day, it continued to the Motuan villages of Porebada and Hanuabada.
Former PNG Kumul players joined in the festivities.
Boreboa Primary School was the only school that was included in the short tour and made the most, showing true PNG spirit, embracing and welcoming the Paul Barrière Trophy with a guard of honour from the school gates up to the assembly area.
The Fan Zone at the Vision City amphitheatre provided more opportunities for the public as people lined up to get images with the trophy while a school rugby clinic was conducted by PNGNRL officials teaching children basic rugby drills.
The trophy was taken around the grounds at the National Football Stadium at half-time during the Intrust Super Cup game between PNG Hunters and Northern Pride, for members of the public to see, and many used the opportunity to take pictures of the trophy.
While the tour of the original trophy was short, Oil Search will be conducting a national wide tour of the replica of the trophy in September and October, ahead of the first game when the PNG LNG Kumuls take on Wales.
43) PNG Hunters hot on the Dolphins’ tail at top of Super Cup ladder
The PNG Hunters remain second on the Intrust Super Cup ladder after victory over Northern Pride by 26 points to 10 in Port Moresby.
Michael Marum’s team are level with leaders Redcliffe Dolphins on seven wins apiece, but they trail the Brisbane team on points difference.
And the Hunters are well represented in the Kumuls’ squad for this weekend’s test match against Cook Islands in Sydney, with ten players in the 18 man squad.
Pacific Beat’s Hunters reporter, Melvin Levongo, says while the Hunters weren’t at their best, they did enough to secure an important win ahead of their bye this weekend.http://www.abc.net.au/