Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1099 ( Monday 22 May 2017 )


MELANESIA

1) France’s New Overseas Minister Restates Commitment To New Caledonia Referendum

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 05/21/2017 – 16:32

Girardin:  France would stand by New Caledonia irrespective of its choice on independence

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 22, 2017) – France’s new overseas minister Annick Girardin has re-iterated the French stance that a referendum on New Caledonia’s independence will go ahead as provided by the Noumea Accord.

Ms Girardin, who was appointed last week, said she was waiting for New Caledonia’s Congress to announce a referendum date.

She said if the Congress failed to make a decision it would be the French state which would give a precise date for the plebiscite, which would have to be held before November next year as set out in the Noumea Accord.

Ms Girardin also said France would stand by New Caledonia irrespective of its choice.

She said work needed to be done to establish the electoral roll and the wording of the referendum question.

Voting is restricted to long-term residents, triggering disputes over the reliability of the roll.

Under the 1998 Noumea Accord, a vote has to be held between 2014 and 2018.

Radio New Zealand International

2) PM sounds population alarm


00:25 am GMT+12, 22/05/2017, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill says the country’s population is growing at an alarming rate and the Government is finding it increasingly difficult to cope.

“Having more than one million children every four years is unsustainable for any nation, especially a nation like ours where we have huge challenges – infrastructure needs, schools, hospitals, education, and roads and bridges that are needed right across the country,” he said at the government departmental heads’ meeting at Keapara in Rigo, Central on Friday.

“We will not be able to provide that if we continue to expand the population.”

Papua New Guinea’s population of nearly eight million people is the largest in the Pacific Islands, more than seven million to the next-in-line Fiji, with a population of just a little over 800,000. However, apart from Niue, PNG has the lowest population density figures in the Pacific of 16 people per square kilometres compared to 504 for the tiny island state of Nauru.

Papua New Guinea has a population growth rate of 2.1 per cent compared to 2.7 for Timor Leste and 1.3 for Australia.

O’Neill said young people should be discouraged from having children.

“I know it is hard to sometime stop these things that people enjoy, but you have to stop having children, you don’t necessarily have to have children while you’re having fun,” O’Neill said.

“We need to educate our children to delay having children, and of course, sometimes we have to encourage our young people to delay getting married.

“Why the rush?

“This is just increasing more and more burden to society.

“You see that the young couples who are getting married early most times have not secured decent employment, they have not finished university or tertiary education, they are not skilled, they do not have an income level to look after the child that they bring into this world.

“The burden is put on the parents like you and I.

“We then have an extended family in our house which has got two or three generations.

“All it does is that it keeps on putting stress on that family.

“It does not help anyone.

“That is why having fewer children, and delaying having children by our young, is very important. That is the message that we have to get out there, said PM O’Neill.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

3) WHO Finds Solomon Islands Has Cleanest Air In The World

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 05/18/2017 – 14:21

Country has lowest concentration of fine particulate matter

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, May 18, 2017) – Many Solomon Islanders talk about it and now it’s official: Solomon Islands has the cleanest air in the world.

A Global Health Observatory 2017 report released by the World Health Organisation today found the country has the lowest concentrations of “fine particular matter in urban areas” in its air in the world.

This means that Solomon Islands has the cleanest air than anywhere else on earth.

The Solomons had a rating of 5.0, ahead of New Zealand (5.2), New Brunei Darussalam (5.4) and Australia (5.8).

Despite having the cleanest air, according to the report the country still falls behind on other development indicators, particularly in areas such as life expectancy, improved access to proper sanitation and rates of cancer.

The average life expectancy of Solomon Islanders is 69.2 years, below the global average of 71.4 years.

Out of every 1000 babies born, WHO said its data showed 114 would die – though it was better than the global average of 212 deaths per 1000 babies born.

The Hapi Isles has 22.1 health professionals for every 1000 people, well below the global average of 45.6 per 1000 people.

WHO estimates 26.4 per cent of Solomon Islanders aged between 30 and 70 will die from either cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or respiratory disease, above the global average of 18.8 per cent.

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

4) Vanuatu Chief Information Officer To Begin Consultations On Cybercrime Bill

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 05/21/2017 – 16:15

Gov assurances it will not filter content, critique that Bill does not include critical components of any cybercrime regime and intellectual property and digital copyright

By Jane Joshua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 22, 2017) – The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) will embark on consultations on the proposed Cybercrime Bill, in the coming weeks.

This was revealed by OGCIO ICT Program Manager Jackson Miake in an interview with Vanuatu Nightly News’ Kizzy Kalsakau during the Pacific ICT Days last week.

Commenting on the subject of filter and what people in Vanuatu can currently view, access and read on the internet, Mr. Miake said the internet is like a house full of good and bad things.

“We are very mindful of the rights of users to access information. From the Government point of view, we would like to leave the internet as open as possible to everyone,” he said.

“We do not intend to do any filtering at this stage, unless it relates to something very severe.”

This, is where the Cybercrime Bill comes in.

“The Cybercrime Bill has been drafted,” he said. “We will be doing consultations right after the ICT Days.

“This Bill has provisions for issues such as information that is not useful for younger viewers, for instance. It covers that in detail.

“Hopefully, after consultations we would be able to consolidate a more practical approach on how to we can deal with content that is not favorable, especially to our younger Internet users.”

The Bill was initially slated to be tabled in Parliament in the Ordinary Session of Parliament late 2016 but that did not eventuate.

At the time, Daily Post published a front-page article with the headline “Cybercrime Bill ‘Unsafe’ ”, followed by several other articles on this legislation.

It highlights several areas found wanting, in particular, the Bill left out critical components of any cybercrime regime and intellectual property and digital copyright, which are of paramount importance to preserve Vanuatu’s cultural and artistic heritage, are missing from the text.

When questioned on the timeframe of the next step being advanced on the Cybercrime Bill, Mr. Miake replied:

“We intended to have this Bill discussed in Parliament last year but due to some technical reasons, this was not possible.

“However, we are hopeful that it will be tabled in the last sitting of Parliament in 2017”.

Vanuatu Daily Post

POLYNESIA

5) ‘Let Girls Be Girls!’ Campaign Launched To Stop Growing Trend Of Child Marriages In Tonga

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 05/21/2017 – 13:58

Ministry of Justice supports campaign to promote public awareness of the dangers of child marriages and to actively seek support from the Tongan population to repeal applicable Tongan law

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga May 19, 2017) – A “Let Girls be Girls!” campaign aimed to stop child marriage in Tonga was launched on Friday, May 19. The campaign seeks to repeal Tonga’s law on marriage and lift the legal age to 18-years and over. Currently the law allows children from the ages of 15-17 to marry with parental consent.

The campaign initiated by Talitha Project supported by the Ministry of Justice was launched at the Tanoa International Dateline Hotel at lunchtime today.

There is concern that child marriages in Tonga are a growing trend.

Vanessa Heleta, founder of the Talitha Project, said that a team of mothers and daughters are committed towards ensuring young girls reach their full potential. “They are unified in the understanding that in order for the young girls of Tonga to realize their supreme potential they should be equipped, educated and prepared for the inevitable challenges ahead.”

“Let Girls be Girls!”  is campaigning to repeal sections in the Births, Deaths and Marriage Registration Act 1926 which state that children from the ages of 15-17 are allowed to marry with parental consent.“

She said there are too many cases of child marriages out of parental pressure rather than consent. “That is a serious undoing to any child.”

“The pressure from parents on their children to marry is not in the best interest of the child but rather to save face and avoid public humiliation or for some other ulterior motive like personal gain. Teen pregnancy is one such reason for parental insistence for marriage and other reasons.

“We must not let pride and fear take over common sense. We must do what is the best for the child at all times. Laws should reflect the values of society, and our laws should protect women, men, boys and girls, everyone.”

Tonga has signed the Convention of the Rights of the Child in 1995, a legal obligation to protect our children, Vanessa said.

Government support

Susana Faletau CEO of the Ministry of Justice said the Ministry actively supports this campaign and is pleased to partner with Talitha Project. The Registrar General, Tonga’s national civil registry for births, deaths and marriages comes under the Ministry of Justice.

She said this particular project is a campaign to promote public awareness of the dangers of child marriages and to actively seek support from the Tongan population to repeal those Tongans laws currently allowing child marriages.

“The Ministry administers the relevant laws on child marriage, which permits a young person of 15 years up to 18 years to get married with the consent of a parent or guardian. Unfortunately, our current statistics on child marriages in Tonga indicate a growing trend.

“In 2015, there were 56 child marriages out of a total of 803 in that year. In 2016, there were 52 out of 792 marriages and in this year so far we have already registered 15 child marriages out of 213 wedding nuptials,” she said.

The party of a marriage that is at the age of 15 years or under 18, is usually female.

Divorces

Susana said court statistics indicate a high rate of divorce for various reasons including separation, adultery, and unreasonable behaviour for those who started their maritial life in a child marriage.

In 2015, there were 21 out of 204 divorce cases recorded for couples that had entered marriage under 18-years-old. Last year there were 15 divorces out of 221.

Apart from the high divorce rates for child marriages, there are other detrimental effects that flow from child marriage with evidence showing girls who marry early often abandon formal education and become pregnant. Maternal deaths related to pregnancy and child birth are an important component of mortality for girls aged 15-19 years.

“The Ministry of Justice has been consulting on some of the changes that we intend to introduce into our laws on marriage. One of those amendments includes raising the age of parties to marriage to 18 years and above.“

However, she was surprised to hear that was some staunch opposition to this proposal.

Old mindset

Susana said this is a cause for alarm because no matter which way you look at child marriage there are absolutely no benefits to the party or parties who are below 18 years of age nor to a child born to such wedlock.

“I can understand there are cultural or customary traditions that may have been ingrained into our upbringing and which form the motives driving parents to give consent to such marriages.”

She said “But this is the mindset, we as mature and responsible adults must break, there can be no moral or religious justification for allowing our children, our young girls into a life, that I can only describe as servitude and physical abuse.”

“Let’s examine some of the ironies this old-fashioned law raises in our society. We do not allow our young people to vote at an election or have a say in how our Government is elected until the age of 21, nor do we entrust our young generation to drive a motor vehicle until 18. A young person is also not allowed to consume alcohol until the age of 18,” she said.

“Marriage is an honourable estate but it holds more responsibilities, accountabilities, commitments and serious consequences than voting, driving and drinking so let’s put it in the same higher age bracket of 18.”

“Let us take this launch to the next step of our goal by moving forward with it into the communities of Tonga,” she said.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

6) Tonga Government Accused Of Power Grab In Constitutional Amendment

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 05/21/2017 – 16:37

Current system more ‘balanced’, amendment would see top roles such as the attorney general, police commissioner and anti-corruption commissioner, appointed by the prime minister and cabinet

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 22, 2017) – A former justice minister in Tonga says by attempting to amend the constitution, the government is trying to grab absolute power.

‘Akilisi Pohiva’s government is proposing an amendment that would see top roles such as the attorney general, police commissioner and anti-corruption commissioner, appointed by the prime minister and cabinet.

Currently, such appointments are made by the privy council and the king.

A former justice minister Clive Edwards said the current system provided an important balance against the power of the prime minister in a nascent democracy.

He said while he was not entirely against the proposal, it comes in the light of recent scandals surrounding Mr Pohiva’s attacks on the public broadcaster.

“They’re wanting more power. They want power, they want control, and they want absolute power – that’s what it is. Not democracy that they were clamouring for and that was given by the king. Having given that right they want every power that’s left, all under the control of the prime minister”, he said

Clive Edwards said when similar proposals were made in previous parliaments, Mr Pohiva was an ardent opponent.
Radio New Zealand International

7) Former Tongan Finance Minister says no one in Cabinet questioned Pacific Games hosting
Pacific Beat
The man who was Tonga’s Minister of Finance up until two months ago says no one in the cabinet expressed any doubts about the Kingdom’s financial ability to stage the Pacific Games in 2019.
Tonga Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva has announced his government is pulling out of hosting the games, based on a World Bank Report he says shows the event will be unaffordable.
But former Minister of Finance Aisake ‘Eke, who was in the job from 2014 until March this year, says Tonga is well able to afford to host the games.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/pacific-beat/2017-05-22/former-tongan-finance-minister-says-no-one-in/8547812

8) Another TV and radio station in Cook Islands ready to take over
7:16 pm GMT+12, 01/12/2016, Cook Islands

There is a possibility that Cook Islands Broadcasting Minister Mark Brown could choose to suspend Elijah Communications’ broadcasting licenses if he thinks it’s in the public interest to do so.

Waiting in the wings for the ability to broadcast to the outer islands is Vaka TV and Kia Orana FM owner David Reuther, who says they would willingly step up and provide the service if given some assistance by government to do so.

According to Reuther, the government hasn’t given Vaka TV the same opportunities as CITV, resulting in Vaka’s television broadcasts being confined to Rarotonga and Aitutaki at present.

Cook Islands News had reported that the owner of Elijah Communications, George Pitt, currently facing a Crown Law initiated litigation had previously threatened to turn off Radio Cook Islands and Cook Islands Television if government proceeds with litigation.

But the non-conformist media owner, who once said journalism ethics did not make him any money, doesn’t believe that threat was an attempt to blackmail the government.

Pitt suffers from multiple health conditions and is mostly confined to the downstairs part of his house. The stairs at the Justice Department, he says, would be impossible for him to handle.

Pitt says he refuses to crawl up the stairs as many elderly, incapacitated landowners have been forced to do in the past. A ground level court room for the aged and infirm should be made available, says Pitt so the challenges for some of getting to court hearings are removed. He says the Justice building design goes against all internationally accepted conventions for the disabled.

The unremorseful Elijah Communications owner says he’ll be representing himself if the presiding judge determines that the Crown Law initiated litigation should proceed.

Pitt is being sued by the government for contempt of court after two articles he wrote relating to the recent Teina Bishop trial were published in his Cook Islands Herald weekly while the high profile case was underway.

In the Crown Law application for contempt against Pitt, Solicitor General David James seeks to have the media corporation owner found guilty of contempt of court and be sentenced to jail. James wants the respondents in the civil case, three Pitt siblings and the chief executive of Elijah Communications all fined for contempt of court.

Pitt says he can’t afford a lawyer and has applied for legal aid, “to the same measure the corrupt Cook Islands Party government have at their disposal to bring this hideous charge against me.”

He describes himself as a “pensioner who is being financially assaulted by the government.

SOURCE: COOK ISLANDS NEWS

9) PM elected Chair of 73rd UNESCAP Commission 2017

00:34 am GMT+12, 22/05/2017, Tuvalu

Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Enele Sosene Sopoaga was nominated by Fiji and supported by Marshall Islands to chair the 73rd UNESCAP Commission Session for a year, at a meeting in Bangkok last week.

A government statement released after the election said Tuvalu will utilise the opportunity to amplify the island nation’s call for regional co-operation on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda focussing on sustainable energy, regional and international support of the Paris Agreement, means of implementation and the call to support Fiji as co-chair of the upcoming Oceans summit in New York in June.

PM Sopoaga reiterated the need for countries to continue working together with donor partners and ESCAP and other United Nations agencies to support each other in the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany.

Tuvalu will also use the platform to advocate and report on issues relating to Climate Change, Oceans and Energy Sustainability for the betterment of Tuvalu and the Pacific.

Tuvalu’s delegation comprised the Acting Secretary to Government Fakavae Taomia, Ambassador Limasene Teatu and Moira Simmons-Avafoa.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

10) Samoa To Bid For 2019 Pacific Games

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 05/21/2017 – 17:00

Tuila’epa: Samoa always stood ready to host international sporting events because of the capabilities and the quality of sporting facilities constructed for the 2007 Pacific Games, Fiji also intends to bid

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 22, 2017) – Samoa intends to bid for the 2019 Pacific Games following the Tongan government’s decision to withdraw as host because of financial concerns.

However, the Prime Minister, Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, said on his weekly radio interview Fiji would also like to make a bid.

Tuila’epa said his country always stood ready to host international sporting events because of the capabilities and the quality of sporting facilities constructed for the 2007 Pacific Games.

In recent years Samoa had hosted the Oceania Weightlifting Championships, the Commonwealth Youth Games and the All Blacks test against Manu Samoa.

The Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee, or SASNOC, has been advised to start negotiations with the Pacific Games authorities.

Radio New Zealand International

11 ) http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/pacific-beat/2017-05-22/american-samoa-gifts-two-years-worth-of-tinned/8546136

MICRONESIA


12) Palau better placed to cope this time with impending drought

Pacific Beat
The people of Palau are facing another tough year, with meteorologists predicting that a prolonged drought is likely to strike in a couple of months from now as the latest El Nino weather pattern starts to bite.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/pacific-beat/2017-05-22/palau-better-placed-to-cope-this-time-with/8546138

TOK PISIN

13a ) PNG meri ileksan resis long stopim violens

Updated 19 May 2017, 14:04 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla meri lida long East Sepik Provins itok emi laik go insaet long Palaman long wok wantem ol narapla palaman memba long stopim Gender based violens long kantri.

Veronica Simogun i director blong Family for Change Association wanpla NGO we emi save helpim ol survivors blong violence na emi sanap olsem wanpla indipendant candidet long Wewak Open seat.

Ms Simogun ibin wanpla long ol meri long wold husat ibin winim  2017 International Women of Courage Award em laen blong American women for International understanding i sapotim.

Emi tok gender based violence isave bagarapim sidaon na laif blong planti meri na ol femili blong ol, olsem na emi laik go long Palaman long traem mekim sampla senis long despla heve.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2017-05-19/png-meri-ileksan-resis-long-stopim-violens/1672652

13b) Guadalcanal delegation hem go look and learn long Fiji

Updated 22 May 2017, 15:35 AEST
Sam Seke
Guadalcanal Provincial gavman wetem help blong nasinol gavman hem sedem wanfala 25-memba delegesen fo go lukluk an getem samfala aedia long saet long land sistim an ius blong land long Fiji.

Premier Anthony Veke hem se deputy blong hem, Peter Aoraonisaka nao hem lidim disfala delegesen blong sampela memba blong executive, samfala provincial assembly memba an 4 fala kastom chief wea i makim olketa fofala mein rijin long Guadalcanal.

Premier Veke hem se mein grup we bae olketa go toktok wetem nao hem disfala I-Taukei Land Trust Board wetem  I-Taukei Lands and Fisheries Commission.

Olketa bae go lukluk tu long Monasavu Hydro project and toktok wetem olketa Hydro project authorities, an miting wetem olketa long Conservation International long Suva.

Hem se land hem wanfala big issue long Guadalcanal an hem bae gud fo olketa lida blong provins ia fo go lukim seleva an toktok wetem olketa pipol long Fiji and lanem samfala samting long olketa wea bae hem maet save helpem provins.

Mr Veke hem se plande olketa lida ino save garem taem fo ridim olketa buk long enikaen land system an development long graon, so hem gud fo olketa go lukim seleva long ae blong olketa an toktok wetem pipol wea i ranem.

Hem se trip ia hem important tu bikos hem bae helpem province taem hem hostim Guadalcanal Land Summit long June/July.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2017-05-22/guadalcanal-delegation-hem-go-look-and-learn-long-fiji/1673284

13c) Smol Vanuatu shud winim Mexico long U-20n World Cup

Postim 22 May 2017, 15:59 AEST
Sam Seke

Vanuatu hem gohet fo pruvum long wol olsem wan smol kantri hem save standap agensim ol big mo paoaful kantri we ikat nem long wold soka.

Vanuatu we i smolest kantri fo tek pat long wan FIFA Under-20 World Cup long South Korea mo eni FIFA World Cup series, hem lus agensim Central America powerhouse, Mexico long Sarere long wan 3-2 scoreline nomo.

Nomata ol ibin lus, Harry Attison blong Capital 107 FM long Port Vila hem se plande long Vanuatu we i lukim plei long internet i tingse, Vanuatu hem shud win sapos keeper hem no mekem tufala mistek long goalkeeping.

Hem se bigfala disapointmen blong ol soka fan long Vanuatu nao hem olsem, VBTC hem no som match laev long TV olsem hem bin promisim.

Naba tu match blong Vanuatu long Group B hem bae tumora agensim Venezuela and last pool match hem agensim Germany long Friday.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2017-05-22/smol-vanuatu-shud-winim-mexico-long-u20n-world-cup/1673288

13d) Australian Indiginis na Pacific Island kalsa rights

Updated 18 May 2017, 11:14 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Ol indiginis pipal blong Australia inap lainim sampla samting long ol pipal blong Pacific long saed blong cultural na human rights.

Dennis Marita, Director of Culture Division aninit long Ministry of Culture na  Tourism, long Solomon Islands ibin mekim despla toktok long First Nations Cultural summit emi bin kamap hia long Melbourne tupla  wik igo pinis.

As tingting blong despla miting em blong kisim save ikam long ol narapla indiginis pipal blong wold long kamapim wanpla rot blong helpim ol indiginis pipal blong Australia long strongim wok blong lukautim kalsa blong ol.

Sampla kalsa blong ol Aborigini pipal blong Australia iwok long lus nau na oli laik strongim despla.

Dennis Marita, itok maski ol kalsa blong ol Pacific Island pipal i strong iet, oli mas wok hard long noken lusim ol despla save blong ol long ol pasin tumbuna.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2017-05-18/australian-indiginis-na-pacific-island-kalsa-rights/1672366

FRENCH

14a ) http://www.lnc.nc/article/grand-noumea/noumea/une-entree-de-ville-plus-accueillante

14b ) http://www.lnc.nc/article/grand-noumea/noumea/le-visage-de-la-capitale-a-l-oree-2-030

14c ) http://www.lnc.nc/article/grand-noumea/noumea/quand-l-histoire-se-raconte-dans-la-penombre-des-musees

AUSTRALIA


15a ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-22/constitutional-recognition-aboriginal-tasmanians-to-argue-for-compensation-deal-at-uluru-summit/1673102
15b ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-21/arnhem-land-performer-inspiring-kids-with-goal-to-be-first-to-rap-in-indigenous-language/1673018
15c ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-22/peter-duttons-fake-refugees-policy-could-face-court-challenge-from-refugee-lawyers/1673104
15d ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-22/james-ashby-will-bring-pauline-hanson-down-in-flames-former-candidate-says/1673346

15e) Peter Dutton declares ‘game is up’ for ‘fake refugees’ living in Australia
00:24 am GMT+12, 22/05/2017, Australia

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has given 7,500 asylum seekers living in Australia until October to lodge an application for protection, or face deportation, declaring the “game is up” for “fake refugees”.

Dutton said the asylum seekers had all arrived by boat under the previous Labor government, most without identity documents, and had so far either failed or refused to present their case for asylum with the Immigration Department.

“If people think they can rip the Australian taxpayer off, if people think that they can con the Australian taxpayer, then I’m sorry, the game’s up,” he said.

“They need to provide the information, they need to answer the questions and then they can be determined to be a refugee or not.”

The asylum seekers have now been given until October 1 to lodge an application for processing or they will be cut off from Government payments, subject to removal from Australia, and banned from re-entering the country.

According to Dutton, the group is costing taxpayers about $250 million each year in income support alone and the deadline would ensure the Government is “not providing financial support to people who have no right to be in Australia”.

Labor’s immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said asylum seekers cannot remain in Australia indefinitely, and should be applying for protection as soon as possible.

But Neumann criticised Dutton’s use of the term “fake refugees” and said it was no wonder the Administrative Appeals Tribunal was overturning 40 per cent of the Minister’s decisions on visas.

South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon said the new policy would have public support and appeal to the Coalition’s support base, but urged the Government to take a “calm, methodical and fair” approach.

But refugee advocates slammed the “arbitrary” deadline as “cruel and unfair”.

GetUp’s human rights director Shen Narayanasamy said while many of the asylum seekers had been in Australia for years, they were only given the go ahead to lodge an application for protection last November.

“Asylum claims are incredibly long, torturous documents,” she said.

“And what Peter Dutton has failed to tell you is that he has denied them interpreters and access to legal assistance.”

Of the 50,000 asylum seekers who arrived by boat between 2008 and 2013, 43,000 have now been processed — which means they have either been granted a visa or had their claims rejected — or are currently having their claims assessed.

However, there are 7,500 asylum seekers “outside the process” and that is the group now subject to the October 1 deadline.

SOURCE: ABC ONLINE/PACNEWS

PACIFIC


16 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-22/tpp-transpacific-partnership-to-continue-without-united-states/1673332

17) South Pacific Tourism Exchange a catalyst to increasing motivation of travel into the Pacific region


00:32 am GMT+12, 22/05/2017, Fiji

The Pacific region reached a total of two million visitor arrivals in 2016 and has experienced an average growth of 2.9% in the four year period from 2012 to 2016, which can be attributed to increased business relationships forged at past South Pacific Tourism Exchanges (SPTEs) in aiding motivation to travel to the Pacific Islands.

South Pacific Tourism Organisation Chief Executive Officer, Chris Cocker, made this announcement to tourism stakeholders at the opening of SPTE 2017 in Sydney, Australia Friday, highlighting the importance of the event in attracting visitor arrivals to the Pacific.

Cocker encouraged the partners and stakeholders to maximize on the opportunity provided by SPTE 2017 to further business aspirations in the South Pacific.

“Our buyers are here because they see business opportunities in our South Pacific islands and because our destinations boast of unique tourism products that only our region can offer,” Cocker said.

“Our sellers are here because they know that our destinations, their tourism products have the potential to attract growing visitor numbers that will translate into earnings that will contribute to improved livelihoods for families and communities,” he added.

Cocker highlighted the importance of the focus on ensuring the tourism industry remains sustainable for the future in line with the global focus on 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for development.

“We all have a vested interest in Pacific tourism and we all want our industry to be here today and here to stay.”

Participants at the event were treated to a special visual tour of the uniqueness of the Solomon Islands by the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau, who proudly shared that they had just been voted the country with the cleanest air in the world by the World Health Organisation.

A total of 111 sellers from 17 member countries of SPTO are present at the event to brief 79 buyers from as far away as Europe, United States of America, Canada, China, South Korea and Australia and New Zealand on the tourism products of the South Pacific.

SPTE is the largest regional tourism event for the Pacific region and is the umbrella that brings us together, because of our passion for the Pacific Islands and towards tourism as the catalyst towards positive sustainable development.

Visitors to the two-day event have been immersed in a range of Pacific experiences including dances and presentations by the Heilani Dance group from Brisbane who perform a fusion of Pacific dances, that highlight the uniqueness of the Pacific way.

Held annually SPTE provides an opportunity for Pacific tourism and travel operators to showcase their products to international buyers who are the face of the Pacific to travelers curious about the Pacific as a destination.

Support for the event has come from major sponsor Bank South Pacific who has partnered with SPTO since 2016. Other Pacific partners supporting the event are the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau, Nauru Airlines, Papua New Guinea Tourism and Promotions Authority (PNGTPA) and Fiji Airways.

Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region. Its 18 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the People’s Republic of China. In addition to government members, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation enlists a private sector membership base.

SOURCE; SPTO/PACNEWS

ASIA

18 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-22/the-trouble-with-the-chinese-economy-and-what-it-means-for-australia/1673130

19 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-22/north-korea-kim-jongun-says-ballistic-missile-ready-for-action-after-test/1673216

20) Japan will help Pacific Islands prepare for missile attack


9:00 pm GMT+12, 16/05/2017, Japan

Japan is ready to assist Pacific Island countries, including Papua New Guinea, prepare for any missile attack by North Korea.

Japan’s Deputy Press Secretary for the Deputy-Director General for Press and Public Diplomacy, Masato Otaka, said they will always be ready to listen to the voices of the island countries.

Otaka told Loop PNG during a dialogue with Asia Pacific journalists that Japan is ready to assist with the needs of small island nations in the Asia Pacific region.

The journalists are in Japan as part of the 2017 Jefferson Fellowships programme, organised by the East-West Center based in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Otaka said Japan believes that all countries in the region should be concerned about what is happening in North Korea with their missile launch programme.

“If an island nation is very concerned and wishes to know how Japan sees the situation with North Korea’s capabilities, we will be more than happy to share our views with your countries.

“And beyond that, if there’s something that Japan can help, Japan can always look into the possibilities as well in terms of security.

“North Korea’s advancing nuclear weapons and missile programmes are a real threat not just for Japan and South Korea but for other Asia Pacific countries,” Otaka said.

He highlighted that North Korea can use their submarines and launch missiles anywhere in the world so this is a great concern.

Otaka added that in a recent meeting held by the United Nations Security Council in April, all the countries were very much concerned about the situation.

He stated that said Japan and the U.S, and possibly China and maybe Russia, can work together to see what should be the next step to apply pressure on North Korea.

He said in order to put pressure on North Korea, sanctions must be implemented by countries working together in bilateral relationships….

SOURCE: LOOP PNG/PACNEWS

WORLD

21 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-22/donald-trump-circus-sets-race-relations-back-says-writer-brit-bennett/1673248

22 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-22/what-chance-does-donald-trump-have-of-making-the-middle-easts-ultimate-deal/1673298

23 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-22/facebook-should-hide-suicide-live-stream-videos-mental-health-advocates-say/1673340

24) No Candidates For French National Assembly From Macron’s Party In Pacific Territories

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 05/18/2017 – 13:00

En Marche does not endorse anyone from New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis & Futuna

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 18, 2017) – The fledgling party of France’s new president has largely ignored applicants in overseas territories aspiring to be candidates in next month’s election of a new French National Assembly.

The En Marche movement has been canvassing candidates for the poll as it tries to replicate its electoral success after its leader Emmanuel Macron won the presidency this month.

It has decided to leave 56 of the 577 electorates untouched in part to increase the chance of election success of candidates it deems to be aligned to its programme.

En Marche has endorsed 521 candidates but none in French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna.

In the presidential election’s first round, Mr Macron had his lowest score of any electorate in New Caledonia, but in the run-off round against Marine Le Pen he narrowly beat her.

Meanwhile, French Polynesia’s president Edouard Fritch has given his full backing to the new president, saying there is a shared vision of how Tahiti can help Mr Macron’s new strategy for Europe.

Mr Fritch is in Paris and met one of Mr Macron’s associates Jean-Paul Delevoye at the headquarters of the En Marche movement.

Radio New Zealand International

HEALTH

25)  http://www.thenational.com.pg/nurse-appeals-delivery-beds-mothers-wait-line/

EDUCATION

26) Student Exchange Agreement Signed Between Vanuatu, Kanaky Of New Caledonia

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 05/18/2017 – 15:23

Access to Universities will provide more study opportunities

By Anita Roberts

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 19, 2017) – An agreement has been signed for a student exchange program between Vanuatu and the Kanaky population in New Caledonia.

Soon, kanak students will be enrolling in institutions in Vanuatu like the University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Emalus Campus and Vanuatu’s Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) while ni-Vanuatu students can go for study in New Caledonia too.

Deliberations about providing further study opportunities between the parties were held in the past years but no concrete measures have been taken until this week.

The representative of the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste in french or FLNKS), Victor Tutugoro, put pen to paper with the Minister of Education and Training (MOET), Jean Pierre Nirua, for the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the minister’s office in the presence of the Principal Education Officer of the Scholarships Office and Director General, Jesse Dick.

Mr Tutugoro came to Port Vila to sign an MOU with the School of Tourism at the Vanuatu Institute of Technology (VIT).

The agreement will enable kanak students from the Northern Province of New Caledonia to undertake tourism studies here (in Vanuatu) at the VIT’s Hospitality and Tourism Leisure Training Centre (HTLTC).

When addressing the MOU signing ceremony at the MOET, Minister Nirua said Vanuatu made a commitment, which is recognized by MSG to accommodate kanak students, representing the Melanesians in New Caledonia.

“As the minister of education, I want to honor this commitment,” he added.

Vanuatu Daily Post

27) Transfer Of Education Powers, Functions From PNG To Bougainville Government Underway

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 05/18/2017 – 13:47

Implementation committee overseeing transfer says staging of transfer is necessary as ABG needs time to absorb and implement functions

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 19, 2017) – A Joint Implementation Committee meeting was held this week to oversee the education powers and functions transfer from the education department to the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Whilst commending his current and former department staff, AGB and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their contributions in the functions transfer, he also expressed concern that the two day meeting is the first after two years and attributed the lack of meetings and consultations to funding and leadership challenges. However, he was pleased that the reports he received from were promising and that work on the transfer of powers and functions was continuing.

He noted that while there are some powers and functions be transferred there are some that remain to be transferred due to lack of capacity in the ABG education system to absorb and implement successfully. The powers and functions that remain to be transferred are to do with Inspections, Curriculum and Examinations.

Dr Kombra pledged the department’s support to the ABG Department of Education and called on both entities to maintain regular communication.

“We need to be mindful of some national government policies being implemented by the department. One of them is the Tuition Fee Free Policy. The intent of this Policy is to ensure that every child attends school and remove the burden of school fees from parents.

I am aware that Bougainville charged parents fees this year which you can do but school fee is the main barrier that stops children from attending school.”

The Secretary also mentioned the need for the committee to establish a joint monitoring group to review and monitor the implementation of the powers and functions that have been transferred and the ones that remain.

The Bougainville education department registration policy, enrolment policy, regulation of pre-schools in Bougainville, transfer of remaining TSC powers and functions to Bougainville, and status of the Bougainville Technical College under the Bougainville Act 2013 and the PNG Education Act were discussed at the two day meeting.

Meanwhile, the newly appointed Secretary for Bougainville Education Department Dr Justin Kehatsin said that his department is working together with the Bougainville Education Minister in implementing the transferred powers and functions.

One of the challenges Dr Kehatsin mentioned is the mushrooming of early childhood centres in Bougainville. He added that a standard curriculum is needed that will work well for both Bougainville and PNG.

He reaffirmed Bougainville’s commitment to ensuring the transfers.

PNG Post-Courier

28) No excuse to miss school, says A-G

Luisa Qiolevu
Monday, May 22, 2017

“THERE is no excuse for anyone in Fiji not to finish high school as we have paid for the education of all the up to Year 13,” said Minister for Economy and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He was responding to the issue of absenteeism from school raised by Meli Ledua of Labasa Sangam College during a national budget consultation at the Labasa College hall on Friday.

Ledua said parents should be penalised if their children missed school.

“The government assistance has been around for so long, particularly for free education and my main concern is on the students and the increase in the number of absenteeism and this points to some parents and guardians who have failed to take ownership of their children’s education,” he said.

Ledua said seven former employees of the then Public Works Department (PWD) who were imprisoned earlier this month would be a great example of abuse.

“That same abuse is happening in schools where students take advantage of the free education system and my question is if there are any measures to penalise parents and guardians to some extent since they have been abusing the system laid out by your government because that would mean they are abusing the taxpayers money,” Ledua said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they didn’t have any law or regulation on parents for not sending their children to school.

“It is very difficult to do so in practical terms for example if a child does not go to school, what do you want us to do.

“Go and arrest them! Charge them! It is very difficult to do all that and it all has to do with attitude,” he said.

“As far as we are concerned, we are creating an adequate environment, we have to do that and hopefully with a change of mind and attitude people will also change their views and aspect of education,” he said.

“There is absolutely no excuse for anybody in Fiji not finish high school. We have paid all the way up to Year 13.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said a few students also raised the issue of abuse of schools funds.

“Those who know it please let me know specifically.

“Few years ago we received issues about the school bus fare vouchers and we found that some teachers together with some senior students of the school were photocopying and selling it at half price, so we still have people that are trying to steal from the system,” he said.

“We still have some people who get paid, but are sick of their job or they don’t do their job properly and we have to make sure that these people do the right thing and this is why we need to have things like contracts, KPI – key performance indicators and assessments carried out in work places.”http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=401525

POLITIC


29 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-22/papua-new-guineas-cash-crunch-saps-colour-from-election-campaigns/1673182

30) Ratu Naiqama resumes position as MP

00:22 am GMT+12, 22/05/2017, Fiji

Fiji’s suspended Opposition Member of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Labalavu resumed his position in Parliament this morning.

Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni welcomed Ratu Naiqama after a two year suspension.

The President of the Social Democratic Liberal Party was suspended on May 22, 2015.

He uttered a slur against Speaker Doctor Jiko Luveni during SODELPA’s constituency meeting in 2015, which resulted in his suspension.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

Fiji Times Online.

31) Fiji Employment Ministry Looks To Update ‘Colonial-Based’ Workforce Laws

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 05/18/2017 – 15:12

Baledrokadroka: Outdated legislations ‘do not fit into the employment trend of today’

By Serafina Silaitoga

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 19, 2017) – Four major pieces of legislation are being overhauled by the Ministry of Employment because they contain laws of the colonial era, which do not suit today’s changes.

The ministry’s deputy secretary, Vilimone Baledrokadroka, told employers and workers at the minimum wage consultation in Labasa yesterday that this was part of the ministry’s new approach to encourage a good relationship in the workforce.

“For the past two decades, the Ministry of Employment has been taking a reform of major legislations,” he said.

“These legislations are the Employment Occupational Health and Safety 1997, the 2007 Employment Relation Act where all wage conditions are covered, the NEC Act of 2010 and the fourth one that is being overhauled is the Workers Compensation Reform 1964.

“These legislations are colonial based and so we are actually throwing out all the old unsuitable clauses that do not fit into the employment trend of today.”

Mr Baledrokadroka said it was a totally new approach for the ministry.

“We bring in new modern legislation to suit needs of labour trends and that is why we are reviewing and modernising the legislation to ensure there is a better condition in workplace both for employers and employees,” he said.

“We have done away with the old wages council that we used to have before because they are not empirical based, it has no evidence base.

“That is what we are moving towards now as we conduct surveys and talk to workers and determine the minimum wage based on facts.”

Fiji Times Online.

32) May sitting starts

Nasik Swami
Monday, May 22, 2017-Fijitimes

THE Fijian Parliament resumes its May sitting today.

It would be interesting to see the performance of the Opposition this week, as Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has promised a good show, including some critical questions for debate.

Looking at the order paper for today, some of the issues up for debate will include Fiji’s membership with the INTERPOL, State’s assistance to the visually impaired students in the country, construction of the four-lane highway from the Nadi International Airport and Wailoaloa junction, resources of the Fiji Police Force to combat riots, controlling environmental damage caused by the oil spill from the sinking of the MV Southern Phoenix at the Suva Harbour and the progress of the country’s civil service reforms.

Apart from this, the Leader of Government in Parliament, Inia Seruiratu, is scheduled to move that the Parliament adopt the sitting day of June 29 for the national budget address.

Also, the Government is expected to move two motions for debate today.

The motions are for Parliament to debate the report of the Public Accounts Committee on the consolidated report on the Auditor-General’s Reports for 2007-2009 which was tabled on May 11, 2015 and for Parliament to debate the report of the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs on the Ministry of Finance — Reserve Bank of Fiji — Insurance Annual Report 2013 which was tabled on September 28, 2016.

Some Bills, to be considered by Parliament, are also part of today’s order paper.

This week’s sitting will end on Friday.

MEDIA

33) More freedom, less control

Nasik Swami
Monday, May 22, 2017

MORE people over the age of 45 feel the media in the country should have more freedom and less control.

These are people who have seen the ups and downs of the Fiji media and observed the media operating under environments with less regulatory controls.

The recent Tebbutt-Times Poll on media freedom in the country revealed that more people prefer the media in Fiji to have more freedom and less control.

Or at least it is the most common response obtained where 45 per cent of those surveyed agreed on additional freedom for the media.

Responding to the poll results, Fiji Labour Party (FLP) leader Mahendra Chaudhry said a free and independent media was an essential pillar of a democratic society.

“It facilitates good governance by holding the government accountable and transparent, thereby keeping a check on corruption, and ensuring that government policies and actions benefit the people at large and not just a select group,” Mr Chaudhry said.

He claimed the situation in regards to media freedom in Fiji was not acceptable, claiming the media in the country was not free.

“The Media Industry Development Act has been used to intimidate and control the media with threats of heavy fines.”

National Federation Party (NFP) leader Professor Biman Prasad has repeatedly called for the State to repeal the Media Industry Development Act.

Prof Prasad stated the NFP would also ensure taxpayer funds were justifiably used by spreading advertisements by Government and statutory organisations across all media outlets.

Prof Prasad had said the Media Act had led to self-censorship being practised in newsrooms.

Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) leader, Sitiveni Rabuka said the Media Act was a dangerous weapon that the Government has wielded to intimidate the media, to silence dissent and limit freedom of expression.

He said that it was a draconian Act, more appropriate in dictatorships where dissent is not allowed, and it has no place in a democratic Fiji.

Also making comments during World Press Freedom Day, the Fiji Media Association president, Nemani Delaibatiki said journalists in Fiji were free to carry out their work and conditions have come a long way from those experienced in past political upheavals.

Speaking at the World Press Freedom Day celebration at the Fiji National University’s Valelevu campus last week, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said journalists in Fiji lacked critical thinking and the intellectual input of their own.

He said some journalists could not stand on their own two feet and share their own views about the stories they wrote.

“Be bold enough and have the intellectual gumption to actually carry out that analysis yourself,” he said.

The poll, conducted independently by Tebbutt Research between May 8-12 of citizens aged 18 years and over, had asked people whether they felt the media in Fiji should have more freedom, less freedom, or if the current regulations and controls over the media were about right. Twenty-five per cent felt the current level of freedom was about right, and just under a quarter (23 per cent) said there should be more control over the media than at present.

According to the poll which surveyed 1044 people nationwide, just under 1 per cent declined to answer the question, while 6 per cent were unsure.

When considering only those who expressed a view, opinions were strongly divided on whether there should be more media freedom or not.

“Statistically, significant differences were noted in the results based on both age of respondents and ethnicity, however, among all demographic groups (gender, age, urban/rural, division, and ethnicity) additional freedom was the most common response,” the poll revealed.

Questions sent to the FijiFirst party via electronic mail for comment on the poll remained unanswered when this edition went to press last night.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=401503

BUSINESS

34) Money transfers

Monika Singh
Saturday, May 20, 2017

USERS of Vodafone’s M-PAiSA in Fiji would now be able to receive money sent by family and friends living in Australia directly to their mobile phones.

This has been made possible through Vodafone Fiji’s partnership with TransferTo — a leading B2B cross border payments network — to provide international digital money transfer services.

Vodafone’s head of e-commerce and corporate affairs Shailendra Prasad said each year more than $F500 million was received in inward remittances by Fijians and their partnership with TransferTo would provide an affordable and secure network to facilitate sending money to Fiji.

“As a brand, customers have always been our priority and it has always been our endeavour to launch services for their benefit,” said Mr Prasad.

“We are certain that beneficiaries will use this convenient service to their advantage – they can receive money any time from the comfort of their homes. We are happy to be partnering with a reputable and trusted payments network provider like TransferTo that reckons with our belief of customer convenience and satisfaction.

“We guarantee that any money sent via TransferTo to M-PAiSA, users in Fiji will be received within minutes of it being processed,” said Mr Prasad.

He said a text message would also be sent to the recipient confirming the receipt of the money in their M-PAiSA account.Read more : http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=401278

35) Exports outlook

Filipe Naigulevu
Monday, May 22, 2017

FIJIAN Holdings Ltd (FHL) Group exports to the Papua New Guinea market are expected to normalise later this year or early next year.

This was confirmed by the FHL group chief executive officer Nouzab Fareed after they had stopped exporting to PNG because of the declining export levels.

“The issue with regards to foreign exchange in PNG is one reason why the exports to PNG have been delayed,” he told this newspaper in an interview last week.

“We used to export cement, blocks and concrete panels but we have not been doing it for the last 12 months.

“As well as for any other exports that we used to do have gone down and has also become zero.”

Mr Fareed said the group also found it “extremely difficult” to get money back from exporting to PNG.

“I also need to say that from another perspective, when we sold Media New Guinea, we got the full money but it took around six to eight months,” he said.

“In this case, if you export, definitely you want money within 30 days or 60 days. If you can’t get it then definitely people will be not be motivated to push for exports.

“The reason is there is not enough and you can’t easily get money from there.”

Mr Fareed also revealed that he had discussions with PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill during his recent visit to Fiji on resolving the issue.

“When we had breakfast with the Prime Minister for PNG during his visit, he clearly mentioned this issue has been eased and after the election in PNG later this year this issue will totally be sorted out.

“I’m sure that the exports to PNG will go back to normal level late this year or early next year.”

Meanwhile, Mr Fareed also highlighted that the group’s exports to other Pacific markets was doing very well.

“Other Pacific markets are doing extremely well, for example with Vanuatu, Samoa, Kiribati, those are main markets now and we are making money out of it,” he said.

“There is actually a big growth in exports from Fiji to these markets.”

The group mainly exports cement, blocks and aggregates to Pacific Island markets.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=401511

INFRASTRUCTURE

36) Call for local firms to do road works

Luke Rawalai
Monday, May 22, 2017-Fijitimes

GOVERNMENT needs to directly contract local companies to carry out roadworks instead of wasting its money on the Fiji Roads Authority.

This was a submission made by Labasa businessman Ajesh Nair at a national budget consultation in Labasa last Thursday.

He said Government was spending a lot of money on repairing roads while road conditions continued to deteriorate.

Mr Nair said he was worried about the qualifications of those employed by these companies since anybody could learn about road repairs on Google.

He said when the Public Works Department used to carry out roadworks it had only one or two teams working on road patching while this has currently increased to around 10.

“And the quality of patching done on our roads is not good because patches are thicker causing a bump on the roads,” he said.

“These bumps get waterlogged when it rains causing more portholes.

“The issue is really serious because of the amount of money that Government continues to pour into road refurbishment.”

Responding to the submission, Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said they would take note of the issues raised.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it was important to know that FRA did not charge any money for constructing roads.

“FRA is just a contracting party and they are only given the money to contract companies,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

LAW&ORDER

37) New Transnational Crime Unit Office Opening In Solomons

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 05/21/2017 – 17:05

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Times, May 22, 2017) – The Australian Federal Police and Australian Department of Defence continue to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).

On Wednesday, Deputy Secretary DFAT, Mrs Penny Williams, along with Commander Amanda Kates (AFP) and Acting Assistant Secretary Pacific and Timor Leste AASPACTL)Mrs Belinda McNamara formally opened the new RSIPF Transnational Crime Unit Office at AOLA Base RSIPF Maritime Division.

The RSIPF Commissioner Matthew Varley, PPF Commander John Tanti and the Australian High Commissioner HE Roderick Brazierattended the event.

Locating the TCU in the RSIPF Maritime Division base enhances the opportunity of a timely exchange of intelligence to operational elements of the RSIPF operated patrol boat capability in the Solomon Islands.

“I’d like to thank the AFP and Defence for providing funding and support to this project,” Commissioner Matthew Varley said.

“It’s comforting to know that AFP and the Australian Defence Force are able to support the RSIPF in this way” he said.

DEPSEC Penny Williams, who is currently in Honiara as a part of a bilateral Security Dialogue held between Solomon Islands and Australia, added “Although RAMSI will come to a close and the transition occur in July, approximately 40 AFP officers will remain here in the Solomon Islands to support the transition.”

Under the Defence Cooperation Program (DCP), the Australian Government providesassistance with maritime surveillance to eleven countries across the Pacific.

The centrepiece of this is the Pacific Patrol Boat Program. In Solomon Islands the DCP provides fuel and rations funding to support a majority of surveillance operations conducted by RSIPV Auki and Lata. DCP also supports infrastructure funding to the RSIPF Maritime Division and Explosive Ordnance Unit at Hells Point.

Australia provides training opportunities for Maritime Division officers and provides two Australian Defence Force Maritime Advisors that live in Honiara full time.

Solomon Times

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION

38) Vanuatu company supplies local food for disaster relief

Pacific Beat
In the wake of natural disasters in the Pacific, governments and NGOs often provide victims with canned fish, rice and noodles to survive on until they can get back on their feet.
But a food manufacturing company in Vanuatu is providing a more nutritional, and locally-grown option to victims of Cyclone Donna in the country’s north.
Fine Foods produces sealed packs of cooked root crops and meat.
They have a long shelf-life and the packaging can even be used to patch a leaking roof.
The Anglican Church has already purchased one-point-four tonnes of packs and sent them to affected areas … and the government has asked for a quote to purchase more.
Fine Foods CEO Cynthia Wylie says the packs could also be stored in warehouses and pre-positioned in readiness for the next natural disaster.http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/pacific-beat/2017-05-22/vanuatu-company-supplies-local-food-for-disaster/8547810

39) NZ And Australia Latest To Give Fiji COP23 Funds

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 05/21/2017 – 16:55

Fiji earlier expressed disappointment funding had not been forthcoming for the talks which are seen as crucial in maintaining momentum on the Paris Agreement

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 19, 2017) – New Zealand and Australia are giving Fiji more than $US5m to help it host the next international climate change talks known as COP23.

According to a budget on Fiji’s newly unveiled COP23 website, Fiji’s presidency of the negotations in Germany in November is estimated to cost $US26.7 million.

Australia announced yesterday it would commit $US4.28 million and it has specified some of it should go to support consultations with other Pacific island countries.

New Zealand’s government will give nearly US$900,000 and the country’s climate change ambassador, Jo Tyndall, will also be made available as an on-call adviser for Fiji.

Fiji earlier expressed disappointment funding had not been forthcoming for the talks which are seen as crucial in maintaining momentum on the Paris Agreement.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee said the conference would be important to maintain momentum in negotiating the rules to bring the Paris Agreement into effect.

Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said two thirds of the funds were to support Fiji’s COP23 secretariat and the remainder were for supporting consultations among Pacific island countries, to ensure they could all contribute to the presidency.

Fiji said it had already received funding from China, the United States, the European Union and Germany, and organisations such as UNDP and the Asian Development Bank.

Radio New Zealand International

40 ) http://www.thenational.com.pg/3600-still-manam-eruption-seen/

41) Call to consider climate change as business risk

May 22, 2017The NationalBusiness
Article Views: 100

CLIMATE change should be considered a business risk to Oil Search Limited operations and should be addressed by the board in its deliberations, a shareholder says.
Shareholder Market Forces executive director Julian Vincent told the company’s annual general meeting on Friday the company should allow for the development of strategies to cater for it and for shareholders to assess capital invested in the company.
Company chairman Richard Lee said the company had undertaken initiatives on climate change focused on PNG.
“I acknowledge the importance of this issue and I reinforce the fact that this board is not blind to this issue,” Lee said.
(It) certainly is well aware, as an oil and gas company, that these issues are at the front of the mind for investors.
“It is no secret that the investment community is aware of this but I think that they recognise that as an oil and gas company, as a PNG oil and gas producer, we have a clear approach to it that they support.
“We will continue to fulfill the reporting obligations to stakeholders.
“We are always ready to engage with our stakeholder in developing a strategy that is highly relevant to PNG.”

MINING,FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE


42)  http://www.thenational.com.pg/oil-yet-found/

EVENT

43) No public judging

Nasik Swami
Monday, May 22, 2017-Fijitimes

THE public judging event, part of Miss World Fiji’s preliminary show set to take place on June 5, has been cancelled.

Pageant director Andhy Blake said the 14 contestants vying for the coveted Miss World Fiji 2017 crown would focus on the private judging scheduled for Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel on June 8.

“We decided to keep with our Miss World tradition and have a private judging. Miss World is a unique contest in the sense that we do not always have public judgings, so it is not compulsory to have this format in our program,” Mr Blake said.

He said last Friday, the contestants visited Sautabu Village in Nadroga as part of their tourism excursion with Sigatoka River safari, culminating the Miss World Fiji tours — an integral part of the pageant’s format.

Miss World Fiji 2017 will be crowned on June 10 at the GPH.

The winner will represent Fiji at the 67th edition of the Miss World Pageant in China in November.

SPORT

44a )  http://dailypost.vu/vanuatu_sports/mexico-breaks-vanuatu-hearts/article_67d83175-a542-5e96-ba32-58aa9b18060e.html

44b ) http://dailypost.vu/vanuatu_sports/mauwia-i-win-las-wiken-erakor-ifira-tafea-mo-amicale/article_90b0589e-9822-5132-b7c3-96b9e392c241.html
44c ) http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/pacific-beat/2017-05-22/crusaders-coach-keen-on-pacific-super-rugby-team,/8546146
44d ) http://www.thenational.com.pg/buang-force-stalemate/
44e ) http://www.thenational.com.pg/wigmen-shock-lahanis/
44f ) http://www.thenational.com.pg/capital-rugby-starts-selection-process/
44g ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-21/knights-v-panthers-bulldogs-v-roosters-rabbitohs-v-storm-nrl-round-11-live-scores-stats-and-commenta/1673062
44h )  http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-05-21/bombers-v-eagles-demons-v-north-freo-v-blues-afl-round-nine-scores-stats-and-commentary/1673060
w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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