Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1106 ( Monday 31 July 2017 )



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9) France releases $US9m to Tahiti for cancer and social security

28 July 2017

The French government released almost $US9 million installment to help with social security and cancer treatment in French Polynesia.

The French High Commissioner Rene Bidal said two million is to pay for cancer treatment in line with the Elysee Accord signed in March.

This provides for the French state to pay for all cancer treatment in the territory.

Mr Bidal said the funds will also help realise four projects drawn up with the health ministry and doctors, which include setting up more facilities in Taravao, Uturoa and Nuku-Hiva.

He said the funding is part of a three-year deal for France to contribute US$12 million a year towards the social security system.

Paris had stopped making those contributions in 2008 but resumed transfers in 2014 under the condition that French Polynesia undertook reforms.

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14) Marshall Islands President calls for better coordination between CROP agencies

10:51 pm GMT+12, 27/07/2017, New Caledonia

By Pita Ligaiula in Noumea, New Caledonia

Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine has called for better coordination between regional CROP agencies (Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific).

Speaking at the 10th conference of the Pacific Community in Noumea, President Heine says while member countries struggle will limited capacities and resources to implement and respond to urgent, crucial issues, the articulation of relevant entry points and increased collaboration should become the drivers of CROP agencies in lending their support to national and regional goals.

“Our strategies and partnerships must result in the continuance of providing solutions for the benefit of our people. Innovation must inevitably lead to efficient use of the resources and expertise of our CROP agencies.

“I am encouraged to see a better focused and vibrant CROP coordination and collaboration in place.

“With emerging issues that affect our region, we need organisations and partnerships that are committed to maintaining their core principles but at the same time to be flexible, adaptive and practical to meet new challenges,” President Heine told leaders.

A classic example of close collaboration is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SPC and SPREP this week.

SPC Director General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga also raised the issue with the leaders.

“I just want to share with you a concern I have. There is repeated references of CROP agencies squabbling over resources.

“It’s a myth. Off course we will have differences of opinions but I want you all to know that CROP agencies spend our time on how we can work better together to provide coherent, consistent advice to the members.

“Somehow the notion of CROP agencies competing over resources just keep coming up all the time. I’m a little bit grumpy about that, but we do our best. There will be odd occasions but ultimately the aim is to serve you better and sometimes different perspectives where slightly different advice for your consideration,”
Dr Tukuitonga said.

Meanwhile, President Heine said the mean of implementation for the 2030 Agenda for the Pacific needs to understand that there is “ No one size fits all solution” across the diverse Pacific region.

“I can assure you that the smaller the country is, the more multifaceted the challenges become.

“This is the kind of innovative partnership that we seek: meaningful, scalable, genuine, inclusive and based on open dialogue and trust. These principles must be embedded in our attempt to harmonise our implementation strategies for SDGs and other emerging challenges. Every member of SPC has a role to play, and we can be very effective by moving together in one direction,” said President Heine.

She said SPC partners need to understand and genuinely participate by tailoring their assistance and support towards achieving tangible outcomes.

“Many times, we have been disappointed by their shifts in policies, inability to consider our requests and their non-commitment to ensuring that our people are safe and secure from global events.

“In this connection, we should endeavour to include every partner recognised by the region to help participate in creating a Pacific that is truly a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity and where all Pacific people can lead free, healthy and productive lives,” said President Heine.



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16) Australian isolation endangers refugee resettlement 28 July 2017 

The Refugee Council of Australia says its government is alienating nations that could resettle offshore detainees.

For four years, Australia has detained about 2000 refugees in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, but was now trying to find other countries to take them in.

The council’s chief executive Paul Power said Australia’s promotion of its offshore detention model as a solution to the global refugee crisis was undermining its attempts to find resettlement options.

“I don’t think people in Canberra realise just how badly Canberra is being viewed around the world,” he said.

“You cant go to Europe and tell them, ‘copy us, we’ve solved the problem of refugees on the move,’and then have your diplomats quietly going to the same government’s saying ‘can you take refugees off our hands because we don’t know what to do with them?’

Paul  Power said the UN refugee agency was also unlikely to help Australia make resettlement arrangements.


17) Boosting connectivity will strengthen services in the Pacific 27 July 2017 

Better information technologies and transport infrastructure are seen as key in the Pacific to increase economic opportunities and better access to goods and services.

According to the Asian Development Bank, a drop in the Pacific’s growth is due to the slowdown in Papua New Guinea.

ADB’s Director General for Pacific Carmela Locsin said improved information communication technology is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

Recovery in the larger economies is expected to see regional growth at 3.3% in 2018.

However, the price prospects for Pacific exports are mixed and inbound tourism may slow down.

The ADB Pacific Department notes the Pacific countries’ remoteness is a fundamental constraint to economic development.

In the report, the ADB estimates that 75% of Pacific economies will be connected to submarine cables in the next 2-3 years.

The ADB is working with the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, and Tonga to help develop submarine cable projects.

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19) NKorea test puts US cities in range

Sunday, July 30, 2017

SEOUL/TOKYO/WASHINGTON – North Korea fired a missile on Friday that experts said was capable of hitting Los Angeles and other US cities and the United States and South Korea responded by staging a joint missile exercise.

North Korea confirmed the launch on Saturday, with its official news agency saying it was a “stern warning” for the US. President Kim Jong Un said the missile showed that all of the United States was within striking distance but US authorities characterised that as an exaggeration.

The administration of US President Donald Trump, which has branded North Korea the “most urgent and dangerous threat to peace,” condemned the launch as reckless.

“By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people,” Mr Trump said in a statement.

“The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”

South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-moo said at a news conference on Saturday Seoul would prepare independent measures to curb the nuclear threat from the North.

“This ballistic missile launch by North Korea is a serious provocation that not only clearly violates the UN Security Council’s numerous resolutions but also threatens the safety of the Korean peninsula and world peace,” Song said.

20) Trump replaces chief of staff

Sunday, July 30, 2017

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump replaced his beleaguered White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, after only six months on the job on Friday, installing retired General John Kelly in his place in a major shake-up of his top team.

Mr Trump announced the move in a tweet a day after his new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, accused Mr Priebus of leaking information to reporters in a profanity-laced tirade.

Mr Kelly, 67, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, is currently secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and will assume the chief of staff post on Monday. He was hired with the goal of bringing more discipline to the White House, a senior White House official said.

Mr Trump issued his decision just as he landed aboard Air Force One after a visit to Long Island and hours after Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare failed in the Senate.

Mr Priebus was on the plane with the Republican president and made no comment. Reporters had noticed no sign of stress from Mr Priebus during the day. Mr Priebus told CNN he had been talking to Mr Trump for some time about exiting the White House, and is the latest in a long line of officials to leave or not take a job at the White House.

“The president has a right to hit a reset button. I think it’s time to hit the reset button,” Mr Priebus said in a televised interview from the White House. “He intuitively determined that it was time to do something different, and I think he’s right.”


21) University marks alumni homecoming

Vishaal Kumar
Sunday, July 30, 2017

THE Fiji National University enjoys a unique place in the landscape of Pacific tertiary education, says its vice-chancellor Professor Nigel Healey.

He made the comment while speaking at the university’s Alumni Homecoming weekend celebrations at Ratu Sukuna Park in Suva yesterday.

In conjunction with the FNU Alumni Association, celebrations were also held to mark Fiji School of Medicine’s 132 years of existence in the country.

For more on this story, please pick up a copy of today’s edition of The Fiji Times newspaper or subscribe to our E-Edition.




23) TV reporter gets death threats

Sunday, July 30, 2017

SAO PAULO – A pitch-side reporter accused by Santos of influencing the result of a Brazilian cup match this week defended himself on Friday after receiving death threats.

TV Globo reporter Eric Faria got the threats following Santos’ elimination by Flamengo in the Copa do Brasil quarter-final on Wednesday.

The game at the Vila Belmiro ground ended 4-2 to Santos but Flamengo went through on away goals, with one of the key moments coming shortly before halftime when Santos were awarded a penalty just yards from where Faria was positioned.

The referee changed his mind after consulting with the linesman and the fourth official, who, Santos said, was warned to review the decision by Faria, even though Video Assistant Referees (VAR) were not being used.

In a letter to the Brazilian Football Confederation, Santos accused Faria of behaving more like a fan than a reporter and appealed for the result to be annulled.

The club, famous as home to Pele and Neymar, said Faria had past history in interfering in games from the sidelines and called for a blanket ban on pitch-side reporters.


24) Small grant scheme assists 9000 Fijians

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Update: 5:43PM THE Government’s micro and small business grant scheme has to date assisted more than 9000 Fijians.

The scheme, which it partners with the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) to provide grants to entrepreneurs tp expand or start their businesses, has seen an investment to the tune of $9.3million in the potential of the country’s local entrepreneurs to create jobs for people at grassroots level.

In his address at the FDB’s 50th anniversary celebration, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarma said while the country could be proud of what the FDB had grown to become, it was, however, not enough to simple do well.

“As Fiji continues to do well, the FDB will need to reposition itself to take on new challenges and realise new opportunities,” Mr Bainimarama said.

He noted the FDB’s unprecedented achievement noting that in 2016, the bank delivered a net profit of $7.21m, a nearly 20 per cent increase over the year prior.

He also noted that as of 2016, the FDB’s portfolio stood at 4608 accounts, with loans totaling $375.52m, an increase of 10 per cent in size and 2 per cent in value over 2015.

25) Renewable energy plan

Repeka Nasiko
Saturday, July 29, 2017

THE South Korean companies responsible for setting up Fiji’s first ever biomass power plant have picked another location for its next facility.

The consortium of companies — GIMCO, GS Power, Mirae Asset and Fiji’s Tropik Wood Industries — will establish another biomass power plant in Sabeto, Nadi.

While speaking at the opening of the new 12MW Nabou Biomass Power Plant in Navutu, Nadroga, on Thursday, GIMCO chairman Sang Sun Lee said this was part of the company’s renewable energy plans for Fiji.

“Also with the opening of this project we are declaring that we are a serious partner in the energy sector and we are committed to doing our best and will continue to bring to Fiji meaningful investments that will support genuine foreign investors,” he said.

“We are planning our next project with a similar capacity (12MW) in Sabeto, Nadi, and would again seek the support of Government, FEA and other partners.”

Mr Lee said the establishment of biomass power plants would lead to a reduction of Fiji’s dependency on fossil fuel.

“Further, with the success of these power plants, Fiji will import less diesel for supplying electricity.

“The hundreds of millions in foreign exchange saved from such projects can be used for construction of roads, hospitals and schools for the Fijian people.

“For us the opening of this project has come at a very good time — when Fiji is demonstrating leadership in climate change. We are hopeful this will, in a small way, assist the President of COP 23 demonstrate to the world that Fiji is serious about its emissions reduction.”

He added the company had teamed up with the Ministry of Forestry to use invasive species of forests as fuel for the biomass plant.

“We are also working closely with the Ministry of Forests to ensure that we have sufficient forest biomass resources through effective re-afforestation programs including the use of invasive species such as African Tulip.”

The $92 million facility was opened by Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.


26) Foundation laying for $4m market project

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Update: 4:53PM PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will be officiating at the ground breaking ceremony for the new Laqere market in Nasinu tomorrow.

According to the official program, Mr Bainimarama will be accorded the traditional ceremony of welcome, before he takes a tour of the proposed market site after the formalities.

Reverend Joe Mataika of the Kalabu Methodist Church will lead the devotion.

The Laqere Market project is part of the Nasinu Town Council’s two ongoing major projects this year, which includes the Valelevu sports facility.

In an earlier report, Nasinu Town Council CEO Akhtar Ali had said the Laqere market project, which was expected to be completed by August this year, would benefit over 200 market vendors from Nadera, Nepani, Nadawa and nearby communities.

The market project is valued at approximately $4million, and the Valelevu sports facility valued at approximately $5m.


27) Opposition MP questions Fiji Water Authority’s use of funding

28 July 2017

An Opposition MP in Fiji has called on the government to explain what has happened to millions of dollars invested into the Fiji Water Authority.

Aseri Radrodro’s call comes after there were disruptions in the water supply around Labasa and through the Suva to Nausori corridor over the past few weeks.

The Water Authority warned thousands of Nadi residents that they will face issues for two months due to an algae problem at one of the treatment plants.

Mr Radrodro said the situation doesn’t make sense after the nearly billion Fiji dollar government investment.

“The government has allocated close to one billion [Fiji] dollars over the last three years and that is a concern how there are all these issues that are creeping up and these water disruptions.”

“The government has poured into the Water Authority of Fiji. That’s a concern and that’s what we would like to know, where has all this money gone to?”

28) Kidnap attempt on MP

Sunday, July 30, 2017

PORT MORESBY – An attempt to kidnap a new MP in Papua New Guinea has been described as a new, desperate low for national politics.

Details have emerged about yesterday’s attempt by failed People’s National Congress party candidate David Arore to manhandle the new Ijivitari MP away from his National Alliance party colleagues.

This comes as the national election draws to a close, and these two opposing parties vie to form a coalition government when parliament begins next week.

The PNC is leading the party vote tally and, while still short of a majority, is hoping to form a government headed by its leader Peter O’Neill again.

But an alliance opposed to the PNC, including Pangu Pati and the National Alliance, has emerged with stronger election results than many expected.

With its considerable resource base, the PNC has been accused of using financial inducements to lure new MPs-elect, particularly independent MPs, into their camp.

Even MPs in the National Alliance appear to be targetted.

The Ijivitari MP, Richard Masere, had arrived at Port Moresby’s airport to be picked up by his party’s president Walter Schnaubelt.

Mr Schnaubelt said Mr Arore and others, including police officers, appeared on the scene to pull Mr Masere away.

He said a tussle ensued before the National Alliance team were able to guide the new MP to their own car.

“I did make it very clear to David Arore and his group, and the police that were there with them, that this is very unprofessional behaviour in regards to trying to kidnap a candidate belonging to another party. Are you guys showing signs of desperation? You know, how low are you willing to go?”

Mr Schnaubelt, who is the MP-elect for Namatanai, said the kidnap attempt by Mr Arore was instructed by PNC’s leadership.

“They had two police cars on their side who were called in to the airport area and were assisting them (Arore’s group) to try and manhandle Richard into their vehicle,” he explained.

“When is this going to stop? When are we going to start respecting the rule of law in this beautiful country called Papua New Guinea?”


29) Leaders call for Ocean Science centre

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Update: 4:14PM PACIFIC island countries and territories at the Pacific Community’s (SPC) 10th governing body conference in Noumea have called for the establishment of a Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Science.

The centre, to be hosted at SPC, will draw on the scientific and technical expertise across the organisation’s different work programs, including fisheries and geo-science, and look to complement ongoing regional efforts for the sustainable management of the Pacific region’s oceanic resources.

The decision was made as SPC’s 26 country and territory members deliberated on the strategic direction of SPC as the organisation marked its 70th year of operations.

More than 40 country and territory representatives, including several Heads of State and development partners, contributed to the thematic discussion centred on the theme ‘Innovative Partnerships for Sustainable Development’.

The 10th Conference of the Pacific Community ended on Friday night with a 70th anniversary celebration with its 26-member countries and territories and partners.

Cook Islands will host the 11th Conference of the Pacific Community in 2019.


30) Vanuatu to host Pacific Week of Agriculture in October
6:38 pm GMT+12, 29/07/2017, New Caledonia

By Pita Ligaiula in Noumea, New Caledonia

Vanuatu will host the Pacific Week of Agriculture (PWA) in October this year.

The announcement was made by Vanuatu representative at the 47th CRGA (Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations) in Noumea.

“On behalf of the Vanuatu Government I have the pleasure to announce that the inaugural Pacific Week of Agriculture (PWA) will be held in Port Vila on the week of the 16 October 2017. This event will precede the SPC Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Meeting and the joint FAO and SPC Pacific Agriculture Ministers Meeting.

“The meeting announcement has been sent to all member countries this week and last week. The theme of the inaugural event is Pacific ‘CROPS’ (Culture, Resilient, Opportunity, Product and Sustainability).

“I have the honour to extend the invitation to all member states and territories. We seek the indulgence of our members to attend this important event in our region,” the Vanuatu government representative said.

The Pacific Week of Agriculture follows the model of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) which has been successfully staged in various countries of the Caribbean region over the past decade.

Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Dr Jose Graziano da Silva will be the chief guest.


31) New Caledonia nickel viability in doubt

28 July 2017

The head of the Brazilian mining conglomerate Vale has again restated his doubt about the viability of its nickel plant in New Caledonia.

Fabio Shvartsman told the website Metalbulletin that if no solution was found for its plant in Goro, the loss-making operation would have to close.

The plant is reported to have lost $US1.3 billion in the past three years as the world nickel price has declined, dropping to half of what it was two years ago.

Mr Shvartsman said Vale wanted to make money and not invest more in the hope the price would rise.

A Vale board decision is expected next month on how to proceed, should it fail to find a way to make the operation sustainable.

Mr Shvartsman’s earlier comment about the plant triggered fears of unprecedented job losses in New Caledonia which could have a severe impact on the territory’s economy and finances.

Thousands of jobs are dependent on the plant’s operation which has been dogged by construction delays, cost overruns and industrial accidents near its World Heritage site location.


32) French minister extends New Caledonia visit to meet with youth 29 July 2017 

The French overseas minister has extended her visit to New Caledonia by a day, reportedly to meet young people for talks about the territory’s future.

Annick Girardin was due to leave last night at the end of her official visit – her first overseas ministerial trip since becoming a member of the government of Edouard Philippe.

Her tour involved visits to all three provinces and meetings with political parties represented in Congress as New Caledonia gears up to next year’s independence referendum.

The visit has been seen as a familiarisation tour linked to preparations for the last meeting of the signatories of the Noumea Accord later this year as the plebiscite process needs to be finalised.

As no date has been set, there is speculation it could be held during Mr Philippe’s planned New Caledonia visit later this year.


33) Rugby captains promote peace in Bougainville

28 July 2017

Rugby captains in Bougainville have become ambassadors for peace building, the independence referendum and the United Nation’s sustainble development goals.

The ten captains, who will lead their teams during a rugby festival this weekend in Arawa, have partnered with the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the UN Development Programme.

The UN’s Kia-Henry Nema said it’s the first time sport has been used as a vehicle to promote development in Bougainville.

“They’ve decide that they wanted to organise a rugby festival as a way to promote the sport, but also use the sport to make some awareness on the referendum as well as peace processes that the Bougainville government is doing and the sustainable development goals.”

Mr Nema hopes Bougainville athletes from other sports join the programme to bring more youths into peace building and development activities.

34) Surfers set world stage target

Peni Komaisavai
Sunday, July 30, 2017-Fijitimes

YOUNG surfers Johnny Vasea (14), Keisha Kalounivale (11), Kalani Kalounivale (15), Kaylor Wakeham (14) and Apisai Tibinaliva (16) aim to make their mark on the world stage of surfing.

For whatever reason it may be whether it be the thrill or the love of the sea or basically just for the love of the sport, the younsters have set their sights on representing Fiji in surfing.

As the sport grows more and more participants and interested parties have gone on board in promoting and developing the sport.

For young Vasea, his main goal included making a name for himself in the game and like the others around him, he wants to be the best pro surfer in Fiji in the future.

His statement was followed by Keisha who highlighted that surfing was also a new way for people to get to know one another and would be an excellent sport to be participating in.

Collectively the youngsters have urged all other young children out there to take part in a sport that is not only fun to play and compete in but is also encourages people to understand the water in terms of safety and uses.

35) Naomi sails to Denmark

Maikeli Seru
Sunday, July 30, 2017-Fijitimes

FIJI yachting rep, Naomi Waqalevu, 20, leaves for Denmark this weekend for the World Sailing Emerging Nations Training and Development Clinic.

This is also part of preparations to the 2019 Pacific Games. Waqalevu is the national women’s champion.

Fiji Yachting Association secretary Neville Koop said in Denmark, Waqalevu would train with other young sailors from around the world and then compete in the 2017 World Sailing Championships Test Event Regatta at the same venue.

“This Test event is being used to trial the regatta venue ahead of the 2018 World Sailing Championships to be held at the same venue, and to which Fiji would send two participants,” he said.

“This event is part of the FYA development plan to prepare our sailors for the 2019 Pacific Games, and to hopefully qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games regatta in Japan three years from now.

“We have a strong and growing club program which has produced some high quality sailors in recent years, and with the right development they can compete successfully regionally and internationally. We want our sailors to be genuine medal contenders come 2019 Pacific Games and competing in events such as this one is critical in this goal”.

In 2015 Australia participated in the Pacific Games sailing event in Port Moresby and in the future, Australia and New Zealand will compete alongside our Oceania neighbours at future Oceania championships and Pacific Games.

“This is a huge step up for our sailors —Australia and New Zealand are at the very top level in international sailing and collectively won eight medals including one gold medal each at the Rio Olympics.”

As well as a grant from World Sailing, support for participation in this event has come from i Government through the sporting grants to national sporting federations, the Fiji Yachting Association, and donations from members and friends of the Savusavu Yacht Club.

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