Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest Summary # 1125 ( Sunday 4 March 2018 )



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3) New Caledonia Together Party defensive after two politicians quit
2 March 2018

The Caledonia Together Party has defended its statement on Facebook which prompted two politicians to quit a 10 member leaders group.

Their post referred to a weekend meeting of the group which reportedly agreed to propose 4 November as the independence referendum date.

The party said all ten leaders present agreed on the date and on accompanying statements, including one which said colonisation brought with it the negation of the Kanak people.

Sonia Backes, who quit the group, said for her the expression of regret is too strong.

Caledonia Together said the words are taken from the 1998 Noumea Accord.

The group, dubbed G10, was set up at the behest of the French prime minister Edouard Philippe to discuss the aftermath of the independence referendum.

Its task is to hold discussions in confidence under the leadership of the French High Commissioner.

The other politician to quit the group is Thierry Santa who is the president of the Congress and a senior member of the anti-independence Rassemblement.

The Caledonia Together Party said Ms Backes and Mr Santa were pulled out by their respective parties under the pretext of being upset over the Facebook post.

The pro-independence politician Victor Tutugoro said talks will continue with those who want discussions.

4) New Caledonia businesses over increasing crime

2 March 2018

There has been a call in New Caledonia to curb thefts and robberies.

Three business owner organisations have written an open letter to express their exasperation at the increase and frequency of robberies.

The organisations, which represent shopkeepers, service station managers and importers, want a bigger police presence as break-ins have become a daily occurrence.

Most robberies aim to get alcohol and cigarettes whose prices were recently hiked by the government in an effort to reduce the road toll.

The letter said the weakest shops will go under because the losses are colossal and often not covered by insurance.

It said everyone worries who will be next.

The letter also calls for better crime prevention strategies.

5) Indonesian soldier fatally shot in Papua’s Puncak Jaya 

Reports from Papua’s Highlands indicate another Indonesian soldier has been shot dead by the West Papua National Liberation Army.

The soldier was shot dead in Yambi, according to the Liberation Army.

The Army recently embarked on a fresh campaign of war against Indonesian security forces.

It claimed responsibility for the killing of an Indonesian soldier in remote Puncak Jaya regency last month.

6) Disaster assessment underway after flash floods in Solomon Islands

2 March 2018

Disaster assessments are underway in the Solomon Islands capital after a freak storm on Wednesday night caused flash flooding.

The National Disaster Management Office said initial assessments in Honiara show the biggest impact has been on people living in squatter settlements.

The NDMO director Loti Yates said the torrential downpour, which continued for most of Thursday , will have negative impacts on water and sanitiation, people’s food gardens and pose the risk of disease outbreaks.

Mr Yates said more detailed assessments are being carried out today to ensure affected communities get the support they need to recover.

He said the floods have also severely damaged road networks in the capital undoing months of work by the government and local contractors to try and improve roads and ease traffic congestion.

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8) Vanuatu i halvim PNG na Tonga bihain long disasta

Updated 2 March 2018, 15:53 AEDT
John Papik

Gavaman blong Vanuatu i kamapim tok orait nau long halivim pipol blong Papua New Guinea  em oli bungim bikpela bagarap long guria wantaim 20 million vatu.

Public Relations Officer long Office blong Praim Minista, Hilliare Bule itok dispela sapot ibin kamap bihainim tok orait blong Vanuatu Kaunsel of Ministers.

Hilliare Bule itok tu olsem Vanuatu Kaunsel of Ministers ibin tok orait long sapotim tu Kingdom blong Tonga wantaim 10 million vatu bihainim bikpela bagarap ikam long Cyclone Gita long early blong mun Februari.

Mr Bule itok, gavaman blong PNG save givim planti sapot tru long Vanuatu long taim kantri ibin bungim ol kainkain disasta.Audio-


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12) Tonga police charge charge former PM in passport inquiry

2 March 2018

Tonga police have confirmed this morning that they have arrested former prime minister, Lord Tu’ivakano, as part of their ongoing passport investigation.

Tonga’s former Prime Minister, Lord Tuʻivakanō. Photo: RNZ Daniela Maoate-Cox

Lord Tu’ivakano, who was prime minister from 2010 to 2014 and speaker in the last parliament and is one of the nobles’ MPs in the current legislature, is facing numerous charges, including making a false statement for the purpose of obtaining a passport, perjury, acceptance of a bribe and money laundering.

In a statement, the police commissioner gave no other information but thanked the passport taskforce for its methodical and professional investigation.

The taskforce was set up in 2015 and has made dozens of arrests over alleged passport scams.

More than a dozen people have pleaded guilty to offences.







19) Guam to cut hours of public employees to save money 2 March 2018 

The Guam government is planning to implement a shorter working week from next week to overcome a budget shortfall.

State employees are set to work a 32 hour week.

But the Guam Teachers Federation said the government must solve its financial problems without impacting on the lives of government workers.

The union has also raised concerns about the lack of detail, with the governor just this week ordering the cut back in hours to start from March 6.

20) Marshalls set to release its own cryptocurrency2 March 2018 

Government officials in the Marshall Islands have said the country plans to release its own cryptocurrency to serve as an official legal tender.

Members of parliament have voted this week to proceed with the plan, although it has not been finally approved yet.

Bloomberg has reported that it was told by two government officials that the digital coin, to be known as the Sovereign, is likely to be issued this year.

According to the minister-in-assistance to the president, David Paul, the government will be arranging an initial coin offering and exchanges will be allowed to apply to trade the currency.

Mr Paul said the plan is part of a bid to boost coffers, and specifically targeted for the long-term needs of the country.





















35) Fiji Police plans to develop video interviewing rooms

Alisi Vucago
Sunday, March 04, 2018

Update: 1:38PM FIJIAN Police are planning to get more equipment to expand and develop their video interviewing rooms to conduct investigations around the country.

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said they had conducted video interviewing courses for Police officers in the past few weeks because video interviewing would be an important feature for Fiji Police in the future.

“Two video interviewing rooms are already in operation at Totogo and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters, and the plan is to work with the stakeholders to try and get more equipment for the other rooms that we plan to set up,” ADCP Tudravu said.

“At the end of the day, it is good for our investigations because it is done in a transparent manner. We have everything recorded and it safeguards the investigation and the investigators as well.”



38) Leading Fiji bureaucrat suspended over ICAC investigation 2 March 2018 

The Fiji Public Service Commission has suspended the permanent secretary for Youth and Sports, Iowane Tiko.

This comes amid an ongoing investigation by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Mr Tiko had been heading the Education Ministry until the end of January when he was replaced by Alison Burchell, who up until then was running Youth and Sports.

No reasons for that change had been given.

The Public Service Commission said it would soon announce who will become the acting permanent secretary for Youth and Sports.



40) Weather watch: Nationwide heavy rain warning

Repeka Nasiko
Sunday, March 04, 2018

Update: 1:24PM A HEAVY rain warning is in force for the country.

According to the Fiji Meteorological Services, a trough of low pressure with associated cloud and rain remains slow moving over Fiji and is gradually intensifying.

The trough is expected to affect the group over the next few days.

The weather office says islands in the Yasawa and Mamanuca groups, Vanua Levu and nearby smaller islands can expect periods of heavy rain and squally thunderstorms.

People living in flood and landslide-prone areas have been advised to stay alert and take appropriate precautions if necessary.



41b) PNG names athletics team for Commonwealth Games

12:39 pm today

Papua New Guinea Athletics will be represented by three women and eight men at next month’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

2015 Pacific Games Triple Gold medallist Rellie Kaputin headlines the team which was announced this week.

Kaputin will contest the long jump and triple jump and Afure Adah will take part in the 100m and 200m sprints.

Adrine Monagi will run the 100m hurdles event in which she has recently shown good form.

Nazmie Lee Marai, who won the 100m and 200m at the recent Mini Games, had been named along with Wesley Logorava.

National 200m record holder Theo Piniau will take part on the Gold Coast and Ephraim Lerkin will contest the 400m and 400m hurdles.

38 year-old Mowen Boino will be competing in his fifth Commonwealth Games and will also run the 400m hurdles.

Para athlete Samuel Nason has been granted a universality place and will run the 100m in the T47 class.

PNG’s two field event athletes in the men’s division are Peniel Richard and Debono Paraka.

Richard is the national record holder in both long jump and triple jump and will contest both of events at the Games while Paraka will compete in discus and shot put.

The post courier reports Phillip Newton, who steered the PNG jumps and combined event athletes to five gold four silver and five bronze medals at the 2015 Pacific Games, is the head coach.

42) PNG cricketers begin campaign for 2019 World Cup

1:05 pm today

Papua New Guinea’s cricketers begin their campaign to make the 2019 World Cup on Sunday with their first Group A match in the ICC qualifers against the United Arab Emirates.

Both teams have had a poor build-up to the tournament, losing their two warm-up matches in Bulawayo.

The PNG Barramundis enter the tournament, having been beaten convincingly by both Scotland and hosts Zimbabwe.

The UAE has had similar results, losing to Nepal by five wickets and two-time world champions, the West Indies.

The two sides have met in full one day international’s three times with the UAE winning twice and PNG once.

Teams are split into two groups of five who play each other on a round-robin basis with the top three going forward to a Super Six round.

The West Indies, Netherlands and Ireland complete PNG’s group.


44) Fiji rugby confirms sevens bid

2 March 2018

Fiji’s Rugby Union has confirmed their submission to host a leg of the World 7s Series for 2019/2020.

The tender process ended this week and FRU CEO, John O’Connor says the Union complied with the bid requirements and submitted their bid to World Rugby prior to the deadline.

O’Connor said the FRU together with the Fiji Rugby Bid team, led by Brian Thorburn and Greg Peters, were confident they had submitted a credible and strong bid which ticked all the criteria boxes in all the categories as set out by World Rugby.

The FRU will make public the details of its submission at the Fiji Rugby Awards Dinner on March 9.

A decision on the bid is expected to be delivered by World Rugby by June.

Earlier this year Olympic gold medal winning coach, Ben Ryan, raised serious reservations about talk of a sevens bid, doubting its viability but also saying their were bigger priorities for Fiji rugby to address.