Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest Summary # 1126 ( Monday 12 March 2018 )



2) UN team visits New Caledonia 

A team of the United Nations decolonisation committee is visiting New Caledonia this week.

The fact-finding mission is in the French territory as preparations continue for an independence referendum later this year.

Last year, a UN team visited New Caledonia to observe the special French-led commissions, which update the roll of those allowed to vote in the plebiscite.

At the last meeting of the signatories to the Noumea Accord, it was agreed that there should be United Nations observers in place for the referendum.

New Caledonia, which has been French since 1853, could be the first French colony to win independence since Vanuatu did in 1980.





6) New Caledonia Congress set to announce independence referendum date8 March 2018 

New Caledonia’s Congress is expected to meet on March 19th to set the date for the independence referendum.

A New Caledonian member of the French National Assembly Philippe Dunoyer said it appears that the referendum date will be November 4th.

Mr Dunoyer made the comment after the Assembly’s law commission approved a change to the electoral law allowing for the registration of a further 11,000 voters on the restricted referendum roll.

The French Senate earlier approved the change.

The November date was reportedly agreed on last month when ten New Caledonian leaders of the main parties met to discuss the referendum’s aftermath.

The exact referendum question is yet to be worded but the Noumea Accord is to expire with a decision on whether the French territory wants to assume full sovereignty.









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10)Samoan talo produces its first whisky8 March 2018

Samoa’s Scientific Research Organisation has successfully produced whisky from talo.

It is seen as another step in a government plan to develop potential export products from local agricultural crops..

The research agency’s minister, Lopao’o Natanielu Mu’a, said scientists at the research organisation had been working hard on the development for the last couple of years.

He said the first bottle of Samoan whisky was presented to the Cabinet for tasting last week.

Lopao’o said fries made from talo, to replace imported chips, are another product the organisation is working on.

The minister said flour from local breadfruit was the first by-product to have been successfully produced and it’s now being sold in local shops and supermarkets.







16)Air Kiribati announces flights into Tuvalu

8 March 2018

Air Kiribati has announced it is launching a once a week service linking Tarawa and Tuvalu’s main island, Funafuti.

The airline will use its Dash 8 aircraft for flights starting on 21 March.

The service connects the two nations, which have long standing ties, and allow Tuvalu residents new choices for travel around the Pacific.RNZI









23)China steel exports may fall further in 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

BEIJING – Chinese exports of steel products may continue to fall this year due to strong domestic demand and reductions in capacity because of environmental commitments, the chairman of state-owned mill Fujian Sangang Group Co Ltd said.

The prediction follows a 30.5 per cent plunge in Chinese steel exports last year to 75.43 million tonnes, as strong domestic prices and high profits at home led to a drop in shipments abroad.

The supply and demand trends are now more in line following the supply-side reforms “while most of the downstream sectors have shown signs of recovery”, Li Lizhang told Reuters on the sidelines of China’s annual parliament session on Saturday.

Demand from property, infrastructure, manufacturing and shipbuilding sectors will increase, he said, while steel supply would also see small pick-up this year compared with 2017.

China, the world’s top steel maker, produced 831.73 million tonnes of crude steel last year. It aims to eliminate around 30 million tonnes of excess capacity as part of Beijing’s steadfast effort to curb air pollution.

Cities across the country are carrying out stringent measures to lower fine particulate matter (PM2.5) readings. The steelmaking hub of Tangshan in Hebei province said it will extend production restrictions for another eight months after current curbs expire next week.

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29)HIV programme in Vanuatu seeks ways to improve awareness 9 March 2018

Past awareness campaigns on human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, are being blamed for the stigma the virus still carries in Vanuatu.

Six people from Vanuatu are believed to be living with HIV, but only five participants took part in the People Living with HIV Stigma Index Study.

The national programme manager for HIV, Caleb Garae, said the awareness campaigns featured images of gruesome side effects to illustrate the dangers of the virus.

Mr Garae said this added to the discrimination that people living with HIV had to deal with, and still makes it difficult for them to come forward to receive treatment, or be open with their families.

He also said no males took part in the study, which he puts down to Vanuatu’s traditional customs.

“Because of the custom value, of males seen to be the dominating [force in] the home and seeing the male being [HIV] positive, the family doesn’t look good. That’s how the negative way of seeing things.”


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32)Fiji PM and AG launch suits claiming defamation 

Fiji’s prime minister and attorney general have filed lawsuits in the High Court, accusing a politician and a prominent lawyer of defamation.

The Fiji Sun reports that Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had filed lawsuits against Sodelpa MP Ratu Isoa Tikoca and lawyer, Aman Ravindra-Singh, who has just become one of the leaders of the Labour Party.

In the first case, the lawsuit accused Mr Ravindra-Singh of posting an unsubstantiated article on his Facebook page with the title “Regime Dirty Politics,” accusing the ministers of orchestrating a temple break-in.

In the second, Ratu Isoa, is being sued for comments he made in an interview with a Sydney community radio station, in which he accused Mr Sayed-Khaiyum of abusing his powers and engaging in criminal activities.

The Fiji Sun said more lawsuits are likely to be filed in the coming days.

33)Landlord threatens to close PNG govt building due to unpaid rent10 March 2018 

The owner of a building that hosts the offices of several Papua New Guinea government departments is threatening to close it next week if rent is not paid.

The owner of Port Moresby’s Central Government Building said rent had not been paid for a long time, and had engaged a lawyer to have the building shut down by next Wednesday.

The building houses departments including Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Immigration, Justice, the Attorney-General, and the office of personnel management.

The outgoing personnel management secretary, John Kali, told The National that he has asked the Finance Ministry to pay outstanding rental payments.RNZI


34)  1566 complaints on employment, standards

Litia Cava
Monday, March 12, 2018

A TOTAL of 1566 complaints on employment and employment standards in the country are yet to be dealt with by the Ministry of Employment.

Minister for Employment, Productivity and Public Relations Jone Usamate highlighted the above figure in his written response to Opposition MP Ro Kiniviliame Kiliraki in Parliament last week.

Mr Kiliraki had questioned the minister on the number of complaints that the ministry received from workers last year and the status of the complaints.

Mr Usamate said the ministry received majority of the complaints from wholesale and retail trade.

The ministry registered 483 complaints from wholesale and retail trade, 303 complaints from the security industry and 266 complaints from the hotel and catering industry.

“The highest number of complaints for these three industries was mainly on arrears of wages, overtime and meal allowance entitlement,” Mr Usamate said.

He said of the 2200 complaints on employment and employment standards received by the ministry last year, a total of 634 complaints had been investigated and settled.

The minister said the ministry recovered $93,859.43 last year as payment for dues owed to workers.

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37)Protest over lawlessness in New Caledonia 9 March 2018

Several hundred people have taken to the streets of New Caledonia’s capital to protest against general insecurity.

In the face of more crime in recent times, the demonstrators, who were reportedly mainly shopkeepers dressed in black, joined a march in Noumea to express their exasperation over lawlessness.

Official figures showed over the past year, recorded crime had increased by almost 30 percent.

While burglaries of private homes have declined, there has been a sharp increase in the number of break-ins in businesses, mainly to steal alcohol and tobacco products.

Half of the crimes are reportedly committed by minors.

Noumea alone accounted for about a fifth of all arrests for public drunkenness in all of France.

Twenty percent more police officers per capita have been deployed in New Caledonia than in the rest of France.RNZI


38) PNG’s Oro Governor Juffa cracks down on illegal logging operation

A group of foreign workers has been arrested and heavy equipment seized after authorities shut down an illegal logging operation in Papua New Guinea’s Oro province.

Oro’s Governor Gary Juffa has been on a crusade to end illegal logging in his province, and he asked police and labour officials to investigate the operation in the Collingwood Bay area.

He says the company was aided by a member of its own administration who provided fraudulent ‘forest clearing’ authorities.

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41) Papua mine revenue to Jakarta reached US$756m in 20179 March 2018 

Indonesia’s government collected US$756 million in revenue from the Freeport gold and copper mine in Papua province last year.

The Jakarta Post reported that this was confirmed in an Indonesian House of Representatives hearing by the vice president of Freeport’s Indonesian arm, Tony Wenas.

Mr Wenas said that total state revenues from the mine during the period from 1992 to 2017 amounted to US$17.3 billion.

PT Freeport Indonesia, the subsidiary of US-based company Freeport McMoran, has been in protracted negotiations with Indonesia’s government over renewal of its mining permit.

In exchange for long term operating rights, the miner has agreed to divest 51 percent of shares in its Indonesian subsidiary.

However, Freeport and Jakarta have not yet settled on a price for the shares.

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has called for negotiations to be completed by the end of April.


42) Vancouver 7s: Fiji defeats Kenya to win Cup

Pravin Narain
Monday, March 12, 2018-FIJITIMES

Update: 2:32PM FIJI defeated Kenya 31-12 in the final of the HSBC World Sevens Series in Vancouver, Canada, earlier this afternoon.

The Jerry Tuwai-captained side scored two tries through Sevuloni Mocenacagi and Josua Vakurinabili.

Alasio Naduva and Paula Dranisinukula scored a try each in the final.

It was Fiji’s second win in the series this season after winning the Hamilton 7s last month.

Fiji stands at second position with 101 points behind South Africa who are on 109 points.

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