Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1071 ( Monday 9 February 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) East Timor PM Sends Letter Of Resignation
Government restructuring, potential weakening of PM’s coalition


MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, February 6, 2015) – East Timor’s prime minister Xanana Gusmao has sent his letter of resignation to the country’s president.

Mr Gusmao has served as either president or prime minister since East Timor gained independence in 2002 after a 24-year struggle against Indonesian occupation.

The 68-year-old leader has long signalled his desire to step down and speculation has been mounting in the past week that he would soon resign after he started talks with the president on a government overhaul.

“It is now for the president of the republic to consider and respond to the letter of resignation,” government spokesman Taur Matan Ruak said in a statement.

In an earlier statement, authorities said talks were under way on a “major restructure of the government”.

Authorities want to “reduce the size of the executive to create a more efficient and functional body focused on results, and allow opportunities for a younger generation of leaders to make a contribution to the nation,” the government statement said.

Analysts said that the reshuffle could be aimed at getting rid of ministers from Mr Gusmao’s coalition who had been accused of corruption, before he steps down.

Mr Gusmao led the military wing of the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN), which fought against Indonesian occupation. Before Indonesia invaded in 1975, Portugal had ruled East Timor for centuries.

He was imprisoned in Jakarta towards the end of Indonesian occupation, but continued to lead the struggle for independence from behind bars.

After the Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence in a UN-backed referendum in 1999, he returned to his homeland a hero and was elected the country’s first president in 2002.

He has been prime minister since 2007.

Radio Australia.

2) PNG govt clarifies West Papua call

Johnny Blades, Radio New Zealand International -johnny.blades@radionz.co.nz

9 February 2015

Papua New Guinea focusses on Papuan human rights but also continues to support the provinces as an integral part of Indonesia.

In his strongest statement yet about human rights abuses by security forces in Indonesia’s eastern region, Peter O’Neill said the time has come to speak out about oppression of West Papuans.

The statement came at a PNG leaders summit in Port Moresby where Mr O’Neill laid out core government policies for 2015.

It was a clear departure from the previous stance of successive PNG governments – that West Papua issues were a domestic matter for Indonesia.

“Sometimes we forget our own families, our own brothers, especially those in West Papua. I think as a country, the time has come for us to speak about the oppression of our people there,” said Mr O’Neill, who told the summit PNG must take the lead in mature discussions at the regional level about West Papua.

“Pictures of brutality of our people appear daily on the social media, and yet we take no notice,” he said.

“We have the moral obligation to speak for those who are not allowed to talk. We must be the eyes for those who are blindfolded.”

  • The statement went viral on the internet, and has met with widespread praise among advocates for West Papuan self-determination rights.

The deputy opposition leader Sam Basil felt the Prime Minister had recognised the growing importance of social media in PNG’s public discourse.

“The Prime Minister’s call was being forced upon by many Papua New Guineans taking up the issue on social media and even on the media,” he said.

“I give a word of thanks to the Prime Minister for taking the issue on but it’s a little bit late. But it’s good that now the Papua New Guinean government has a position on the issue of West Papuan atrocities and the issue of independence in West Papua.”

However Mr Basil was wary that the West Papua issue was being used as a domestic political football.

He urged the PNG government to deal with the situation in West Papua as an international issue.

Last week a fresh application for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group was submitted by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

As PNG looks to engage more with Jakarta over West Papua, MSG membership is sure to figure.

  • Following Mr O’Neill’s statement, PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato has been in touch with his Indonesian counterpart to clear up what he called misconstructions in some local media about his Prime Minister’s statement.

“Papua New Guinea’s policy is and has always been that Papua and West Papua provinces are an integral part of the republic of Indonesia,” said Mr Pato, who denied that Indonesia’s support for PNG efforts to join ASEAN hinged on agreement over the West Papua issue.

The Foreign Minister said the MSG matter was also separate.

“Any efforts towards membership of MSG are a matter which can be acquired in consultation or with the support of the government of the republic of Indonesia.”

  • A spokesman for the United Liberation Movement admitted it hadn’t consulted Jakarta on the MSG submission, but said that Melanesian leaders did not need Indonesian endorsement to reach a decision on the application.

As ever, PNG’s stand will be the pivotal factor on whether West Papua joins the MSG.RNZI

POLYNESIA

3) Tongan government newspaper stalls during take-over

By Online Editor
4:24 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Tonga

Confusion over changed ownership of the government newspaper, the Tonga Weekly, has left the publisher-editor Faka’osi Maama and his staff deeply concerned over their jobs and the future of the paper.
 
Faka’osi said that uncertainty over the ownership of the paper became an issue at the end of December 2014 when there had been no communication from the new owner, a news organization owned by David Edwards and the Ministry of Information and Communication.
 
David Edwards is the chairman of the Tonga Forest Products Ltd., a government-owned company.
 
Prior to December, negotiations were underway for government to sell shares and for a new company to be formed to take over the ownership of the Tonga Weekly.
 
Faka’osi said he understood that by early December there was a Cabinet Decision for 250,000 shares to be sold at .50 seniti per share, and the major shareholder with 70% was the private news organization, and the other 30% was held by government. The shares were originally valued at $1 pa’anga (US 50 cents) each but negotiated down to .50 seniti (US 25cents).
 
Faka’osi said that they had several meetings with David in early December and there was an understanding that their final print run under the old ownership was to be 19 December 2014. However, since then although there had been no formal communication with the two new shareholders, Faka’osi and his staff had continued to publish the weekly paper.
 
He said that they had not been paid since 1 January, and that the print run for 6 February was the last they could do. On Friday he wrote to Siaosi Sovaleni, the new Minister of Information and Communication and asked him to explain what was going to happen to the Tonga Weekly.
 
Faka’osi pointed out that the former government budgeted for the Tonga Weekly until the end of July, and if government allowed them to manage the finance and run the paper until the end of the current financial year, they could do it.
 
His staff wanted to know if they still had jobs or not. “What are we going to do with the equipment when we leave and who are going to give the key to?” asked Faka’osi.
 
Faka’osi believed that the idea for government to be a minor shareholder of the paper was not very attractive to the new government.
 
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Information and Communication confirmed that the issue relating to the sale of the Tonga Weekly was with the Attorney General.

SOURCE: TONGA DAILY NEWS/PACNEWS

4) Commoner becomes governor of Tonga’s Ha’apai

9 February 2015

The King of Tonga has appointed a commoner to the position of Governor of Ha’apai for the first time.

Mo’ale Finau missed out in a seat in parliament by just 4 votes in last year’s elections but says he is honoured to have now been given the new post.

Mr Finau says his appointment is another example of commoners finally being entrusted with responsibility and political power.

“It symbolises a willingness of the King of Tonga to finally give an opportunity for the commoner to come in and join in, if they are worthy, to be governor. I feel this is some type of freedom for the commoners to be trusted by the King. This is a victory for the King, not for me, because the King must of had a vision of the future of Tonga.”

Mr Finau’s appointment comes after a commoner was elected prime minister for the first time and just one noble was included in cabinet.RNZI

5) American Samoa warned over expired goods

9 February 2015 

American Samoa’s Chamber of Commerce says the Department of Health should be vigilant in making sure shops are not selling expired stock, following shipping delays in the United States.

The chamber’s chairman, David Robinson, says some orders have been sitting at US West Coast docks waiting to be shipped and that has reduced the shelf life of some goods.

Mr Robinson says there are a range of issues the territory needs to be worried about including price gouging.

“The other thing we have to be conscious of is the fact that in times of shortages, it seems to be a trait of humanity that the greedy amongst the community think this is a good opportunity to jack up the prices.”

American Samoa Chamber of Commerce chairman David Robinson says exorbitant prices should be reported to the Government.RNZI

6) Bill passes for charter bank in American Samoa

9 February 2015 

A bill to establish a charter bank, the Territorial Bank of American Samoa, has passed its final reading in the House of Representatives.

The vote was 16 to 1.

The Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, which had reviewed the bill, Tuala-uta representative Larry Sanitoa cast the dissenting vote, saying a more thorough review of the bill was needed.

The seed money of $US10 million for the bank is to be financed with a bond float.

Governor Lolo Moliga is hopeful that the bank will be up and running by June.

The Bank of Hawaii is waiting until there’s another bank before it leaves the territory.

The only other bank in the territory is the ANZ bank.RNZI

7) Donor Nations Supporting Cooks To Meet
Key focus is bolstering donor confidence in national systems


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, February 9, 2015) – Donor nations supporting the Cook Islands are meeting this week and the finance minister, Mark Brown, says he will put forward initiatives to strengthen the public service.

The European Union, New Zealand, Australia, Samoa, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Green Climate Fund and sectors of the United Nations will be at the meeting.

A key donor, China, will not be there because the meeting clashes with the Chinese New Year.

The Cook Islands News reports the development programme manager Morgan Hanks as saying the focus will be on building development partner confidence in the country’s national systems.

Mr Brown says in addition to helping develop the public service he wants an emphasis on growing agri-business.

“Leveraging off things like the Chinese machinery that is going to be available to clear large tracts of land in the outer islands. Tied into that will be issues around shipping and transportation, and maybe looking at subsidising some of those costs to make it viable for the outer islands to get into the production side of things.”

The Cook Islands finance minister, Mark Brown.

The Donor Round Table is from February 9th-12th.

Radio New Zealand International 

8) Cooks Health Statistics Cause For Alarm
Public health initiatives questioned over rise in disease

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, February 9, 2015) – Statistics showing the rapid increase in numbers of new cases of Non-Communicable Diseases in the Cook Islands has sparked questions about the effectiveness of the country’s public health initiatives.

Statistics obtained by Cook Islands News reveal the number of new cases of NCDs have increased from 264 in 2013 to 291 cases last year.

Deaths associated with NCDs increased from 81 in 2013 to 83 last year.

The Ministry of Health’s director of funding and planning, Ana Silatolu-Matai-tini, says the Ministry is focused on creating awareness of NCDs and is launching a new health initiative next month.

She says as part of efforts to create awareness of the reality of NCDs it plans to publish a quarterly report.

On March the 5th, the Ministry will launch Cook Islands ‘NCD Day’, which will feature free community health screening, the launch of an outdoor gym in town and the release of a number of strategic documents.

Radio New Zealand International 

9) Tuvalu Minister Hopes To Expand NZ Seasonal Employment Scheme
Negotiate program extension to build trade skill capacity

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, February 7, 2015) – Tuvalu’s foreign minister says he hopes to begin negotiating an expansion of New Zealand’s seasonal employer scheme to include trades sometime this year.

Currently the scheme allows people from some Pacific Islands to pick fruit in New Zealand, but Taukelina Finikaso says he wants the scheme expanded to trades that will provide people with skills to take back to Tuvalu.

Mr Finikaso says while the scheme is popular in Tuvalu, it would be good for people to gain skills and qualifications in things such as building or carpentry.

“In this I mean trades that these young men and young women can take back to Tuvalu and it’ll be very useful for their lives in Tuvalu, because as you know we don’t have horticulture in Tuvalu like strawberries and those sorts of things.”

Taukelina Finikaso says he has raised the idea with New Zealand’s foreign and immigration ministers, who have put forward the idea of Tuvaluans joining the Christchurch rebuild.

Radio New Zealand International 

10) Tuvalu welcomes more flights

By Online Editor
4:22 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Tuvalu

Tuvalu’s foreign minister has welcomed the announcement of regular flights between his country, Samoa and Kiribati, but says he would like to see larger aircraft flying to Tuvalu.
 
Samoa Air and the Kiribati airline, Coral Sun Airways, have announced their intention to provide regular flights between the two countries and Tuvalu’s main atoll, Funafuti.
 
Taukelina Finikaso says the announcement is very exciting, but the service will only be serviced by a very small plane.
 
“That is very exciting news that we heard about, but unfortunately the plane is a very small plane — it’s an eight seater. However it is very encouraging that something is starting and hopefully we will get on to bigger planes.”
 
Fiji Airways already operates regular services between Funafuti and Nadi, but Taukelina Finikaso says he would like to see Tuvalu connected to other Pacific countries.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS
 
MICRONESIA

11) Kiribati Leader of Opposition loses battle with cancer


9 February 2015 

The Kiribati Independent reports the 67-year-old medical doctor and businessman, passed away on Friday after a battle with cancer.

The brother in law of the former Kiribati President, Teburoro Tito, Dr Taitai was the country’s Secretary of Health in the 1980s and early 1990s, and become the Secretary of Cabinet in 1994.

In 2012, Taitai lost the presidential election to the incumbent President, Anote Tong, who was re-elected to a third term.RNZI

12) CNMI utility losses 80 million over 9 years

9 February 2015 

The utilities provider in the Northern Marianas has incurred more than 80 million US dollars in operating losses since 2006.

The latest figures come from the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation’s rate consultant, Dan Jackson.

Mr Jackson says that the utility might have one year left if it continues to struggle financially.

He says the number one reason for the utility’s tenuous state is the government’s failure to pay its debts.

Those arrears equate to 61 percent of the agency’s operating budget.RNZI

13) Absentee voting begins in Yap

By Online Editor
3:59 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Micronesia, Federated States of

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Election Office has opened the absentee ballots for eligible voters who will be off-island on or before the National Election Day on March 3, 2015.
 
The branch office  begins in Yap is advising travelers who will not be on island during the election to find time and cast their votes before they begin their traveling.
 
During this election, voters in Yap will choose their representatives in both the 2-year term and 4-year term seats in the Congress of the FSM.
 
The National Election Office, located at the old supply building across from the Yap Living History Museum, is open during government working hours Monday to Friday until March 2, 2015 at which time the absentee ballots will be closed.
 
All eligible voters who will be traveling off-island and cannot make it back to Yap on or before the election on March 3, 2015 are advised to cast their ballots one of these days as there is still plenty of time; however, voters must note that they are only allowed to vote once, either before or on election day.
 
SOURCE: MARIANAS VARITY/PACNEWS

14) Marshalls parliament law violates the constitution

By Online Editor
4:08 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Marshall Islands

An unprecedented election challenge goes to the Marshall Islands High Court this week, and the question is simple: can a naturalized citizen who meets all requirements of the country’s constitution stand for election to parliament?
 
The Electoral Administration and the attorney general say no because the parliament added qualifications, including the requirement that to run for a seat in parliament, a candidate must have at least one parent of Marshallese descent and traditional land rights through a lineage.
 
But Jack Niedenthal, through his attorney David Strauss, has asked the High Court to issue a summary judgment in favor of his eligibility, saying the candidate requirements adopted by parliament violate multiple sections of the constitution.
 
A key element of Niedenthal’s case described by Strauss in a 17-page brief filed with the High Court is the assertion that the constitution does not give the parliament authority to expand on the basic candidate rules in the constitution.
 
Niedenthal has lived in the Marshall Islands since the early 1980s, and has worked for many years for the Bikini Atoll Local Government.
 
Strauss argues that Chief Electoral Officer Almen Robson cannot disqualify any candidate for the parliament who is a citizen of Marshall Islands, is at least 21 years old, is not certified insane, and is not currently serving a sentence or on parole for a felony — the four qualifications listed in the constitution.
 
In support of the motion for summary judgment, Strauss said there is no dispute about the facts in the case. The issue at hand is a matter of law for the court to decide — is Niedenthal a qualified candidate?
 
“Every qualified voter who has attained the age of 21 years is qualified to be a candidate for election as a member of the Nitijela,” reads one provision of the constitution. Niedenthal is a qualified voter under the Constitution and has voted in the last three general elections, Strauss said.
 
Almen disqualified Niedenthal because the Elections and Referenda Act 1980 says: “Any person wishing to stand for election to the Nitijela must, whether born within the Republic, possess traditional land rights and have either a mother or a father of Marshallese descent with customary jowi.”
 
Strauss cites several U.S. Supreme Court rulings that struck down attempts to change candidate qualifications, noting it is a fundamental principle of representative democracy embodied in the U.S. Constitution that “the people should choose whom they please to govern them.” Marshall Islands law is patterned after the U.S., and the courts in the Marshalls frequently look to U.S. case law for guidance.
 
“In Niedenthal’s case, if the qualifications for candidacy are to be altered or added to those in the Constitution, it cannot be legislation enacted by the parliament but by constitutional amendment,” said Strauss.
 
Article II, Section 14 of the constitution’s Bill of Rights further supports this: “Every person has the right to participate in the electoral process, whether as a voter or as a candidate for office, subject only to the qualifications prescribed in this Constitution and to election regulations which make it possible for all eligible persons to take part.”
 
The Chief Electoral Officer’s position that this provision gives the parliament power to further regulate the elections by legislation is “off-base,” said Strauss.
 
He points out that there is no “election regulation” concerning the qualifications of candidates and even if there were, if it was the same as the provision in the Elections and Referenda Act, “that regulation would also violate the Constitution.”
 
“The language which the CEO seems unable to understand is ‘election regulations which make it possible for all eligible persons to take part,’” Strauss said. “The CEO apparently believes that a regulation can be implemented which would make an eligible person ineligible.
 
There is no such election regulation and the Constitution does not empower the (parliament) to alter or add qualifications for candidates by Act.”
 
Strauss supports his point by noting that the Constitution does provide numerous examples where parliament is given the power to supplement provisions of the Constitution. But, he emphasizes: “Nowhere in the Constitution does it provide the Nitijela with power to alter or add to the Constitutional qualifications for candidates by Act.”
 
Besides violating constitutional election provisions, the government’s action in disqualifying Niedenthal also violates the bill of rights, which states that “no law shall…discriminate against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, place of birth, family status or descent.”
 
Strauss called the parliament’s election law “a blatant violation of the Constitutional provision against the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of national or social origin, place of birth, family status or descent that it defies reason as to how the (parliament) could have thought it could pass constitutional muster. Or, maybe it explains why nobody has attempted to enforce such additional qualifications for candidates.”
 
The unprecedented election dispute is scheduled for a 19 February hearing before High Court Judge Dinsmore Tuttle.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

15) Nauru Launches Disaster Framework
Collaborative effort between regional organizations

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, February 9, 2015) – Nauru’s Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction was developed through a collaborative effort between various regional organisations including the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Nauru is highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, including coastal and inland flooding, extreme weather events, and changes in sea surface temperature.

Nauru’s Minister for Commerce, Industry and Environment, Aaron Cook, says the document is the first of its kind for Nauru.

He says the framework will assess risks in key sectors – food and water security, infrastructure, emergency services – and making them more resilient to the negative impacts of climate change.

Radio New Zealand.

16) CNMI, Reintroduction Of Political Status Bill
Proposed creation of second Marianas Political Status Commission

By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, February 9, 2015) – Representative Felicidad T. Ogumoro has re-introduced a bill that proposes to create a second Marianas Political Status Commission to examine whether the people desire to remain in political union with the United States.

House Bill 19-2 also aims to determine if some other political status would better enable the people of the CNMI to fulfill their aspirations of full and meaningful self-government.

A similar measure was vetoed in May 2014 by Gov. Eloy S. Inos, citing its “problematic language” — specifically the provision stating that members of the political status commission should be persons of Northern Marianas descent.

In Aug. 2014, Ogumoro introduced a new bill that, she said, addressed the governor’s concern, but it was not passed by the Legislature.

Like the previous bills, H.B. 19-2 will provide the commission with $100,000 for its operations.

According to the bill, the commission “shall make quarterly reports to the presiding officers of each house of the Legislature regarding the actual expenditure of all funds appropriated for its operations.”

The commission will have nine voting members and two non-voting ex-officio members — the speaker of the House and the Senate president.

The bill states that no person “shall be appointed to or serve on the commission unless he or she is over 25 years of age, has never been convicted of a felony, or if convicted, has been fully pardoned, and who is a United States citizen and has been domiciled in the Northern Mariana Islands for at least five consecutive years at the time of appointment.”

Marianas Variety 

 New Zealand International 

AUSTRALIA

17) Australian PM Abbott survives leadership spill motion

By Online Editor
7:29 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Australia

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has won a Liberal Party verdict on his leadership by 61 votes to 39 in a dramatic threat that saw angry federal MPs try to install a new Prime Minister.
 
The forces lined up against the Prime Minister secured more votes than many expected in a sure sign the government’s leadership fight will continue.
 
Abbott won support from cabinet ministers and many others to stare down a “backbench revolution” sparked by his recent decisions, forcing him to promise big changes to his governing style.
 
Liberals saw Malcolm Turnbull as the clear candidate to replace Abbott if the spill succeeded but the Communications Minister did not declare his candidacy, waiting instead to see the will of the backbench.
 
While some ministers may have voted against Abbott, the size of the vote for the spill could indicate that more than half the backbench wants a change in leader and direction.
 
There are 102 in the partyroom but one, Ross Vasta, was not at the meeting because his wife has just given birth. One member of the partyroom voted informal.
 
The partyroom includes 35 Liberal ministers and parliamentary secretaries obliged by convention to support the Prime Minister.
 
Many of the remaining 67 members of the Liberal backbench backed the spill motion moved by Luke Simpkins and seconded by Don Randall, both from Western Australia.
 
Those who publicly spoke in favour of the motion included Sharman Stone, Dennis Jensen, Andrew Laming and Arthur Sinodinos, an influential figure given his long service as chief of staff to John Howard before becoming a Senator.
 
Abbott had warned his colleagues of the risk of change but some MPs had spoken up for the spill motion on the grounds that the government needed a debate to consider alternative leaders.
 
Queensland MP Wyatt Roy told The Australian he supported the spill motion because the party he would vote for the spill.
 
“I think our party room needs to hear from all potential candidates on their visions for the future of the government and the country,” Roy said on Sunday night.
 
Roy had wanted several senior figures — not only Abbott but also Turnbull, Bishop and Social Services Minister Scott Morrison — to set out their ideas.
 
“It’s a very bad day for Tony Abbott, there’s no doubt about it,” former Howard government minister Peter Reith told Sky News.
 
 Reith said a “serious number” of the ministry would peel away from Abbott because the vote against him was so high, ensuring the threat to the Prime Minister would continue.

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN

18) West Papua i kisim bikpla helpim long Social Midia

Updated 9 February 2015, 13:39 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Ol nupla teknology na wok blong social midia i helpim gut wok blong Free West Papua kempein long tokaut long ol heve em Indonesia isave mekim egensim ol pipal blong West Papua.

Odio: Caroline Tiriman i ripot long social midia i apim awenes blong ol heve em ol West Papua pipal isave bungim long gavman blong Indonesia

Ol nupla teknology na wok blong social midia i helpim gut wok blong Free West Papua kempein long tokaut long ol heve em Indonesia isave mekim egensim ol pipal blong West Papua.

Nau planti pipal long Pacific rijan na tu long Wold isave gut long ol wari blong Human Rights abuse em militari blong Indonesia isave mekim egensim ol pipal stat iet long taem Indonesia bin kisim West Papua long 1960’s.

Indonesia tu ibin putim strongpla tambu long ol journalists igo insaet long West Papua long planti yia pinis, tasol wok blong social midia nau i wok long senisim despla midia ban.

Social midia we emi karamapim ol samting olsem, facebook, na twitter iwok long apim nau save blong ol pipal long ol bikpla heve emi wok long kamap long West Papua, na tu i apim save blong ol pipal long laik blong ol pipal blong West Papua long bruk lusim Indonesia.

Ol pipal blong despla tupla provins blong Indonesia, Papua na West Papua nau itok oli hamamas tru olsem social midia iwok long bringim stori blong ol igo long olgeta hap blong Pacific rijan na tu long wold.

Long  wik igo pinis long nambawan taem tru, wanpla Praim Minista blong PNG, Peter O’Neill ibin tokaut olsem taem i kamap pinis blong PNG imas sapotim ol brata susa blong ol long West Papua.

Praim Minista O’Neill ibin tok makim social midia olsem emi wanpla bikpla wok we emi apim awenes long wari blong ol West papua pipal.

Emmanuel Narokobi, wanpla mansave blong inofrmation teknology long PNG husat isave lukautim  Masalai blog, itok emi hamamas long luksave blong Praim Minista O’neill long luksave long wok blong social midia long wari blong West Papua.

Wanpla lida blong United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), indipendant activist
Benny Wenda tu itok emi hamamas tru long wok blong social midia.Radio Australia

19) Solomon Islands National haus sik i nidim bulut

Updated 9 February 2015, 13:54 AEDT

Sam Seke

National Referral Hospital blong Solomon Islands long Honiara igat bikpela nid yet long sait long blad oa bulut long yusim long haus sik.

Odio: Man igo pas long Medical Laboratory long National Referral Haus sik long Solomon Islands, Donald Tahani i tokok wantem Sam Seke

National Referral Hospital blong Solomon Islands long Honiara igat bikpela nid yet long sait long blad oa bulut long yusim long haus sik.

Het blong Medical Laboratory long haus sik, Donald Tahani i tokaut long dispela bihain long bikpela apil oa askim ol i mekim wanpela mun i go pinis long pipol i givim bulut.

Long taim ia, National Referral Hospital i stap insait long situesen we ol i nogat bulut long givim long ol sik pipol husat i nidim bulut.

Mr Tahani itok ol ibin kolektim sampela bulut wantaim halvim blong Red Cross, sampela kampani na gavman blong Australia.

Tasol em i tok nid blong bulut long haus sik i wok long go antap olgeta taim, na ol i nidim planti moa blad.

Bulut emi wanpla bikpla samting emi save helpim ol pipal husat i nogt planti bulut long bodi blong ol, na tu emi save helpim ol mama em oli gat bel sopos oli karim pikinini na oli lusim planti bulut.Radio Australia

 20) Vanuatu nau igat bikpla wari long Drugs

Updated 9 February 2015, 16:01 AEDT
Sam Seke

Vanuatu Women egensim crime na korapsan itokaut long despla wari na oli laikim gavman long wok had moa long daonim despla wari.

Odio: Jenny Ligo, President blong Women Against Crime and Corruption long Vanuatu i toktok wantem Sam Seke

Women Against Crime and Corruption oganisesan long Vanuatu i singaut long gavman long putim bikpla wok long dil wantaim wari blong marijuana na ol arapela drag long kantri.

President blong WACC, Jenny Ligo i mekim dispela toktok bihain long ol ripot long sait long heve blong marijuana i kamap bikpela long Port Vila, Santo na sampela rural eria long kantri.

Ms Ligo i tok heve long ol illegal drag long kantri nau i karamapim planti ol arapela kain drag na ino marijuana tasol.

Em i tok ol dispela drag i wok long bagarapim laip blong planti ol yangpela na tu i bagarapim ol femili na komuniti.

Ms Ligo i askim gavman na ol arapela otoriti long kantri long dil wantaim dispela heve.

Em i askim tu ol papa na mama long lukautim gut pikinini blong ol.

Planti Helt otoriti isave tok olsem sopos ol pipal isave iusim ol kaen drugs olsem Marijuana olgeta taem, bai oli ken gat sik long hed blong ol oa oli ken long long.Radio Australia

FRENCH

21) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 9 février 2015

Mis à jour 9 February 2015, 16:49 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

Près de deux mois après la prise d’otages meurtrière de Sydney, en Australie, des survivants ont témoigné pour la première fois à la télévision, hier soir.

Ils ont raconté comment certains otages ont réussi à s’échapper du café où les retenait Man Haron Monis. D’autres ont dit leur culpabilité de ne rien avoir tenté contre le preneur d’otages. Ces témoignages ont été diffusés en même temps par deux chaînes concurrentes. Des témoignages rétribués : l’une des ex-otages aurait touché plus de 300 000 dollars. 

  • Le Premier ministre et héros de la lutte pour l’indépendance du Timor oriental, Xanana Gusmao, démissionne. À 68 ans, il souhaite laisser la place à une nouvelle génération d’hommes politiques. Depuis l’indépendance du Timor oriental en 2002, Xanana Gusmao a toujours occupé de hautes fonctions : président ou Premier ministre. Sa démission n’est pas une surprise : il l’évoquait depuis plus d’un an.
  • Les droits de l’homme en recul en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. La situation a empiré l’an dernier, selon Human Rights Watch, qui cite un certain nombre de problèmes : l’inégalité des sexes, la violence, la corruption et l’utilisation excessive de la force par la police. Il y a aussi un problème de gouvernance, souligne l’ONG, rappelant que le Premier ministre Peter O’Neill a renvoyé plusieurs responsables-clés et tenté de dissoudre la principale agence anti-corruption du pays.
  • La Chine fait un don aux forces de police de Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée : 20 motos et 10 000 uniformes. Un cadeau bienvenu à quelques mois des Jeux du Pacifique.
  •  À ce propos, justement, le Comité des Jeux du Pacifique vient d’effectuer une nouvelle visite à Port-Moresby, pour évaluer l’avancée des travaux, et il se montre très enthousiaste. Selon les inspecteurs, la situation s’est nettement améliorée, tout sera prêt à temps, et à part pour le netball et le tennis de table, chaque compétition sportive se déroulera sur un terrain approprié. Les Jeux du Pacifique se dérouleront du 4 au 18 juillet prochain. Radio Australia

22) Australie : Tony Abbott toujours Premier ministre, mais affaibli

Mis à jour 9 February 2015, 17:02 AEDT
Élodie Largenton
Tony Abbott reste Premier ministre de l’Australie. Il a survécu à une motion de défiance au sein de son parti.
Tony Abbott reste en poste à Canberra. (Credit: ABC) 
Le vote a eu lieu ce lundi matin. Les députés du parti libéral ont rejeté cette motion par 61 voix contre 39, ce dont s’est félicité Tony Abbott :
 
« Ce problème est derrière nous. Nous sommes absolument déterminés à travailler pour vous, qui nous avez élu. Nous voulons mettre fin à la désunion et à l’incertitude qui ont ruiné deux gouvernements travaillistes, et nous voulons vous donner le gouvernement que vous méritez. »
 
Mais malgré ce succès, le Premier ministre apparaît toujours aussi vulnérable, alors qu’il n’est au pouvoir que depuis 16 mois. Sa cote de popularité est au plus bas – selon un nouveau sondage, paru dans le journal The Australian, il ne récolte que 24% d’opinions favorables.
En cause : sa politique d’austérité, mais aussi ses nombreuses maladresses – le jour de la fête nationale, Tony Abbott a ainsi décidé d’anoblir le prince Philip, l’époux de la reine Elisabeth II ; une décision très contestée au sein même de son propre camp.
 
Le Premier ministre assure « avoir entendu les plaintes de ces collègues », ce que veut croire Luke Simpkis, parlementaire de l’Australie de l’Ouest, à l’origine de la motion de défiance :
 
« Je pense que cela a été une bonne sonnette d’alarme pour Tony Abbott. Le Premier ministre a compris que la communauté était inquiète, de même que les députés de son parti, et je suis sûr qu’il va bien se remettre en route. »
 
Même si Tony Abbott est maintenu à la tête du pays, entreprises et syndicats en ont profité, aujourd’hui, pour appeler à un changement de politique. La Chambre de commerce et d’industrie australienne demande ainsi au gouvernement de travailler en équipe pour remettre l’économie sur la bonne voie. Les syndicats, eux, veulent l’arrêt des coupes budgétaires. Ged Kearney, présidente du Conseil australien des syndicats :
 
« Nous aimerions voir un gouvernement qui est prêt à investir et non à réduire les fonds. Nous voulons la fin de ces coupes budgétaires injustes dans le domaine de la santé et de l’éducation. Nous voulons que le gouvernement commence à investir dans l’industrie, et fasse en sorte de créer des emplois. »
 
Malgré le ralentissement de la croissance économique en Australie, dû à l’effondrement des cours des matières premières, le chômage reste limité, à 6,1%.Radio Australia
 
PASIFIK

23) Uncertainty Surrounding Upcoming Pacific Leaders Meeting
Driven by Fiji calls for review of Forum regional architecture

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, February 7, 2015) – The Lowy Institute for International Policy says there is a sense of anticipation and uncertainty surrounding next month’s Pacific Leaders Meeting in Australia.

The special meeting, which is separate to the Pacific Forum Leaders meeting, is being hosted by Australia as a direct result of calls by Fiji for a review of the regional architecture before it reengages with the forum.

The Director of Lowy’s Melanesia program, Jenny Hayward Jones, says while Fiji is the instigator of the meeting it is still a valid discussion that needs to happen.

” I think Fiji in particular needs to air with the other leaders what it wants from the forum what it wants from regional architecture. And I think it will be interesting to hear from Australia and others to hear from the region on what they want. I don’t think Fiji can claim to have the whole region behind it on its desire to kick Australia and New Zealand out. But it will be interesting to see how much compromise goes on.”

The Director of Lowy’s Melanesia program, Jenny Hayward Jones.

Radio New Zealand International 

24) Dame Meg calls for greater regionalism

9 February 2015 

Last year’s Forum Leaders’ summit in Palau endorsed the formation of a sub-committee to focus on the implementation of their ‘Framework for Pacific Regionalism’.

Dame Meg says the framework calls for a new regional public policy process.

Ms Taylor has told the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific that it demands game-changing interventions in support of a new regional politic.

Dame Meg says at the heart of deepened regionalism is clear control by leaders of the regional agenda.

She says if the Forum cannot collectively support the leaders’ vision then it needs to re-think what it is there to do.RNZI

EDUCATION

25) Education Minister: Schools To Start Receiving Grants Tomorrow
‘Education one of governments main priorities’


By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, February 8, 2015) – Schools around the country should start receiving the $15 million [US$7,330,000] education grant for the first term from tomorrow, says Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy.

Confirming this to FijiLive, Dr Reddy said they have received the funds from the Finance Ministry and are currently in the processing stage.

“We have received the funds from the Ministry of Finance, It’s there with us so we’re just processing it and it should be in the school’s accounts by early next week,” Reddy said.

This will see the Ministry paying out about 70 per cent of the Term 1 grant to the schools.

Education is one of Government’s main priorities which saw $35m [US$17,104,000] being budgeted for free education from Year 1-Y8 and $31.4m [US$15,345,000]from Years 9-13, this is different from the $20m [US$9,774,000] bus fare subsidy for Education.

Fijilive 

POLITIC

26) Grace period over, PNG Government leadership can be challenged

By Online Editor
4:11 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

The 30-month grace period protecting Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill from a vote of no-confidence has ended and rumours are rife that moves are afoot to topple him.
 
The grace period expired last week and so far only two key coalition partners had given their reassurance of O’Neill’s continued leadership, further fuelling speculation that a serious challenge would be made when Parliament starts tomorrow for the first session of the year.
 
Islands-based People’s Progress Party and Highlands-based United Resources Party said on Friday they were with O’Neill and his People’s National Congress. The other key coalition partner is Momase-based National Alliance led by Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch.
 
PPP leader Ben Micah told O’Neill in Tok Pisin that PPP, the party he leads, was “solidly behind” him.
 
There had been speculations since the grace period ended last Wednesday that Micah was orchestrating moves to topple O’Neill.
 
Another speculation was that Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah, disillusioned at being unceremoniously dumped by Kandep MP Don Polye for the Opposition Leadership, may join Government to bolster its ranks.
 
Micah is the Public Enterprises Minister, and was chief of staff to Prime Minister O’Neill between Aug 2011 and March 2012.
 
“I can’t speak for the others but you can be assured of the support of the party that introduced the provincial government reforms in 1995, which you are continuing with district authorities,” he told the Prime Minister.
 
At the halfway mark of the five-year term of the current Parliament, the O’Neill-led Government appeared strong and stable.
 
A report card of the implementation of its core policies and development programs, presented at the Leaders Summit last Thursday, received glowing praise from those present, including representatives from the private sector.
 
Leader of the United Resources Party William Duma, who is Transport Minister, also declared his party’s support for the Prime Minister.
 
Attempts to get Opposition Leader Don Polye and Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah for their comments  were unsuccessful.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

27) PNG Opposition Calls For PM’s Removal
At issue, lingering corruption concerns


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, February 9, 2015) – Papua New Guinea’s deputy opposition leader says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill needs to be removed because corruption in government is being allowed to prevail.

Sam Basil’s comment comes as PNG’s parliament is due to resume this week and the grace period for motions of no-confidence against a Prime Minister has lapsed.

Mr Basil says with more than ten MPs referred to the Public Prosecutor for alleged misconduct in office, plus three in prison for abuse of public funds, the current government must be held accountable for the state of governance.

He says the Prime Minister, who was recently referred to a leadership tribunal for alleged misconduct, has set the tone.

“You look at the number of pending court cases and leadership tribunals and all the unpopular decisions that have been hanging over the O’Neill/Dion government, it all leads to corruption. I think everybody knows that this government has to be changed. That is why we understand that a change is imminent and it will happen.”

PNG’s deputy opposition leader, Sam Basil.

Radio New Zealand International 

28) Scrutiny of Fiji accounts “co-operative”

9 February 2015 

The chair of Fiji’s Public Accounts Committee says its members are cooperating well as they scrutinise seven years’ worth of government accounts.

Biman Prasad says the committee is acting in a bi-partisan manner for the interests of the people of Fiji.

The key committee was in a state of impasse after its re-instatement following the September election when government MPs on the committee questioned the chairmanship of Dr Prasad who has criticised the military regime’s handling of the country’s finances.

Dr Prasad says the chairmanship issue is now history.

“And I am very pleased with the contribution of the three government members. I would rate their performance as excellent and I’m very pleased with the bi-partisan approach that we have taken.”

]Dr Prasad says senior public servants are also co-operating well by appearing before the committee and providing it with the necessary information.RNZI

29) 2015 an important year for parliament: Fijian Speaker

By Online Editor
7:16 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Fiji

Fijian Parliamentarians have been reminded that 2015 is an important year for Fiji’s parliament.
 
Welcoming the parliamentarian in the first sitting Monday, Speaker of the House, Dr Jiko Luveni says the public has high expectations from them this year.
 
She says that while last year was a learning process, parliamentarians should ensure that parliamentary democracy flourishes.
 
“I look forward to our parliament developing this year to ensure that we also effectively scrutinize legislation’s and increase the effectiveness of government’s scrutiny,” said Dr Luveni.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

BUSINESS

30) O’Neill: 2015 will be a defining year for PNG

By Online Editor
7:31 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

This year will be a defining year for Papua New Guinea, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
 
“2015 is a year when our national economy will reach a new level of growth and development, despite some strong headwinds from the global economy,” PM O’Neill told the Leaders Summit in Port Moresby last Thursday.
 
“2015 will also be the year when we host significant regional events including the Pacific Games and Pacific Islands Leaders’ Forum.”
 
“In 2015 we will celebrate 40 years of our nationhood.”
 
“And 2015 is also a year where the core policy areas of our Government, such as free education, better health care, stronger law and order, better infrastructure and stronger economy will take much deeper root around our nation.”
 
PM O’Neill said there had been a massive rollout of infrastructure nationally, from large infrastructure projects such as the Lae Tidal Basin, the Kookaburra flyover in Port Moresby, through to the construction of new classrooms, bridges, jetties and airports in rural locations.
 
“We have been a part of the expansion of our free education program that has placed more than two million children in schools,what a tremendous boost that will be for our nation as these children grow and enter the workforce.”
 
He said this government had been a part of the delivery of universal healthcare and the upgrade of many hospitals and many housing programs around our nation that are saving lives and keeping families together.
 
“We have been a part of the improvement of law and order that has come from an improving economy, and very importantly, from a better resourcing and a more structured approach to policing, correctional services and the justice sector in our country.”
 
“We have been part of a team that is building a strong economy, growing at a steady rate over the years.”
 
PM O’Neill said a lot more work needs to be done but the government is on the right track with clear sense of direction with achievable policies.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

31) Push for changes in Solomons development funds


9 February 2015 

The World Bank has proposed new architecture for rural service delivery in Solomon Islands.

A new Bank report shows 60 percent of more than 130 million US dollars spent on rural service delivery has come directly under the control of MPs with little or no accountability made for how it has been spent.

Bank official Erik Johnson says this means the majority of the country’s rural service delivery is going through the weakest channels with no transparency on its usage and effectiveness.

“It’s time for a co-ordinated approach where the distinct streams of funding and types of activities need to be better defined to eliminate heavy amounts of duplication. And also really enhance the integrity of each of these systems so that they’re delivering more effective development assistance to rural communities.”

Erik Johnson says the report contains a detailed set of recommendations for a new structure for rural service delivery which he hopes the new government will adopt.RNZI

32) Fiji Ministry Urges Caution In Overseas Job Searches
Use authorized agencies, Fijian in Kuwait cautionary tale

By Avinesh Gopal

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, February 9, 2015) – People wishing to secure employment overseas have been advised to only go through authorised recruiting agencies to avoid being duped by bogus employers.

The caution comes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after an incident where a Fijian woman is reportedly overstaying in Kuwait.

Foreign Affairs acting permanent secretary Esala Nayasi said given the strict rules observed by countries in the Middle East, the responsibility was on individuals to find out and have a feel of what they were signing up for prior to departure.

The Fiji Mission in Abu Dhabi is liaising with the Kuwaiti authorities, hoping to get the woman and her son, whom she delivered in Kuwait, return to Fiji.

Fiji Times Online.

33) Fiji Employers welcome new minimum wage rate

By Online Editor
4:20 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Fiji

—- Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation has welcomed the new national minimum wage.
 
Government has increased the rate from $2.00 (US$1.00) to $2.32 (US$1.13).
 
“At that time the employers had agreed that it was a good start and for us basically it’s business as usual and we have had one year to actually coming to $2.32,” said Nesbitt Hazelman
 
Government says that 100,000 workers are expected to benefit and will have their weekly wages increase from the regular $90.00 – $96.00 (US$44 – US$46) range, to the $104 – $111 (US$50 –US$55) range.
 
The onus now is for relevant stakeholders to comply with the new rate.
 
“ Obviously, some members had an issue with those categories of trainees, the government industry for example. But like I said we had one whole year now to address those issues and improve our productivity in our work places and give workers a better wage.”
 
FCEF hopes the wages forum will soon be formed to discuss further changes in the future if needed.
 
“We hope that we will be consulted and that the wages forum that is to be set up by the Ministry of Labour actually happens. Early days now but I know the Ministry is working hard to put together a wages forum where any future increases would be discussed with all stakeholders including FCEF.”
 
The new National Minimum Wage will come into effect from 01 July 2015.

SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

34) Fiji Trade Union Congress elect board members

By Online Editor
4:18 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Fiji

With a newly elected board, the Fiji Trade Union Congress (FTU) hopes to strongly advocate for workers rights.
 
And FTUC is already looking at holding consultations with government, to amend certain legislation.
 
With newly elected board members, FTUC says advocating for workers rights is high on the agenda.
 
“I think our people in this country don’t quite appreciate what these rights are.They rather have a free packet milk or free uniform , something free. They don’t value that as against their rights and because these rights not only affect us, they will affect future generations as well,” FTUC national secretary, Felix Anthony said.
 
FTUC also putting to rest certain issues raised.
 
“FTUC on its own is not a registered trade union. It’s an umbrella body of registered unions with registered trade unions affiliated. Than of course when other affiliates hold elections they will invite the elections office to supervise elections but as FTUC we are not a registered trade union,” added Anthony.
 
The union also looking at holding government accountable to it’s promises.
 
“The biggest concern that we have at the moment is the government’s decrees that actually particularly ENI Decree, the Administration of Justice Decree and the Civil Service Decree. These are decrees that actually violate all ILO conventions and we look forward to government acting on these decrees,” said FTUC’s national secretary.
 
“We work with every government in the past. We have differences but we need to work with them in order to push our cause particularly on issues of workers rights,” added FTUC president, Daniel Urai.
 
Felix Anthony became the national general secretary beating Rajeshwar Singh to the position and Daniel Urai was elected President unopposed.
 
SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER

35) Indonesia, Thailand ready to help PNG on death penalty

By Online Editor
10:03 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

The governments of Indonesia and Thailand are ready to help the Papua New Guinea inter-agency committee set up by Cabinet to implement the death penalty this year, Papua New Guinea Correctional Services Minister Jim Simatab says.
 
Indonesia will provide advice and technical assistance on the “death by firing squad” method and Thailand on “hanging”.
 
The National Executive Council (NEC) had approved three modes of execution – death by firing squad, hanging and administration of anaesthetics followed by lethal injection.
 
The committee comprises Government agencies and co-chaired by the Commissioner for Correctional Service and Secretary for the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.
 
The committee will meet this week and report to Cabinet on what they have come up with.
 
“After the committee meets, we should be able to carry out this Government decision to implement the death penalty,” Simatab said.
 
He said the death penalty would deter the small number of people “who have no value for human life”.
 
Serious crimes which attract the mandatory death sentence include treason, piracy and attempted piracy with actual violence, wilful murder that are of the worst categories as determined by case law precedent, aggravated rape and robbery with violence.
 
Department of Justice and Attorney-General Secretary Dr Lawrence Kalinoe said serious crimes which had been included were sorcery-related killings and rape of children under the age of 10.
 
Meanwhile, the  youngest of the 14 people intially on death row died from an illness last month while detained at Bomana Prison in Port Moresby, according to Correctional Services Minister Jim Simatab.
 
Another person on death row is still on the run after escaping from Baisu Prison in Western Highlands.
 
It leaves 12 currently on death row.    
 
Simatab said Fred Abenko, 16, from Esa’ala in Milne Bay, convicted of double wilful murder in 2007, died from hepatitis in prison.   
 
The prisoner on the run is Kepak Langa from Sangurap in Wabag, Enga.
 
The 12 left on death row will know what mode of execution awaits them once a committee on the implementation of death penalty meets and reports back to Cabinet this week.
 
The inter-agency committee comprises officers from the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Correctional Services, Police, Health, Community Development, National Planning and Monitoring and the National Judiciary Staff Service.
 
Department of Justice and Attorney-General Dr Lawrence Kalinoe told The National last week the methods of execution approved by Cabinet were death by firing squad, hanging and administration of anaesthetics followed by lethal injection.
 
Six of the 12 men were convicted on eight counts of wilful murder each and sea piracy.  They were sentenced to death in July, 2011.
 
They were found guilty of murdering passengers on a boat in East New Britain waters.
 
They are detained at Kerevat Prison in East New Britain.
 
They are Gregory Kiapkot, 41, from Lokanai in New Ireland, Martin Pigit, 39, from New Ireland, Peter Taul, 39, from Pilapila in East New Britain, Tobung Paraide, 43, from Pilapila, Bochea Agena, 44, and Kenny Wesley, 38, both from the Duke of York Islands, East New Britain.
 
Two men convicted of wilful murder and detained at Kerevat prison are Selman Amos, 64, and Misialis Amos, both from Kait, Konoagil in New Ireland.
 
Three men convicted of wilful murder and detained at Bomana Prison are Ben Simakot, 30, from Yangkok in West Sepik, and Mark Poroli, 33, from Koroba in Southern Highlands.  
 
Sedoki Lota, 21, was convicted of wilful murder in 2007 and detained at Bomana Prison.
 
Ambrose Lati, 49, from Wabag was convicted in 2009 of wilful murder and detained at Bomana.
 
Kalinoe said the 12 people on death row had exhausted all appeal and constitutional review processes, plus the plea for clemency.
 
He said critics of the death penalty had been claiming that the punishment was barbaric and not Christian in nature.
 
But he said the Government was convinced that when the death penalty was implemented fully, “it would send out a strong deterrence warning to citizens of this country not to commit crimes that would likely attract the mandatory death sentences”.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

  36) PNG Defence Force prepared to amend Defence Act

By Online Editor
7:14 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) has taken steps to make some legislative changes to its Act to ensure servicemen are well looked after when they retire from the force.
 
PNGDF commander Brigadier-General Gilbert Toropo made this known when presenting his report on the functions of the PNGDF at the leaders’ summit held at Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby.  
 
He said there had been numerous instances where servicemen continued to front up at the PNGDF headquarters to demand a change to certain provisions of the Defence Act to ensure those who leave the force were well taken care of financially to sustain themselves.
 
Brig-Gen Toropo said the necessary process to amend certain provisions had been considered and presented to both the Defence Minister and Treasury Minister to put to Parliament. He said these changes would at least improve the morale of servicemen and women.
 
Brig-Gen Toropo also highlighted some routine activities that PNGDF had conducted since 2014 by all elements of the defence force which included air, sea and land element.
 
He said there were still many challenges ahead and the force would continue to improve and commit itself to deliver its best to the country.
 
He said as part of the implementation of the PNGDF white paper, the defence force is looking at increasing the force by 5000 by 2017.
 
“The 5000 is not an increase, but is a baseline already mandated by the constitution. And for the first time in 10 years, we have recruited 500 defence personnel last year and we will continue to recruit,” Brig-Gen Toropo said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

37) PNG human rights take turn for worse

9 February 2015 

A new report from Human Rights Watch says Papua New Guinea’s human rights record took a turn for the worse in 2014.

The 2015 World Report cites gender inequality, violence, corruption and excessive use of force by police among the problems faced by the country.

Human Rights Watch’s Australia director, Elaine Pearson, says Papua New Guinea won’t see any improvement to its human rights situation unless the government enforces the law.

“Really until people see that there are penalties that will be inflicted on those engage in abuses and bad behaviour. We’re unlikely to see a real improvement in how people are treated and remedies for the victims of those abuses.”

Elaine Pearson says 2014 also saw a blow to rule of law and accountability when Prime Minister Peter O’Neill sacked key officials and disbanded the country’s main anti-corruption body.RNZI

38) China Donates For PNG Police Resource Improvement
Timely in lead up to improvements needed prior to Pacific Games

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, February 9, 2015) – China has given 20 motor bikes and 10,000 police uniforms to the Papua New Guinea police force to help it improve policing services throughout the city.

The deputy Police Commissioner for Administration, Awan Sete, says the force is very grateful and the Chinese Government has offered valuable assistance to boost the morale of the force.

Mr Sete says there is a need to provide adequate transport policing services to crack down on crime in the city, especially in the lead up to the Pacific Games, which is scheduled to take place in July.

He says the donation is very timely as it will not only be used by police officers in training but also be used to improve escort duties and security to international guests attending the Games.

The Ambassador for China, Li Rui You, says the increasing population of PNG calls for more equipment and logistics to assist the police officers in cracking down on law and order issues.

Radio New Zealand International 

39) PNG Human Rights Take Turn For The Worse
New report from Human Rights Watch


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, February 9, 2015) – A new report from Human Rights Watch says Papua New Guinea’s human rights record took a turn for the worse in 2014.

The 2015 World Report cites gender inequality, violence, corruption and excessive use of force by police among the problems faced by the country.

Human Rights Watch’s Australia director, Elaine Pearson, says Papua New Guinea won’t see any improvement to its human rights situation unless the government enforces the law.

“Really until people see that there are penalties that will be inflicted on those engage in abuses and bad behaviour. We’re unlikely to see a real improvement in how people are treated and remedies for the victims of those abuses.”

Elaine Pearson says 2014 also saw a blow to rule of law and accountability when Prime Minister Peter O’Neill sacked key officials and disbanded the country’s main anti-corruption body.

Radio New Zealand International 

40) Former PNG Parliamentary Staff Jailed For Fraud
‘Position of trust’ was sentencing factor


PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, February 6, 2015) – Two former staff members of Parliament have been jailed for a total of seven years on fraud-related charges involving K150,000 [US$56,000] of public funds.

Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika sentenced former chief financial officer Charlie Aopi, 49, to four years and travel clerk Lepsen Newe to three years.

Sir Gibbs said two years would be deducted from each man’s terms if the full amount was paid within one year from yesterday. Sir Gibbs said Newe got a lesser sentence because there was no evidence that he had received any of the K150,000 [US$56,000].

He said Aopi had received K5000 [US$1,800] while the remaining K145,000 [US$54,000] was taken by former clerk Don Pandan.

In mitigation, Aopi and Newe said they were first offenders.

They expressed remorse and promised to pay restitution.

But Sir Gibbs said the aggravating factors were that both persons were in positions of trust. He said they signed the cheque which they were not supposed to at that time and deliberately placed their loyalty on the wrong man who had conspired with them to commit the crime.

Aopi and Newe were convicted last November on one count of conspiracy to fraudulently obtain K150,000 [US$56,000] from the State, two counts of forgery, one count of uttering and one count of dishonestly applying to their own use, and to the use of Pandan in 2012. Both men worked in Parliament and were signatories to several accounts, including the National Parliament Imprest Account which the K150,000 [US$56,000] cheque was cashed from.

Sir Gibbs said they knew that Pandan’s term of contract had expired but negotiated the payment of the cheque.

The National

41) Solomons warns against ‘bogus agents’


9 February 2015 

The ministry says it has been alerted to illegitimate agents requesting money from people interested in doing seasonal work and falsely promising to send them to New Zealand and Australia.

Under the terms of the seasonal work schemes, agents are not permitted to charge any fees to applicants.

In a statement, a ministry spokesperson says people who want to participate in seasonal work overseas should never pay money to any person who promises to give them work under these schemes.

The ministry is warning that anyone claiming to be an agent and who does not have a license is committing fraud and will be referred to the police.

It is advising the public to verify the identity of recruiting agents before dealing with any agent and proceeding with the recruitment process.RNZI

42) UK rebuked for Fiji nuke veterans payment failure

9 February 2015

The chairman of the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Association, Roy Shelton says it is the UK and not Fiji which should be compensating Fiji’s nuclear test veterans.

His comments come after the Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama announced he could no longer wait for Britain and the veterans will be paid by his government.

The men are to get about five thousand US dollars each.

But Roy Shelton says no amount of money can compensate for the impact of the nuclear tests on veterans lives.

” The British government really needs to do the honourable thing. I think really it’s got to be the only government in the world that doesn’t give some meaningful recognition to its veterans and we include ourselves in that.”

The chairman of the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Association, Roy Shelton.RNZI

REFUGEE

43) Animator gives Manus asylum seekers a voice

9 February 2015 

An English film maker now living in Australia says he hopes his new animation on the plight of asylum seekers on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island will raise international debate on the issue of detention.

Lukas Schrank says he was inspired by an Australian government comic distributed like propaganda in Afganistan aiming to discourage people from going to Australia.

He says it has been very hard to find out what is happening on Manus and he hopes to give the refugees a global voice through animation.

“There’s about five or six of us working kind of all around the world. There’s two of us in Australia, there’s some people working on it in India, the Philippines, and Romania as well. So each person has a very niche job. Like I have one guy just doing trees and sky. And there’s one guy just doing characters. And I’m kind of putting everything together and working on the environments as well.”

Lukas Schrank says he hopes the film entitled ‘Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island’ will be available online by the end of March and he may also enter it on the festival circuit.RNZI

MINING,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES+

44) Mining giant Freeport to build Papua smelter

9 February 2015 

The Indonesian government has welcomed PT Freeport Indonesia’s decision to build two smelters in Indonesia, with one of them in the restive province of Papua.

The company has buckled to pressure after comments last week from the Governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe, who criticised the subsidiary of the US company Freeport McMoRan, for not investing in development in the remote province.

The Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister, Sudirman Said, says smelters will be built in Greik, on Java, and also in Papua.

In an exclusive interview with Tempo last week, Freeport Indonesia’s Director, Maroef Sjamsoeddin, said that a number of regional heads in Papua disagreed with Freeport’s decision to only build the smelter in Gresik.RNZI

45) EU yellow cards Solomon Islands

By Online Editor
10:17 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Solomon Islands

The European Union (EU) has warned Solomon Islands it needs to crack down on illegal fishing or it will impose a ban on the country’s tuna exports.
 
The EU’s head of development cooperation in Solomon Islands, Pavlos Evangelidis, says the warning is a way to help the Solomons curb illegal fishing.
 
“What it essentially means is that the EU has established a form of dialogue now with the Solomon Islands to help it progress – it is in the mutual benefit of both the Solomon Islands and the European Union
 
The European Commission has a regulation in place designed to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

SPORTS

46) Financial stability an ongoing challenge for PNG Rugby League

9 February 2015 

Rugby League bosses in Papua New Guinea says the game must take charge of its own finances to ensure long term stability.

A record number of affiliates attended the PNGRFL Annual General Meeting at the end of last month, where audited financial statements were presented to the membership for the first time in six years.

Chairman Sandis Tsaka says the administration is working hard to boost revenues but it remains dependant on government support and sponsorship to run programmes.

“We have to give them some confidence that the money they’re putting into the game is being put to good use and that we’re accountable for the dollars we receive from the corporate partners and the government but most of the challenge for us in the last 14 months, and it’s something that the board is addressing seriously, if we can show them we’re a credible organisation, better managed and accountable with transparent financial and management practices that hopefully will keep our corporate sponsors and governments to continue their support for the game”.

Sandis Tsaka says capitalising on the success of the Kumuls and Hunters brands is one avenue to boost income while the PNGRFL is also rebuilding their assets base in PNG.RNZI

47) Fijiana win bowl title at Sao Paulo Women’s Sevens

9 February 2015

The Fiji women’s team have won the bowl title at the Sao Paulo Sevens in Brazil.

Lavenia Tinai scored twice as the Fijiana came from a try down to beat Spain 17-12 in the final.

Fiji mixed a win over China with defeats to Brazil and Australia on day one, before edging South Africa in the bowl semis.

Meanwhile New Zealand extended their overall series lead, beating nearest rivals Australia 17-10 in the women’s Cup final.

Fiji dropped two places to eighth.RNZI

48) Samoa sevens team told to change attitude and discipline

9 February 2015

Samoa sevens captain Reupena Levasa admits their recent performances in the World Series have not been acceptable.

The Manu finished a lowly 14th in Wellington at the weekend, missing the Cup quarter finals for the third tournament running and winning just one game out of six.

After ending the tournament with a 26-10 defeat by Canada in the Shield final, Levasa says head coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua gave the team a dressing down.

“He feels very disappointed but at the end he still advises for some changes with us, especially our attitude and discipline, on the field and out of the field, so for us we have to work hard, especially next week’s tournament in Vegas”.

Reupena Levasa says there’s always a big Samoan fan base in Las Vegas and it’s good to be playing in a tournament where they’ve been successful, winning in 2010 and 2012.

However it won’t get any easier, with the Manu Sevens drawn in a blockbuster

Pool A alongside Wellington champions New Zealand, Pacific rivals Fiji and former World Champions Wales.

All Blacks Sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens was shocked when he found out the other teams in their pool.

“Yeah you feel confident but sevens is a pretty fickle game sometimes. On a smaller field you look at the support that Samoa get there – they’ve won that tournament a couple of times – and Fiji, of course, they will be wanting to get back too and Wales are never easy so we can expect tough games”.

Samoa slipped to ninth in the overall series standings following the Wellington tournament, while Fiji slipped to third after winning the Plate title.

South Africa remain on-top, ahead of New Zealand.RNZI

49) New Zealand win in style in São Paulo
By Online Editor
10:26 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, Brazil

New Zealand claimed the second leg of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series after beating rivals Australia in another epic clash between the two sides in São Paulo.

A try from player of the tournament Portia Woodman sealed the 17-10 win for her side, after the scores were locked at 10-10 in the second half.

The Kiwis were ahead at half time but a resolute effort from Australia, captained by Sharni Williams, saw a fight-back in the early stages of the second half. However, a scintillating break by Woodman saw her touch down in the corner to seal the second tournament victory for New Zealand this season

Speaking after the final whistle, winning coach Sean Horan said: “It was a real final – we knew it was going to be a game of chess. We were not lucky, but we got the rub of the green in the first half… and that got the momentum going.”

“There’s not much difference between these two sides, and I think that’s going to be the reality all the way through. It’s almost like the AB’s and South Africa – Aussie have gone really well and it’s credit to them.”

New Zealand captain Sarah Goss added: “To play Australia twice in a row and to get another win was amazing. The girls playing outstandingly and for Portia (Woodman) to get that try in the corner was epic.”

“Our first day was probably one of the best first days we’ve ever had, and to come in at the start of the year playing that kind of footy is great.”

Portia Woodman was named player of the tournament after a very impressive performance over the weekend in São Paulo, racking up a total of 13 tries, making her the series top scorer with over 60 touchdown’s since the inaugural season in 2012/2013.

Earlier, Canada and France fought it out for the third place spot, with the maple-leaf side easily beating their oppenents 19-0.

The plate final was contested between England and USA in Arena Barueri with the English ladies winning 14-5. The Bowl Final was claimed by Fiji, who won out a physical battle with Spain, 17-12.

World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “This weekend in Brazil we witnessed yet another great display of what the women’s series is all about – intensity, energy, high skill levels and passionate performances.”

“We can see the step-up at each round and this was typified with another thrilling final between New Zealand and Australia”

The next leg of the women’s series travels to Atlanta, USA with all the action kicking off at Kennesaw State University on 14 and 15 March.

SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS

50) Victorious All Blacks Sevens face tough test in Vegas
By Online Editor
10:19 pm GMT+12, 08/02/2015, New Zealand

New Zealand have been dealt a tough pool for this weekend’s Sevens World Series tournament in Las Vegas.

Fresh off their victory in Wellington on Saturday night, New Zealand were due to depart for the US today and they’re grouped with Fiji, Samoa and Wales at the three-day event in the gambling mecca.

It’s the toughest group of the tournament and all of the Pool A combatants, except Wales, have won the US stop in the world series previously.

Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas is a narrow field, which suits the physical play of the Samoans, while they also have strong support from the travelling Pacific community.

Fiji, third on the overall standings in the series behind New Zealand, will be smarting after they were knocked out in the quarter-finals in Wellington.

“Sevens is a pretty fickle game,” New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens said. “You look at that pool, we’ve got to get up for all of those games. It’s going to be tough going to Vegas.”

New Zealand’s victory in Wellington, sealed with a 27-21 triumph over England in the final, helped them move to second in the overall standings behind South Africa.

Finishing inside the top four this season is vital as it provides direct entry to next year’s Rio Olympics where sevens will make its debut.

“We’d love to win the series and we’ve got to continue from here,” Tietjens said after Saturday’s final. “We know the next tournament will be really tough.”

After playing in the US, the series takes a short break before tournaments in Hong Kong and Japan in late March and early April respectively. The nine-leg circuit wraps up in May with the final events in Scotland and England.

New Zealand’s win in Wellington was perhaps the most impressive of their eight titles in the capital given they were forced to play with so many youngsters.

They lost veteran Tim Mikkelson in the build-up with a groin injury, while skipper DJ Forbes missed the 17-7 semifinal win over South Africa and the final because of a foot complaint.

“It would be probably one of the highlights of my career,” Tietjens said of the victory.

With their experienced players on the shelf, New Zealand were led by Joe Webber, Scott Curry and Sam Dickson, while debutant Rieko Ioane was superb. The 17-year-old bagged two tries in the final after he needed a dispensation to play.

Ioane looks a player of true talent and Tietjens said he would like to have him at his disposal for the rest of the series.

SOURCE: NZ HERALD/PACNEWS

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