Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 955b


Lorsque nous sommes seuls à espérer et à vouloir, cela ne demeure bien souvent qu’un espoir et un vœu, mais lorsque nous espérons et voulons, ensemble, une nouvelle réalité prend immanquablement forme. Alors célébrons, en ce 20 mars, la force stimulante que nous confère la Francophonie. Célébrons les liens puissants que nous confèrent la langue, les valeurs, les espoirs et les ambitions que nous partageons. Célébrons une manière « francophone » de vivre ensemble, d’être au monde et de concevoir le monde.

Parce que la Francophonie, c’est d’abord la volonté de dire NON !

NON aux aspects les plus néfastes de la mondialisation, une mondialisation oublieuse de l’Homme, de sa dignité, de sa liberté, de ses droits les plus élémentaires, faute d’éthique, de régulations, de volontarisme.
NON aux inégalités économiques, sanitaires, éducatives, numériques toujours plus marquées.
NON aux conflits oubliés, aux populations civiles, singulièrement les femmes, abandonnées aux exactions les plus viles.
NON à l’impunité et à l’immunité des auteurs de crimes contre l’humanité.
NON à l’uniformisation culturelle et linguistique qui menace le patrimoine intellectuel et la création mondiale, mais aussi la démocratie internationale.
NON au relativisme culturel qui défie l’universalité des droits de l’Homme et menace la paix.

Mais la Francophonie, ce n’est pas pour autant vouloir cristalliser les contestations, les colères, les frustrations, c’est vouloir les dépasser en éradiquant leurs causes.

C’est vouloir, dans notre espace, promouvoir l’éducation et la formation, l’enseignement supérieur et la recherche, et développer la coopération au service du développement durable.
C’est vouloir accompagner l’ancrage de l’Etat de droit, de la démocratie et des droits de l’Homme, tant à l’échelle nationale qu’internationale.

C’est vouloir, dans l’urgence comme dans le long terme, dans la prévention structurelle et l’alerte précoce comme dans la consolidation, œuvrer à la résolution politique, judiciaire, voire militaire de toutes les crises et de tous les conflits qui déchirent nombre de nos pays.

C’est vouloir s’investir sans relâche pour que la langue française demeure, aux côtés d’autres grandes langues internationales, la langue de la création, de la recherche, de l’innovation, de la société de l’information, de l’emploi, la langue officielle et de travail des organisations internationales.
C’est vouloir, pour ce faire, renforcer sans cesse un multilatéralisme véritablement assumé, dans la concertation comme dans l’action.

C’est vouloir fédérer les énergies agissantes des réseaux de la société civile et des organisations non gouvernementales.
C’est vouloir se mobiliser pour améliorer la situation et la condition des femmes, actrices majeures, mais aux potentialités encore trop peu reconnues.
C’est vouloir susciter les jeunes vocations, révéler les jeunes talents, pour mieux s’adjoindre leurs compétences.

La Francophonie, c’est donc avoir l’audace de penser que nous avons, ensemble, une emprise sur notre destinée commune.

Que cette Journée internationale de la Francophonie soit donc l’occasion de fêter, avec enthousiasme et fierté, cet optimisme de l’espérance et cette audace de la volonté.

Abdou DIOUF Secrétaire général de la Francophonie


When we only hope and wish, it often remains a hope and a wish, but when we want and hope, together, a new reality is inevitably form. So celebrate, in March 20, the stimulating force that gives us the Francophonie. Celebrating strong links that we provide the language, values, hopes and aspirations we share. Celebrating a “French” way of living together, of being in the world and the design world.

Because the Francophonie is the first will say NO!

NO to the worst aspects of globalization, a globalization of the forgetful man, his dignity, his freedom, his most basic lack of ethical duties, regulations, voluntarism.
NO economic inequality, health, educational, digital still greater.
NOT to be forgotten, the civilian population, particularly women, abandoned to the most vile abuses conflicts.
NO to impunity and immunity for perpetrators of crimes against humanity.
NO to the cultural and linguistic uniformity that threatens the intellectual heritage and the world premiere, but also the international democracy.
NO cultural relativism that challenges the universality of human rights and threatens peace.

But the Francophonie is not actually aiming to crystallize the challenges, anger, frustration is wanting exceed eradicating their causes.

Is wanting in our space, promote education and training, higher education and research, and develop cooperation for sustainable development.
This is to escort the anchoring of the rule of law, democracy and human rights, both nationally and internationally.

Is wanting in the emergency as in the long term in structural prevention and early warning as in the consolidation work for the political resolution, judicial, military or all crises and conflicts in all many of our countries.

It is wanting to invest tirelessly for the French language remains, alongside other major international languages, the language of creation, research, innovation, information society, the employment, the official and working language of international organizations.
Is wanting to do this continuously strengthen multilateralism actually assumed in the consultation as in action.

Is wanting to unite the acting energy networks of civil society and non-governmental organizations.
Is wanting to take action to improve the situation and status of women, major actors, but the potential is still too little recognized.
Is wanting to encourage young vocations, reveal young talents to better enlist their skills.

La Francophonie, so is having the audacity to think that we, together, a grip on our common destiny.

This International Day of Francophonie is therefore an opportunity to celebrate with enthusiasm and pride, optimism of hope and audacity of will.

Abdou Diouf   Secretary General of the Francophonie

C/- VANGO Secretariat.

Vanuatu daily news digest | 20 March 2014

by bobmakin

Once again it’s two days’ news in one, and the Prime Minister is officially visiting the victims of cyclone Lusi on Santo. The northern big island is also in the news for seekingmunicipal status for Port Olry village with a population of over 4,000 and hoping to win more investors for the region according to Leon Kathy Warsal. All custom owners have apparently agreed to give their land for the purpose. Port Olry is said to be ripe for further development in the tourism sector. Negotiations are proceeding, says Radio Vanuatu.

The national coordinator of the Customary Land Management Office (CLMO) sayslands on which there are pending cases in the lands tribunals now fall under the new law of the Customary Land Management Act. All such cases, says Alicta Vuti to Radio Vanuatu News, will be dealt with in accordance with the new law. Cases pending under the village, area or island tribunal should be referred to the CLMO for transferral to the appropriate jurisdiction.

The Vaturisu Council of Chiefs meets with the Minister of Lands tomorrow at the Malvatumauri nakamal.

Two recent important press releases from the Ministry of Lands will be forwarded to readers of this bulletin in a separate post immediately after this.

A World Bank project will increase and replace Port Vila street lighting, according to the ministry formerly responsible.

Daily Post yesterday revealed that the theft of the name VHRA (which should belong to the Vanuatu Hotels and Resorts Association) by a particular businessman investor was not actually hijacked by him, but by his partner, another businessman investor.

Tanna Coffee is now exporting to P&O visitors who can enjoy the famous brand from the espresso machines on board P&O liners calling here.

Yumi Toktok Stret – Vanuatu’s biggest online forum – has a Youth candidate for the forthcoming Port Vila by-election. Ephraim Songi is from Shefa and promises to carry the voice of urban youth to the national Parliament, Daily post reports. Meanwhile they also indicate that UMP’s hierarchy is more than a little challenged as to who might be their candidate.

Tuesday’s Vanuatu daily news digest has prompted responses opposing my stand, and that of the writer of the Daily Post article concerning the Kava Conference in Suva, thatmore action is needed by Government as regards kava. Comments received have dwelt upon the continuing malpractice of growers or kava agents sending shipments filled out by ‘two-day kava.’ The Kava Act No. 2 of 2007 provides for the protection of purchasers of the kava raw product, whether for local consumption or shipment to overseas buyers. However, successive governments from 2002 have yet to provide for the policing and penalties required to give effect to the legislation. It is on this score that I believe many within the industry take issue with governments which have done nothing except draught the legislation.

More than a little amusing in Tuesday’s paper was the elevation of our man in Europe to celestial responsibilities. The Daily Post said the Foreign Minister signed the order for the Ambassador’s appointment as “Ambassador Extraordinary and Planetary” to the EU. It did not, however, list the planets involved!

Happy Journée de la Francophonie!


Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 955


1) Preserving dying languages with a swipe of the smartphone

Updated 13 March 2014, 14:16 AEST

From the highlands of Papua New Guinea to the mountains of Nepal, a group of academics is harnessing the power of the smartphone to try to save languages at risk of disappearing forever by the end of the century.

The mountains and forest of the Papua New Guinea highlands are so rugged that they kept people isolated from each other for sometimes hundreds of years.

As a result, the region is also home to a startling diversity of languages.

Of the 7,000 languages of the world, nearly 1,000 are spoken in New Guinea alone. That linguistic diversity is under threat as, like many indigenous languages around the world, the ones spoken here are rapidly dying out.

A group of academics is working to keep them alive by documenting these languages before they are lost forever.

Dr Stephen Bird from the University of Melbourne has been working with a number of remote communities around the world, helping to preserve dying languages, including those in Papua New Guinea.

He says they’re fighting to save much more than just words.

“What’s lost is the knowledge that’s been passed down over generations about how to live sustainably in a place,” he says.

“But they also have a unique perspective on the world. They’ve named all of the items in their environment and the names they give to things tell us something about how they carve up the world in their mind.”

Several years ago, he and his team decided to trade in their traditional recording devices for a simple smartphone. With its built-in microphone, the smartphone works as a networked recording device that can also transfer recordings when in range.

Since then, they’ve developed special software for the phones that can be used by easily and intuitively, even if the user can’t read.

By using the smartphone instead of a heavy digital recorder, he and other researchers have seen subjects relax and even feel comfortable taking the device with them on short walks, hopefully providing opportunities to record even more linguistic examples.

The end result of the project is to collect as many endangered languages as possible, translating those examples into the major world languages.

It’s something Dr Bird and his team are extremely passionate about.

“I really got excited about the prospect of giving people a voice. There’s so many isolated and disenfrachised people whose voices are being lost. And here is a way using new technology combined with cutting edge research to really help others.” ( Phils Opinion: Thank you Dr Bird and Team to come up with this great idea.Melanesian Government/NGO or members of the community, PLEASE help prevent our wonderful indigenous languages from dying out )

2) MSG Trade Agreement Not Benefiting Vanuatu, Meeting Told
Small country ‘cannot compete with the larger neighboring countries’

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 18, 2014) – A meeting was held on Thursday 13th March 2014 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between the Director General of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Johnny Koanapo and members of the Vanuatu Manufacturers & Exporters Association (VMEA) and Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), on the impact of the MSG Trade Agreement on the local industries and the Vanuatu Economy as a whole.

The main concerns raised by the members of the VMEA were that the conditions of the MSG Trade Agreement are not favorable to the private sector especially the local manufacturers and also to the Vanuatu Government in terms of revenue collection. Vanuatu is a small developing country and it cannot compete with the larger neighboring countries in the region due to many reasons including its high cost of doing business and its small domestic market.

The meeting also looked at the absence of a Negative List resulting in ALL products manufactured within the MSG region being allowed to be imported into the country duty free resulting in a trade imbalance, deficit, of approx. VT2b/annum under the Agreement. This same issue was raised during the recent Industrial Bill consultation meeting at the Shefa Province.

The DG of Foreign Affairs agreed that the MSG TA does not favour Vanuatu and is aware that it was not the first time the issue was being raised with the relevant offices of the Government. He further informed the meeting that a verbal notice was given in a technical meeting of the MSG TA that Vanuatu is not benefiting from the Agreement and intends to terminate its obligation. This followed a presentation by the VMEA to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in October, 2013. The matter however, has to be dealt along the legal framework of the Agreement as detailed by an analysis from the State Law Office. This is to protect our two export commodities under the Agreement, Kava and beef.

The DG of Foreign Affairs encouraged the members to adequately document any additional issues and supporting facts relating to damage or injury to the individual local industries and submit to the government to prepare an approach that serves the interest of the country.

Following discussions on the issue, all present agreed to establish a technical working committee comprising of both Government and private sector (VCCI and VMEA) which will prepare a technical paper that will be presented by the Government when negotiating the MSG TA3 later this year in Port Vila.

3) MSG Police Commissioners agree to share initiatives and experiences they undertake
By Online Editor
09:57 am GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Fiji

The 4th Melanesian Spearhead Group’s (MSG) Police Commissioners Conference ended in Nadi Tuesday with considerable progress made on a number of key initiatives.

Co-chair and Fiji’s Acting Commissioner of Police Ravi Narayan said significant progress had been made on the set up of a Regional Police Academy to train and enhance the knowledge, leadership and operational skills of officers from the MSG region.

He said funding was a key issue although the exact amount needed for a permanent base at Nabukavesi, Namosi, is not conclusive yet, with the national Police Academy in Nasova to be used as an interim arrangement.

“The funds needed would be substantive and we are still finalising issues such as the areas of training and contribution towards the academy by MSG members,” Commissioner Narayan said.

He said the MSG’s respective Police forces were also keen to share critical information to enhance border security.

“We are going to work on a request by the Papua New Guinea Police to assist with community policing in their region,” Commissioner Narayan revealed.

Permanent Secretary for Defence Osea Cawaru also noted this issue and called for efforts to achieve a framework towards a Police Women’s Network.

The next MSG Police Commissioners Conference will be held in the Solomon Islands.



4) Tropical cyclone Mike starts to weaken

20 March 2014

The Fiji Meteorological Service says the cyclone which developed near the Cook Islands is now starting to weaken.

Tropical cyclone Mike, a category one cyclone, was 407 kilometres south-southeast of Rarotonga at 6.30 this morning.

A Fiji Meteorological Service forecaster, Amit Singh, says the cyclone has winds of 35 knots close to the centre with momentary gusts of 50 knots.

He says the cyclone is now beginning to weaken.

“We still have a special weather bulletin for some islands of the Southern Cooks which will will be cancelling in the next five to six hours. It is over the ocean now and it won’t affect any land areas the whole of its life and it will weaken out in the waters.”

Amit Singh says they have not received any reports of damage from the Cook Islands.C/- Radio NZ

5) Niue Opposition Concerned About Government Shutting Out Media

MP: Government doesn’t like questions Radio New Zealand is asking

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 18, 2014) – An opposition MP says the Niue government’s decision to stop talking to a faction of the media is a concern, especially leading up to next month’s elections.

The secretary to the government Richard Hipa has told Radio New Zealand International, it won’t answer anymore questions about the approval of a grant to the son of an MP, or on any other matter until further notice.

Mr Hipa says they believe the recent tone of stories run by RNZI may be damaging to the government and distortion of the facts.

But the opposition MP Terry Coe says if the government disagrees with information run in the media they should be big enough to counteract that.

“Speak up on it but to say nothing and we’re not going to talk to you anymore I think is totally wrong and I think that’s happened in the Assembly it’s the same, people are not willing to speak up and stick up for the government of the day, says Coe.

The secretary to the government didn’t give specific examples when asked to elaborate on stories they were unhappy with.

Radio New Zealand International


6) OECD warns of rising poverty in Australia as GFC fallout continues

Posted 19 March 2014, 16:08 AEST
By business editor Peter Ryan

Anyone thinking the global financial crisis is over or at worst an unpleasant distant memory might find the latest report from the OECD an unsettling reality check.

More than five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers took the financial system to the brink of meltdown, the economic and social fallout is far from abating.

In its latest snapshot of society post the Great Recession, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) says high rates of unemployment and income losses are worsening social conditions in many countries.

Much of this pain is being felt in the eurozone, which has been reeling from the ongoing sovereign debt crisis that has left nations such as Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain in an economic and social mess.

These countries – once branded the PIIGS economies – have largely fallen off the radar, at least in Australia, now that the threat of a eurozone breakup has moved to the sidelines.

Not in the background, but very much in the foreground, the social pain is likely to be long-lasting, as governments to try balance fiscal consolidation with cuts to public spending which, according to the report, risks “adding to the hardship of the most vulnerable groups” and may “create problems for the future.”

These key lines from the OECD’s study go to the dismal outlook for Europe:

Growing numbers now say that they have problems making ends meet;
In three of the eurozone members – Greece, Ireland and Spain – the number of people living in households with no income from work has doubled;
Across the OECD area, children and young people were hardest hit by income poverty.

The report goes on to warn that perhaps most worrying is the prospect that these problems may continue to shape people’s lives for many years to come.

This impact is referred to as “scarring”, or the danger that young people who suffer long periods of unemployment, inactivity or poverty face a lifetime of diminished earnings and weakened job opportunities.

The outlook for Europe and emerging economies in Asia is in stark contrast to the United States which is showing signs of a recovery that appears to be widespread and sustainable.

As the OECD optimistically says, “the prospects for both the world economy and the OECD area look brighter than they have for some time.”

However, the message from the OECD about what the recovery is looking like is far from bullish.

“Encouraging as this may be, it risks seducing us into believing that all is now going well and that, over the next few years, a rising economy will lift all boats,” the report warns.

“The evidence of the recent past, dating even to before the financial crisis, suggests otherwise.”

Australian poverty on the rise

The message is relevant to Australia, which weathered the worst of the financial crisis and maintained an enviable record of more than two decades of unbroken economic growth.

The OECD notes that poverty is on the rise in Australia with 14.4 per cent of the population unable to make ends meet, compared with the OECD average of 11.3 per cent.

Child poverty has increased along with youth poverty – although rates for those 65 and over decreased, possibly because of an increase in the aged pension.

Ten percent of Australians say they cannot afford to buy enough food, which is lower than the OECD average of 13.2 per cent.

The OECD says the “strong increase” in public spending between 2007 and 2012 is down to higher aged pensions, but leaves many families with children behind.

The report also signals that tightening household conditions are challenging the perception of generosity in Australia:

67 per cent of Australians donated to a charity in 2012 – well above the OECD average of 44 per cent;
At the same time however, Australians have reduced donations to charities, cut time spent on volunteering and helped strangers less between 2007 and 2012;
However, compared to the rest if the world, the OECD says Australians are more tolerant of migrants, ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians.

The OECD’s snapshot is a timely remind that the world remains fragile after the self-imposed crisis of September 2008 and that few households, especially those in Europe, have been spared from the fallout.

The report is also a reminder that without China’s demand for Australian resources, and solid regulation of the local banking system, Australia might be in similar dire circumstances.

Follow Peter Ryan on Twitter @Peter_F_Ryan and on his Main Street blog.Radio Australia

7) Rorting of Australia’s tough foreign property rules ‘prevalent’, insider warns

Updated 19 March 2014, 22:11 AEST
By Elysse Morgan

Australia has some of the toughest rules for foreigners to buy residential property but industry insiders say rorting is prevalent.

Data on who is buying what is also sketchy, making the Government’s inquiry into foreign investment in real estate a difficult task.

The House Economics Committeehas released the terms of reference for its inquiry into foreign buyers, which was launched in response to fears that locals are being priced out of the market by cashed-up foreigners.

Bill Fuggle, the head of financial services at global law firm Baker MacKenzie, says Australia has greater restrictions than many comparable countries.

“If we compare ourselves to our peers in places like New Zealand, the US, Canada, UK … those countries have very little restrictions,” he said.

“By contrast, if you want to buy an established property you essentially have to be a resident here.”

Foreign investors can only buy newly-built properties, which is the Government’s way of boosting construction.

But there is scepticism with some real estate agents suspecting that rules are being bent.

Ballard Property Group’s Bill Bridges sells multi-million-dollar established homes in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and says he has seen a big jump in interest.

He says he always asks whether paperwork is in order and “the main answer to that is they say ‘Well, we’ll take care of that, that’s not a problem’”.

Mr Fuggle says buyers can easily circumvent the rules by getting a resident to buy property on their behalf.

I’m not sure that the policing is that real.

Banking analyst Martin North

“And that would be very difficult to detect and I think it would be quite difficult to police … anecdotally it seems to be a relatively prevalent activity,” he said.

Australian banks are also allowed to offer products which facilitate foreign nationals to circumvent the rules.

To qualify for residency under the Significant Investor Visa program, $5 million must be invested in Australian Government approved products for four years.

Real estate is not an approved product.

But Macquarie Bank is lending the $5 million back to investors, which Mr Fuggle says can then be legitimately put into real estate.

“Proceeds of that loan are essentially unregulated money so they invest that wherever they like,” he said.

The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), which is responsible for making sure people are playing by the rules, did not find one problem last year.

Banking analyst warns regulation is weak

Banking analyst Martin North says this shows regulation is weak.

“I’m not sure that the policing is that real. It’s a process that everybody goes through but if you think about the 6,000 applications they receive every year, are they really going to look at every one?” he said.

The Government inquiry will examine policing of the rules and look at the economic benefits of foreign investment.

Audio: Listen to Elysse Morgan’s report for PM (PM)

But it is very difficult to get cold hard facts on who is buying what, for who and for what purpose.

A recent report on Chinese investment by Credit Suisse estimates that the Chinese are purchasing more than $5 billion of Australian residential property each year.

Based on information pieced together from the FIRB, Department of Immigration and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the report estimates a further $44 billion will be spent over the next six years.

Figures from FIRB can be more than a-year-and-a-half out of date by the time they are released, and Mr North says they lack crucial detail.

“The FIRB numbers will record as a single application 100 new units being built on a site but that’s counted as one application and yet there are a whole bunch of individuals buying those properties,” he said.

“We don’t actually have data of the number of people who actually buy under one of those umbrella approvals.”

Lack of information fanning fears

The lack of information is fanning fears in the community, according to the Australia China Business Council’s Jim Harrowell.

“I would hope that this committee, although the terms are very general, will actually get to the facts,” he said.

The inquiry is also assessing whether construction has benefitted from pushing investors toward new stock, which Mr Harrowell says is certainly the case.

“There’s no doubt that some apartment blocks are being built now because of this demand … that wouldn’t otherwise be built,” he said.

Regardless of the inquiry’s findings, Mr Fuggle says there will be no let-up in the money pouring out of China and into Australia.

The committee is calling for submissions, which must be received by Friday May 9.Radio Australia

8) Digital detox program to raise awareness of cyber-bullying

Updated 19 March 2014, 22:37 AEST
By Sajithra Nithi, Melbourne

An Australian organisation that works with victims of bullying is calling on teenagers to participate in a ‘digital detox’ this weekend.

The 48-hour Digital Detox Program was launched by Bully Zero Australia Foundation to recognise the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence on Friday.

Many students from schools across Melbourne have signed up for the campaign, which asks participants to disconnect from all forms of social media for two days.

The money raised from their pledge will go towards cyber-safety training at their schools.

Oscar Yildiz, the founder of Bully Zero Australia Foundation, says one in three social media users in Australia is affected by cyber-bullying, especially teenagers.

“They’re so engaged with their social media, to the extent where there’s a new phenomenon called FOMO – fear of missing out,” he said.

“There are a lot of young teenagers basically sleeping with their mobile phones and iPads, and iPods, because they want to get the goss before going to school the next day.”

Mr Yildiz says it’s not just youth who are hooked on social media – adults check their phone messages up to 122 times a day.

“In fact, a recent study revealed that after 15 minutes the first thing we do when we wake up is checking our Facebook… and before we go to sleep we’re looking at our Twitter account and making sure there are no LinkedIn messages or email or text messages that we haven’t responded to.”

Apart from addiction, this unprecedented level of being connected also has tragic consequences at times, with some teenagers even taking their lives after being bullied over the Internet.

The death of Australian presenter and former model Charlotte Dawson has also brought the issue of bullying via social media back into the spotlight.

“Some of our victims that have been cyber-bullied have received messages such as ‘Why don’t you go hang yourself, everyone at school hates you, you’re fat, you’re ugly, go and have look at yourself in the mirror’,” Mr Yildiz said.

“That sinking feeling of not being included in a group or not wanting to open a text message – they’re the things that are going on at the moment.”

The Bully Zero Australia Foundation has helped hundreds of people affected by cyber-bullying, even saving the lives of 12 people by referring them to help.

Raising funds and awareness

Mr Yildiz said the Digital Detox Program, inspired by a video by Best Enemies, aims to raise awareness of cyber-bullying and to help address it.

Students from Essendon Keilor College, in suburban Melbourne, are among those taking part in the campaign.

Many have first-hand experience cyber-bullying.

“I was affected myself and a lot of friends as well… I sought help from parents and they helped cut it out,” said Tyson Windus, a Year Seven student.

Year 10 student Ryan Bagaric says the Internet makes it easier for people to target others.

“It’s a more easy form, instead of actually confronting the person.”

The students say they will spend their Internet-free weekend mostly outdoors – playing cricket, cycling and catching up with friends.

“By pledging they’re basically raising money for their organisation,” Mr Yildiz said.

“That money stays at their organisation, and through our partner at Best Enemies we deliver cyber-safety training and cyber-safety resources.”

Mr Yildiz added that he hopes the detox would promote change.

“It’s about people [pledging] that they’ll be a bit more mindful and a bit more empathetic about the messages they’re sending,” he said.

“If you wouldn’t say it to someone in a face-to-face situation, don’t send them a text message, don’t write them an email.”

The 48-hour Digital Detox begins March 21 at 9:00am (AEDST).Radio Australia.

9) Western Sydney Wanderers beat Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 in Asian Champions League

Updated 19 March 2014, 22:25 AEST

A Labinot Haliti strike has handed Western Sydney a 1-0 victory over Japanese side Kawasaki Frontale, boosting their hopes of progressing to the Asian Champions League knockout phase.

It took less than three minutes for the Wanderers to make their mark with Haliti’s early goal giving the hosts a dream start at Parramatta Stadium.

Despite a second half assault from Kawasaki – a side featuring several of Shinji Ono’s former Japanese international teammates the likes of ex-EPL star Junichi Inamoto – the Wanderers’ desperate defending ensured they held on for the win to consolidate second spot in their group.

Popovic made no less than nine changes to the starting side that drew 0-0 to Adelaide on Saturday while for Kawasaki only had three players back up from their side’s 4-3 defeat to Omiya Ardija at the weekend.

A fresh Wanderers side struck early when Kwabena Appiah provided a great through-ball to Tomi Juric, the forward passing it to the feet of the waiting Haliti who put the Wanderers in front.

But despite the strong start there were few chances in the opening half.

The only other shot on target was courtesy of Jun Kanakubo who stung Wanderers keeper Ante Covic’s palms with a powerful strike.

It was a much more attacking Kawasaki who took to the field after the break.

Coach Yahiro Kazama brought on Kengo Nakamura in the second half and the star playmaker had an instant impact testing the Wanderers defence from the get go.

Kentaro Moriya forced a save from Covic moments later while Yu Kobayashi and Ryota Oshima also threatened.

But the most spectacular chance of the match was created by Wanderers striker Juric, who’s impressive bicycle kick off Aaron Mooy’s corner had Kawasaki keeper Yohei Nishibe scrambling to just get a hand to it.

Desperately looking for an equaliser Kazama brought on Yoshito Okubo, the J-League’s golden boot last season, with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Okubo looked like levelling twice in the dying minutes but the Wanderers managed to hold on for victory.

“Delighted with the result, it was tough and we played a very good opponent,” Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said.

“All the A-League sides have shown we can compete at this level, Central Coast beating J-League champions Sanfrecce, Victory winning last night over Yokohama and us tonight… it’s a good step forward for the A-League.”



10) Manus Island detentsen senta ” iluk poret”, PNG jadge i karim aut wok painim long human rait itok

Postim 19 March 2014, 8:52 AEST
Liam Fox long Manus Island

Wanpela jadge  blong Papua New Guinea i karim aut ol wok painim long sait blong human rait long detentsen senta blong Australia long Manus Island itok lukluk blong ol pipol insait long en olsem oli poret.

Aninit long loa blong Papua New Guinea Supreme kot iken kamapim tingting long kamapim ol wok painim igo long ol wari blong human raits.

Jastis David Canning ibin mekim dispela  bihain longol pait na trabel blong las mun we i kamapim dai blong wanpela asailam sika na planti ol arapela ibin kisim bagarap.

Em nau igo lukluk long dispela senta na itok namba wan samting em ibin lukim em bikpela namba blong ol sekuriti offisa kamap na soim pes blong ol.

Em i tok long lukluk blong en ol wokman na meri imas stretim gut ol samting long sotpela taim long ol exercise na ol dormitories blong ol asailam sika ,

Emi tok em ino toktok wantaim sampela blong ol asailam sika tasol itok oli bin traim autim koros blong ol igo long em olsem ol toilet na shower rum  oli bin stretim na klinim gut redi long lukluk blong em.

Jastis Canning itok long medikel eria oli luk klin na olgeta samting oli stretim gut, na ol asailam sika yet i luk gut nogat sik na tu oli no luk angere.

Narapela samting emi tok em ol asailam sika lukim orait,kaikai gut na oli  dress australia

11) Ol bisnis long PNG Highlands i wari long rot kondisen blong Highway

Updated 19 March 2014, 15:52 AEST
Jessy Bendene

Planti pipol na business i lusim bikpla moni tru long wanem road kondition blong higlands highway i bagarap tru.

Dispela toktok i kam long wanpela Senia Lecture blong Univerity blong Goroka John Wanis.

Em i tok o rod i save halivim ol  bikpla economi oa bisnis blong kantri na gavaman mas luksave na hariap long givim halivim igo long ol pipol.

John Wanis itok long taim blong en bikpela wari isave kamap long ol papa blong ol liklik kar long wanem ol kain bagarap isave kamap long ol na moni blong baim ol spia part isave bikpela tru.

Long lukluk blong John Wanis emi tok tupela bikpela samting emi lukim isave kamapim ol dispela heve.

Wanpela em ol drain oa baret blong ol wara i ron long en  ino save gutpela,na sapos igat bikpela ren, wara isave pulap na bikpela long en isave kapsait ken igo ol bik rot blong ol kar i ron long en na tu karim oa wasim ol karanas aut long pes blong rot.

Narapela wari em ol bikpela trak i karim ol bikpela ol masin oa equipment igo antap long LNG Projek long Southern Highlands em heve oa weight blong ol i bikpela moa na sapos igat liklik hole long rot istap na taim dispela bikpela trak wantaim ol bikpela heve igo antap long ol, dispela nau i mekim dispela liklik hole igo bikpela moa yet na mekim rot igo bagarap olgeta.Radio Australia


12) Vanuatu : Contrat de Bonne Gouvernance et de Développement (CBGD)

Posté à 19 March 2014, 8:47 AEST
Pierre Riant

Un contrat signé avec l’Union européenne qui porte sur 12 millions d’euros échelonnés sur 3 ans.

En échange de ces 12 millions d’euros, le Vanuatu s’engage à suivre les principes de la bonne gouvernance et à mettre en place toute une série de réformes relatives à la gestion des finances publiques.

Le gouvernement du Vanuatu devra aussi faire des efforts pour améliorer les secteurs de la santé et de l’éducation, veiller à l’entretien des infrastructures dans les îles périphériques, favoriser l’égalité entre les hommes et les femmes, lutter contre la corruption et faire preuve de transparence dans la gestion des finances publiques…Radio Australia

13) Précarité dans le Pacifique

Posté à 19 March 2014, 8:25 AEST
Pierre Riant

Selon la dernière étude de la Banque mondiale, 20% des populations de la région du Pacifique sont en situation de précarité et ne peuvent pas répondre à leurs besoins les plus élémentaires ; comme acheter suffisamment de nourriture ou des médicaments.

Une rue de Papeete à la nuit tombée…. [Christophe Serra Mallol]

Les ménages de plus de 3 enfants, ceux dirigés par des personnes âgées et les personnes avec un faible niveau de scolarité sont parmi les plus vulnérables à la précarité.

Nous avons parlé avec Melissa Adelman, économiste à la Banque mondiale et auteur de ce rapport intitulé : «  Hardship and Vulnerability in the Pacific Island Countries », que l’on pourrait traduire par : Détresse et vulnérabilité dans les nations océaniennes du Pacifique.

Nous avons tout d’abord voulu savoir si la précarité est en train de s’aggraver dans la région du Pacifique.

ADELMAN : « C’est une question incroyablement importante mais malheureusement nous n’avons pas assez de données pour y répondre. Il n’y a pas eu beaucoup d’études dans le Pacifique et nous ne pouvons pas établir les tendances à travers le temps.

Mais ce que nous pouvons dire, c’est que les difficultés sont très répandues et que les risques s’agrandissent et dans ce sens les gens deviennent plus vulnérables. »

Mais de quoi parle-t-on quand on parle de risques qui s’aggravent ?

ADELMAN : « Le rapport se penche sur toute une palette de risques. Les risques naturels, comme les catastrophes naturelles. Les risques d’ordre économique et les risques en matière de santé qui sont très importants dans le Pacifique.

Les risques d’ordre économique représentent des défis toujours plus grands dans le Pacifique, comme la crise mondiale des prix des produits de base. Quant à la santé, la crise des maladies non transmissibles dans la Pacifique progresse très rapidement. »

Résumons : les catastrophes naturelles, les difficultés économiques et les risques posées à la santé sont autant de facteurs qui contribuent à cette précarité dans laquelle se retrouvent 20% des populations de la région du Pacifique. Ce rapport mondial avait pour but de faire un état des lieux pour ensuite soumettre des recommandations aux gouvernements régionaux pour qu’ils prennent en compte tous ces défis et difficultés dans l’élaboration de leurs politiques.

Que recommande ce rapport ?

ADELMAN : « Le rapport propose des recommandations dans 3 grands secteurs. Le premier étant le rôle du gouvernement pour aider les ménages à mieux gérer les risques et les difficultés.

Et pour cela un gouvernement doit comprendre que des réseaux d’aide traditionnels existent mais qu’ils ne peuvent pas à eux seuls solutionner tous les problèmes.

Le gouvernement peut aussi fournir davantage d’outils aux ménages pour qu’ils puissent mieux gérer les risques et les difficultés. Cela peut-être l’accès à des financements, des opportunités de migration ou des systèmes de sécurité sociale pour les plus vulnérables. »

Les gouvernements doivent donc venir en complément des réseaux d’aide traditionnels du Pacifique. Les gouvernements doivent aussi se montrer judicieux quand ils investissent l’argent des contribuables. Dans la mise en place, par exemple, d’un système de protection sociale comme une caisse de retraite ou une pension d’invalidité.

ADELMAN : « Dans le contexte du Pacifique, l’espace fiscal est très étriqué et les investissements doivent être le fruit d’une profonde réflexion. Il faut bien cibler ses objectifs en fonction des personnes qui en ont le plus besoin. Ces programmes doivent être bien gérés pour que les résultats obtenus face à l’argent investi soient satisfaisants.

Et il y a de [bons] exemples dans le Pacifique. Kiribati notamment qui a mis en place un fonds d’aide aux personnes ayant dépassé un certain âge. La Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et les îles Salomon propose des programmes d’emploi express visant les populations vulnérables à l’agitation sociale.

Ces types de programmes peuvent fonctionner. S’ils ont été bien conçus et s’ils sont bien gérés, ils donneront des résultats qui justifieront l’investissement. »Radio Austalia


14) 4900 jobs to go

Thursday, March 20, 2014

FRANKFURT – German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom will cut 4900 jobs over the next two years from its IT and consultancy unit T-Systems.

A company spokesman on Tuesday said: “We will cut 2,700 jobs this year and 2,200 jobs next year in Germany,” confirming a report by daily Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung.

T-Systems has struggled for years to turn a profit, competing with IBM, EDS and other IT giants to provide companies with their computer network systems.

The subsidiary says it currently employs about 50,000 people, but the spokesman said the layoffs were only planned in home-market Germany for now.

“We are now looking at our reach in the rest of the world and we have yet to conclude on a way forward,” the spokesman added.

T-Systems generated revenue of around 9.5 billion euros ($F29.3b) in the 2013 financial year.

15) DeepFace is just as creepy as it sounds
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Update: 4:44PM FACEBOOK owns the world’s largest photo library, and it now has the technology to match almost all the faces within it. Yes, even the ones you dont tag.

Facebook announced last week that it has developed a program called DeepFace, which researchers say can determine whether two photographed faces are of the same person with 97.25 per cent accuracy.

According to Facebook, humans put to the same test answer correctly 97.53 per cent of the time only a quarter of a per cent better than Facebook’s software.

The takeaway: Facebook has essentially caught up to humans when it comes to remembering a face. The program was developed by three in-house Facebook researchers and a professor at Tel Aviv University.

As an example, the developers show in a paper on the program that DeepFace can successfully recognise that this is Academy Award winner Sylvester Stallone.

In order to better match faces, the researchers created a neural network in its software meant to imitate animals central nervous system.

For now the program, first reported on by the MIT Technology Review, is only a research project and will not affect the 1.23 billion people who regularly use Facebook.

But CEO Mark Zuckerberg has expressed deep interest in building out Facebook’s artificial intelligence capabilities when speaking to investors in the past. His ambition actually stretches beyond facial recognition to analysing the text of status updates and comments to decipher mood and context.

Theres a business purpose behind all this intellectual enthusiasm: Understanding all the information we post on the social network is central to Facebook’s business model, which leverages data to personalise ads so you’ll be more likely to click on them.

Facebook’s growing ability to recognise you when a friend uploads photos from a vacation together has caught the attention of privacy advocates and government officials alike.

For example, more privacy-conscious European governments have already forced Facebook to delete all of its facial recognition data there.

16) Air pollution in China hurting recruitment of foreign executives

Posted 19 March 2014, 23:45 AEST

A business survey finds China’s poor air quality is making it difficult to attract top executives to the country.

China’s smog is making it harder for foreign firms to convince top executives to work in the country, the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing said, offering some of the strongest evidence yet on how pollution is hurting recruitment.

Some 48 per cent of the 365 foreign companies that replied to the chamber’s annual survey, which covers businesses in China’s northern cities, said concerns over air quality were turning senior executives away.

Pollution is “a difficulty in recruiting and retaining senior executive talent”, the report said.

The 2014 figure is a jump from the 19 per cent of foreign firms that said smog was a problem for recruitment in 2010.

However, China’s slowing economy remained the top risk for companies.

Foreign executives increasingly complain about pollution in China and the perceived impact it is having on the health of themselves and their families.

Several high-profile executives have left China in recent years, citing pollution as the main reason for their decision to go.

Pollution problem

Almost all Chinese cities monitored for pollution last year failed to meet state standards, but northern China suffers the most.

It is home to much of China’s coal, steel and cement production. It is also much colder, relying on industrial coal boilers to provide heating during the long winter.

The capital Beijing, for example, is surrounded by the big and heavily polluted industrial province of Hebei. It is also choked by traffic.

By contrast, China’s commercial capital Shanghai, in the south, suffers less air pollution.

Indeed, a similar survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce’s Shanghai branch did not ask if pollution was affecting recruitment.

Premier Li Keqiang “declared war” on pollution at the opening of the annual session of parliament this month, part of a push to wean the world’s second biggest economy from credit-fuelled growth to more sustainable development.

China also pledged to make 60 per cent of its cities meet national pollution standards by 2020.

Lulu Zhou, associate director of the Beijing Office of international recruitment agency Robert Walters China, said some foreign executives were using pollution to negotiate higher salary packages.

“We have seen some senior level professionals… who are concerned about relocating to Beijing because of the pollution,” she said.

In a sign of the growing corporate concern over pollution, Japanese electronics firm Panasonic Corp has told its unions it will review the hardship allowance paid to expatriates in China because of the air quality, a spokeswoman said.

And a state-owned Chinese insurer said this week it would offer Beijing residents insurance cover against health risks caused by air pollution, promising to pay out $US 240 to policy holders hospitalised by smog.

Beijing’s official air quality index (AQI), which measures airborne pollutants including particulate matter and sulphur dioxide, routinely exceeds 300, and sometimes hits levels higher than 500.

Slowing economy a concern

Despite the concerns over pollution, China’s cooling economy, which is projected to grow this year at about 7.5 per cent, posed the greatest risk to companies.

The survey found firms increasingly reported a stagnation or contraction in operating margins compared with previous years.

As a result, more foreign firms saw China “as just one of many investment possibilities”.

Nevertheless, a majority of companies surveyed remained optimistic about the business outlook for the next two years.

“This optimism is driven by our membership’s confidence in their own ability to adjust and deal with the challenges,” Mark Duval, China president of the American Chamber of Commerce, said.

Many members had high expectations that recently announced economic reforms might deliver, Mr Duval added.

But two in five respondents to the Beijing survey said the business climate had become less welcoming for multinationals, with a similar number saying foreign firms were being singled out in a series of pricing and corruption investigations.

Respondents also chafed at perceived state enterprise favouritism, with 77 per cent believing policies benefiting state-owned firms had negatively impacted their business.

“My judgement is that the biggest area that drives (this response) would be market access,” Mr Duval said.

Protection of trade secrets and company name theft were among other issues worrying businesses.

Half of all respondents said that protecting confidential company data was a concern while other difficulties were a lack of clarity and inconsistency in the application of laws and regulations.


17) Polling starts on Venice independence

18 March 2014

Voting has begun in Venice and the surrounding region on whether to break away from Italy.

Recent opinion polls suggest that two-thirds of the four million electorate favour splitting from Rome but the vote will not be legally binding.

The poll was organised by local activists and parties, who want a future state called Republic of Veneto.

This would be reminiscent of the sovereign Venetian republic that existed for more than 1000 years, the BBC reports.

A focal point for culture, architecture and trade, Venice lost its independence to Napoleon in 1797.

The vote received very little coverage in Italy’s national media but the organisers said they expected as many as two million people to take part.

Online voting is due to continue until Friday.C/- Radio NZ.


18) Fiji dengue outbreak expected to affect 24,000 people

By Online Editor
3:23 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Ministry of Health says up to 24,000 people in the country will experience dengue fever during the current outbreak, the worst recorded since 1975.

Twelve people have died and 11,359 cases recorded since October.

The Ministry’s communicable diseases advisor, Mike Kama, says 1,000 people have contracted dengue every week for the last six weeks.

Dr Kama says this has put a strain on hospitals.

“In terms of the management of the masses that flock to the health centres at this point and time – we’ve had to build some extra facilities especially for the outpatient department. We’ve had to bring in some volunteers from our NGOs to work in our triage section. We’ve been managing quite well, considering the burden.”

Dr Kama says the ministry has a three-month plan underway to stop the outbreak, focusing on surveillance, clinical management, prevention and clean-up.



19) Matevulu College to host Chinese Secondary School

Posted on March 19, 2014 -

Harrison Selmen

Discussions are underway between the Chinese Panyu Xiangjiang Educational Group Ltd, Matevulu College and the Ministry of Education for Matevulu College to host a Chinese Secondary school.

Matevulu College has a land mass of around 700 hectares the College was reportedly using around only 20 Hectares. The land space, the environment are some key factors that has convinced the Chinese Group to target the College as a suitable site.
However, Minister of Education, Bob Loughman, during the discussions said the Ministry’s Priority is the education of Ni-Vans and the Ministry will make sure the Project is beneficial to Matevulu College and its students.

Chinese Translator, Shen Haihua, told the Minister that the new Vanuatu Immigration changed of policy will benefit their project and the establishment of their secondary school should support the College in terms of Human Resources, facilities and renovation of the college.

Principal of Matevulu College, Henry Wass, told local Media that the project could be beneficial to the College especially during the financial crisis the college is facing. He said the students and the College staff of the two institutions can exchange cultures and learn different skills.

The whole concept of the project is to build a secondary school in Vanuatu that could host Chinese students to study in a different Country than in China. The education system in China is difficult for many students due to the huge population. This means Chinese students must pass and have good grades to be eligible to go into a University in China whereas studying in a different country outside from China although having score a low grade they can still excel to any University due to the Permanent residency they own.

The project will see teachers exchange during teaching sessions from the two institutions and their level of performances can also be monitored here.
The discussions was only a proposal to the Vanuatu Government choosing Matevulu as a suitable site while the paper works is in process.
If the project can be successful the first intake of students was reported to travel to Vanuatu by September this year. The Chinese Group told the Minister that they are ready to build and renovate before the first intake comes.

If the project is successful it will be the first type of project in Vanuatu, a Chinese Secondary school and Vanuatu College working in partnership together to develop the Education Sector of the two countries.

20) PNG’s University Of Technology Faces Closure
Long-running student protest keeps classes from meeting

By Malum Nalu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 17, 2014) – The University of Technology in Lae, Morobe, faces closure if protesting students refuse to return to classes, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

That is in support of the call by Higher Education Minister Delilah Gore for Unitech students to return to classes.

There have been no classes since the beginning of this year as students are staying away to support their demand for the return of former Vice Chancellor Dr Albert Schram.

“Students have got no right to appoint or demand vice chancellors. The University Council does that,” O’Neill told reporters.

“The National Executive Council will deliberate on this matter next (this) week. If it means that there’s an option of shutting down the university, we will.”

“If people are not serious about their education, we are serious about their education. We want to educate people who want to learn and become better citizens. Return to class or we will make some decisions. It may be tough, unfair on your parents, unfair on the government that is paying for many of these students.”

“They get allowances, they get full scholarships, we pay for the teachers to be there, we build the university for them, we’re putting in another K500 million to build all the tertiary institutions in the country, we don’t need this to continue. I think it’s up to the students to make their decision.”

“If the new council feels that Schram is the rightfully qualified person, they will employ him, if not somebody else.”

“We will be recommending to the new council that they hire an international HR firm to recruit the best person to be vice chancellor. I think that is the fairest thing to do under the circumstances.”

The National


21) West Papua Separatist Reportedly Killed By Indonesian Military
Patrol has ‘shootout’ with ‘illegally armed men’: 4 arrested

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 18, 2014) – A joint police and Indonesian military patrol has reportedly killed a suspected separatist and arrested four others in Papua province.

The Papua Police chief Inspector General Tito Karnavian is quoted in Indonesian media as saying the patrol encountered a group of illegally armed men in Kota Mulia, a regency of Puncak Jaya.

He says the group started shooting at the patrol which security forces claim included West Papuan separatists.

General Karnavian says that in the ensuing shootout, one of the illegally armed men was wounded in the encounter and died en route to a local hospital, adding that two of four had also been injured.

Radio New Zealand International

22) Pruaitch back in role as PNG’s Treasurer

19 March 2014

The Papua New Guinea government has named Patrick Pruaitch as the new Treasurer.

The appointment comes after Don Polye was sacked as Treasurer last week by the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Mr Pruaitch is the leader of the National Alliance party, which is one of the key coalition partners in the O’Neill-led government.

He previously held big portolfios such as Finance and Treasury in the former Somare government.

Mr Pruaitch was suspended as Treasurer in 2010 after being referred to a leadership tribunal over allegations of misconduct in office.

As part of the cabinet reshuffle which sees Mr Pruaitch take up the Treasury portfolio again, he vacates the position of Forestry Minister which is to be taken up by Douglas Tomuriesa.

Mr Tomuriesa is from the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party of Don Polye.c/- radio NZ

23) Another cabinet reshuffle in PNG soon
By Online Editor
3:24 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is expected to make another minor Cabinet reshuffle this week.

The National has been reliably informed that O’Neill has asked the Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party and the United Resources Party (URP) to submit names of their candidates for the number of ministries they lost in the recent changes.

THE Party lost the treasury and labour and industrial relations ministries last week when party leader Don Polye and deputy leader (Southern) Mark Maipakai were sacked.

URP lost the petroleum and energy ministry last month when its leader William Duma was sacked by O’Neill.
O’Neill told a caucus meeting of his People’s National Congress (PNC) Party on Sunday that he would appoint new ministers from the two parties in accordance with the Alotau Accord.

According to government insiders, Polye is unlikely to be considered for other ministry, while Duma may be given another portfolio to appease URP.

The removal of Polye and Maipakai has left two vacancies in Cabinet. O’Neill is the acting treasurer, while Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion is acting labour and industrial relations minister.

It is understood that O’Neill may offload the key treasury ministry to a trusted coalition partner like National Alliance (NA) Party, whose leader Patrick Pruaitch has been tipped for the post he previously held in the former Somare regime.

Government insiders believe that a mutual agreement may have been reached during O’Neill’s visit to Maprik, East Sepik, last week where he took part in a reconciliation ceremony with former prime minister Sir Michael Somare.



24) ‘Rambo’ tops list of popular films in PNG Highlands

Updated 19 March 2014, 14:35 AEST

A report in PNG has revealed some surprising findings about the kinds of movies people are watching.

Researchers have studied content at CD houses, known locally as ‘haus piksas’, in the PNG Highlands.

Report co-author Verena Thomas has told Pacific Beat the most popular movies are a curious mix.

“Number one was Rambo, US action movie,” Ms Thomas said. “And action movies are very, very popular in the haus piksas.

“We also found that people were watching Nigerian movies, Nollywood. So number two was a romantic series called True Love.

“Then number three was Titanic, so a romance from the US.”

With limited electricity in the Highlands, CD houses are small stalls where people gather to watch films.

American productions dominate the list of most popular, making up 14 of the top 20.

Movies from Philippines, China, Hong Kong and India also feature, with action by far the most common genre.

Most popular films in PNG Highlands

Rambo series (USA)
True Love (Nigeria)
Titanic (USA)
Van Damme (USA)
Endless Love (Philippines)
Delta Force (USA)
The Expendables series (USA)
Commando (USA)
Krishna (India)
The Gods Must Be Crazy (South Africa)

The CD house network has become an integral part of the informal entertainment industry in the PNG Highlands.

“It’s a lucrative side business,” Ms Thomas said.

“That means that there’s an informal economy out of this and it means that films are being distributed in the country but we working in the media industry haven’t really realised that potential for distribution.”

Photo: An audience at a CD house in PNG’s Highlands(PACMAS)

The CD houses are often the only places with electricity at night in small villages.

Researchers say they’ve become a hub for community gatherings, with small markets often also part of the set-up.

Lacking local content

Operators charge a small fee to watch the films, which are normally pirated copies of overseas productions.

The study into the CD houses was funded by the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Innovation Grant and carried out by the University of Goroka.

Researchers were trying to work out what people were interested in and how the whole informal video distribution system works in the Highlands.

“We wanted to find that out because we, ourselves, here at the Centre for Social and Creative Media, are producing media content for education and for social messaging,” Ms Thomas said.

“So we wanted to understand how we could bring these films that we are producing locally to an audience in PNG.”

The first PNG-made film on the list doesn’t appear until number 33.

And with action films dominating the list, there’s concern that children may be exposed to too much violent content.

Photo: Owner Gogula Magee out the font of his CD house (left) and trade store (right) in the town of Ufeka (PACMAS)

Researchers say that isn’t the only worry about young consumers.

“Also the fact that they would spend much time in the evening watching movies and then they might be late for school or wouldn’t spend their time doing other activities in the community,” Ms Thomas said.

Researchers say PNG’s education system needs to have more focus on the way the media industry works.Radio Australia

25) Setting up TV station in Bougainville seen as crucial
By Online Editor
3:16 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

The regional member for Papua New Guinea’s autonomous province of Bougainville says setting up a television station is crucial as the province prepares for its eventual referendum on independence.

Joe Lera recently visited Dunedin in New Zealand, where he’s been in discussions with a TV producer to help set up a TV station.

He says since the height of the civil war in the 1990s, the only medium available is Radio Bougainville which only reaches a few people.

He says only people in urban areas own television sets, and most can only access one station from PNG but his plan is to introduce satellite television which would reach the whole province.

“So that my people can have television to easily access information on all aspects of government and development and that sort of thing. In light of the referendum I think it will play a major role in awareness to the people.”

Lera says grants from the national government would fund the project.

Bougainville is to conduct the referendum some time after 2015.


26) FBC signs MOU with Turkey Radio and TV
By Online Editor
3:15 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Fiji

The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation has added yet another International Broadcaster to its list of MOU’s signed with national and reputable international broadcasters.

The latest in the list is Turkey Radio and Television Broadcasting (TRT).

The MOU was signed on behalf of FBC by Fiji’s Ambassador to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries, Ambassador Robin Nair on Monday.

The MOU will mean that FBC and TRT will now exchange material and training for radio and TV.

This MOU comes on the back of other’s signed with Korean Broadcasting Giants – KBS and EBS.

The national broadcaster says it is looking forward to moving ahead in the spirit of the MOU in the near future.



27) Australian franchises keen to operate in PNG
By Online Editor
12:27 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

Several franchises in Australia have indicated interest in partnering with National Development Bank (NDB) to bring in businesses to support locals in setting up businesses, bank managing director Moses Liu said.

He said negotiations were on-going.

NDB Investment Ltd (NDBIL), a subsidiary of NDB, was seeking reputable international franchises to support its Stret Pasin Business Scheme (SPBS).

NDBIL was looking at bringing in franchises such as McDonalds, KFC, 7-Eleven convenience stores, NightOwl and Starbucks.

“We did approach McDonalds, but they are not prepared to come yet.”

Liu and NDB Investment acting chief executive Desmond Yaninen were in Australia recently and met with some of the franchises who indicated interest in setting up businesses in PNG.

“We went to Australia to explore franchise operations and met with those interested to set up shops here.
“The franchise owners we talked to were interested and said they will progress in the next stage where initial agreement may be signed.

“But at this time, it was basically exploratory.”

Yaninen earlier said: “Since NDBIL is not a specialist in running restaurants or hotels, but we will bring in reputable international franchises to operate in PNG.”

He said successful individuals who passed all stages to qualify for SPBS will be put in charge to run those franchises.

“They will run them and could eventually own them.

Yaninen said NDBIL would bring in the franchises and would operate them as the master franchisee.

“That will also depend on whether they will be viable to operate in PNG market,” Yaninen said.

He said there are many advantages, including:

* Avoiding unnecessary trial and error period in starting and operating a new business;
* Lower financial risk compared with other ventures as investment costs are lower and profit margins are higher; and
*Opportunity to run a proven business concept.


28) New farm opens door to food security in PNG
By Online Editor
09:45 am GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

A multi million kina agro-farm was officially opened by the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill outside Port Moresby Tuesday.

The farm was developed in partnership with the LR Group’s company called Innovative Agro Industry limited, an Israel-based company.

Housed on the land availed by the Jesus Christ Halfway House at Nine Mile, the farm is a modern, high intensive vegetable farm which is presently growing large quantities of cucumber, tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini and lettuce.

Unlike a traditional farm where these vegetables would be grown in the ground, they are being grown in materials which feed the roots system with the necessary nutrients and in a controlled environment.

The farm aims to take a leading role in the PNG vegetable market, offer an alternative to imorts by locally produced affordable, fresh quality products, establish a sustainable market driven facility,through the implementation of advanced high intensive agro technologies, introduce and transfer new agro-technology and how to the PNG Agro-sector, and train and empower the youths of the Halfway house as well as residents in the surrounding community.

The event proved significant in that it to be a sure step in aiding government in reducing its level of agriculture imports.

The event was witness by a host of dignitaries including O’Neill’s wife Lynda Babao, Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Tommy Tomscoll, Governors Paias Wingti (Western Highlands) and Anderson Aigiru (Southern) PNG’s Honorary Consul to Israel Dr Jacob Weiss, the group’s PNG representative Ami Lustig.

Also present for the event were representatives of the Jesus Center Half Way Haus namely Pastor Charles Lapa and Mel Togolo who are the legal owners of the land in which the farm is housed.

O’Neill said the opportunities and benefits of the project to be many.

These being employment, food security which the prime minister said to be key to a nation’s success and in the long run achieve government’s intention of import replacement.

He said there to be plans already in place to partner with this Israeli company to open up a project in the Markham Plains, in Central province at the once thriving Ilimo Poultry Farm.

He added dairy produce to also be another area they will also be venturing into.

“Through import replacement, we will then be able to reduce government spending, keep the money in country and see a reduce prices we as customers pay on these items,” he said.

Wiise said the project to have been mooted when the prime minister was then the country’s treasurer.

He said the talks had resulted in the Israeli firm being brought on board and with partnership of other partners including the PNG Sustainable Development, Western Highlands Development Corporation made a reality.

Ami Lustig from ISRPNG said the project would among other things strengthen the bond between the two countries.


29) 71 Ni-Vanuatu Seasonal employer needs seasonal workers

By Online Editor
3:21 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Vanuatu

A total of 71 Ni-Vanuatu workers will be recruited to begin work as fruit and vegetable pickers on five different farms at the Maroochy SunShine, Pacific Crop Harvesting PTY LTD in Australia by Tuesday next week.

Vanuatu’s Department of Labour, through its Recognized Seasonal Employment (RSE) Scheme has encountered another milestone that it believes should keep the ‘ball rolling’ for recruitment to Australia.

The Commissioner of Labour, Lionel Kaluat, was pleased to inform everyone from Torba to Tafea that another seasonal employer from Australia is interested in recruiting workers from Vanuatu on a trial and if Vanuatu proves itself reliable and honest then he (the employer) would consider increasing the number of workers.

Emmanuel Bani is a Papua New Guinea national with dual Australian citizenship. He is a director of the Pacific Crop Harvesting, a specialist farm-work labour hire company; employing people from different countries globally with a majority from the Australian South Sea Islanders (ASSI) communities.

The Commonwealth of Australia accredits Pacific Crop Harvesting and is the only company out of many others in Australia that was permitted for recruiting in Vanuatu.

In his recent trip from Australia to meet the commissioner, Bani said shortage of laborers at the farms has prompted him to recruit workers from neighboring Melanesian countries-Papua New Guinea, Solomon and Vanuatu.

He said he initiated Pacific Crop Harvesting in 2009 for his Melanesian brothers.

Referring himself as a Melanesian, he said: “ I have come for everyone and I wanted that the whole population must benefit a 100% from this arrangement.

“I know there is a large population out there on the islands and Vanuatu is already participating in the RSE Scheme and at a fast phase not like the Solomon Islands and PNG are slow.

“We (Melanesians) need this business. However, Ni-Vanuatu workers must also bear in mind that unlike New Zealand, there is tougher competition in Australia; workers who want work in Australia must know the language of Sydney, Bundaberg or Canberra.

“Before I came to Vanuatu, I did not have the mindset about history that our Melanesian blackbirded descendants through their sweats have prepared everything in advance as erecting roads and farms. The government of Australia owes us.

“Whilst the Australian Government is not responding yet, by this scheme, we are receiving back benefits and communications would open up between Vanuatu and ASSI”.

Vanuatu has waited long enough for Australian market, said the commissioner.

He assured the Australian Employer that his department would work with the agents to make sure that by March 25, his requested 71 workers are identify, orient and arrange as suitable workers to send to Australia.

Commissioner Kaluat has approved David Abel from the Vete Co operative Savings &Loan Sty Ltd and Johnston Tau from the Vanuatu Labour Market to operate for employers as seasonal employment agents for Bani in Vanuatu.

Both the commissioner and Bani warn all Ni-Vanuatu RSE workers plus those people who may be fortune to be part of these 71, against drunken behavior as this scheme is of best benefit for Vanuatu with indication it can expand in the next years.


30) PM Lilo pleased to meet seasonal workers in NZ
By Online Editor
3:19 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Prime  Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo says he was pleased to meet locals working under the Pacific Seasonal Workers Scheme in New Zealand during his visit last week.

Speaking on his arrival on Monday, Lilo said he had visited a farm just outside of Wellington and was overwhelmed by the owner’s encouraging sentiments that the local workers are well behaved and hardworking.

And to see how the scheme has provided employment opportunities for Solomon Islanders who have engaged in the workers scheme.

“I believe it is a win-win situation whereby it benefits both the Solomon Islands and NZ economies,” Mr Lilo said.

PM said he reminded the workers to work to help their families and the country.

He stressed that benefits the two countries share through the seasonal workers scheme is important for both countries’ economies.

However, he said both countries have agreed that there is still room for improvement to lift the standard of such arrangements in the future including other issues like policing, defence and national security.

PM Lilo highlighted that such arrangements are important to continue to build the strategies and plans to engage positively to benefit both countries and their people.


31) Council dwells on democracy, unity

Geraldine Panapasa
Thursday, March 20, 2014

FMF Foods Group CEO Ram Bajekal and FHL CEO Nouzab Fareed at the Fiji Indigenous Business Council symposium yesterday. Picture: GERALDINE PANAPASA

ONLY a democratic government elected by the people of Fiji will bring about stability, confidence and unity to grow businesses in Fiji, says Fiji Indigenous Business Council president Ulai Taoi.

Speaking at the two-day FIBC symposium in Suva yesterday, Mr Taoi said the priority of the new government should focus on developing appropriate policies, which were permanent and sustainable.

“More iTaukei children and young people must be given the opportunity to learn, understand and pursue entrepreneurial ventures as their future way of life. This means that future government policies must be tailored to promote an integrated approach within the various arms of government. By doing this, we will be able to achieve a critical mass, which will help reduce reliance on government assistance, offer a pathway out of poverty, contribute to a higher economic growth for our nation and foster equitable distribution of wealth.”

Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said Fiji’s relations with its Melanesian counterparts presented opportunities for the council to explore.Fijitimes

32) Fiji’s Minimum Wage Now In Effect: Labour Minister

$2 per hour wage geared towards alleviating poverty

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 18, 2014) – Fiji’s new minimum wage of $2 [US$1.07] per hour announced by the government last month came into force on March 1, confirms the Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Jone Usamate.

Usamate in a government statement said the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Regulations had been gazetted and all relevant employers must adjust their workers’ wage levels and employment conditions to comply with the NMW Regulations and the Employment Relations Promulgation 2007 (ERP).

“The NMW rate of $2 will cover all employers in the informal sector, including employers in the formal sector not covered under the 10 current Wages Regulations Orders (WROs). It will benefit a total of at least 72,000 workers,” Usamate said.

“The overarching objective of this major wage policy is to alleviate poverty among the most marginalised workers in the informal and formal sectors. It is to build a better Fiji for these workers, who have been disadvantaged and disregarded for a long period of time.”

This historical initiative is in line with government’s commitment under the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress (PCCPP) on reducing poverty to a negligible level by 2015 while enhancing workplace and national productivity.

Usamate cautions employers not to pay below the NMW ($2 per hour) rate and encourages employers to adopt a productivity-based performance system. He said the workers’ rights stipulated in the NMW Regulations were in addition to their rights under the Employment Relations Promulgation .

“All entitlements and fundamental principles of rights at work under the ERP are still applicable to all workers covered under the NMW Regulations. For example, workers entitlements such as annual leave, public holiday leave, maternity leave, sick leave, bereavement leave and all other benefits provided under the ERP must be fully awarded when due,” he added.

Under the regulations all employers are required to display a written NMW notice in their workplaces for the purpose of informing and educating the workers.

The minister reiterates that on the spot fine of $100 will be issued if employers refuse to follow any part of the NMW Regulations and further penalties will be issued upon breach of the Regulations. On conviction, an employer is liable to a fine of $20,000 or two years imprisonment or both.

The ministry in its effort to provide efficient and effective supportive role for the implementation of the NMW has established a Wages Unit which will provide professional secretariat support to the 10 WROs.

Usamate said his ministry would continue to promote the fundamental social justice principles and rights at work with the implementation of the various components of Labour Reforms including the realisation of decent wages, decent conditions and decent work environment that promotes dignity in the workplace for all types of work.



33) Selling the Pacific dream
By Online Editor
3:12 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Fiji

Marketing our tourism to the world

By Dionisia Tabureguci

Would you believe that out of the over 900 million international tourist arrivals registered by the United Nations’ World Tourism Council in 2012, only 1.6 million visited the shores of 16 Pacific Islands countries (PICs) that are members of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO)?

That’s a miniscule 0.1 percent share of international tourism in that year.

For perspective, look at how the Caribbean fared. The Caribbean is a region with similar climate, environmental and cultural diversity as the Pacific but that, unfortunately, is where the similarities end.
We got 1.6 million tourists. They got over 25 million tourists in 2012, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), which has some 30-member countries.
Both regions are close to bigger and more developed economies, yet, global international tourism statistics are revealing how difficult it has been for the Pacific to drive its scattered islands nations into the minds and hearts of the global tourist.
This may be the end of the rainbow in tourist heaven, where gold can be found in a life of great abandon and natural abundance but peel off the layers of paradise and the success of selling it as an ideal tourist destination is as elusive as its best kept secrets.

Economic driver

“The challenge that we have here is how to address the very diverse needs of our member countries,” said Ilisoni Vuidreketi, chief executive officer of SPTO.
As a regional organisation, it is mandated by its 17-member countries (16 Pacific Islands countries and Timor Leste) to play a two-pronged role of promoting them in the global market and assisting in the sustainable development of their tourism industries.
In doing that, SPTO is at the forefront of tourism in this part of the world and is acutely aware of the challenges faced at regional level, especially when marketing its member countries to the world, which hasn’t been easy.
“You have small, isolated countries like Tuvalu with one flight a week and then you have ones like Fiji, which gets something like three flights a day to Australia and New Zealand.
“So you have countries with very limited capacity in tourism, they’re totally isolated and infrastructure is poor, and then you have those that are more developed.
“What we do is we try to provide services that benefit and suit these very different countries and you can just imagine the difficulties. The Caribbean’s biggest advantage is they’re just next door to the U.S and Canada while our biggest challenge here is accessibility. You don’t have the frequency of air services or flights coming to our parts of the world as they do in the Caribbean,” Vuidreketi said.
Tourism is undoubtedly one of the few things that countries in the region have going for them. It isn’t a secret that our small islands economies suffer from geographical isolation.
Most are resource-based, the smaller ones heavily dependent on their fisheries and a few agricultural commodities for export income. All are high consumers of imported goods, with fuel comprising a big chunk of their import bill, followed closely by imported food items.
A select few have been able to sustain a manufacturing industry but with most raw materials having to be imported, even maintaining a manufacturing industry is costly business. Add to that the chronic low level of foreign investments and you get an idea of how economic growth across PICs has been as unhurried as the swaying palm fronds that lend shifting shades to their sultry sandy beaches.
Economists familiar with PICs believe they all could do much better.
But tourism has been an exception, being an industry common to all of them irrespective of size or level of economic development.
In fact, it is estimated that tourism contributed 10.7 percent of the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2012, according to a presentation by SPTO in last year’s Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers’ (FEM) meeting in Tonga.
In 2010, tourism accounted for 56 percent of Palau’s GDP, 44.4 percent of Cook Islands’ GDP, 34.1 percent of Vanuatu’s GDP and 23.4 percent of Fiji’s GDP.
In most PICs, it continued to be the mainstay of the economy. Global data by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in 2012 showed that the total (direct, indirect and induced) contribution of tourism to PICs economies was 2.7 percent of total GDP (US$46.7bn) in 2012, and it was forecast to rise by 1.8 percent in 2013. It has also been a significant employer for most PICs, accounting for 11.7 percent of Fiji’s employment, 7.6 percent for Kiribati, 4.8 percent for Tonga and 4.1 percent for Solomon Islands in 2012.
There is little doubt in anyone’s mind of the importance of tourism to Pacific Islands economies.
But with the profile of global tourism being as it is—over 900 million tourists (and counting) visiting international destinations in one year, are we satisfied with the comparatively paltry 1.6 million visitors that we get?
Even with 1.6 million visitors, it is obvious that the benefits are not fairly distributed throughout the 16 PICs members of SPTO.
Fiji appears to be the only one reaping the cream of these movements, registering over 600,000 tourists in 2012 while PNG, at second place, recorded just over 160,000 tourists, according to SPTO data.
If indeed the Pacific is what tourist brochures claim it to be—pristine, primordial, undiscovered and many other things that the world has lost track of—then why aren’t the tourists coming?


“It’s the lack of infrastructure and lack of investments in the tourism sector. These are the two biggest impediments in the growth of tourism in this region,” said Vuidreketi.
“The lack of airports, lack of hotels, etc. You land in an airport of one of these countries and you see a dog crossing the runway, you see people riding their bicycles and waving to you—there are no fences. In some countries, as soon as the plane takes off, the tarmac becomes a volleyball court.
“There is also a general lack of investments when there should be more tourism projects…so when you have a combination of lack of infrastructure, products and investments, it does give rise to the difficulties of growing the industry. Then there is the lack of support at government level. A lot of verbal support is coming from them but when it comes to putting money where their mouth is, things could be different,” Vuidreketi added.
Typically, each SPTO country has a government-funded national tourism office set up for the express purpose of marketing that country as a tourist destination.
And typically, each SPTO country gets annual tourist numbers that range from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand, with Australia and New Zealand being the dominant source markets for most due to their proximity.
Those are the constant factors that typify Pacific tourism. More often than not, the national tourism offices work within the constraints of a very limited budget which means most of their marketing activities are focused on their traditional markets.
But when it comes to infrastructure—or the lack of it—the dilemma of maintaining reliable international air services to the islands comes under the radar.
As it is, most PICs are struggling with aviation issues of their own for their population, trade cargoes and more importantly, for their tourism industries.
The matter is so serious that at one point, there were attempts at regional level to move PICs towards a seamless airspace, where they all could be provided air links to each other and to major markets under a free market concept. It hasn’t materialised because it was seen as a threat by PICs who have their own national airlines.
But there is a general view that a well developed tourism industry locally, with good airports, hotels, supporting activities, services and products to suit the different types of tourist market segments—such as honeymoon, weddings, family, backpacking and flashpacking to name a few—will ensure that tourists come and therefore create the demand that will attract airlines to fly Pacific islands destinations.
This however is where the dilemma is because not all PICs have achieved that level of tourism development.
The bigger PICs like Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu with their own national airlines flying to and from international markets are better placed. Yet, it hasn’t necessarily translated to tourist traffic to the smaller islands countries. Neither has it translated to tourist traffic to other smaller islands within their own archipelagos.
Tourists when they do visit are usually confined to a few locations within the mainland or main tourist centres and very few make it to other parts of the country. The Pacific may boast of widely scattered islands and being the lesser traversed slice of civilisation but the provision of transportation for tourists to actually go there and experience the unexplored is usually too costly or simply unavailable.

Tough sell

Then there is the issue of what exactly there is to sell. Because SPTO members occur on a spectrum of least developed tourist market to the more sophisticated, they constitute a regional diversity that is difficult to promote.
Fiji, the Goliath of Pacific tourism, has little trouble in raising its visibility in the international markets but a tiny nation like Kiribati with its 32 atoll islands that make up just 800 sq kilometres scattered over 3.5 sq kilometres of national ocean space is virtually lost internationally because apart from fishing, birdwatching, wreck diving and an under-explored marine life, there is little else for tourists.
Except, that is, if you want to catch a glimpse of a country that may not be around twenty years from now because it is sinking from rising sea levels and climate change.
Kiribati is such a country. With some success, it has turned this unfortunate predicament into a tourist attraction but it still isn’t enough to get tourists in. Kiribati in a year barely manages to attract 5,000 tourists.
A stone throw away, Cook Islands, which is a quarter the size of Kiribati in land area and population, records over 100,000 tourists in a year. Marketing this type of diversity as well as coming up with suitable tourism development programmes for PICs, which is one of SPTO’s primary functions, require careful planning based on thorough research and analyses of what’s available in individual countries and what the needs are.
“We have to play a balancing act on getting activities that benefit small island states and also maintaining services that we provide the bigger member countries,” said Vuidreketi.
“So we do a lot of research, we go to the individual countries to find out what their exact needs are and we work on that to come up with programmes to help them.
“So things have to be suitable for the different countries. In our marketing for example, we cannot just go to the big countries and market the small countries there because they will get lost. We go to events like the fisherman’s trade show in Australia or New Zealand and promote places like Kiribati or Tuvalu there because these events are very relevant to them.”
From SPTO’s experience, it’s hard for individual PICs, with the exception of one or maybe two, to go to the world and raise their visibility because they are too small and are relatively unknown in non-traditional markets.
And this is where the organisation comes in. It complements the work done by the national tourism offices in its member countries who tend to focus their resources on marketing their tourism in their traditional source markets.
The major tourism markets for the region are Australia and New Zealand, which account for over 50 percent of total arrivals, according to SPTO. North America and Europe contribute 30 percent of our tourism followed by Japan and Asia accounting for 9 percent. The rest is attributed to intra-regional (within Pacific) travel.

“South Pacific Dream”

“We go to areas where the need is greater,” said Vuidreketi. “So we go out to the emerging markets. These are countries like the United Kingdom, Europe, China, Canada and the United States. We have to continue promoting the visibility of Pacific islands destinations as exotic destinations for these long-haul markets.
“A lot of them see the Pacific as a special place for them, especially when you look at the attractions that PICs offer, like pristine, natural environment, sun, sand and sea, friendly people, the absence of dangerous animals and the safety that surround us. These are some of the attractions that Pacific destinations do offer but the challenge, I suppose, is PICs need to work hard on strengthening the visibility of this region in those international markets,” Vuidreketi added.
At the end of last year, SPTO embarked on what it calls the “South Pacific Dream”, a new marketing strategy it introduced during a roadshow in the UK. Given the difficulty in presenting PICs individually, the “South Pacific Dream” aims to showcase Pacific destinations in a simple way, without tourists having to wade through the many differences among them.
“Through research, we find that the South Pacific has always been seen as a tropical paradise dream destination that most travellers can only dream of. They dream of coming down to our part of the world because they are attracted to our cultures, the clean, pollution-free environment and also the beach destinations, which conjure up this image of a Pacific dream. So we tag on to that concept,” said Vuidreketi.
Under the “South Pacific Dream”, even the small islands states have as good a chance as the bigger PICs who might already be known in the non-traditional markets.
“If you’re trying to promote yourself individually, you’ll easily get lost because there are hundreds of countries out there and thousands of tourism organisations coming from three different parts of the world. So the ‘South Pacific Dream’ depicts the destinations as a region—the South Pacific. It becomes effective in our marketing in the long haul markets and all our member countries can promote themselves under this umbrella,” Vuidreketi said.
One particular emerging market that unsurprisingly has the attention of SPTO and its members is China, with its increasing interest in Pacific economies and their development aspirations.
“China is one of those emerging economies on our radar and we are fortunate that we have Fiji Airways flying to Hong Kong direct from Nadi. That’s a crucial link to get Chinese tourists to come to this part of the world. China is a massive market so we have to be quite targeted, which is why we have increased our trade shows there to two a year. We start in the bigger areas like Shanghai, Quangzhou and Hong Kong. Over time, we will venture into other areas. If we get at least half a percent of Chinese tourists to come here, that’s huge for us,” said Vuidreketi.
PICs are in luck as the travel patterns of Chinese tourists are said to be changing.
“They are beginning to open up and go outside the Asian region,” Vuidreketi said. “They are coming to Australia, New Zealand and the U.S and with that trend, Pacific islands countries are starting to benefit, so we are responding by increasing our marketing there.”

Cruise tourism—a bright future?

As the issue of international air travel and accessibility is still on the joint agenda of relevant regional authorities, SPTO among them, a window of opportunity is opening for PICs in the form of cruise tourism.
Globally, cruise tourism has grown by over 125 percent with the launching of 143 new cruise ships since 2000, according to a Cruise Market Analysis conducted by SPTO in 2012. This growth has begun to trickle down to Pacific countries that have seaport infrastructure to support cruise liners.
“It’s absolutely a growing market,” said Vuidreketi. “When we attended the cruise liners’ trade show in Miami, we went to see the CEOs of these big cruise liners and they gave us their plans for the next five to 10 years. It’s all growth, growth, growth and they’re building bigger ships with capacity of around 4,000 to 5,000 passengers and up to 1,000 crew.
“The smaller ships with capacity of 1,500 to 2,000 passengers will have to be deployed elsewhere when those bigger ships get into the market. These new bigger ships will go to the bigger ports in Europe and Asia so they will have to move the smaller ships somewhere and they will push them down this way to Australia, New Zealand, PNG and down to the Pacific. So we expect a growth in cruise shipping in the Pacific in the future,” Vuidreketi added.
Cruise shipping destinations in the Pacific are Vanuatu, which has the biggest share of visiting cruises, New Caledonia and Fiji. Growth in visiting cruise liners has also been seen in French Polynesia, American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga and Cook Islands.
It’s one thing however to have these ships come here, it’s another to actually benefit from what they have to offer. Vuidreketi said this is an area that will need a lot of work because when tourists arrive in cruise liners, often staying only for a day or two, there still isn’t very much they can do onshore.
“When I was in Tonga, a cruise ship came in. When I came out of the meeting I was in, I saw tourists walking around and then going back to the boat. What else is there to do? They’ll go back and eat in the boat and just look from there. So there should be more activities on the ground to cater for these cruise ship tourists when they come in,” he said.
Cruise tourism has also created a phenomenon that is giving authorities more headache than encouragement—the fierce competition at ground level when cruise liners are in port.
Taxi operators, handicraft sellers, tour operators and other players fight among each other for business and they give the visitors an unpleasant experience.
“To help manage that, we do port preparedness workshops and they help stakeholders like the city councils, taxi drivers, port authorities, police, etc, on how to handle these tourists,” said Vuidreketi. “We’ve seen the numbers and we know that cruise tourism will grow strongly over the next few years but we have to be ready to cater for that growth. Cruise tourism will benefit if service providers on the ground learn to share these tourists and not compete for them, which is the case right now in some countries,” he added.
The Pacific has a long way to go though, as most countries do not have proper port facilities and support services to host cruise liners. But if properly harnessed, cruise tourism could provide a lucrative alternative for Pacific destinations that still face the unrelenting challenge of securing direct air links to their main source markets……Article from Islands Business Magazine, March 2014 Issue : website-



34) Border reward

Shayal Devi
Thursday, March 20, 2014

A CUSTOMS officer who played a key role in cracking a $1.3milion liquor smuggling and duty evasion operation was yesterday rewarded for his hard work.

At a special recognition ceremony yesterday for seven front line officers, it was revealed that Navneeth Chandra also recovered about $150,000 worth of foreign and local currencies from the suspect’s wife.

The Fiji Islands and Customs Authority said Mr Chandra played an instrumental role in several other investigations, including stopping a local travelling on a passport with different details.

FRCA CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said the authority would reward staff members who were exceptional in their line of duty.

“We want to motivate them to continue to excel in their work and ensure that revenue is collected but, more importantly, that our borders are secure,” he said.

“The authority also rewarded customs officers who won the Fijian Host of the Month awards last year.

“Six FRCA employees won awards for various months in 2013 and the overall winner for the year was Customs officer Deepak Kumar.

“It is important that we continue to improve our services and serve our customers well.

“Customs officers and those who work at the airport are tourism ambassadors and they influence the perception of tourists of Fiji and its people.”Fijitimes

35) Call for investigation into video of alleged PNG police brutality

Updated 19 March 2014, 19:27 AEST

Authorities in Papua New Guinea are being urged to conduct a full and independent inquiry into a video of alleged police brutality.

Amnesty International has urged authorities in PNG to conduct a full and independent inquiry into a video of alleged police brutality. Warning: This video contains images that may disturb viewers. (Credit: ABC)

Authorities in Papua New Guinea are being urged to conduct a full and independent inquiry into a video of alleged police brutality.

The one-minute clip, which has been shared on social media this week, shows men dressed in police uniforms standing next to a police four-wheel-drive, setting their dogs on an unarmed man.

The unverified video appears to have been filmed by a police officer on a mobile phone.

At the end of the film, the man manages to escape and runs off into the distance.

Audio: PNG police dog attack video emerges online (ABC News)

Human rights group Amnesty International says the footage raises serious concerns about torture and other ill-treatment by PNG police.

Amnesty’s Crisis Response Campaign Co-ordinator Michael Hayworth told the ABC he’s appalled by the level of violence shown in the video.

“I’ve never seen anything quite so shocking as alleged members of the PNG police forces setting dogs on an unarmed man,” he said.

“One of the things that stuck with me about the video was the screams of the man as the dogs bit into him and tore his shirt off.”

Mr Hayworth says an inquiry should be launched as soon as possible.

“Certainly the video hasn’t been verified but that just underlines the need for an investigation. We need to see this incident investigated, independently, and impartially by the PNG Government.”

PNG’s Deputy Police Commissioner Simon Kauba says authorities will act once a complaint has been lodged.

“We have not received any report in relation to the issue you’ve quoted,” he said.

“But we would love to get to the bottom of it – if it was reported, we would investigate.”

This isn’t the first time allegations of police brutality have emerged.

Last year an inquiry was launched after a group of police officers used machetes to slash the ankles of more than 70 men involved in a tribal fight in Port Moresby.Radio Australia.

36) People urged to renew passports: Fiji Immigration
By Online Editor
3:22 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Immigration Department has advised that passport holders can renew their travel documents before their expiry dates.

Immigration Director Nemani Vuniwaqa says, people shouldn’t wait for their current books to expire than apply for a new one.

He retiterated, the new passports from France has other security features apart from the different pictures of indigenous animals, birds, plants, potteries and war clubs on each page of the passport.

“Apart from those pictures, there are other additional security features which we can confirm to you as a customer, a client as someone holding on to the book, it is safe to hold on to the book, it is a good document to go with and also for travel. It can be guaranteed that you can travel to any port in the world they will accept this particular book”.

Vuniwaqa adds the method of placing the photos on the passbook has also changed.

“Photos are not inserted. Now we have a ghost image of the bearer of the passport. This is an added feature. The last passport the photos were inserted. Now its just a scan and its on the inner page rather than the cover page”.

Vuniwaqa says, they have 30,000 new passports in stock with thousands more arriving later in the year.


37) Fiji Police To Establish New Environment Law Unit
Unit responsible for laws governing conservation of land and sea

By Luke Rawalai

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 19, 2014) – The Fiji Police Force will soon set up a special unit tasked to deal with the environment laws governing the conservation of nature on land and sea.

Force chief operations officer Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said work on setting up the proposed unit was progressing.

Mr Tudravu said the new unit would focus on aligning the organisation with international best practices in environmental laws.

“We are empowering our officers with the knowledge of all laws through several training courses,” ACP Tudravu said.

“On the same note we are also strengthening networking with other government agencies to see how best we can improve our services.

“This is why we are encouraging other stakeholders who have issues with our services to bring it directly to us so we can solve it.”

The Fisheries Department in the North earlier raised their concerns on the need for police officers in the North to be well versed with the Fisheries Act so that they could enforce it efficiently.

North Principal Fisheries Officer Joji Vakawaletabua said they were working closely with police to ensure that the Fisheries Act was enforced fully.

“The incidents of poaching in the North has dropped and improved so far but we are trying to work closely with police and village headmen that this continues to be the case,” Mr Vakawaletabua said.

Fiji Times Online.


38) Kassman heads Team PNG for the 2015 Pacific Games
By Online Editor
12:45 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

The PNG Olympic Committee Tuesday announced the appointment of Richard Kassman as the chef de mission of Team PNG for the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby

PNGOC president, Sir John Dawanincura said the appointment of the Chef de Mission was done by the PNG Olympic Committee Executive Board and added the board had every confidence in Kassman.

“There are not many challenges greater in sports administration than to lead your country on home soil in an event of the magnitude of the Pacific Games,” Sir John said.

“The role of the Chef de Mission is a voluntary one and although some may think it is ceremonial, there is a lot more to it, including critical decision making.

“It is very demanding and you need a very good team around you and the decision making of the position is huge and full of consequences and you need a person who has great judgment and very intelligent.”

He said Kassman will be team leader and spokesman for Team PNG athletes prior and during the Games, and will work with the PNGOC to ensure their preparations are on track.

In accepting the appointment, Kassman said: “To be the Chef de Mission for Team PNG at our 2015 Pacific Games is a great honor and indeed privilege, one made extra special because Port Moresby is the host city.

“I am excited and I look forward to working with our 28 sports to prepare Team PNG.

“We have very committed coaches, managers and administrators focused on preparing Papua New Guinea’s best athletes in their respective sports.

“I have served sports in various capacities including as an umpire, coach, and on the executives of clubs, association and national federations, so I see my appointments as 2015 Chef de Mission as reaching the pinnacle of my sports administration career,” Kassman said.

“We are servants of the athletes and this must be central to our leadership approach and my aim and that of the general team management is to make sure that the athletes are well looked after and are comfortable in the team.

“The Games are on our home ground and we need everyone, from the athletes to the general team management focused so that the team can perform to our very best and reap the rewards,” he said.

Kasman was the chef de mission for Team PNG in 2013 to the successful Pacific Mini Games in Wallis & Futuna where PNG topped the medal tally.

PNGOC secretary general Auvita Rapilla said the Team Evaluation Committee (TEC) will go through the process of finalising all the team managers and coaches in April and a general team management should be in place by June.

39) FASANOC seeks more time to register for Commonwealth Games
By Online Editor
12:41 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Fiji

Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) president Reg Sanday has written to the CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation asking for Fiji to be given time to register teams for the next event.

He expressed his concern that the men’s 7s and women’s netball team would not be able to participate because the accreditation period had passed and the draws were completed before Fiji was fully reinstated.

In his letter to CEO Michael Hooper and Tunku Imran of Malaysia, the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Sanday said Fiji was blocked from participating in team sports at the Commonwealth Games.

“While we the sport community and nation of Fiji are elated with the news of the CMAG’s downgrading of Fiji’s suspension from the Commonwealth to allow our participation at the Commonwealth Games, we are concerned with reports that we may not be able to send our men and women’s rugby 7s and our netball teams due to the completion of the draws and the closure of accreditation,” Sanday wrote.

“We would like to appeal through you and the good office of HE President Tunku Imran to allow our Fiji men’s and women’s 7s teams and our netball team to be allowed to compete in Glasgow.”

Sanday explained Fiji’s status in sevens rugby and netball to Hooper and Imran and asked for Fiji’s inclusion and a re-draw of the draws.

“If it requires a re-draw or adding an additional team to make a draw then that is what has to be done.

“The Commonwealth is a family and its off-spring, the CG are known the world over as the ‘Friendly Games’.

“Now is an opportunity to show to the Commonwealth and to the world the principle that all members are treated equally and with respect and that the Commonwealth’s strength is only as good as its weakest link.”.

40) Five bid cities submit Application Files to host 2022 Olympic Winter Games
By Online Editor
12:41 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Switzerland

The Applicant Cities of Krakow (Poland), Oslo (Norway), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Lviv (Ukraine) and Beijing (China) all met the 14 March 2014 deadline for submission to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of their Application Files to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

The Application Files provide the IOC with an overview of each city’s vision and concept for the Games and form the basis for an initial technical analysis of the bid. It is the principal deliverable of Phase 1 of the bidding procedure.

These files will now be studied by an IOC-appointed working group, which will then submit a report to the IOC Executive Board (EB). The EB will decide which of the five cities will be accepted as Candidate Cities and proceed to Phase 2 at a meeting in July. Following its decision, the working group’s report will be published on the IOC website.

Applicant Cities may make their Application Files public and post them on their web sites as of 15 March.

As the Olympic Games are a unique project, whose size, scope and complexity mean that they are typically the biggest event that cities looking to host the Games will ever undertake, the IOC assists them in a number of ways, including financially and through an extensive transfer of knowledge programme.

The IOC puts at the disposal of the bid cities a significant amount of information and expertise through its Olympic Games Knowledge Management (OGKM) platform, which takes the form of documentation, experts, workshops and personal observation of previous Games. All five Applicant Cities for the 2022 Olympic Games participated in the Sochi 2014 observer programme last month. The programme allows cities to learn the best practices of previous hosts and to adapt those lessons to their own unique context.

Once elected, the IOC continues to support the local organising committees through OGKM, as well as with the regular visits of its Coordination Commissions and experts, who help to guide the organisers, as they develop their Games project. All IOC-related costs (for accommodation, transport, etc.) are covered entirely by the IOC, as is the case during the Games themselves.

The IOC makes a significant financial contribution to the organisation of each edition of the Games, where the budgets of Organising Committees for the Olympic Games are generally privately financed. For example, the IOC and its Worldwide Olympic Partners are expected to contribute around USD 590 million in total to the budget for the organisation of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. To reduce the financial burden on the local organisers further, the IOC also assumes the responsibility and cost of the principal Olympic broadcast signal through its fully owned subsidiary Olympic Broadcasting Services SA (OBS). In Sochi this is expected to exceed USD 150 million.

Applicant Cities who move on to the Candidate City Phase of the bid process have until January 2015 to submit their Candidature Files – in-depth blueprints of the cities’ Olympic projects. The IOC President will then appoint an Evaluation Commission made up of IOC members (who are volunteers) and experts to visit each Candidate City and prepare a technical risk assessment to assist IOC members in electing the host city. This report will be made available to all IOC members ahead of a two-day briefing that provides the members with the opportunity to question the cities directly about their Olympic projects.

In line with the IOC’s commitment to transparency, all documents pertaining to the 2022 bid process are available to the public on

Key Dates:

Phase 1:

* Selection of Candidate Cities by the IOC Executive Board – 7-9 July 2014

Phase 2:

* Submission of the Candidature File & Guarantees – 7 January 2015
* IOC Evaluation Commission visits – February to March 2015
*Evaluation Commission report / Candidate City Briefing for IOC Members – May to June 2015 (TBC)
* Election of the 2022 host city by the IOC Session – Kuala Lumpur – 31 July 2015

The cities are listed according to a drawing of lots carried out by the IOC EB in December 2013.


41) Fiji Warriors thrash Junior Japan 99 – 13
By Online Editor
12:51 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Australia

The Fiji Warriors side fell short of a point to reach a century after nailing Junior Japan 99-13 during its Pacific Rugby Cup match in Brisbane Tuesday.

The Telecom Fiji-sponsored side scored 15 unanswered tries during the 80-minute period. The Warriors led 40-8 at the break.

Winger and former national sevens rep Vilitati Sokiveta scored four tries, nippy halfback Emori Waqa scored a hat-trick and Nadroga hitman Savenaca Rawaca touched down twice.

Warriors team manager Joe Browne said they fell short of scoring a century.

“It was a tough game and we’re happy about the win,” he said.

“We led 40-8 at the break and we just failed to achieve our goal which was to score 100 points.”

He said Japan played a constructive game.

“Japan played a very good game. It was tough, they played very technical but our boys just outsmarted them in all aspects of the match.”

He said the win boosted their chances of retaining the PRC title after the final match against the Pampas XV on Sunday.


42) Chelsea, Real Madrid advance

Thursday, March 20, 2014

MADRID, AFP – Chelsea eased into the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the expense of Galatasaray yesterday, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid completed a comprehensive win against Schalke 04.

First-half goals from Samuel Eto’o and Gary Cahill gave Chelsea a 2-0 victory as they saw off their Turkish opponents 3-1 on aggregate to succeed where fellow Premier League clubs Arsenal and Manchester City failed and make it into the last eight.

Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid defeated Schalke 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu to advance 9-2 on aggregate and extend their long unbeaten run to 31 games.

The build-up to the game at Stamford Bridge had been dominated by the return of Didier Drogba to the ground where he is still hailed as a hero and the Ivorian — scorer of the winning penalty when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in a shoot-out in the 2012 final — was presented with a silver boot prior to kick-off. Chelsea’s away-goal advantage from last month’s meeting in Istanbul meant they had no obligation to take the game to Roberto Mancini’s side, but they found themselves ahead on the night inside four minutes.

Oscar’s pass in behind the visiting defence found Eto’o, and the Cameroonian beat the offside trap before sending in a low shot that was too powerful for goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

As Eto’o celebrated scoring the 30th Champions League goal of his career, Drogba and Galatasaray offered little by means of a response.

John Terry volleyed just over from a Frank Lampard free-kick before Jose Mourinho’s side increased their lead three minutes prior to the interval, Gary Cahill ramming home the rebound after Muslera had blocked Terry’s header at a corner.

43) Stars to watch in Tokyo

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Television broadcaster Nigel Starmer-Smith picks five players to watch out for at the sixth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Tokyo.


Amidst all the talent of the All Blacks 7s, it must be Tim Mikkelson who is the most important to Gordon Tietjens. A big man, he has exceptional versatility as a prop, a brilliant midfield centre or wing in Sevens. First selected by Tietjens in George seven years ago, he’s since played 45 tournaments, mostly as a forward, and scored 130 tries. He has a large stride, deceptive pace and his strength makes him difficult to get hold of in the tackle. Still only 27 years old, you can guarantee he’ll be in the mix for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.


There are some exceptionally promising talent among Ben Ryan’s Fiji squad with Samisoni Viriviri, Benito Masilevu or Semi Kunatani shining examples, but Emosi Mulevovo, with eight tournaments to his name, is already destined to be an outstanding star. His first appearance was last year in Hong Kong, where the Fijians won. He was dropped soon after by Alifereti Dere but Ryan recalled him, having recognised a quality scrum-half in 15s.


Only Ben Gollings has played more 7s tournaments than James Rodwell, who has grown further in stature this season. Seldom does he miss the ball at England’s line-out and he also has deceptive power and pace and is strong in the tackle. First selected by Ben Ryan at Murrayfield in 2008, he has played each year since, scoring 65 tries in 48 tournaments.


This is not a favour to my friendly Australian co-commentator, Greg Clark and father of Cameron! In fact his 20-year-old son is fast becoming a top player among not only the Australian squad but the series as a whole. Based as a young man in the Northern Suburbs club of Sydney, he was spotted by coach Michael O’Connor two years ago as a long and lean speedster with raw potential. Injury kept him on the sidelines earlier this season but he’s recovered to play a starring role, not just with his tries but also his vital goal-kicking.

FRANKIE HORNE – South Africa

There may be more glamorous greyhounds in the South African squad — indeed no shortage of spectacular sprinters — but for years now Horne has provided them with the ball, and with remarkable regularity. First selected in Dubai in 2007, big Frankie has played every single World Series tournament since that day — only cruelly missing out on the World Cup in Moscow in June. Otherwise he has proved unstoppable: no injury, never dropped, never missed a tournament in 55 events — remarkable! A rugged forward, strong, very physical, 16 and a half stone but no slouch! Time and again he wins the ball, has handling skills and also averages almost a try every tournament.

Song and dance from Île des Pins, New Caledonia

Note: “Olobat”, song and dance by men and women from Île de Pins, an island just east of the main island in Kanaky (New Caledonia), performed during the Festival of Melanesian Arts in Lifou, December 2001.

Credit : Ludo Kuipers

Bracket – Mama Africa


( Melanesian People originate from Mama Africa 50.000 years ago…MUSIQUE is one massive LINK )

Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 947


Wantoks Na Frens blo Western Pacific ( Melanesia ) Hope you and loved ones are good saraga!

Vanuatu Wantoks & Friends- Wishing you all, A Very Happy Lini Day 21/2/13.

Note: I will be on Holidays, travelling for 5 weeks, I will do VOM news update, whenever I have access to a PC.

Best Regards.

Lukim – Phil nomoa.


1) Housing a major worry in PNG
By Online Editor
4:09 pm GMT+12, 20/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Housing remains a major issue for employers and employees in the country, a survey has found.

Findings from the 2013 BHC and Hay Group Paynet Remuneration Survey were presented to members of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry this week by Concept Group managing director, Brendan Coombs.

Coombs said the survey found that more than 50% of the 70 organisations questioned provided a housing allowance to their employees, 28% rented or provided accommodation, 14% provided nothing and 7% (including Government) offered home ownership.

“To me, one of the most effective ways of keeping your employees engaged with you is if you’re able to help them with their housing because people will move because of housing (rather) than get another 5,000 bucks,” he said.

“The problem is that housing is very problematic. Providing home ownership schemes is fraught with getting the money in the first place.

“The other issue I find is that there’s not a history of home ownership in Papua New Guinea so if people move from a company house to their own house, they still think someone else is going to look after it for them.

“They still forget to pay the rates and all those sorts of things so it becomes an issue.

“There’s a whole psyche change that has to happen around home ownership before it can be taken up.

“But really, for the amount of money we’re spending on housing allowance for an employee or what it’s costing us to rent accommodation, it’s much better that that money goes into the employees’ pocket so they have an asset at the end of their working life.”

Coombs said government institutional housing, particularly for disciplined forces such as police and army, had so many problems.

“What we find with institutional housing, particularly with government, is that people don’t move out,” he said.

“Long after they’ve retired, they’re still taking up someone’s house because there’s been no progress made in getting them to have their own accommodation.

“So there’s no room for the people who actually work in institutional housing right across PNG. They find it very difficult to find housing.”

Housing and Urbanisation Minister Paul Isikiel said last September the Government had approved K150 million (US$58 million) for the National Housing Corporation’s public investment programme to start this year.



2) Chef bai kuk long helpim skul long PNG ailan

Updated 20 February 2014, 16:01 AEST
Bethany Keats

Wanpla man blong Rabaul Island long East New Britain provins long Papua New Guinea husat i laik raisim sampla moni long helpim Praimari skul long ailan blong en.

Daniel Brehaut ibin skul long kukim kaikai bihaenim wei em ol pipal blong France isave kukim kaikai, na emi gat wanpla haus kaikai we wanpla kaen liklik olsem blong Spain.

Long  mun bihaen em bai kukim kaikai bihaenim wei blong ol ailan pipal long siti blong Geelong, arasait long Melbourne siti long State blong Victoria.

Mama blong Mr Brehaut  emi blong Duke of York Islands na wanpla praimari skul long despla Island i bagarap tru, olsem na  Mr Brehaut kukim kaikai blong raisim moni long helpim despla skul.

“Mi save tingim Rabaul olsem mama-graun blong mi.”

“Mi stap hia long taem, maritim misis long Australia tasol mi save pilim olsem haus blong mi ino stap long hia, haus blong mi i stap long ol ailan long Rabaul,” em ibin tok.

3) Lae Yut farm long PNG i bungim Australia Jastis Minista

Updated 20 February 2014, 16:58 AEST
John Papik

Lae City Misin ibin girap nogut long bungim Australia Jastis Minista Michael Keenan taim em ibin go lukluk long Lae.

Lae City Mission long Morobe Provins PNG  olsem ol arapela Yut senta isave hat wok tru long halivim ol yangpela pikinini em ol save gat heve long  laif blong ol.

Long hed kota blong ol long Suambu Farm dispela wik oli bin girap nogut long bungim Jastis Minista blong Australia Michael Keenan ibin go kamap long Lae na Australia Hai Komisina long PNG Deborah Stokes na arapela ol bikman blong Australia gavaman.

Wokabout blong ol igo long Lae em long halivim Lae polis  long rausim oa kisim bek ol gans long ol pipol long Lae city.

Bruce Hart Managing dairekta long Lae City Mission itok lukluk blong Australia Jastis Minista Michael Keenan igo long farm blong ol ibin surprise long ol.

Tasol bikpela samting Mr Hart itok oli ibin hamamas long lukim ol i peim dispela visit blong ol igo long Yut farm blong ol  na lukim wanem samting oli wok long mekim long halivim ol yut blong Lae na Morobe Provins.

Na kamap blong Michael Keenan long farm blong ol yut ibin wok hat stret  long klinim farm na bilasim gut long kamap blong Michael Keenan na lain blong em.

Na Australia gavaman ibin givim sampela moni halivim igo long farm las yar blong ronim dispela farm em ol yut istap long en.long wokim ol  bildings.


4) Le texto au secours de l’enseignement primaire

Posté à 20 February 2014, 8:24 AEST
Pierre Riant

Dans 26 établissements scolaires de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, le texto s’est avéré un véritable outil pour améliorer la capacité de lecture des écoliers.

Ce programme de SMS, financé par l’Australie dans les provinces de Simbu et de Madang, a réussi à relever le niveau de lecture d’environ 1 000 élèves. Le succès est tel que le programme en question pourrait être élargi à l’échelle nationale.

Amanda Watson est consultante en communications mobiles à Port Moresby, la capitale : « Nous avons commencé à envoyer des SMS aux enseignants pendant les jours d’école. Deux SMS par jour. En premier, un sujet court et en deuxième, un plan de leçon et des idées sur la façon dont ils pouvaient enseigner à bien lire en utilisant le court sujet. »

Première étape donc l’envoi du texto aux enseignants, mais comment les messages sont transmis aux élèves ?

WATSON : « Dans le plan de leçon, nous avons suggéré aux enseignants de recopier le sujet à la craie au tableau noir pour ensuite lire l’histoire aux écoliers en montrant les mots un par un pour introduire de nouveaux sons, de nouvelles lettres et de nouveaux mots.
Ensuite, l’enseignant doit demander aux élèves de lire l’histoire à voix haute et de la lire entre eux à travers des jeux. En leur demandant aussi d’écrire d’autres histoires avec des images pour que les élèves puissent utiliser le sujet et les enseignants utiliser ce sujet dans la salle de classe. »

Dans un premier temps, une centaine d’enseignants des provinces de Simbu et de Madang ont reçu les SMS et une centaine d’autres, dans des écoles similaires, ne les ont pas reçus afin de pouvoir comparer à terme le niveau de lecture des élèves des deux groupes : « Au début de la phase d’essai  lors du premier trimestre 2013, nous avons mis à l’épreuve le niveau de lecture des élèves de tous les enseignants. Environ 2 500 élèves ont été mis à l’épreuve et il n’y avait pas de différence de niveau entre les deux groupes.

Nous avons ensuite commencé à envoyer 200 SMS sur une période de 20 semaines et au quatrième trimestre nous sommes retournés dans les mêmes écoles pour des tests de lecture. Et, nous nous sommes aperçus qu’il y avait statistiquement dans les résultats d’importantes différences entre les deux groupes.

Les élèves des enseignants abonnés aux SMS lisaient mieux que les élèves des enseignants qui ne recevaient pas les SMS sur leur téléphone portable. »

Devant ce succès, et à condition de trouver le financement nécessaire, puisque ce programme pilote était financé par l’aide à l’étranger du gouvernement australien, cette méthode d’enseignement par SMS pourrait être élargi dans l’ensemble des zones rurales du pays et donner des idées au reste du Pacifique.Radio Australia

5) Soif de culture chez les jeunes océaniens de Sydney

Posté à 20 February 2014, 8:17 AEST
Pierre Riant

Le Centre artistique et culturel Matavai a ouvert ses portes en juin dernier et connaît un engouement grandissant parmi les communautés océaniennes de la ville. La directrice de ce Centre, Maryjane Mckibbin-Schwenke, indique que de nombreux jeunes océaniens veulent en savoir plus sur leur culture d’origine.

Tant et si bien que de nouvelles activités ont été ajoutées au menu : enseignement de plusieurs langues du Pacifique, par exemple,  et cours de danse : « Je me suis dit, pourquoi ne pas donner des cours de danse du Samoa en pensant que si une dizaine de gamins étaient intéressés ça serait bien.
J’ai mis une pub dans Facebook et quelque 80 personnes se sont présentées à la petite salle de danse que je louais à l’heure. Au bout de trois mois, j’ai réalisé qu’aucune salle de danse ne pouvait nous prendre 8 heures par semaine.

Il nous a fallu trouver notre propre espace et j’ai mis la main sur un entrepôt qui se trouve être dans le même bâtiment que le Centre. Et le trimestre suivant, le nombre d’élèves a doublé.

Davantage de familles ont amené leurs enfants et nous avons été obligés d’élargir les cours de danse à Fidji, à Tonga, aux Maoris de Nouvelle-Zélande et je ne m’attendais pas à ce que cela prenne de telles proportions. »

Sydney abrite de nombreux océaniens du Pacifique, mais on ne peut pas parler de présence massive par rapport au reste de la population de cette ville. Alors quelles sont les raisons derrière cette soif de culture chez les jeunes du Pacifique : « Je pense que c’est la façon dont nous enseignons cette culture. Nous utilisons la danse comme un outil qui permet de les attirer. Et quand ils sont à l’intérieur, ils réalisent que la danse n’est qu’une des activités que nous proposons à Matavai.

La danse nous amène à discuter de questions culturelles ou d’environnement. Nous parlons aussi de l’Histoire du Samoa ou de Tonga. Nous essayons de susciter des questions de leur part et ils commencent à se dire que ce que racontent papa et maman n’est pas si idiot que ça. »

Des parents qui parlent souvent de traditions et de coutumes à des jeunes qui sont élevés dans le milieu urbain de Sydney : « De nombreux jeunes à Sydney n’apprécient pas car on les oblige à participer à des cérémonies culturelles et on ne leur explique pas vraiment bien ce dont il s’agit. »

Un Centre qui permettrait donc de reconnecter ces jeunes océaniens avec une culture que les parents n’arrivent pas toujours à faire passer.Radio Australia


6) Health advocates push for a Sugary Drink Free Pacific by 2030
By Online Editor
4:11 pm GMT+12, 20/02/2014, New Zealand

A number of health experts, university professors, dentists and dieticians want the Pacific to be free of sugary drinks by 2030.

The delegates gathered at a symposium in Auckland, aimed at reducing the consumption of drinks like fizz, cordials, flavoured milks and energy drinks in the Pacific and New Zealand.

The delegates say sugar sweetened beverages, or SSBs are major contributors to obesity, diabetes, rotten teeth and gout.

The co-ordinator of the Pacific Reserach Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and Non-communicable diseases, Dr Wendy Snowden, says the main problems are a high availability of sugary drinks at a low price, with heavy marketing for them.

“In a lot of the Pacific Island countries, access to drinking water is a problem, certainly in some locations, so you do need access to bottled drinks. The water is generally more expensive than bottled soft-drinks or canned soft-drinks then people choose the cheaper options. They are readily available, they are heavily marketed, there’s good reasons why people are drinking a lot of them.

Dr Wendy Snowden says pricing up the drinks, by imposing an excise tax on drinks containing sugar, would be a key approach to tackling the issue….


Diverse Communities/Diverse Media 21-25 July 2014.University Of Goroka.PNG.International Conference.

OURMedia Call for Proposals

Credit: Dr Sam S Kari, Ms Verena Thomas & CFP Our Media – Thank you for the news.

Please checkout attachment and also on


7) Australians slapped with PNG visa ban 01 March
By Online Editor
4:18 pm GMT+12, 20/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Australians will not get visas on arrival in Port Moresby and other major centres from 31 March, Papua New Guinea Immigration chief Mataio Rabura says.

He said the move was in response to Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s decision to maintain the no visa-on-arrival for Papua New Guineans travelling to Australia.

“After the visit by the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, during which the prime minister reiterated PNG’s desire for Australia to reciprocate its visa-on-arrival facility, and the response of maintaining the status quo, the government’s decision to ban the visa-on-arrival facility to Australian passport holders will now be enforced,” Rabura said.

“The decision though taken in December, was not effected due to the government’s desire to give ample time to the government of Australia to reconsider its response given to the PNG ministers at the PNG-Australia Ministerial Forum in Canberra last year, and for Australian citizens who had already confirmed travel arrangements to PNG to undertake confirmed travels.”

He said the March 1 ban meant Australian passport holders would no longer be able to:

*Obtain visitor (all classes) and business (short term entry and restricted employment facility) visas on arrival at any port of entry in PNG; and,’

* Be granted uplift letters for issuance of the aforementioned visas on arrival at any port of entry in PNG

“Australian passport holders will be required to obtain these visas at the nearest PNG overseas mission/posts abroad where there is no PNG government representation,” he said.

“PNG’s current missions/posts in Australia are located in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.

“Visiting PNG on cruise ships, including flying in to join a cruise ship to catch a flight out of PNG, will not be affected by this ban because they are granted visas electronically without the need for prior application.

“Transiting through PNG for less than eight hours does not require visas, and are to remain within the international transit lounge at the airport.

8) Australia explains visa requirements
By Online Editor
2:05 pm GMT+12, 20/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Australia is welcoming PNG citizens in a more flexible approach, according to a fact sheet on Australian visa.

According to the fact sheet, Australia welcomes Papua New Guinea citizens to visit, study and work in Australia that includes the significant growth in visitors to Australia – this growth is against global trends.

Furthermore, many more people from PNG are choosing to study in Australia with the total student enrolments being doubled since 2009, with some fields such as engineering experiencing a four-fold increase in enrolments.

The fact sheet also outlines that “it is easier and quicker than ever before for PNG citizens to apply for a visa to travel to Australia. PNG is the first country in the Asia-Pacific to enjoy an online visa application service’’.

“Online visa applications, first introduced on June 24. 2013, now comprise almost 20 per cent of total visitor visa lodgements and continue to grow; feedback from visa applicants about the online service continues to be very positive.

“Online visa applications can be lodged by any person or organisation on behalf of the applicant, making this new online service handy and available for those who do not have ready access to the internet, processing times for complete applications lodged online average seven days or less, facilitating ease of movement for all visitors including tourists and business people.

“Reduction in paper work for people who are regular visitors to Australia and a more flexible approach to the documentation requirements, first-time travellers are asked for evidence of funds to support their visit to Australia.  This evidence can be from a variety of sources, including letters from employers and invitations from host organisations in Australia. There is no requirement to provide bank statements.

“Furthermore no requirement for biometric data or interviews – many other countries require this, no visa required for PNG passport holders who transit through Australia for less than eight hours – citizens from more than 120 countries do not have such visa free transit and priority entry processing upon arrival for APEC business travel card holders

“Priority passenger lane access to Australian airports in Cairns and Brisbane facilitates quick entry to Australia – these arrangements have been in place since September 1, 2013 and also apply to Australian and New Zealand passport holders.”

The fact sheet states that Australia is assisting PNG to strengthen its border management systems including IT visa processing.

“As PNG strengthens its border systems and their integrity, this will facilitate further advances in Australia’s visa arrangements for PNG citizens.

“Australia looks to PNG to provide effective visa services for Australians to underpin the smooth flow of business people and tourists to PNG, such as through an online system.”

Australia does not have a visa on arrival system for any country but it does not take a long time to obtain a visa for Australia for visitors. It has reduced its advertised turnaround time for a visa from 30 days to 10 working days.

9) Natapei Group confirms support for Vanuatu PM Carcasses ahead of motion
By Online Editor
4:20 pm GMT+12, 20/02/2014, Vanuatu

Vanuatu government allies Thursday reaffirmed that it remains united behind Prime Ministership of Moana Carcasses Kalosil.

The statement was issued in response to claims made in the local media Wednesday that at least two additional Government MP’s have joined the Opposition camp ahead of Monday’s Motion of No Confidence.

The current Government is comprised of two “blocs”, the “Moana Group” led by Prime Minister Carcasses and the “Natapei Group” led by Edward Nipake Natapei.

The “Natapei Group” consists of 18 MP’s – nine MP’s from the Vanuaaku Pati (VP) (including the VP-affiliated Independent Peter Vuta), five MP’s from the Graon mo Jastis Pati (GJP), two MP’s from the Union of Moderate Parties (UMP) and two MP’s from the Melanesian Progressive Party (MPP). None of these 18 MP’s have signed the Motion of No Confidence and all 18 are united in support of Moana Carcasses Kalosil ahead of Monday’s no confidence vote.

The Natapei group said any claims by the Opposition that any of these MP’s have joined the Opposition Camp are simply not true and designed to confuse and mislead the public.

10) No-Confidence Motion Against Vanuatu PM Ruled ‘In Order’
Debate of removal of Carcasses to take place next week

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 20, 2014) – Parliament will meet Monday next week at 8.30am to debate the Opposition-sponsored Motion of No Trust against Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses.

The Office of the Speaker of Parliament confirmed to Daily Post yesterday afternoon that the Motion of No Trust against Prime Minister Moana Carcasses is in order.

Notices to the MPs for the calling of the extra-ordinary session of parliament on Monday have been distributed as of yesterday afternoon, according to the Office of the Speaker.

The Office of the Speaker confirmed that legal consultation with the State Law Office has confirmed that the Motion of No Confidence is in order thus satisfying the Speaker to call for parliament to meet on Monday to debate the motion.

MPs in the rural constituencies are expected to start arriving in the capital over the weekend for the extra ordinary sitting of parliament on Monday.

Meanwhile, reliable sources within the Opposition bloc told Daily Post that the 27 MPs who have signed the motion have rallied together and remain in political unity at a venue under tight security.

They are expected to remain there until Monday next week.

In other development relating to the motion of no confidence, Daily Post received a copy of a letter by the Minister of Youth and Sport confirming his resignation as of the 17th of February 2014.

Earlier yesterday Prime Minister Moana Carcasses told local reporters that UMP Minister for Youth and Sport did sign the motion of no confidence but did not resign along with two other state ministers as reported by the local media.

But after the prime minister’s press conference Daily Post received a copy of the letter of resignation by Port Vila MP, Tony Wright, as a state minister addressed to the Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil.

His letter of resignation to the Prime Minister was dated February 17, 2014.

Daily Post was also informed by the Opposition bloc yesterday that MP Tony Wright is with the Opposition bloc camp in Port Vila.

In a short address to local reporters yesterday morning, Prime Minister Moana Carcasses, said some of the MPs who signed the motion against him will return to the Government side: “In the next day or so, three or four MPs will return to the Government side,” PM Carcasses told local reporters.

“It is a challenging time we face but I want to assure the people of Vanuatu that the Government I lead is here to ensure the country goes forward with its development goals. While the VP Deputy Prime Minister Edward Natapei is abroad, there’s a VP representative here this morning and likewise with the GJP Land Minister Regenvanu who is touring now but his representatives are here also,” said PM Carcasses.

On the question of allegations carried in the motion against him, the Carcasses replied: “I will answer all these allegations Monday next week when the motion is debated in parliament.”

Vanuatu Daily Post:


11) Fiji Mining Act to get long overdue review

By Online Editor
12:41 pm GMT+12, 19/02/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Mining Act is now undergoing a review – more than 3 decades after the last assessment in 1978.

Director of Mineral Resources, Malakai Finau says that the value of compensation and development work will be two key areas they will look at.

Its been 36 years since the Mining Act was last reviewed.

Stakeholders and landowners are aware that the act has become archaic and is no longer applicable to the present day situation.

But such reviews comes with its own set of challenges and the Mineral Resources department knows that there’s not much common ground when it comes to compensation issues.

At the moment 70 exploration licenses have been issued.

The review of the Act should be completed by the end of April.



12) 20kg cocaine in luggage

Shalveen Chand
Thursday, February 20, 2014

COCAINE weighing 20.5 kilograms and worth $6.1million was found in the luggage of an American national who arrived in Fiji last Tuesday.

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said a 23-year-old foreign national was being interrogated by the police at CID headquarters in Suva.

He said the man arrived at Nadi Airport on an American passport then caught a domestic flight to Nausori.

The man is said to have arrived from South America.

According to the police, the man then checked into Peninsula Hotel in Suva and his luggage arrived two days later.

He said two large containers containing white powder were found by officers of the Drug Unit.

Police and customs officials found the white powder to be cocaine after tests.

According to the police, the man checked out of the Peninsula and checked into Sunset Motel in Suva where he stayed for a day before disappearing.

Insp Sokomuri said the man managed to evade police until Tuesday night when he was arrested in a restaurant in Lautoka.

No charges have been laid, however, the police are still trying to find out the origins of the drug and its intended destination.


13) Manus Island unrest: PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill says locals not involved in detention centre violence

Updated 20 February 2014, 17:41 AEST
By Liam Fox and Emma Griffiths

Papua New Guinea’s prime minister has rejected claims that local residents were involved in the violent clashes at the Manus Island asylum seeker detention centre earlier this week.

One man was killed and more than 70 others injured – several seriously – in a riot on Monday night.

The trouble has prompted questions about Australia’s offshore detention policies, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the Government will not “succumb to moral blackmail”.

There have been reports that island residents also pushed down fences at the centre and attacked the asylum seekers.

But PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill says that “at no time did the good people of Manus get involved”.

In a statement to PNG Parliament he said “the media is out there trying to portray that there is a lawless situation. This is not the case”.

Mr O’Neill said police fired gunshots during the worst violence on Monday night “to calm things down, not to harm any particular person”.

His stance on local involvement differs to an eyewitness account given to the ABC that local guards employed by security company G4S beat detainees after asylum seekers shouted insults at them.

PNG police, defence and immigration officials have been charged with investigating the violence.

Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has also ordered his department secretary Martin Bowles to lead an inquiry.

He says that follows precedent set by the previous Labor government in relation to other major incidents at offshore detention centres.

“That review doesn’t have any constraints on it. That review will be done by an independent person as those other reviews were,” he said.

“They will be charged with determining what the facts are around those incidents that took place over Sunday night and Monday.

“We’re going to have to be patient to get to the bottom of this issue.”

Greens want royal commission; Labor calls for end to ‘secrecy’

The Greens have called for a royal commission into the violence.

The Labor Party has stopped short of that, demanding a full inquiry and more transparency from the Government.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says the Coalition needs to abandon its “addiction to secrecy”.

“I think the first step, before we get to the Greens proposition, is that the embattled Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison, just needs to be upfront with the Australian people and tell us what’s happening,” he said.

The Greens also say the Government should put a freeze on sending any more asylum seekers to the Manus Island facility.

But Mr Abbott says there will be no changes to the policy.

“The Australian Government will not be deterred or intimidated by anyone when it comes to doing what we need to do to protect our borders,” he said.

“We will not be deterred or intimidated by anyone. We will not succumb to pressure or to moral blackmail.

“We will ensure these camps are run fairly and if necessary firmly.”


14) Three more sites in Fiji for world heritage listing
By Online Editor
4:14 pm GMT+12, 20/02/2014, Fiji

Three more Fiji heritage sites have been tentatively included to be recognised along with the old capital of Levuka on the World Heritage listing.

A tentative list released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and the World Heritage convention noted the Sigatoka Sand dunes, Sovi Bay and Yaduataba, the home of the crested iguana among national sites to be recognised and preserved.

A submissions made by the National Trust of Fiji, described the sand dunes in Sigatoka as the product of fluvial erosion in the coastal hinterland and coastal dune forming processes which needs to be categorised as a cultural site.

The Sovi basin in Waimaro was submitted by the department of Environment, for the reason that it is Fiji’s most important land ecosystem in terms of its biological and landscape heritage.

The spectacular natural and cultural features of the Sovi Basin together build a strong imperative for ecotourism development. International promotion of the wilderness and cultural features of the Sovi Basin would form the lynch pin of a new heritage focus to Fiji’s tourism industry, the submission said.

The third is the Yaduataba Crested Iguana Sanctuary which was also submitted by the National Trust of Fiji and categorised natural for the World Heritage sites. The Uninhabited Island of Yaduataba lies in the south west of the large island of Vanua Levu.



15) Sydney photo exhibition captures historic early photographs of Pacific Islands

Updated 20 February 2014, 16:26 AEST
Bruce Hill for Radio Australia

An upcoming free exhibition of historic photographs at the University of Sydney’s Macleay Museum will show some of the first photos of the Pacific during the early colonial period.

An exhibition featuring some of the first photos of the Pacific during the early colonial period will go on display at the University of Sydney’s Macleay Museum next month.

Dating from the late 1850s the show includes photographs taken by missionaries, anthropologists, tourists and early government expeditions to the region.

The Points of Focus exhibition comprises images of the British proclamation of a protectorate in Papua in 1884, colonial and civil war in Samoa in the late 19th century and Douglas Mawson’s first scientific expedition to Vanuatu in 1903.

MacLeay Museum’s ethnography curator Rebecca Conway has told Pacific Beat that while many of the images are fragile, they are a tremendous historical resource.

“The exhibition itself, we are exhibiting digitally because many of those formats are really quite fragile so we can’t have them on display for long periods,” she said.

“A lot of the images, the original copies are quite small, so it’s difficult to see the details, so we have, through digital technology blow them up quite large.”

There are around 50,000 photographs in the collection in a variety of formats including glass-plate negatives, glass lantern slides and stereographic prints.

“I think people do have a personal response to photographs, particularly portraits,” Ms Conway said.

“You’re really able to examine them in quite close detail, so you do have a personal human response.

“It does give you an insight to history and maybe what people were thinking and feeling at the time.”


16) 2015 Pacific Games Mascot launched
By Online Editor
4:31 pm GMT+12, 20/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

The mascot for the 2015 Pacific Games is the Hornbill, commonly known as the Kokomo.

Nicknamed Tura, the Kokomo, the Games mascot, was officially launched yesterday by the chairperson of the Games Organising Committee Emma Waiwai. The name was chosen for the friendly Games coming to Port Moresby and the people of Papua New Guinea who are ever friendly wherever they are.

The Kokomo is a long beak bird commonly found in the Pacific and Asia region and is most often tamed as a domesticated pet. The species chosen is unique to Papua New Guinea The Mascot was launched at the winning school Tubusereia Primary school who sent in the winning entry by Grade 3 student Taka Segore whose entry scored the highest to win the competition.

The Games Organising Committee Board selected the winning entry after an expert panel of judges selected the top five from a total of over 250 entries received from schools throughout the country.

The judges went through the entries and rated them based on the following features: Unique to PNG and/or cultural identity, functionality, originality, emotional attachment and whether entries were consistent with overall requirements for the competition.

The winning school received K10, 000 while young Taka received a free Sumatin account with K500 courtesy of Bank South Pacific, the official sponsors for the Games.

Four schools: Daigul SDA Community School in Madang, Holy Trinity School from Western Highlands, Sekunkun Primary School in Lihir, New Ireland and Port Moresby International – were the runner ups of the Competition.

NCD Governor Powes Parkop will welcome the mascot this morning at the Jack Pidik Park in Port Moresby.
There are 499 days to go before Port Moresby hosts the 2015 Pacific Games starting on July 4.


17) PNG to host games at 2017 Rugby League World Cup
By Online Editor
4:28 pm GMT+12, 20/02/2014, New Zealand

Papua New Guinea will host a minimum of two matches at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, with the potential for further matches throughout the Pacific.

New Zealand and Australia have been named joint hosts, with the Trans-Tasman bid beating out a proposal by South Africa.

The CEO of New Zealand Rugby League, Phil Holden, says the international game grew an extra leg during last year’s World Cup and spreading games round will continue that momentum.

“So there will be a pool based in Far North Queensland. That was part of our proposal, of which a couple of games would be played in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. And then there was discussion during the actual presentation whether there might be an opportunity to play a fixture in the South Pacific somewhere, either Fiji or Samoa. Again, that’s all got to be worked through but the Papua New Guinea one is locked in.”.


18) Confusion over PNG hosting Rugby League World Cup matches

Posted 20 February 2014, 17:32 AEST

There has been confusion over suggestions that Papua New Guinea would host two matches of the Rugby League World Cup, with another games possibly being played in Fiji or Samoa

Australia and New Zealand have just been named joint host nations for the 2017 tournament.

According to the CEO of New Zealand Rugby League, Phil Holden, part of the joint bid included games being held in Papua New Guinea.

“That was one of the things we put forward with our presentation in November,” he told Radio Australia.

“So definitely Papua New Guinea will be hosting a couple of games.

“And then one of the things that we floated was the prospect of playing a game in Fiji or Samoa for example

“The logistics of that still need to be worked through but it was something that was on our radar screens and part of the proposal.”

A spokesman from Australia’s National Rugby League told Radio Australia no decisions have been made on where games will be played.

He said a tender process for towns wanting to host games would take place in the future.

Despite the confusion, Phil Holden says hosting the World Cup in the region will be a massive boost to the sport.

“We’re absolutely stoked, it has been a lot of hard work over the last six months, to have that bid confirmed late last night was just amazing,” he said.

“Certainly for us in New Zealand and in the broader Pacific Rim, it is a tremendous honour and achievement to hold a pinnacle event such as this.

The joint trans-Tasman bid beat out an attempt by South Africa to host the tournament in 2017.

19) NZ and Australia to co-host 2017 World Cup
By Online Editor
4:29 pm GMT+12, 20/02/2014, New Zealand

New Zealand will make a strong play to host the 2017 rugby league World Cup final after Australia and New Zealand were last night announced as joint hosts for the next tournament.

The joint Australasian bid beat off one from South Africa and was seen as a “safe pair of hands” – South Africa didn’t play at last year’s tournament and the South African government don’t recognise rugby league as an official sport.

Australia and New Zealand have promised to deliver the most profitable World Cup in history – last year’s event exceeded the profits of A$5 million made at the 2008 event hosted by Australia.

New Zealand will host one of the four pools as well as at least one quarter-final and probably a semifinal. The NZRL will also bid to host the final.

“It won’t be an emotional decision,” NZRL chief executive Phil Holden said. “It will be contestable and pragmatic and what will be best for the tournament overall.

“The first step is we want to make sure we have a semifinal here and I’m confident we will do that and the final will be down to what makes the most commercial sense and I’m confident that stadium in New Zealand will want to put their best case forward.”

New Zealand has never hosted the rugby league World Cup, although the 1988 World Cup final was staged at Eden Park which was the culmination of the three-year worldwide tournament.

The success of last weekend’s Auckland Nines at Eden Park was good timing for the joint bid, with rugby league in this country proving they can stage major events.

The New Zealand Government are also keen to host global events on a regular basis and they put their backing behind the Australasian bid.

“It’s a massive result for New Zealand rugby league and is going to be a huge benefit to the country overall,” Holden said. “I’m absolutely delighted that a World Cup tournament like this is going to come to New Zealand for the first time.”

The 2017 tournament is likely to follow the same format as last year’s World Cup contested by 14 teams, which will see two pools of four and two pools of three which will also see crossover games.

One of those pools will be based in Townsville and feature games in Papua New Guinea and perhaps even another country in the Pacific Islands.

An organisation will be established to work out where and when games will be played.

“Between us, New Zealand and Australia have proved we’re capable of staging major sporting events,” Holden said. “Rugby league is Papua New Guinea’s national sport, so we’re very confident of producing something special for the next tournament.”

It was also confirmed last night this year’s Anzac test will be played at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on May 2. Holden said they were keen to host next year’s Anzac test which will commemorate 100 years since the Gallipoli landings.


20) Pacific Test winner to compete in rugby league Four Nations
By Online Editor
4:25 pm GMT+12, 20/02/2014, Samoa

The prospect of playing the top three countries in international rugby league will be up for grabs in the second annual Pacific test in May.

Samoa will take on Fiji in Penrith on May the 3rd, with the winner to compete alongside New Zealand, Australia and England in the end-of-season Four Nations tournament.

The President of Rugby League Samoa, Tagaloa Faafouina Su’a, says it’s a great opportunity.

“The chance of a lifetime if we can make it into that Four Nations but we have to put together all our aspects in order to make this one of our dreams too but it’s not going to be easy. There will be lots of challenges in team selection and all those normal challenges evolves around the dynamics of a team will be there but we just have to do our best and do what we can from the resources available from time to time and the players.”

Toa Samoa were beaten by Tonga in last year’s inaugural Pacific Test, which is played on the same weekend as the ANZAC test.

The Fiji Bati made the semi finals at last year’s World Cup in the Northern Hemisphere, while Toa Samoa made it to the quarters.


21) Barcelona, PSG win Champions League matches

Thursday, February 20, 2014

MANCHESTER, England – Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain took control of their Champions League last 16 matches with victories yesterday.

Lionel Messi and Dani Alves scored for Barcelona in their 2-0 win over Manchester City while PSG thumped Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring twice in the first-leg match in Germany.

Knockout-phase debutants City matched Barcelona in the first half at the Etihad Stadium, but the game changed early in the second period when Martin Demichelis was sent off following a last-man foul on Messi.

The Argentine scored from the ensuing penalty in the 54th minute, taking his tally of goals in this season’s competition to seven.

Despite being a man down, City continued to threaten, but in the final minute Alves ran through to score, leaving Barcelona in the driving seat ahead of the return leg in March 12.

Leverkusen, second only to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, suffered their third straight home defeat as Laurent Blanc’s PSG were rarely troubled at the BayArena with Ibrahimovic the architect of the victory with two goals in three first-half minutes.

Left winger Blaise Matuidi put PSG ahead with barely two minutes gone before Ibrahimovic netted a penalty, then added a second when he unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot to make it 3-0 at the break.

Replacement Yohan Cabaye then added PSG’s fourth just before the final whistle.

22) Aussie club recruits Fijian

Maciu Malo
Thursday, February 20, 2014

NABUA 7s halfback Apenisa Cokanasiga has been recruited by the Wareba Rugby League team in North Queensland, Australia.

The Fiji Resident rugby league rep who is on a month-long tour in Australia with the Nabua 7s team caught the attention of rugby union and league scouts in Australia.

Nabua 7s manager Solo Ravono said Cokanasiga was a standout performer during their past two tournaments and would be a force to be reckoned with for his new team.

He said the Topline Rugby league rugby league dummy half would join his new club after this weekend’s Kiama 7s.

“Assisting our players to secure overseas rugby contracts is one of the objectives of this tour and we are grateful that Cokanasiga has secured a contract,” said Ravono.

“Cokanasiga has set the benchmark for this team and I am confident more players are likely to be signed up after this weekend’s 7s competition.

“Another player that is making his mark is AOG under-18 winger Ifereimi Kaukirewa who scored nine tries in only four games last weekend.”

Meanwhile, Ravono said Brenan Lacey and Tongan native Sione Moala of the Woywoy rugby team had been recruited to play for Nabua this weekend after injuries to some of the players.

The Maroons will be joined by fellow Fijian teams Yamacia and Red Rock for this competition.

23) Ba golfer to play in NZ

Zanzeer Singh
Thursday, February 20, 2014

BA golfer Vikrant Chandra will participate in the Mondiale Omaha Beach Pro-Am Championship in New Zealand this weekend.

Chandra has enjoyed two top 10 finishers on the New Zealand PGA Tour after earning a ticket at the Q-School event in Auckland last month.

Last weekend, Chandra finished in 11th position at the Lawnmaster Classic at the Manawatu Golf Club in Palmerston North. He carded a total of two over par 290 in the 72 holes event.

New Zealand PGA national events manager Jim Clelland said Chandra’s performance at the Lawnmaster Classic was his best so far.

Clelland said the performance would go a long way in retaining his tour card and playing privileges next year.

“Vikrant is doing a great public relations job for Fiji while he participates in our events,” he said.

“This weekend Vikrant will play in the Mondiale Omaha Beach Pro-Am before lining up in the final stage qualifier for the New Zealand Open at The Hills and Millbrook courses near Queenstown in the South Island.”

The Mondiale Omaha Beach Pro-Am Championship is offering a total prize purse of more than $38,000.

The New Zealand Open will be held from February 27 to March 2. 

OURMedia Call for Proposals

Diverse Communities/Diverse Media 21-25 July 2014.University Of Goroka.PNG.International Conference.

OURMedia Call for Proposals

Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 946


1) A step forward for Fiji

Fiji Export Council
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How else will our traders reap the full benefits of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Free Trade Agreement and have all inexplicable paradoxes curtailed?

The decision about who is going to be Fiji’s Trade Commissioner in Papua New Guinea, together with the immediate establishment of Fiji’s trade office, will definitely be the solution to maximise Fiji manufacturers’ advantages.

2014 has brought us to “the apex of Fiji’s dawning civilisation”, where the South Pacific leaders are not limiting their interdependence mostly on the usual “routine Pacific-styled diplomacy” but are bee-lining their focuses on positive and supportive political and economic developments, communicating with “diplomatic candour”, bearing in mind that positive considerations for “wealthy-cum-healthy cheque book diplomacy” is the latest fashion nowadays.

As we, in small island nations watch with awe as international economic giants create and actually swim in teetering economic downturns, we harness numerous economically-sourced savvy reinforcements, working closer and stronger together, re-engaging and improving ways and means whereby we may be able to defend, protect and continue to escalate the growth of our economies.

Economic falls have multiple inter-connected factors. Unfortunately, their effects continue to affect us since they do stunt the economic efficiencies of countries like the islands of the South Pacific.

For a small economy like ours, we need to piggy back on Papua New Guinea’s steady financial standing that has continued to be stable for the last 13 years. Their unequalled high-yielding has again attracted our traders who undoubtedly also want some share of the gained profits.

This is one main reason behind why there is great interest for the opening of the trade office.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has allocated $464,000 for the establishment of the trade office in Papua New Guinea at the beginning of 2014. This information was heralded by Fiji traders, especially when it is common knowledge that the port of Lae is the “economic pulsating centre” of the South Pacific nations with goods to the value of 1 billion kina arriving over the port annually. The Asian Development Bank continues to finance the further extension of the port although it is already as large as Australian and New Zealand ports, unmatched by other Pacific Island nations.

* Disclaimer: This is a regular contribution from the Fiji Export Council. Email:


2) Palau To Step Up Border Security To Stem Illegal Drugs
Rise in methamphetamine use spurs investigations

By Peter Erick Magbanua

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Feb. 17, 2014) – With the rise of incidents that involves the distribution of illegal drugs such as crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride commonly known as “ice”, the Bureau of Public Safety together with other law enforcement agencies are doubling their efforts in guarding Palau borders.

According to BPS director Ismael Aguon, they are investigating individuals who are believed to be involved in bringing in and distributing “ice” in Palau. Aguon said it is a great challenge for them to put a stop to this illegal trade and bring to justice people who are involved in the said trade.

“We encourage the public to be vigilant also and to report such activities. We are intensifying our efforts and we are working closely with the Division of Customs, the office of the Attorney General and other government agencies to put a stop to this,” Aguon explained.

He added that they are monitoring closely the port of entry to Palau such as the seaport, airport and the post office. He stressed that they also need the public’s help to resolve the issue and all information that will be given to them will be treated anonymously.

“Once you get addicted to this illegal drugs it is impossible to reverse its effects and that is why we are trying to identify these persons involve in this trade and arrest them,” Aguon added.

Island Times:


3) New Zealand lawyer says authorities ‘perverse’ for sending Tongans back home

By Online Editor
10:22 am GMT+12, 18/02/2014, New Zealand

A lawyer for Tongan overstayers says deporting people with medical conditions to an area devastated by a cyclone is perverse.

Cyclone Ian caused widespread damage to the Ha’apai island group in the kingdom last month, destroying more than 800 homes.

The immigration lawyer, Richard Small, says the New Zealand authorities are wanting to send overstayers back to the area, and he has 30 such cases on his books.

Small says some of the islands are far from medical help in Ha’apai’s main centre.

“Forty-six kilometres, across largely open ocean, in a small craft, to get medical assistance, to a capital of Ha’apai that has been all but flattened. To return people to that situation is perverse to being any kind of a good neighbour.”

Small says New Zealand should introduce a two-month moratorium on deporting people to Ha’apai, on humanitarian grounds


4) Ol loa sumatin blong Melanesia iken kisim save long MSG offis

Updated 19 February 2014, 17:15 AEST
John Papik

Final yar loa Sumatin long USP blong Melanesian kantRI  iken NAU attach long MSG offis long wok experience

Offis blong Melanesian Spearhead Grup long Vanuatu nau igat gutpela tingting istap we ol final year law sumatin long University blong Souht Pacific .

Sapos oli kam long foapela Melanesian kantri, Vanuatu,Solomon Islands, PNG na Fiji ol iken igo attached  long offis long kisim wok exprience blong ol.

Peter Forau Director General blong MSG Sekretariat itok oli bin sainim pinis wanpela tok orait or Memorandum of Understanding wantaim University blong South Pacific  Law Students Internship Program  long opim rot blong dispela tingting long kamap tru.

Emi tok dispela plan i blong ol final yar law sumatin blong University blong South moni blong sapotim dispela program em lain Ausaid bai baim long en.

Bikpela tingting blong dispela sapot blong Ausaid em long halivim Vanuatu gavaman strongim ol wok program blong university blong halivim ol sumatin long jastis sekta. Dispela idea bai dil wantaim ol Melanesian sumatin oa ol sumatin blong ol arapela kantri tu long ol wok experieince long wok oli stadi long en.

Dispela attachment program tu i blong lukim olsem ol sumatin ino attach tasol wantaim MSG ol arapela offis tu long Vanuatu long wok experience blong ol.Radio Australia

5) Ol bank long PNG isave sasim bikpela bank fee

Updated 19 February 2014, 15:21 AEST
John Papik

Bikpela ol bank fee long Papua New Guinea i mekim PNG palimen ilaik kamapim loa long waus  long dispela pasin blong ol bank.

Gavana blong PNG National Kapital District Powes Parkop nau i autim wari blong em long bikpela bank long Papua New Guinea long  iwok long apim bikpela fee long  banking sevis oli givim igo long ol pipol.

Mr Parkop itok emi taim nau long PNG gavaman long kamapim sampela kain loa i putim eye long ol bank long dispela kain pasin blong ol.

Long bekim dispela toktok treasurer Don Poyle itok  ol Commercial bank long PNG imas lukim olsem  sevis oli  i givim igo long ol pipol i stret na noken mekim pipol i painim hat long laif blong ol.

Mr Parkop itok dispela pasin ol bank isave mekim long sasim ol kain kain fee long sevis blong ol igo long ol pipol na dispela ilukim ol bank iwok long kisim bikpela moni tru long ol pipol.

Sampela ol fee olsem taim ol bank i lukautim account blong pipol, igat sas long en tu long dispela sevis.

Maski pipol igat planti moni oa liklik moni Mr Parkop itok fee blong ol i wankain.

Long tok piksa Mr Parkop itok wanpela famili memba blong en ibin gat K200.00 long account blong en, em ino bin wokim sampela diposit oa withdrawl.

Tupela mun bihain olgeta dispela moni bank ibin kisim olgeta olsem bank fee. Em nau Mr Parkop itok i bikpela wari pipol igat long ol bikpela bank long Papua New Guinea.Radio Australia


6) Manus: « fermez ce goulag! »

Mis à jour 19 February 2014, 14:46 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

C’est l’appel de Christine Milne, la Présidente des Verts australiens. Mais les gouvernement australien et papou tiennent à garder le centre de rétention de Manus, malgré l’émeute mortelle de lundi soir.

« Nous allons recenser le nombre de demandeurs d’asile actuellement à Manus et nous gérerons les transferts en fonction. Mais tous ceux qui sont au centre de rétention de Christmas doivent être prévenus : ils seront soit transférés sur Nauru, soit sur Manus, parce que c’est notre politique. »

C’était le ministre australien de l’Immigration, Scott Morrison, en conférence de presse hier mardi. L’émeute mortelle de lundi soir au centre de rétention des demandeurs d’asile ne changera rien à la politique de fermeté de l’Australie.

Aujourd’hui le gouvernement papou a indiqué que le demandeur d’asile mort lundi soir était Iranien. On n’en sait pas plus. Les deux gouvernements ont tous les deux ouvert une enquête sur ce qui s’est passé lundi soir. Un migrant, qui souffre d’un traumatisme crânien, a été transféré dans un hôpital de Brisbane mardi. Et trois autres sont soignés à Port-Moresby, dont un qui a reçu une balle dans une fesse. 12 autres demandeurs d’asile sérieusement blessés reçoivent des soins au centre de rétention.

Ni le gouvernement papou ni le gouvernement australien n’ont confirmé les dires de la Coalition d’Action pour les Réfugiés, qui affirmait hier que des habitants de Manus et la police papoue avaient attaqués le centre de rétention. Scott Morrison :

« Pour le moment je peux juste vous dire que nos gardiens ont entendu deux coups de feu qui auraient été tirés par la police papoue, mais cela ne signifie absolument pas que les policiers papous ont tiré sur des demandeurs d’asile. »

Les émeutes ont débuté dimanche après-midi quand les 1340 demandeurs d’asile détenus à Manus ont appris que ni la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, ni l’Australie ne les aiderait à obtenir un titre de séjour dans des pays tiers comme la Nouvelle-Zélande ou le Canada, s’ils étaient reconnus comme d’authentiques réfugiés. En clair : ces migrants sont condamnés à vivre en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Pourtant la semaine dernière, le ministre papou des Affaires étrangères Rimbink Pato a nommé un groupe de sages pour déterminer si la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée peut accueillir ces réfugiés ou pas. Sachant qu’en l’état ce n’est pas possible, il n’existe pas de statut de réfugié, il faudrait légiférer pour en créer un. Rimbink Pato a indiqué que les sages étudieront aussi l’option du transfert des réfugiés dans un pays tiers.

Mais les versions diffèrent selon les pays, car le Premier ministre australien Tony Abbott a confirmé que les réfugiés resteraient en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Quant à l’opposition travailliste australienne, elle soutient le gouvernement libéral et indique qu’il faut sauver coûte que coûte le centre de rétention de Manus. Richard Marles est chargé des Affaires étrangères au sein du parti travailliste:

« Nous ne pouvons pas nous passer du centre de rétention de Manus. C’est le pilier de la stratégie de l’Australie pour réduire le flux d’immigrés venus en bateau d’Indonésie. C’est parce qu’ils ont peur de finir à Manus que moins d’immigrés tentent la traversée vers les eaux australiennes. Les statistiques baissent. C’est pour ça qu’il est important de bien comprendre ce qui se passe sur Manus. »

Le consensus est donc très large en Australie sur l’utilité de la détention des demandeurs d’asile à Manus, à l’exception des Verts, dont la Présidente, Christine Milne, a demandé la fermeture immédiate de ce « Goulag » à Manus. Même demande du Conseil Australien des Réfugiés, la fédération qui regroupe 180 associations et ONG, dont on écoute le porte-parole, Paul Power :

« Les deux partis majoritaires sont responsables de cette situation, qui est le résultat de la politique lancée par le parti travailliste quand il était au pouvoir et savait pertinemment quelles seraient les conséquences de cette politique. Le gouvernement libéral national continue la même politique, en l’appliquant encore plus durement. »

En août 2012, le rapport d’un panel d’experts recommandait au gouvernement de Julia Gillard de rouvrir les centres de rétention en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et à Nauru. Ce qu’il a fait. Mais il a oublié d’autres recommandations utiles du même rapport, estime Paul Power :

« Les gens qui sont sur Manus ont soit été enfermés là sur l’ordre du gouvernement australien, soit ils sont payés par le gouvernement australien pour y travailler. Donc il n’y a aucune supervision indépendante. Le panel d’experts sur les demandeurs d’asile avait pourtant recommandé qu’une autorité indépendante encadre l’examen des demandes d’asile, sur place à Manus. Et ce n’est pas du tout ce qui se passe. »

130 gardiens supplémentaires ont été envoyés à Manus pour assurer la protection du centre. 100 autres sont en réserve en Australie, prêts à monter dans l’avion en cas de problème. L’entreprise privée de sécurité qui les emploie, G4S, a diffusé des offres d’emploi pour Manus la semaine dernière, présentant le job de gardien comme « un emploi excitant ». Radio Australia


7) Edward Snowdon chosen as student representative for Glasgow uni

Updated 19 February 2014, 12:24 AEST

Glasgow university students have chosen former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowdon as their new rector.

Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency analyst who revealed US surveillance of phone and Internet communications, has been elected rector of Glasgow University in Scotland.

The analyst was nominated by a group of students at the university who said they had received his approval through his lawyer.

The largely symbolic post of rector mainly involves representing the university’s students. The successful candidate is expected to attend meetings with the governing body and other authorities.

The group said: “We are incredibly delighted to see Edward Snowden elected as the new rector of Glasgow University.”

The statement said the institution had a “virtuous tradition of making significant statements through our rectors”.

It added: “Our opposition to pervasive and immoral state intrusion has gone down in the records.

“What is more, we showed Edward Snowden and other brave whistleblowers that we stand in solidarity with them, regardless of where they are.”

Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia in August — a move that infuriated the United States — and is believed to be living in the Moscow area.

Previous holders of the rector’s post at Glasgow University include Winnie Mandela and Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu.

The current holder is former Liberal Democrat party leader Charles Kennedy.

Snowden defeated former champion cyclist Graeme Obree, author Alan Bissett and a local vicar.



8) PNG’s National Newspaper slap with K471, 000 fine
By Online Editor
10:10 am GMT+12, 19/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea National Court in Waigani has awarded more than K400,000 (US$156,400) in damages, in PNG’s first and highest in amount, in a defamation case instituted by a judge against a media company.

Justice Catherine Davani awarded the damages plus cost of the proceeding against Pacific Star Limited, who also runs the newspaper “The National”, after the case was started seven years ago.

Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika started the case in 2007, claiming his reputation as a judge of the National Court – as he then was, had been tarnished and destroyed, following publication of a news article by the newspaper.

A November 2006 publication of the newspaper had alleged Justice Salika, of deliberately and corruptly delaying hearing of a custody case of a mother who had her children taken away from her, by the father.

The court found, that Justice Salika did suffer and is entitled to damages, after holding that there is no value to a damaged reputation.

The article also indicated that Justice Salika was sitting on the case which he had a conflict of interest with, and that he was unfit and unworthy to be a judge because of his actions.

However, the court found that the newspaper had failed to confirm whether Justice Salika was presiding over the case, which he never had, and did not even bother to retract the article or make a public apology.

Judge Salika is now the country’s Deputy Chief Justice, with an eminent reputation nationally, regionally and internationally.

Justice Davani says the article was insulting and without consideration of the effects to be suffered by the judge, and is a blow to her colleague’s pride.

The court awarded K471, 143 (US$ 184,217) in damages which includes an 8-percent interest and K50, 000 (US$19,550) in aggravated damages.


9) New Online News Website For PNG Launched
PNG Edge aims to ‘promote public service journalism’

By Donald Willie and Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 18, 2014) – A new online news company has entered the Papua New Guinea media industry, targeting the growing demand for internet access. PNG Edge is headed by one of the country’s senior journalists, Titi Gabi.

The company is operating out of Port Moresby with a staff of over 30 including regional correspondents contributing content from the other towns and centres for online users in PNG and around the world.

Ms Gabi said, “In the coming months we will work towards expanding our correspondent base as the stories that people would want to know about are out there in towns and district stations; and less of what’s happening in Port Moresby and Waigani for that matter.”

Ms Gabi says the company aims to promote “public service journalism”, bringing across real time stories of human interest to the fingertips of its audience.

“It’s all about customers and how to make access to information quick and more suitable through the use of innovative technology.

“We need to be on par with the rest of the world and our move is a step towards making information affordable and more convenient through the use of internet service particularly for mobile phone users. You can view our stories online by going to”

Access to the website doesn’t require smart phones. It’s accessible anywhere in the country where there is mobile coverage.

PNG Post-Courier:

10) New Zealand Foreign Minister Calls For Debate, Free Media In Fiji
McCully says free and fair elections depend upon openness

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 16, 2014) – Political debate and freedom of the media are an important part of a free and fair election, says New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

McCully was in Fiji as chair of the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group during their round of meetings with top government officials, political parties and NGO’s.

He confirmed concerns received from political parties on the level of restrictions in Fiji in terms of media freedom, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.

“Those were the sort of sentiments reflected in our discussions and we have tried to look beyond those things as progress has been made towards putting an election machinery in place and simply draw government’s attention to some of the areas where assessment of whether the election are free and fair are going to be judged by these things,” McCully said.

He said though the meeting on election preparatory works with the Attorney General was encouraging, the Forum Ministers insisted a level playing field must be created to encourage and engage the Bainimarama government, political parties and the media in a debate.

“We’d like to see that more improvement is made towards the election,” McCully said.



11) Fiji-PNG bilateral relationships a plus for exporters

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

FIJI’S Trade Commissioner to Papua New Guinea will secure the “normalcy” of the Fiji-PNG bilateral relationships.

With the continuance of building economic ties that encourage economic development in Fiji, Fiji Export Council says this will experience “multiplier effects” from this compelling economic growth with sizzling monetary gains.

Fiji already has a diplomatic office in Papua New Guinea which was announced during the 2014 National Budget.

“The Trade Commissioner will closely observe formulated policies of the Fiji Government as well as those of the PNG Government to boost the economies of both countries.

“This would be a plus for our exporters since there are numerous trade issues that need to be looked into to alleviate existing problems. This was reiterated by Pacific Batteries general manager Diwakar Dubey: ‘Fiji’s Trade Commissioner in PNG can assist us by analysing our constraints, understanding them and finding someone in authority to address the issues that need to be solved’.”

It said it would be able to evaluate existing vulnerabilities that had been condoned and unsolved for many years and to prepare contingencies for Fiji traders’ short-term and long-term effects of economic downturns, particularly when they face tough financial situations.

12) Air Niugini upgrades airplanes, Changes board members

By Online Editor
10:12 am GMT+12, 19/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s national flag carrier, Air Niugini Limited is set to continue its retrofit program in 2014.

This was announced by Air Niugini’s board chairman Sir Frederick Reiher Tuesday.

Sir Federick said the company had been upgrading all its airplanes in its Boeing fleet.

He said he was confident the retrofit program on its B767 and B737 fleet would be completed in time for the Pacific Games in July next year.

He said yesterday’s event was also to witness the delivery of the first of three of its B737 fleet, which had returned with a refurbished interior.

All improvements had been designed to making travel for its customers more relaxing and memorable, he said.

Sir Frederick said the exercise included improvements to the aircrafts’ interior cabin in both the business and economy class, in-flight entertainment system, toilets and galleys.

“Inseat screens have been installed in both the business and economy class seats with movies in early genere, premier and family classics, TV documentaries, games, music and other applications.”

Sir Frederick said the plane that had just returned had a total of 144 seats, of which 128 were in the economy class cabin, and 16 in the business class.

“The business class has lie flat seats with lumbar support, foot rest and larger leg room.

“The newly designed cabin also provides larger and spacious overheads bins/lockers for carry on luggage,” Sir Frederick said.

Meanwhile, PNG Public Enterprise Minister Ben Micah has announced changes to Air Niugini Limited’s board.

Micah also reaffirmed the Government’s intention to have the national flag carrier enlisted on the stock exchange.

All these were made during an event at Jacksons International Airport, jointly hosted by Air Niugini and the Pacific Games Organising committee.

Micah said among the changes that Sir Frederick Reiher, who in 2013 served the board as deputy chairman, had since been confirmed to the post of chairman, taking over from Garth McIllwain.

He said businessman Sir James Tjoeng assumed office as the board’s deputy chairman while the directors would include Ian Tarutia (Nasfund), Ken Harvey (Remington Group of Companies) and Garry Tunstall (Nambawan Super).

Simon Foo, who in 2013 served as one of the directors to the board, has since been appointed as the airline company chief executive officer.

Micah said was pleased with the board’s new composition.

With regards to Air Niugini’s listing on the stock exchange, the minister said the Government was seriously considering that move, adding it was looking at having it happen this year.

“The prime minister has reflected this in his speech. The aim is to have all state owned enterprises listed on the stock exchange so that it is owned by the citizens and not by the Government,” he said.

Micah said it should be made profitable first.

He that had already happened, with the company recording in 2012 a turnover of K1.2 billion. Of that, the company made a net profit of K100 million, in which it paid a dividend to the government.



13) Me’ekamui Defence Force talks law and order with Bougainville President Momis

By Online Editor
10:18 am GMT+12, 18/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

A senior member of the Me’ekamui Defence Force has met with Bougainville President John Momis to discuss law and order issues.

Steven Ona, second in command to General Moses Pipiro of the Me’ekamui Defence Force in Panguna, travelled to Buka from his mountain stronghold on Tuesday to speak about setting up a region-wide civilian security force.

Such a meeting between the two leaders would have seemed an impossibility only a short time ago.

Ona told Post Courier newspaper that the Prime Minister and President’s recent visit had inspired the Panguna people, including his Me’ekamui faction, to open up to the rest of Bougainville.

The historic visit also motivated his people to “clean up their backyard”. They now plan to train youths as security guards to help maintain the rule of law throughout the region. “We plan to train the youths up in Panguna first,” the commander said.”We want Albert Magoi from the United Bougainville Training Institute to conduct this training.”

Magoi who has served with both the PNG military and Bougainville Revolutionary Army has been training ex-combatants and disaffected youths in Bougainville since the end of hostilities.

Ona says Bougainville police are currently struggling with manpower issues.

“Nowadays there are all kinds of law and order problems coming up,” he said.

“Youths are the main ones causing problems the drunks, those who take homebrew, smoke marijuana and the police are currently not able to deal with all of these problems.

They are not as strong as they could be. That’s why we want to support them.” Mr Ona stressed that the security force  be trained to work under the command of the local constabulary. “We don’t want to put the police down, put their work down.

We just want to work behind them to help them in our communities. You could say we will just boost their manpower, support them.

“So we want to set up security all through Bougainville. Have them go through proper training and go back to their places and help the police keep law and order.

“We want to support the police so if we train youths properly, change their thinking, they can look after the place properly.”

Ona said the president Momis  was in full agreement with the concept. “He has been thinking the same thing there must be security training.

He has talked strongly about this. He has concerns on law and order and wants security to be set up. He wants to kickstart this quickly,” Ona said.

Ona gave his assurance that the security force will not come under the command of the Me’ekamui.

“No, it’s a private monitoring system,” he said. “They will report to the district officer who will report to the president.”.



14) England rugby union coach welcomes Burgess

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

LONDON – England rugby union coach Stuart Lancaster says Sam Burgess will be a “great asset” in the 15-man game following his high-profile move from rugby league.

The 25-year-old will join English Premiership side Bath on a three-year contract in October from Australian rugby league side South Sydney Rabbitohs, with the ambitious aim of trying to gain a place in Lancaster’s squad for next year’s Rugby World Cup in England.

While England’s 2003 World Cup-winning wing Jason Robinson was a notable success following his move from league, several Great Britain or England league internationals have struggled in union since the advent of professionalism.

But Lancaster is in no doubt Burgess can succeed as a union player.

“Sam’s carrying game will be easily transferable,” Lancaster said on Monday after news of Burgess’s move was made public.

“His understanding of running lines and defence are skills that he’ll be able to transition, although I wouldn’t say it’s easy.

“The big difference comes in and around the breakdown and the difference in gap between the defensive lines, which is obviously closer in rugby union, so timing is obviously an issue.

“In terms of overall rugby skill set, he has a very strong skill set.

“So I think he’ll be a real asset, but there’s a lot of learning to be done as well.”

There have been suggestions that Burgess could play as an inside centre at Bath, and Lancaster warned against the idea of fielding him in the pack, for all the league star’s physical strength, given the technical demands made upon forwards that have no equivalent in league.

“It’s probably not my decision,” Lancaster said. “The easiest way to start is without the complexity of the line-out and everything that goes with it — where there’s work to be done on lifting and line-out and everything in the back row.

15) Transtasman event offers record profits plus Pacific games to widen league future
By Online Editor
1:00 pm GMT+12, 19/02/2014, New Zealand

The New Zealand Rugby League and their Australian counterparts are expecting to find out today whether they will host the 2017 World Cup and, if successful, are promising to deliver the highest profits the world tournament has enjoyed.

The international board were due to vote overnight on who would host the 2017 event with a joint bid from Australia and New Zealand likely to win out over South Africa.

South Africa presented a number of challenges and risks and the international board don’t have the financial resources to take the game’s showpiece to an emerging league nation. It also doesn’t help that the South African government refuses to recognise league and that four of the 10-strong international board due to vote on the host venue are made up by Australians and New Zealanders.

The detail would still be needed to be worked out if the Australia/New Zealand bid is successful but the plan would be for a 14-team tournament based along the same format as last year’s one in the UK and France.

New Zealand would host one of the four pools and at least one quarter-final but would also bid to host a semifinal and possibly even the final. Decisions on this would be made by a working committee set up to oversee the tournament and would be made based on which venue would deliver the best profits.

Another aspect of the bid was to stage one or more games in Papua New Guinea and there has been thought to widen this to Fiji or another Pacific island.

Profits from last year’s World Cup are due to be announced soon and are believed to have surpassed the A$5 million made from the 2008 World Cup hosted by Australia.

“We expect it to be one of the most profitable if not the most profitable World Cup in history,” NZRL chief executive Phil Holden said.

“You would think that South Africa would be a risky proposition. A key thrust of our presentation was that now is the time to consolidate the gains made in 2013 and set up the game forever. Between Australia and New Zealand, we run these events, we know what we are doing and the passion and interest is high in our community.

“The expansion aspects of including Papua New Guinea are really important in terms of growing the reach of the game. That’s another compelling argument.”

Stephen Kearney will be confirmed as Kiwis coach on Friday and his first task will be the annual Anzac test, which is likely to be staged in Sydney on May 2. Some findings from the failed World Cup campaign will also be released on Friday, with most interest around the investigation into the use of sleeping pills and energy drinks by players.


16) Australia and New Zealand to host 2017 Rugby League World Cup, beating ambitious South Africa bid

Posted 19 February 2014, 19:03 AEST

Australia and New Zealand will co-host the 2017 Rugby League World Cup after beating out an ambitious South Africa bid.

Australia will defend its newly-won rugby league World Cup title on home soil, with the announcement that the 2017 tournament will take place in Australia and New Zealand.

The joint trans-Tasman bid beat out an audacious attempt by South Africa to host the tournament.

“This was not a simple decision but with fans of international rugby league buoyed by the recent success of RLWC2013, we were determined to get it right,” Nigel Wood, the vice-chairman of the Rugby League International Federation said.

“Both bids were thoroughly compelling but the joint Australia/New Zealand bid was selected as the one with the greatest chance of success in providing more compelling games in world class environments in front of big, passionate crowds.”

South Africa, who entered a team in the 1995 and 2008 World Cups, have only a fledging domestic game but argued they could help spread the game internationally.

“The bid from South Africa was very strong, prepared professionally and clearly demonstrated a passion for rugby league that is growing by the day in that country,” Wood said.

Meanwhile, the NRL has announced that this year’s mid-season Anzac Test will be in Sydney.

The Kangaroos and the Kiwis will meet for the first time since Australia won last year’s World Cup final when they line up at the Sydney Football Stadium on May 2.

The Test will be part of an exciting round of representative football that also includes the Test between Fiji and Samoa at Penrith on May 3 – with the winner to compete in the end-of-season Four Nations tournament in Australia and New Zealand – as well as the Country vs City match at Dubbo on May 4.

For the first time, a women’s match featuring an All Stars team and Indigenous All Stars team will also be played as the curtain-raiser to the Kangaroos-Kiwis Test.


Nuruaipani Vanessa Quai

Published on Dec 4, 2012

An awesome Vanessa Quai version of “Nuruaipani” a sentimental hyme song of West Papua – performed by Vanessa Quai

(Phils Note : Vanessa is part Vanuatu ( Ambae/Northern Islands ) and part Fijian very talented and one of Melanesia’s top artists.


Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 945


1) Vanuatu daily news digest | 18 February 2014

by bobmakin

  • You’ve received the news of 27 signing a motion of no confidence in our PM, a number which includes three state ministers, the Opposition says, although I do not know who they are. Meanwhile in other news of today we have Deputy Prime Minister Natapei telling students who travelled on the same flight as he did to Fiji to be patient awaiting their accommodation in Fiji. Many were without accommodation and their homelessness arisen, yesterday’s Post report suggests, owing to failure to process the huge number of necessary applications in good time. Natapei also hoped a new international airport targeting a million tourists a year for Vanuatu would help grow our economy and provide more jobs for graduates. Natapei arrived with new Vanuatu Ambassador to Fiji, Nikenike Vurobaravu. Temporary student accommodation has been found by today’s Post which says “the Vanuatu Government is working on the situation.”
  • Yesterday’s Post also had news of the MSG Secretariat agreeing to allow final year law students at USP to learn more on-the-job with them by offering internship training. The Internship Programme began last year with government departments and statutory bodies, and administrator Arthur Faerua was complimented by the MSG DG Peter Forau for approaching them for capacity building.
  • PM Carcasses in today’s Daily Post is also apologizing to former Reserve Bank Governor Odoi Tevi for the humbug surrounding his termination as governor. Best of all is the news that regionally acknowledged and accomplished economist Tevi goes off to be our next Ambassador at the United Nations – somewhere he can also better help our economy in international forums. Donald Kalpokas has retired.
  • Port Vila Mayor Sumptuh acknowledged municipality debt to Shefa Province at a ‘working lunch’ at the Havanah Resort, yesterday’s Post also reported. There is, it seems, a huge financial debt over Etas, but the new mayor is wanting the town hall to work closely with Shefa and Shefa SG Kalworai suggested ways in which it could assist relations, such as getting rid of illegal liquor outlets.
  • The one hundred days of the late Jean Sese took place at the weekend at his home village on Ambae. Prime Minister Carcasses joined family and friends in paying tribute to one of Vanuatu’s most important leaders.
  • Vanuatu’s Moses Stevens becomes President of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) for the third time following decisions in New Caledonia last week. Acting PINA Manager Makareta Komai said following legal advice, Moses and his deputy Michael Jackson of Niue, should go ahead to hold the positions now that PINA is becoming a limited liability company. Other post-holders also remain.
  • The weekend Independent has an expatriate of ten years on forgery charges

relating to his residential permits and Warwick Le Lagopn signing a collective agreement with staff praised by PM Carcasses who was present.

  • Torba Province is licensing coconut crab dealers. Moses Amos as Fisheries Director says the move will assist in protecting the valued and valuable species as appropriate. Applications should be made to Fisheries along with an application fee of VT 130.000.

2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 27 sign motion

by bobmakin

  • 27 sign a motion, including 3 state ministers, is a headline many have been waiting for. Daily Post and Godwin Ligo have it today. Radio Vanuatu did not. The national broadcaster even thought the parliamentary sitting would be delayed until after the Port Vila election to fill the seat vacated by the late Patrick Crowby Manarewo. Legal opinion may well be sought in this matter, but it rather seems to me there would be difficulties in attempting a delay as such. Have we not seen efforts along those lines before? And a sitting is surely required in Standing Orders for the month of Marcheven though it has to fit in with Easter.
  • Jim E Taso in Letters in Post today wonders for how long we will be sitting round and waiting for reconciliations of the old party groupings following the Tanna electoral complaint and Port Vila vacancy. “Also the door of floor-crosing is wide open and the temptation is strong. Can this be addressed?” he asks. He also answers: “We will also have to think harder for a way out of instability, but ‘honesty is the best policy’ perhaps demands that we use our God given wisdom to guide our leaders to fence out dishonest and corrupted MPs in one group. And we the electorate will have to seek harder for divine guidance before going to the polls.”
  • If the Opposition is claiming three ministers as of 2.15 yesterday when the document was signed it seems rather likely there will be an early meeting to discuss the performance of our PM. This is about the time when Nasimal, writing to this blog yesterday, wondered how the PM could survive scams like the four containers of roofing iron. “Look at his advisers and tell me who controls our Vanuatu Government at the moment,” he said. But quickly added “but I guess his days are numbered.”


3) Palau To Step Up Border Security To Stem Illegal Drugs
Rise in methamphetamine use spurs investigations

By Peter Erick Magbanua

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Feb. 17, 2014) – With the rise of incidents that involves the distribution of illegal drugs such as crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride commonly known as “ice”, the Bureau of Public Safety together with other law enforcement agencies are doubling their efforts in guarding Palau borders.

According to BPS director Ismael Aguon, they are investigating individuals who are believed to be involved in bringing in and distributing “ice” in Palau. Aguon said it is a great challenge for them to put a stop to this illegal trade and bring to justice people who are involved in the said trade.

“We encourage the public to be vigilant also and to report such activities. We are intensifying our efforts and we are working closely with the Division of Customs, the office of the Attorney General and other government agencies to put a stop to this,” Aguon explained.

He added that they are monitoring closely the port of entry to Palau such as the seaport, airport and the post office. He stressed that they also need the public’s help to resolve the issue and all information that will be given to them will be treated anonymously.

“Once you get addicted to this illegal drugs it is impossible to reverse its effects and that is why we are trying to identify these persons involve in this trade and arrest them,” Aguon added.

Island Times:


4) Over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders a ‘national emergency’

By Online Editor
2:59 pm GMT+12, 18/02/2014, Australia

The over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a “national emergency” that needs to be immediately addressed according to the peak body, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services which says cutting funding to indigenous legal aid now would be a disaster.

NATSILS has seized on a plan by the head of the Prime Minister’s indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine, for a new youth diversion program to be trialled in Western Australia before going national.

NATSILS Chairperson, Shane Duffy, said the introduction of justice targets will ensure that efforts to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration are coordinated nationally and “an associated national partnership agreement would ensure that action is planned for, funding is committed and progress is publicly reported on”.

Duffy said that given the tight fiscal environment, it is essential that any new initiatives to tackle incarceration rates are based on evidence of what will work to ensure that investment is well spent.

“There is a wealth of evidence and expertise in Australia that should be drawn upon in the development of any new policy aimed at reducing incarceration rates,” Duffy said.

“As the peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice body in Australia, we are well-placed and committed to working together with all Australian governments to develop justice targets and an ongoing strategy to address the unacceptably high imprisonment rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Duffy said that the key to effective policy making in the justice area is ensuring that governments work with organisations and services who are on the ground and know exactly where the pressure points are. As such, it is disappointing that the Commonwealth Government currently plans to defund all policy work undertaken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, and defund their peak body entirely.

“Without a national peak body and state based law reform and policy officers, governments around Australia will have no access to informed, evidenced based frontline advice in regards to the effectiveness of the justice system and how we can collaboratively improve outcomes,”Duffy said.

“The expertise held by frontline services is a vital piece of the puzzle in reducing offending and making our justice system more effective and efficient. Without the input of such services, the fear is that yet another opportunity to make a difference will be squandered, regardless of the level of good intention.”.



5) New Zealand lawyer says authorities ‘perverse’ for sending Tongans back home

By Online Editor
10:22 am GMT+12, 18/02/2014, New Zealand

A lawyer for Tongan overstayers says deporting people with medical conditions to an area devastated by a cyclone is perverse.

Cyclone Ian caused widespread damage to the Ha’apai island group in the kingdom last month, destroying more than 800 homes.

The immigration lawyer, Richard Small, says the New Zealand authorities are wanting to send overstayers back to the area, and he has 30 such cases on his books.

Small says some of the islands are far from medical help in Ha’apai’s main centre.

“Forty-six kilometres, across largely open ocean, in a small craft, to get medical assistance, to a capital of Ha’apai that has been all but flattened. To return people to that situation is perverse to being any kind of a good neighbour.”

Small says New Zealand should introduce a two-month moratorium on deporting people to Ha’apai, on humanitarian grounds.



6) PNG lusim shea long Nautilus Minerals long solowara maining

Updated 18 February 2014, 11:44 AEST
Liam Cochrane long Port Moresby i raitim

Kampani blong Canada Nautilus Minerals nau i stopim shea blong em long Papua New Guinea long maining projek blong em long solowara long wanem gavaman ino peim em planti million dolla dinau emi mas peim em.

Nautilus Minerals em istap long Toronto long Canada ibin rausim 30 pesen shea blong Pappua New Guinea long projek blong em long  maining long solowara long wanem gavaman ino bin peim em bek planti million dolla emi mas peim bek long em.

Nautilus iwok long painim ol minerals long aninit long solowara blong Bismark  long north coast blong Papua New Guinea.

Kamapani i tingting long kisim coper, silver na gold long dispela 1.6 kilomita aninit long solwara iusim ol masin oli kolim  robotic diggers.

Nautilus ibin stop mekim ol wok blong em aninit long solowara long 2012  long wanem PNG gavaman ibin feil long peim shea blong em.

Las yar wanpela interantional kot ibin tok Papua New Guinea igat inap long mun October 2013 long peim dispela 130 million dolla emi owim long kampani long tok orait blong en long solowara 1 projek.

Tasol PNG ibin feil long peim dispela moni emi owim long kampani.

Nautilis itok em nau i pasim dispela tok orait blong en wantaim gavaman long dispela 30 pesen shae na em bai lukluk nau long claimim ol bagarap i kamap long en.

PNG gavaman ino tok aut klia  yet long ol dispela samting wok long kamap wanem samting em bai mekim.Radio Australia


7) Manus: émeute mortelle au centre de rétention

Mis à jour 18 February 2014, 14:22 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Un homme est mort, un autre est toujours entre la vie et la mort, et 13 autres sont grièvement blessés.

C’est le bilan des violences de lundi soir au centre de rétention des demandeurs d’asile de Manus. L’émeute n’a impliqué qu’une minorité des 1300 migrants détenus sur l’île papoue, a précisé ce matin Scott Morrison, le ministre australien de l’Immigration. Dimanche soir une évasion collective a tourné court, les 35 demandeurs d’asile ont été recapturés au bout d’une heure.

Hier soir quand les violences ont commencé, la majorité des migrants du camp ont été évacués dans un autre bâtiment non loin du centre, et plus sécurisé.
Scott Morrison n’a pas expliqué ce qui avait déclenché cette émeute, ni qui est responsable de la mort de ce demandeur d’asile, qui a reçu une blessure mortelle à la tête et est mort en cours d’évacuation. Notons qu’il n’y a pas d’hôpital sur Manus et que tous les blessés sont évacués vers l’Australie, un transfert qui prend jusqu’à 24 heures.

« C’est un incident tragique et malheureux, au moins pour une personne. Mais je vous mets en garde contre les rumeurs qui circulent, qui sont parfois lancées pour créer plus d’instabilité. Le gouvernement ne va pas entretenir ces rumeurs, mais communiquera au fur et à mesure des confirmations, la vérité des faits. »

C’était Scott Morrison, lors de sa conférence de presse ce matin. Les rumeurs dont il parle sont celles qui émanent de la Coalition d’Action pour les Réfugiés, l’ONG australienne qui défend les demandeurs d’asile, et dont on écoute le Président, Ian Rintoul :

« Selon nos informations, une bande composée de policiers et de riverains, est entrée dans le centre avec des armes. Ils ont traqué les demandeurs d’asile dans leurs chambre, et en ont blessé sérieusement un certain nombre. Des coups de feu ont été entendus. Et les policiers se promenaient avec leurs armes au poing, tout comme les habitants, sans prendre la peine de les cacher. »

Le ministre de l’Immigration n’a pas fait de commentaire sur l’existence d’assaillants, et le cas échéant, sur leur identité. Mais il a confirmé que des clôtures du camp avaient été saccagées pour permettre des évasions. Ian Rintoul.

« Oui nos contacts nous ont dit que certains demandeurs d’asile se sont enfuis hier soir, parce que l’électricité a été coupée, le centre de rétention était dans l’obscurité, et ils ont eu peur pour leur vie, donc certains ont abattu les clôtures. »

Quoi qu’il en soit on ne peut pas parler de cavale puisque les demandeurs d’asile sont détenus sur une île loin de tout et sans moyen de s’enfuir. Mais certains se sont cachés dans le bush avoisinant, par peur de se faire blesser, affirme Ian Rintoul :

« Des gens nous ont fait au téléphone des récits qui font froid dans le dos. Des demandeurs d’asile ont été battus à coups de bâtons, tailladés à coups de machette. Ces témoignages sont trop nombreux pour que je puisse les ignorer. J’ai reçu personnellement quatre ou cinq appels de Manus cette nuit. Mais d’autres membres de la Coalition ont reçus des appels et des textos toute la nuit. »

Ian Rintoul, le Président de la Coalition d’Action pour les Réfugiés, répondait à James Glenday de l’ABC.

Les 1300 demandeurs d’asile détenus en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, dont certains depuis novembre 2012, date de la réouverture du centre de rétention, ont trois perspectives d’avenir : soit ils sont expulsés vers leur pays d’origine ou y retournent volontairement, soit, s’ils sont reconnus comme d’authentiques réfugiés, ils s’installent en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, à moins qu’un pays tiers comme par exemple le Canada ou la Nouvelle-Zélande, accepte de les prendre. C’est le projet du gouvernement australien. Mais il y a de nombreux problèmes, à commencer par le fait qu’il n’existe pas de visa pour réfugiés en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, et pour cause, aucun migrant n’aurait l’idée d’aller demander l’asile dans un pays pauvre, à moins donc que l’Australie ne l’y pousse.  Radio Australia

8) Indonésie: l’Australie aurait espionné pour le compte des Américains

Mis à jour 18 February 2014, 17:58 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Elle passe pour le bon petit soldat des Etats-Unis. Selon le New York Times, l’Australie aurait espionné le cabinet juridique américain qui représentait l’Indonésie dans le cadre de négociations commerciales délicates avec les Etats-Unis en 2013.

Une révélation « sidérante », selon le ministre indonésien des Affaires étrangères, Marty Natalegawa. Le Premier ministre australien Tony Abbott s’est refusé à tout commentaire, estimant que le renseignement relève du secret défense.

Marty Natalegawa a ironisé sur l’importance stratégique pour l’Australie, du commerce des crevettes – car les exportations de crevettes indonésiennes aux Etats-Unis étaient au menu de ces négociations commerciales, ainsi que les exportations de cigarettes.

Le ministre indonésien des Affaires étrangères a fait ces déclarations lors d’une conférence de presse conjointe avec son homologue américain John Kerry, en visite en Indonésie.

Le Secrétaire d’Etat américain s’est sorti de cette situation diplomatiquement délicate en indiquant qu’il prenait ces accusations très au sérieux et que le Président Obama planchait sur des réformes. Radio Australia

9) Nouvelle-Zélande: un moratoire pour l’expulsion des Tongiens?

Posté à 18 February 2014, 17:17 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Un avocat accuse le gouvernement d’envisager l’expulsion de Tongiens vers Ha’apai, l’île dévastée par le cyclone Ian en janvier.

800 maisons ont été détruites et 5000 habitants placés dans des logements transitoires.

Maître Richard Small représente des Tongiens qui ont dépassé la date limite de leur visa. Une trentaine de ses clients sont originaires de Ha’apai et devraient être expulsés là-bas.

L’avocat demande au gouvernement d’adopter un moratoire de deux mois avant d’expulser des Tongiens sur l’île détruite. Radio Australia


10) Climate change increasing disease risk for Arctic mammals

National Geographic
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

CLIMATE change is melting Arctic sea ice, leaving animals that depend on it high and dry.

Marine mammals such as ringed seals have to find new areas to give birth, raise their young, and haul out. And now, experts say, these animals must deal with another woe-emerging diseases.

A new species of parasite, Sarcocystis pinnipedi, is on the move south, infecting gray seals and killing off as much as 20 per cent of a population on a single island, researchers reported at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting on February 13.

This new parasite is a close cousin of S. canis, which can afflict bears and cause hepatitis or encephalitis in young dogs. Parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii are also finding new areas of opportunity, making their way north and infecting beluga whales.


11) Reports of dengue fever epidemic in Fiji

Posted 18 February 2014, 12:15 AEST

Questions have been raised about whether Fiji health authorities are providing enough information on a possible dengue fever outbreak in Fiji.

Claims of an epidemic have been growing on social media, however, Fiji’s Ministry of Health is yet to make an official statement.

Local reporter in Fiji, Samisoni Pareti visited Lautoka hospital after seeing posts on social media of a high number of patients presenting with dengue-like symptoms and overwhelming medical staff.

“What I saw that night was a very pitiful sight, the out-station emergency area was being taken up by patients seeking medical treatment,

“Most of them there were saying they were there fearing they may be suffering from dengue fever,” Mr Pareti told ABC’s Pacific Beat program.

Mr Pareti said Fiji media cannot report on the issue unless the Ministry of Health makes an official statement.

“The Ministry has come out to say there is a dengue outbreak and there are advertisements to warn people in Fiji through the radio and television … but the situation and how bad it is, I think that is the story that’s yet to be told.”

Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) public health division director, Dr Yvan Souares said Fiji officials have been communicating SPC about the number of suspected cases.

Audio: Dr Yvan Souares speaks to Pacific Beat (ABC News)

“We’re talking about over 4,500 suspected cases since the beginning of December 2013,” Noumea-based Dr Souares said.

Recent weather conditions in the region have also proved a fertile breeding ground for the dengue virus.

“We have rain and the temperatures are quite high, so mosquitos are provided with the perfect opportunities to spread.”

Dr Souares said the infection is often carried across borders, especially those carrying the infection with experiencing any symptoms.

Radio Australia has made repeated efforts to find out if there is a dengue outbreak in Fiji.

Both the Minister and Secretary of Health have not responded to requests for information.


12) Vanuatu leader says deserting MPs already want back


The Vanuatu prime minister Moana Carcasses says he is confident he can defeat a motion of no confidence due to be heard next Tuesday.

Yesterday three cabinet ministers resigned and joined the opposition with eight government back benchers, giving them 27 signatures on a motion deposited with the speaker of parliament, Philip Boedoro.

It is the second motion against Mr Carcasses and he says he will defeat it because some of the defecting MPs already want back into his government.

“A fair group of mine, 11 MPs, have signed a motion on the other side, but this morning I have already four that are speaking to us to come back. They realise they have made a mistake. They were lured by the others, so we are working on it. I am quite confident of winning that motion.”C/- Radio New Zealand.


13) New Online News Website For PNG Launched
PNG Edge aims to ‘promote public service journalism’

By Donald Willie and Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 18, 2014) – A new online news company has entered the Papua New Guinea media industry, targeting the growing demand for internet access. PNG Edge is headed by one of the country’s senior journalists, Titi Gabi.

The company is operating out of Port Moresby with a staff of over 30 including regional correspondents contributing content from the other towns and centres for online users in PNG and around the world.

Ms Gabi said, “In the coming months we will work towards expanding our correspondent base as the stories that people would want to know about are out there in towns and district stations; and less of what’s happening in Port Moresby and Waigani for that matter.”

Ms Gabi says the company aims to promote “public service journalism”, bringing across real time stories of human interest to the fingertips of its audience.

“It’s all about customers and how to make access to information quick and more suitable through the use of innovative technology.

“We need to be on par with the rest of the world and our move is a step towards making information affordable and more convenient through the use of internet service particularly for mobile phone users. You can view our stories online by going to”

Access to the website doesn’t require smart phones. It’s accessible anywhere in the country where there is mobile coverage.

PNG Post-Courier:

14) New Zealand Foreign Minister Calls For Debate, Free Media In Fiji
McCully says free and fair elections depend upon openness

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 16, 2014) – Political debate and freedom of the media are an important part of a free and fair election, says New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

McCully was in Fiji as chair of the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group during their round of meetings with top government officials, political parties and NGO’s.

He confirmed concerns received from political parties on the level of restrictions in Fiji in terms of media freedom, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.

“Those were the sort of sentiments reflected in our discussions and we have tried to look beyond those things as progress has been made towards putting an election machinery in place and simply draw government’s attention to some of the areas where assessment of whether the election are free and fair are going to be judged by these things,” McCully said.

He said though the meeting on election preparatory works with the Attorney General was encouraging, the Forum Ministers insisted a level playing field must be created to encourage and engage the Bainimarama government, political parties and the media in a debate.

“We’d like to see that more improvement is made towards the election,” McCully said.



15) Fishermen give 14-day ultimatum to Vanuatu government


The Vanuatu Fishermen Association has given a 14-day ultimatum to the government to pay its members more than 15 million US dollars in outstanding claims or face court action.

The Association’s president, Remy Kunuan, says its lawyer has told government to follow the recommendations of a commission of inquiry into its claims for wage settlements.

Mr Kunuan says when the commission’s report was submitted to the government, the Council of Ministers did not endorse it, but appointed a high-level committee to recosider the claims.

He says that committee’s establishment is a delaying tactic by the Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses.

“We were waiting and waiting and waiting last year and he was telling the public that [the payment would be in] February but he didn’t do anything.”

Remy Kunuan says the association will take the government will go to court if the ultimatum is not met.c/- radio new zealand.

16) Me’ekamui Defence Force talks law and order with Bougainville President Momis

By Online Editor
10:18 am GMT+12, 18/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

A senior member of the Me’ekamui Defence Force has met with Bougainville President John Momis to discuss law and order issues.

Steven Ona, second in command to General Moses Pipiro of the Me’ekamui Defence Force in Panguna, travelled to Buka from his mountain stronghold on Tuesday to speak about setting up a region-wide civilian security force.

Such a meeting between the two leaders would have seemed an impossibility only a short time ago.

Ona told Post Courier newspaper that the Prime Minister and President’s recent visit had inspired the Panguna people, including his Me’ekamui faction, to open up to the rest of Bougainville.

The historic visit also motivated his people to “clean up their backyard”. They now plan to train youths as security guards to help maintain the rule of law throughout the region. “We plan to train the youths up in Panguna first,” the commander said.”We want Albert Magoi from the United Bougainville Training Institute to conduct this training.”

Magoi who has served with both the PNG military and Bougainville Revolutionary Army has been training ex-combatants and disaffected youths in Bougainville since the end of hostilities.

Ona says Bougainville police are currently struggling with manpower issues.

“Nowadays there are all kinds of law and order problems coming up,” he said.

“Youths are the main ones causing problems the drunks, those who take homebrew, smoke marijuana and the police are currently not able to deal with all of these problems.

They are not as strong as they could be. That’s why we want to support them.” Mr Ona stressed that the security force  be trained to work under the command of the local constabulary. “We don’t want to put the police down, put their work down.

We just want to work behind them to help them in our communities. You could say we will just boost their manpower, support them.

“So we want to set up security all through Bougainville. Have them go through proper training and go back to their places and help the police keep law and order.

“We want to support the police so if we train youths properly, change their thinking, they can look after the place properly.”

Ona said the president Momis  was in full agreement with the concept. “He has been thinking the same thing there must be security training.

He has talked strongly about this. He has concerns on law and order and wants security to be set up. He wants to kickstart this quickly,” Ona said.

Ona gave his assurance that the security force will not come under the command of the Me’ekamui.

“No, it’s a private monitoring system,” he said. “They will report to the district officer who will report to the president.”.



17) Sweet revenge

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

LONDON – Arsenal have knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium as they gained revenge for a humiliating loss to their Premier League title rivals.

Only eight days earlier Arsenal were beaten 5-1 by Liverpool at Anfield.

But Arsene Wenger’s men — who haven’t won a major trophy since lifting the FA Cup in 2005 — turned the table at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave the Gunners a 16th minute lead when he followed up after Steven Gerrard blocked Yaya Sanogo’s initial shot.

Oxlade-Chamberlain turned provider in the 47th minute, outpacing Daniel Agger before a pull-back for Lukas Podoslki allowed the Germany star to fire them into a 2-0 lead.

But Liverpool captain Gerrard ensured a nervous finish for the London club when he scored from the penalty spot in the 59th minute after Podolski fouled Luis Suarez.

The Gunners will now face Everton in the quarter-finals after the Toffees beat Swansea 3-1 earlier on Sunday.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who won the Cup with Wigan last season, saw Lacina Traore, his loan transfer signing from Monaco in January, take just four minutes of his debut to give the Merseysiders the lead.

Jonathan de Guzman drew Swansea level in the 15th before second half substitute Steven Naismith put Everton in front again — with his fourth goal in six games — and then won the penalty from which Leighton Baines scored to put the result beyond doubt.

However, there was a worrying moment for Everton when, shortly before full-time, Naismith went off with concussion after being caught in the head by Jordi Amat.

The draw took place just after the final whistle, with Martinez’s attention turning towards the Emirates.

“The draw hasn’t been too kind in terms of playing away from home, but we will embrace it and look forward to it,” Martinez told ITV Sport.

Sunday’s other Cup tie saw third tier Sheffield United beat second-tier Nottingham Forest 3-1.

United, managed by former Forest favourite Nigel Clough, could be involved in a derby quarter-final against Sheffield Wednesday if their city rivals beat Charlton Athletic in a re-arranged match.

Jamie Paterson headed Forest into an early lead before the on-loan Conor Coady drew the Blades level in the 66th minute.

And Chris Porter then sparked scenes of near delirium amongst the Bramall Lane faithful with two goals right at the end of the match.

He put them in front with a 90th minute penalty following Greg Halford’s hand-ball and then sealed victory in stoppage-time with a finish from close range.

The last eight line-up also saw FA Cup holders Wigan paired against Manchester City in a repeat of last season’s final.

18) NRL stars set to play 2015 9s

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

AUCKLAND – Rugby league’s biggest names, including Greg Inglis, are set to commit to next year’s NRL Nines after the stunning success of the inaugural event.

Due to the late season finish of last year’s World Cup a number of NRL superstars were rested from this year’s Auckland tournament.

But players will have plenty more time to rest up at the end of this season before next year’s edition.

South Sydney coach Michael Maguire said Inglis and Issac Luke were among two of his players he had to hold back from playing in the two-day event at Eden Park.

“The pre-season was very short this year and that is why we held some players back but the likes of Greg Inglis and Issac Luke, they were busting to play,” Maguire said.

“They are big fans of the concept but after a big finish to last year and what we have in front of us you have to consider that.

“Issac was asking to play every day and this type of game would really suit him, but he had a massive year last year and we had to consider that.

“The event comes at a good time in the pre-season.”

19) Wallaby Robinson in great shape

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SYDNEY – Wallabies prop Benn Robinson enters the new Super Rugby season in his best shape for some time as he strives to re-establish himself as a Wallaby starter after one of the toughest years of his career.

In 2013, NSW Waratahs and Wallabies scrum anchor Robinson found himself left out of both starting sides at different stages of the season.

He didn’t start the Waratahs first Super Rugby game and was the high-profile omission from new Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie’s initial squad for the Rugby Championship.

Robinson was recalled for the latter part of that tournament and went on the Spring tour, but his past seven caps were all won off the bench behind James Slipper.

He missed the Scotland Test last November after he was one of six players stood down for a late-night drinking session in Dublin.

“It was very tough,” Robinson said reflecting on his year in 2013.

“To go through the events that happened last year, it was probably one of my tougher years, on the field and off the field as well.

“I think off the field, there’s always the challenges there and there was all those highlighted events that we had.”

“Missing out (on the Wallabies’ squad) was always tough. The toughest thing you can do is to get dropped from a side that you love dearly.

“Then you get brought back in the side and have some success. It was a very pleasing thing for me.”

Robinson said he felt he continued to improve as a player and had a pretty good season with NSW, culminating in him winning their best forward award.

He spoke to McKenzie on the Spring tour about what he needed to do to regain a starting spot, which he virtually had a mortgage on from 2008 to last year.

“It’s about not just offering up, scrummaging or tackling, just making sure that I’m across the board and continually improving as a player in all aspects,” Robinson said.

The 29-year-old prop heads into the Waratahs’ Super Rugby season opener against Western Force in Sydney on Sunday delighted with his state of fitness.

20) Players knuckle down

Arin Kumar
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

FORMER Wellington Hurricanes coach Alan Muir wishes he had more time to work with the Fiji Warriors players before they depart of the Pacific Rugby Cup next month.

Muir is in the country with former Wellington Lion and Bay of Plenty coach Andre Bell to conduct clinics and training sessions with provinces around the country before the start of the Vodafone Cup competition.

Both experts were involved in a training session with the Fiji Warriors in Suva yesterday where Muir engaged the forward pack in different technical scrum techniques and Bell worked with the backline to teach attacking formations.

Muir said scrum laws and techniques were constantly changing and it would be good for Fijian players to keep up to date with them.

“The scrum has moved on from being speed to contact to a more asymmetrical process — it’s more about power now,” he said.

“The ball is being held in the scrum a bit longer now and that is why I want to work with these boys (Fiji Warriors front row).”

He said one training session would not be enough as he would need to work with them.

“We are going out to the other parts of the country now for the next 10 days to work with the provinces.

“And I just hope I get to work with these players (Fiji Warriors forward pack) for another two days before they leave for the PRC.”

Muir has worked with the Flying Fijians, national under-20 and other provinces in the past years.

Meanwhile, Fiji Warriors coach Lance Whippy said they were lucky to have the two experts work with the players yesterday.

“We were lucky they were in the country while we were training so they were brought in to assist with the two areas,” he said.

The final 30-member squad for the PRC will be revealed on Friday.

21) England’s Cole out of Six Nations

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

LONDON – England prop Dan Cole will miss the remainder of the Six Nations because of a neck injury, it has been announced.

The Leicester front-row is suffering from a bulging disc in his neck which has trapped a nerve.

His injury was diagnosed during a training session at St George’s Park, the England national football team’s Midlands training base, earlier this week.

Cole will now miss England’s three remaining Six Nations matches, starting with the Twickenham clash against tournament leaders Ireland this coming Saturday.

“It’s massively disappointing for Dan, Leicester and England but the important thing is that this has been diagnosed and that Dan gets the appropriate rest and treatment,” said England coach Stuart Lancaster, who had been hoping to name an unchanged side to play the Irish.

The 26-year-old Cole has become something of a mainstay since making his debut off the bench against Wales in 2010.

And the absence of the 48-times capped forward, who also played in all three Tests during the British and Irish Lions 2-1 series win in Australia last year, leaves Lancaster with an unwelcome headache.

Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 944


1) Solomon’s PM Defends Traditional Dolphin Hunting
Lilo supports seasonal ‘harvesting,’ opposes export of live dolphins

By Jeremy Inifiri

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 17, 2014) – Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo says the government does not oppose the traditional hunt for wild dolphins.

What it is against is the export of live dolphins overseas.

Mr Lilo clarified this when interviewed for a documentary on dolphin hunting recently shot and documented here in the country by internationally renowned journalist, Drew Ambrose of Aljazeera English Television.

“Dolphin hunting or rather calling of dolphins is indeed a seasonal traditional practice that has been passed from generation to generation especially by our people residing in the Lau Lagoons of Malaita and also Walande and Fanalei Islands,” Mr Lilo said.

“We do not see it as hunting dolphins, but more preferably as harvesting dolphins from the wild.

“Basically because the meat and teeth of dolphins are of great importance to our people of Malaita,” the prime minister said.

Prime Minister Lilo then explained the importance of dolphin teeth in Malaita custom.

Mr Lilo was also asked if the practice can be stopped or control, especially with activists and researchers reports of the decreasing number of dolphins in the Solomon Island waters.

“The practice is not a day to day thing, it is done seasonally. Our people harvest only within the seasons that are right for hunting dolphins.”

Mr Lilo also reaffirmed that the government is not against the people hunting or harvesting dolphins but is against the trafficking and export of live dolphins overseas.

Solomon Star


2) WTO Trade Review Shows Backlog Of Reforms In Tonga
Modernization of legal, regulatory frameworks necessary for development

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Feb. 16, 2014) – An important review of Tonga’s Trade Policy by the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, from February 11-13 found that the Pacific island nation faces a backlog of reforms that are required to modernize and streamline its legal and regulatory frameworks for economic development.

Tonga’s imports continue to outstrip its exports by a factor of at least 10:1 annually and over 50% of the imports are for fuel and food.

The review of the trade policy was the first since Tonga joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in July 2007.

The review examined the impact of Tonga’s trade policies and practices on the WTO multilateral trading system.

The review was based on reports submitted by the WTO Secretariat and the Government of Tonga.

Trade initiatives

Tonga, a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, participates in a number of initiatives to expand trade in the region, such as the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA); the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA); the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER), and PACER Plus.

Tonga, as a member of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) has been negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), with the European Union EU since 2004. However, none of these ongoing negotiations has been concluded so far.

At present SPARTECA appeared to be the only one that is providing some tangible tariff preferences to Tongan exports to New Zealand and Australia.

Exports from Tonga may be eligible under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) schemes of the EU, the United States, and Japan.

Meanwhile the WTO framework for rules and Most-Favoured-Nation tariffs thus “continues to provide the basic parameters for Tonga’s trade and economic policies.”

Market access

The review also stated that Tonga does not regulate market access through tariff rate quotas, and provides no preferential tariffs to any trading partner.

“Trade restriction appear to be motivated by the need to protect human, animal or plant life or health; public morals; national security; cultural heritage; the conservation of exhaustible natural resources; and to uphold intellectual property rights. Tonga does not levy export taxes on any goods.”

The Tongan economy, one of the smallest among WTO Members with a GDP of about US$500 million, is based “on agriculture, fisheries, a small mainly domestically oriented manufacturing sector, and tourism and other services.”

Tonga is classified as a middle-income developing country, and remittances from expatriates provide a major boost to the local economy.

Tonga’s imports outstrip its exports by a factor of at least 10:1 annually. More than 50% of Tonga’s imports consist of fuel from Singapore and food, mainly from New Zealand and Fiji. Tonga’s exports are mainly squash, root crops, coconuts and marine products.

Tonga derives an increasing share of government revenue from excise taxes and a broad-based consumption tax. In 2012/13, the Government raised almost TOP$55 million in revenue from the consumption tax on imports and domestic production, compared with nearly TOP$30 million from excise taxes, and TOP$14.7 million from import duties.

Killed local fishery

In 2011, the Tongan waters were re-opened to foreign tuna-fishing vessels, with the intention of reviving the fishery industry, but instead it killed the local fishery, as the local fishing companies could not compete with the government subsidized foreign fishing vessels. The outcome of this exercise is a sudden drop in the number of local commercial fishing operations from 26 to only one today.

Besides issuing fishing licenses to foreign fishing vessels, government also streamlined its business licence regulations in 2012, allowing a single licence to suffice for individuals and enterprises engaged in more than one business activity, easier filing, faster processing, and reduced fees, particularly for electronic registrations.


The WTO report also noted that although banks and foreign exchange dealers are supervised by the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, the insurance sector and other financial services suppliers are not regulated by any authority. “Similarly, Tonga has yet to establish an independent regulator in the telecoms sector.”

The Tonga Telecommunication Sector was also a matter of great concern because of Tonga’s high termination rates for international telephone calls, which led for these calls being rerouted, and that weakened Tonga’s connectivity to the rest of the world.

“Overall, Tonga is faced with a backlog of reforms to modernize and streamline its legal and regulatory frameworks, including in the area of agriculture and related Sanitary/Phytosanitary measures, air and maritime transport, and telecommunications.”


There is also a sense of uncertainty over which government ministry is responsible for trade in Tonga. The Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour was responsible for foreign trade policy matters until mid-2012, when the trade portfolio was transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs without a corresponding transfer of staff. Meanwhile, the “old” trade ministry is still in charge of trade related matters.

Tonga’s delegation to the Trade Policy Review in Switzerland was led by the Minister of Labour, Commerce and Tourism, Hon. Dr Viliami Latu, the Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Va’inga Tone; Lepaola Bloomfield Vaea, from the Ministry of Revenue and Customs; Viliami Kami from the Ministry of Agriculture; ‘Aminiasi Kefu, the Solicitor General and Tevita Lautaha from the Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Tourism.

Matangi Tonga Magazine:

3) American Samoans Illegally Filing Taxes Off-Island: Treasurer
Attempts to receive U.S. Earned Income Credit a ‘serious issue’

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Feb. 16, 2014) – American Samoa Treasurer Dr. Falema’o “Phil” M. Pili has issued a stern warning to members of the public who are filings taxes off island — “its illegal”. The announcement was made during the Cabinet meeting Thursday morning at the ASCC Lecture Hall. Pili said they have consulted with the governor on this serious issue.

“We are experiencing a very serious issue with our tax filing this year, right this time last year we had taken in six- seven thousand tax filings, yet right now we have received only 2,000 tax returns.” He also stated they have set up people from the tax office over at the canneries, yet they had to close it down, because hardly anyone was filing.

Pili said, “This is because people are filing off island to take advantage of the EIC — Earned Income Credit — it’s dangerous and wrong and the consequences are very severe, whoever is helping our people to file off island they need to stop.”

He reiterated that the territory’s people will be faced with severe consequences once the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) comes down here to conduct an investigation.

During the cabinet meeting, Director of the Department of Homeland Security, Utuali’i Iuniasolua Savusa noted his investigators have been working with the IRS to track down people who have been filing off island.

In a statement issued by the Treasurer late Friday afternoon, he noted there’s a considerable amount of local tax payers filing their local income tax returns off island with the IRS. “This is being done to take advantage of tax credits; particularly the Earned Income Credit and other benefits that you are not neither authorized nor entailed to receive.”

Pili stated, “This is a violation of the tax laws of American Samoa and the United States,”

He pointed out that currently there is a collaborative effort with the IRS to identify individuals who have filed improperly and to stop accepting future returns.

The Treasurer warned if its determined that anyone “did in fact file inappropriately, you will be required to repay any money received, along with interest and penalties and other punitive actions may also be imposed against you.”

He said the Treasury Department is processing individual income tax returns and refund disbursements for the Tax Seasons 2014. “All local tax payers are required to file their respective 2013 wages and earnings in the territory. Payment of taxes is the responsibility of all American Samoan citizens, legal residents and those that do business here.”

According to the statement, he said as Treasurer its his duty to warn the general public of the severity of the consequences that will impact individuals and their families who continue to file off island.

“This warning notice is also directed to the preparers of these tax returns of the bad consequences that will impact you once the appropriate federal agency catches up with you, regarding these wrongful activities,” said.

Pili said to avoid potential delinquency on your part, you must file in accordance to where you earned your wages. “The law is clear, if you earned wages or income in American Samoa you pay taxes in American Samoa.”

The Samoa News:

4) Samoan Women Encouraged To Assume Power At National Level
Gender conference seeks to empower women beyond traditional roles

By Kerstin Ofisa

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 16, 2014) – Lawyer Maiava Visekota Peteru says women need to move beyond their traditional roles in the community and get used to gaining power at the national level.

Speaking at the Pacific Gender Justice Knowledge Exchange conference held at the Tusitala on Friday, Ms. Maiava stressed the importance of women in communities and their representation in politics.

“As women, we are still seen as the person with the burden of looking after the children”. “Other women don’t want matai titles because of their role as a mother and the fact that they are entitled to the men”.

But, she said, “Politics is about representation of your constituency. It’s not about the qualifications.” In her speech, Maiava discussed some of the perspectives on women in politics.

“The government of Samoa has now recognized the potential of women to contribute at the highest level of decisionmaking”, said Ms. Maiava. She also spoke about the Constitution Amendment Act and how it would empower women in the future.

“The Constitution Amendment Act 2013 provides a unique quota system to ensure that women of Samoa to enter politics”, said Maiava.

With 10% of seats in parliament reserved for women, Ms. Maiava believes that it is necessary for more women to be involved with the country’s decision-making. “We all need it, and with a quota such as this, it will ensure that women can have the same responsibility as the men”, she said. Participants at the conference welcomed her comments, and the knowledge shared at the conference.

“Basically this conference has boosted my knowledge and capacity as a young woman to be able to go out to communities and share what I know and what I have learned”, said Jolly Tuna Papali’i, a representative of the Ministry of Women.

“It was also a pleasure to hear from high icon women in the country and their perspectives on women in politics, the dream of raising awareness regarding status of women in Samoa and through the world”. Maiava spoke upon the need of women to be empowered.”I encourage women to become matai, to serve their families, villages, and country”, she said.

Samoa Observer:

5) Former Am. Samoa Immigration Officer Convicted Of Fraud
Savea provided fake documentation for 2 Chinese women

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Feb. 16, 2014) – Former Immigration Officer Polone Savea convicted of forgery in connection with the issuance of fake immigration identifications to Chinese women was sentenced to serve 12 months in jail, as part of his seven years probation before the High Court last week.

Savea, whose family was present for support during sentencing, was initially charged in connection with two criminal cases.

The first case is based on allegations that he issued fake immigration identifications to two Chinese women, of which he faced two counts of forgery and public servant acceding to corruption.

Also in this case, Polone is charged with Matagi Lelilio, who is facing bribery of a public servant — his case is currently pending in the high court.

The second case against Polone charges him with two counts of forgery and one count of public servant acceding to corruption, and his co-defendant was Jin Hua Sullivan (aka Nunu). However, the government has since dismissed the case due to lack of evidence.

In a plea deal with the government, Savea pleaded guilty to one count of forgery, while the remaining was dismissed as part of the plea offer from the government.

During sentencing the defendant apologized to the court, the government, Immigration, his extended Savea family in Matu’u, his CCCAS Church in Matu’u, his wife and children for his wrongful actions, which has disgraced his family and church.

“I fell into temptations by the devil,” he said.

Kruse sentenced the defendant to seven years in jail and fined him $3,000. The court suspended the execution of sentencing and placed him on probation for seven years and he is to serve 28 months in jail. The court then stayed 16 of the 28 months and ordered the defendant to serve 12 months in jail. He was ordered to remain a law abiding citizen.

The CJ reminded the government of laws for government employees who are convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude.

The government’s case claims that the case against Polone began when the AG’s investigating officer was informed about a situation involving fake immigration cards issued by defendant. Court filings say the immigrations cards in question were issued to two Chinese women, Ruiquin Liu and Jianxing Huang.

Court filings state that inquiries were run on the immigration ID cards used by Liu and Huang and it was discovered the Alien Registration numbers on their ID cards belonged to different foreigners with inactive or closed files.

According to the government’s case, $2,500 was given to Savea to fix their ID and papers.

The Samoa News:


6) Marshall Islands voids nomination of al-Sayyed to UNESCO

By Online Editor
2:05 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands on Wednesday rescinded a controversial nomination to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of a former Lebanese security chief who is a suspect in the assassination of Lebanese ex-Premier Rafik Hariri in 2006.

The appointment of former Maj. General Jamil al-Sayyed to represent the Marshall Islands to UNESCO was formally withdrawn on Wednesday, according to acting President Tony deBrum.

Government officials in Majuro initially expressed surprise Wednesday and said they had no knowledge about the nomination of al-Sayyed.

As officials learned Wednesday that the nomination of al-Sayyed had been officially transmitted to UNESCO — apparently in December — they moved quickly to cancel it.

DeBrum said he talked with President Christopher Loeak and Foreign Minister Phillip Muller who are en route to Japan, and a letter rescinding the nomination of al-Sayyed was prepared and signed by Muller who had signed the original letter nominating al-Sayyed in December.

Muller did not respond to a request for comment.

Officials in Majuro said they were unable to locate the original nomination letter that Muller signed in December.

Muller signed another letter Wednesday to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova cancelling the nomination for al-Sayyed effective immediately.

DeBrum said the initial contact for the nomination of al-Sayyed was made with Marshall Islands leaders during a visit to Palau at the end of September. A follow up visit to Majuro by a representative of al-Sayyed in December resulted in the nomination letter being signed.

International news reports are saying that the Marshall Islands nomination would give al-Sayyed diplomatic immunity allowing him to avoid possible prosecution from the United Nations-supported Special Tribunal for Lebanon that has already begun prosecuting others involved in the Hariri assassination.

Al-Sayyed was arrested following the 2006 bomb attack that killed Hariri and 22 other people in Beirut, and was held for four years until investigators determined they could not develop adequate evidence to prosecute him.

A UNESCO official at the agency’s Paris headquarters confirmed receiving the earlier nomination letter. Sue Williams, a spokeswoman for UNESCO told AFP: “I can confirm that the government of the Marshall Islands sent us a letter indicating that this person would represent it.”

That nomination has now been voided, according to deBrum. The letter voiding the nomination was transmitted to UNESCO by Marshall Islands Ambassador to the United Nations Amatlain Kabua on Wednesday.

“We are putting out this information to assure people that we are being open and frank about what we know,” deBrum said. DeBrum said he anticipated repercussions concerning the nomination, in part because the Marshall Islands has been in the eye of the world’s media the past two weeks over the arrival of El Salvadoran fisherman Jose Salvador Alvarenga, who spent over 13 months drifting from Mexico.

The cabinet is responsible for approving all appointments and nominations for Marshall Islands representation overseas.

Officials in Majuro say that the nomination of al-Sayyed did not follow the usual procedure and offices such as the attorney general, the cabinet and the Ministry of Finance had no documentation or knowledge of the nomination.


7) CNMI Governor Declares State Of Emergency In Rota
Bad weather preventing regular deliver of good and commodities

By Emmanuel T. Erediano

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 17, 2014) – Governor Eloy S. Inos on Friday declared Rota under a state of significant emergency due to shortage of food and other commodities.

In his Executive Order 2014-12, the governor said the emergency declaration takes effect immediately and all memoranda, directives and other measures taken in accordance with the declaration will remain in effect for 30 days.

In an interview yesterday, Senate Vice President Victor B. Hocog, R-Rota, said the barge that usually brings goods to Rota has not been coming due to increment weather. The barge that can carry 30 containers, Hocog said, is pulled by tug boat from Rota and Saipan.

In his executive order, Inos said the weather conditions have made it dangerous for barges to enter Rota’s west harbor to deliver goods and commodities.

The last shipment of goods to Rota arrived on Nov. 18, 2013 and the next scheduled shipment has been repeatedly postponed due to dangerous whether condition in the west harbor.

The executive order stated that the stores on Rota are nearly out of stock. Some goods are brought via air transportation, but there are commodities such as gas that cannot be delivered on an aircraft.

The next shipment of goods to Rota is scheduled for Feb. 17 but the high surf advisory issued by CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management remains in effect until Feb. 19.

The shortage of goods and commodities has led to a sharp increase in prices “leaving the people of Rota to choose between purchasing food or paying their utility bills.”

Inos said bad water conditions will again impede the scheduled delivery and the people of Rota will be left to wait another month for shipment that may again be disrupted.

Hocog said he will meet with the governor to talk about the company that is willing to send “a good cargo ship” that can carry between six to 12 containers to Rota.

“We are not waiting for this to get worse so we are addressing this issue right away,” Hocog said adding that by April he is hoping that the U.S.-based company can send the cargo ship to Rota.

Marianas Variety:


8) Australia to demand greater accountability from overseas aid recipients

By Online Editor
3:50 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Australia

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the country needs an aid program with a strong culture of accountability.

Bishop has singled out Australia’s second largest aid recipient Papua New Guinea in calling for greater scrutiny of overseas aid.

In a speech at the Australian National University in Canberra, Bishop says Australia needs a “more effective and efficient” aid program.

“I take issue with those who focus on quantity not quality,” she said.

“There are many examples in domestic policies where billions of dollars have been poured into aid programs, only to find that standards have gone backwards.

“When we get it right, we can make a real difference, and we can do this by focusing on our region.”

There will be new mutual obligations requirements with partner countries so that both parties are held accountable for outcomes, and poor performing programs will be reviewed – and if appropriate, lose funding.

Bishop says there are issues across the region for Australian aid funding, but she’s singled out Papua New Guinea.

“(It’s) distressing to know that despite the fact that Australia invests about half a billion dollars each and every year into Papua New Guinea it will not meet one of its Millennium Development Goals. In fact, it is going backwards,” she said.

The Australian Government has cut $4.5 billion over four years from the aid budget, but Ms Bishop is promising the new approach with trade as its focus will be more effective.

“We’ll work with partner governments to build the critical institutions and the policies that they need to facilitate trade and promote functioning economies,” Bishop said.

“This is all part of what I call ‘economic diplomacy’.

“We are still one of the most generous donor nations in the world. We remain amongst the top 10, per capita”.



9) Vanuatu polis i painim 800 kilogram marijuana

Updated 17 February 2014, 15:23 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Vanuatu Polis i painim na rausim 800 kilomgrems long marijuana klostu long Port Vila.

Polis long Vanuatu itok i kisim na bagarapim pinis samting olsem 800 kilos blong spak brus oa marijuana.

Tokman blong Vanuatu polis Willy Ben Carlo itok  las wik i bin painim ol despla marijuana diwai klostu long Port Vila International ples balus na nau oli mekim ol  wok painim aut long husat tru i papa long ol despla drugs.

Dispela wok painim blong ol ibin kamap long las wik namba 12 na 13 de blong dispela mun Februari long wanpela eria klostu long Vanuatu international ples balus na ol ibin rausim long gaden 520 ol plants blong cannibis em inap long 760 kilogram na long namba tu de wok blong ol,oli bin painim narapela 114 plantis blong canabis em heve blong em inap long 131 kilogram.

Dispela wok painim ibin namba tu long namba wan oli bin mekim long island blong Malekula.

Long askim blong wanem hap ol dispela marijuana plant ikam long en Superintendent Willy Ben Carlo itok long ol yar blong 1980′s oli ting sampela pipol imas bringim ikam insait long Vanautu, tasol long ol yar blong 1990′s na ikam long yar 2000  oli bin nap painim ol dispela marijuana plant isave grow nabout long planti eria long ol island blong Vanuatu.

Vanuatu, wankaen olsem ol narapla kantri long Pacific rijan nau iwok long traem long stopim na daonim wok blong planim, salim na baem marijuana.

Vanuatu Polis, Superintendent Willy  Ben Carlo, itok lukaut olsem ol pipal husat isave iusim marijuana olgeta taem, inap bungim heve long helt blong ol.

10) Vanuatu Polis klostu bai pinisim wok painim long pait long Graon

Updated 17 February 2014, 15:24 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Vanuatu polis itok klostu nau bai oli pinisim wok painimaut long fait long graon long Malekula.

Polis long Vanuatu itok klostu nau bai oli pinisim ol wok painimaut long fait  long graon long Malekula we samting olsem 500 pipal ibin bungim heve.

Oli tok olsem sampla long ol pipal husat ibin statim despla fait istap nau long kalabus long Lugainville, biktaon blong Santo.

Tokman blong  polis long Port Vila superintendent Willie  Ben Carlo  itok dispela koros na pait ibin kamap namel long wanpela lain wan pisin yet ibin mekim ol i kukim sikspela ten ol haus.

Emi tok tu olsem sampela pipol em oli stap insait long ol dispela pait na trabel em ol yangpela pipol oa Yut.

Ikam inap nau polis ibin go na kamapim arrest pinis long sampela long ol dispela pipol  em oli bin stap insait long ol dispela trabel.

Superintendent Ben Carlo  itok ol wok painim blong polis igo long dispela trabel klostu bai oli pinisim na ol dispela saspek oli bringim ol long kar long Malekula na mau oli stap long han blong polis long Luganville.

Emi tok ol yangpela pipol ibin harim tok blong ol bikman blng ples long igo kamapim dispela ol pait na trabel.

Na olgeta blong ol bai bungim ol sas na bai igo long kot long ol bagarap oli kamapim long ol haus .

11) Fiji bai toktok strong long Australia i rausim tambu long travel

Postim 17 February 2014, 11:21 AEST

New Zealand nius meri Dominique Schwartz,i raitim

Fiji ami gavaman bai toktok strong long Australia long imas rausim dispela ol tabel blong travel,we oli tok dispela tambu i bagarap tru ekonomi blong ol.

Long lukluk blong en igo long dispela Pacific kantri las wik Foran Minista blong Australia Julie Bishop itok ol iwok long lukluk long dispela tambu blong travel long ol lain blong Fiji.

Ms Bishop ibin holim toktok wantaim interim Praim Minista Frank Painimarama long bik taun Suva,na givim em ol plan blong stretm gut ken ol wok pren bong tupela kantri

Dispela ol plan ino karamapim rausim ol tambu blong travel long ol gavaman offisel, Australia ibin kamapim stat long taim Commdore Bainimarama ibin kisim gavaman long 2006.

Attoeny General Aiyaz-Sayed Khaiyum itok dispela travel tambu Australia i putim long Fiji i bikpela wari stret.

Emi tokim ABC, emi bagarapim tru ekonomi blong kantri.

Emi olsem wanem na Australia ilaik stopim wanpela kantri long traim kisim gutpela ol save man long halivim na ronim kantri oa lukautim ol kampani blong gavaman em oli save kamapim moni blong kantri.

Ms Bishop itok pastaim olsem ol tambu oli putim long ol gavaman offisel oli bin  slekim sampela hap blong ol pinis.

Emi tok taim oli kisim gavaman oli stat givim aut ol visa igo long ol dispela pipol em oli applai long ol.

Emi tok oli bin tok orait long ol visa long samting olsem 56 ol visa wantaim tu ol blong  ol gavaman Minista na ol senia offisel.Radio Australia

12) Buai nao i tambu long salim ol long Honiara strit long Solomon Islands

Updated 17 February 2014, 16:09 AEST

Bethany Keats.

Wok kempein blong klinim Honiara city long Solomon Islands ibin stat tede long mekim pipol noken salim ol samting wantaim tu buai arere long ol rot long city eria.

Ol wokman blong kaunsel long Honiara long Solomon Islands nau iwok long mekim wok patrol long ol strit long putim eye long pipol isave salim ol samting long rot

Dispela emi wok operation  blong ol oli kolim Klinim Town,na tu wanpela awareness kempein long strongim loa blong stopim pipol i salim ol samting arasait long ol bildings,wantaim tu ol buai.

Mr Kelly itok bikpela samting em kaunsel ilaik strongim dispela loa blong em bihainim ordinance blong city kaunsel.

Dispela kempein blong ol emi tok oli kisim halivim ikam  long polis, loa enforcement offisa blong kaunsel, environment helt blong kaunsel, works division, i raun long olgeta strit kona blong city eria na toktok wantaimpipol isave salim ol samting arere long ol strit wantaim tu ol pipol isave salim ol buai.

Bikpela wari blong city clark em taim pipol isave ol samting blong ol arere long ol strit,oli save kamapim planti pipia arere long ol rot, na narapela wari em planti long ol pipol oli nogat laisens long wokim ol kain bisnis olsem arere long ol strrit.

Mr Kelly itok offisel stat long dispela wok kempein blong klinim taun ibin stat tede moning..

Emi tok oli kamapim tupela  grup long dispela wok patrol blong ol, zone 1 igo raun long West Honiara, narapela igo long East Honiara we oli toktok wantaim pipol long noken salim ol samting long ol strit na kamapim pipia long boundry blong city yet.


13) Australie-Fidji: dégel sous les tropiques

Mis à jour 17 February 2014, 15:39 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

« Chaleureux et très positif »: C’est ainsi que Julie Bishop a qualifié son entretien avec Franck Bainimarama, la première rencontre australo-fidjienne à ce niveau depuis 2008.

Les relations entre l’Australie et Fidji se dégèlent. La semaine dernière, Julie Bishop, la ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères, a eu un tête-à-tête avec le Premier ministre par intérim Franck Bainimarama. Une première depuis son arrivée au pouvoir à la faveur d’un coup d’Etat. Un entretien jugé « chaleureux et positif » par Julie Bishop.

La ministre des Affaires étrangères a indiqué qu’elle était en train de réviser les restrictions de visas imposées aux représentants de ce régime non démocratique. Mais aucune décision n’a été prise, bien que Fidji réclame la suppression de ces restrictions depuis des années, l’Australie se borne à faire du cas par cas.

Ainsi, depuis l’arrivée au pouvoir des Libéraux en septembre 2013, plus de 50 visas ont été accordés à des Fidjiens proches du régime. 1 seul a du être refusé, pour ce que l’Australie appelle des « raisons techniques », sur lesquelles on n’a pas plus de détails. Le ministre fidjien des Affaires étrangères, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, a bénéficié de cet assouplissement et a ainsi pu faire soigner son fils en Australie. Mais pour lui, ce n’est pas suffisant :

« C’est une abomination. Comment un pays peut-il imposer de telles restrictions à l’heure de la mondialisation, qui s’appliquent aussi à des gens qui sont apolitiques et qui n’étaient pas impliqués dans les événements du 5 décembre 2006. C’est une forme de sabotage économique, car ces restrictions de visas détournent nos meilleurs cerveaux du service public, et des conseils d’administration des entreprises publiques. Alors oui les visas sont accordés au cas par cas, mais il n’y a eu aucune annonce claire sur ce régime des restrictions des visas. Du coup il y a encore beaucoup de Fidjiens qui refusent de travailler pour le gouvernement parce qu’ils ont peur de ne pas pouvoir voyager en Australie. Et ce sont des gens non partisans, qui pourraient contribuer à construire notre pays. »

Les « événements » auxquels Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum fait pudiquement référence, c’est le coup d’Etat de Franck Bainimarama le 5 décembre 2006.

Pas encore de réponse claire sur les restrictions de visa, mais Julie Bishop a redit qu’il était important de normaliser les relations entre l’Australie et Fidji. Une normalisation qui passe par le renforcement des échanges commerciaux, de l’investissement et du tourisme, mais aussi une coopération militaire, sans oublier les saisonniers fidjiens qui viennent travailler en Australie.

Une annonce qui réjouit le ministre fidjien des Affaires étrangères, mais le diable se cache dans les détails, et il y reste quelques sujets épineux entre les deux pays. Celui, par exemple des escargots géants d’Afrique, ce mollusque peut atteindre 20 cm pour un poids de 1.5 kg, et s’adapte à tous les menus : il peut se nourrir de 500 espèces de plantes. Il grignote aussi le plâtre des maisons, qui lui fournissent du calcium pour sa coquille. L’escargot géant d’Afrique porte aussi des petits vers ronds qui peuvent provoquer des méningites chez l’homme. Fidji est classé par l’Australie sur la liste des pays envahis par le mollusque prédateur. Une erreur qu’il faudrait corriger, estime Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum :

« Fidji n’est pas envahi par l’escargot géant d’Afrique. Mais comme nous sommes une plaque tournante pour le transport des marchandises dans le Pacifique, il nous arrive de découvrir un de ces gastéropodes dans des marchandises venues du Vanuatu et transitent par Suva en direction de l’Australie. Dans ce cas-là, nous tuons les escargots géants d’Afrique et nous en informons les douanes australiennes. Résultat : la bureaucratie australienne a conclu que Fidji était envahi par ces escargots. Ce n’est pas vrai. Or cela a un impact énorme sur nos exportations vers l’Australie, rallonge considérablement les procédures aux douanes, etc. Il y a un autre problème à régler entre nos deux pays, et dont j’ai parlé avec Julie Bishop. Il s’agit de notre convention de prévention de la double imposition, qui a expiré en 1995 et rien ne s’est passé depuis. Et aussi, le prélèvement des impôts à la source par le fisc australien est plus élevé pour les Australiens installés à Fidji que pour les Australiens qui font des affaires dans d’autres pays. Donc cela n’incite pas les Australiens à venir créer une entreprise à Fidji. On a aussi discuté de ce problème avec Julie Bishop. »

Le ministre fidjien des Affaires étrangères, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, répondait à Dominique Schwartz sur Radio Australie.

La convention fiscale relative à la double imposition est un traité entre deux pays qui vise à éviter la double imposition des personnes et des entreprises.

Pour l’instant le gouvernement australien n’a fait aucun commentaire sur ces problèmes qui freinent les échanges économiques entre Fidji et l’Australie.

14) PNG: évasion collective du centre de rétention de Manus

Mis à jour 17 February 2014, 15:37 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Dimanche soir, 35 demandeurs d’asile ont fui le centre de rétention installé par l’Australie sur l’île de Manus, au nord du pays.

1300 demandeurs d’asile sont détenus sur l’île de Manus. Certains y sont depuis novembre 2012.

Mais ils ont été recapturés au bout d’une heure, précise Scott Morrison. Ce matin le ministre australien de l’Immigration s’était borné à parler d’un « incident » au centre de rétention.

Le député papou de Manus, Ronnie Knight, affirmait quant à lui qu’il ne s’agissait que d’une bagarre violente entre demandeurs d’asile et non d’une évasion. Finalement, d’après le ministère de l’Immigration, il s’agirait des deux : une rixe violente entre migrants, qui se serait terminée par la fuite de 35 demandeurs d’asile. 8 ont été arrêtés, et 19 ont reçu des soins médicaux. On ne sait pas comment ils se sont blessés.

L’origine de la bagarre reste floue, mais d’après la Coalition d’Action pour les Réfugiés, l’ONG australienne qui milite contre la rétention des demandeurs d’asile, cette explosion de violences serait due à la frustration des détenus qui ont eu besoin de se défouler – les uns sur les autres. La rumeur court en ce moment au centre de rétention qu’aucun demandeur d’asile reconnu comme authentique réfugié ne serait transféré dans un pays tiers et tous devraient rester vivre en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

L’Australie offre en effet trois options aux clandestins de Manus : le retour volontaire dans leur pays d’origine, le transfert dans un pays tiers genre Canada, Nouvelle-Zélande, etc., et si aucun pays ne veut les accueillir, alors les réfugiés devront rester en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Ce matin le Premier ministre Tony Abbott a déclaré qu’il n’y avait aucun changement à ce dispositif.

L’examen des demandes d’asile des 1300 migrants détenus à Manus a bel et bien débuté, mais il prend beaucoup de temps. Certains sont enfermés depuis novembre 2012 sur cette petite île papoue.

15) La longue dérive d’Alvarenga est plausible

Mis à jour 17 February 2014, 15:40 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Telle est la conclusion des océanographes de l’université de Hawaï, qui ont vérifié les courants et les vents sur les 13 derniers mois.

Ces 13 mois pendant lesquels le chasseur de requin salvadorien parti du Mexique, a dérivé, à la suite de la panne du moteur de son bateau. José Salvador Alvarenga a dérivé sur 12 500 kilomètres à travers le Pacifique, conduit par les vents et les courants jusqu’à l’atoll d’Ebon, aux Iles Marshall.

Le pêcheur miraculé est arrivé au Salvador mardi dernier, où il a été accueilli par le ministre des Affaires étrangères. Il était en chaise roulante, mais pourrait sortir de l’hôpital aujourd’hui. José Salvador Alvarenga est en bonne santé pour quelqu’un qui s’est nourri pendant 13 mois de poissons et d’oiseaux, et abreuvé de sang de tortue et d’eau de pluie.

Mais il est désormais terrifié par l’océan, et souffre d’un trouble de stress post-traumatique.


16) China warships in Pacific raise alarm

By Online Editor
2:07 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, China

Three Chinese warships have sent dark new clouds scudding over Australia’s strategic horizon, adding to growing unease across the region as Beijing flexes its muscles through the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific.

The sudden appearance near Australia of the guided missile destroyers Wuhan and Haikou, in company with the advanced, 20,000-tonne landing ship Changbaishan, led to the RAAF Orion patrol aircraft being scrambled and sent north of the continent.

Although operating legally in international waters, the unannounced passage of the ships through the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra to the Lombok Strait off Bali has been seen as a clear message that China is now a major maritime power operating wherever it wants to go.

The series of 10 exercises between Indonesia and Australia was also a demonstration of China’s increasing might, reach and sophistication as the emerging superpower ramps up its territorial claims.

The implications have triggered concern also in India, Japan, Southeast Asia and the Philippines, and raised further questions about Beijing’s increasing presence in the South Pacific – particularly its development and expansion of ports in Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

The United States has already responded with a shift in its naval emphasis to the region, increasing its marine presence in Australia and the intention to base 60 per cent of its warships in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020.

By that time China’s navy will have become even more formidable. Funded by an economy that is now the world’s second-largest and on track to become the biggest, Beijing’s US$110 billion defence budget is exceeded only by the US.

Its sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, bought from Ukraine and refurbished, will be joined by an 80,000-tonne nuclear-powered vessel within six years, with plans for four more. As well as a larger, advanced surface fleet, China’s ballistic and attack submarine force will also be significantly expanded.

Chinese warships are rapidly gaining new potency through advanced technology. This month a Song class diesel-electric attack submarine slipped past screening US warships to surface within striking range of a US aircraft carrier. That set the alarm bells ringing.

In the Lombok Strait, the three Chinese warships conducted exercises including fast-response electronic warfare, anti-missile defence, and attack co-ordination.

State television said no advance warning of the mission had been given as “part of the navy’s plan to simulate actual combat conditions”.

Analysts have seen a number of signals in the deployment beyond the demonstration of power, reach and “self-confidence” advocated by policymakers in Beijing.

Among these is the ability to protect the sea lanes vital for its energy imports, and the potential to use alternatives to the Malacca Strait if the key route was closed.

The exercise was also the first to extend beyond the western waters of the Indian Ocean, and to come so close to Australia.

Last October, similar capabilities were demonstrated when Chinese warships, supported by bombers and patrol aircraft, passed through the Japanese archipelago to conduct war games in the western Pacific, alarming Japan.

With tensions already high over the disputed Senkakus/Diaoyu islands, Tokyo increased its defence budget, announcing plans for more strike jets, warships and other hardware.

India is also concerned at China’s operations in the eastern Indian Ocean, worrying that Beijing is placing the crucial waters around the Andaman and Nicobar islands within reach of its military.

China insists that its naval operations present no threat to other countries in the region and that its Lombok Strait exercises were part of annual training plans during which its navy upheld its right to free passage in international waters.

China has also been increasing cooperation within the region, joining US warships for search-and-rescue exercises near Hawaii last year, and sending ships on goodwill visits to Australia and New Zealand. This year it will take part in the huge American Rimpac naval exercise off Hawaii.

Prime Minister John Key has said New Zealand “doesn’t feel concerned by anything [China] might be doing”, a view also expressed after the Lombok exercises by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Noting that the exercises took place in international waters, Bishop said: “The Chinese navy is growing, commensurate with the increase in size and strength of the Chinese economy and its place in the region and its place in the globe.”

Lowy Institute international security programme director Rory Medcalf wrote that there was nothing illegal or fundamentally hostile in the exercises, and that a greater Chinese role in the Indian Ocean was inevitable.


17) Pacific Needs To Collectively Confront Distant Water Fishing Nations
FFA director calls for increased cooperation with French Territories

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Feb. 15, 2014) – There is a urgent need for Pacific nations to rise above national agendas and act regionally, to respond effectively to the economic crisis in the Pacific’s albacore long line fisheries, warns the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency Director-General James Movick.

To make this happen FFA members look to work cooperatively with the Pacific Island territories who are not members of FFA but who share the same demise, he said.

“To make this work we will also need to confront distant water fishing nations to reconcile their narrow fishing interests with their broader role as key strategic and development partners of this region,” Movick told regional journalists attending a two day “Tunanomics” workshop in Noumea this week.

“The time has come to step up the conversations around the economics of tuna and what countries, thinking regionally, are prepared to take—and give—so that we, as a region, can protect our fisheries resource, while achieving our economic aspirations.”

As a regional intergovernmental organization, the FFA secretariat would seek direct bilateral opportunities to work with FFA members and other Pacific territorial stakeholders, as well as in their multilateral discussions, he said.

Movick’s keynote statement, was delivered by FFA Bio-economist Roseti Imo at the launch of the FFA DEVFISH Tunanomics Pacific Media Initiative, in partnership with the Pacific Islands News Association and Secretariat of the Pacific Community.


Movick reminded the public that despite warnings of a risk of over fishing, the Pacific Islands Forum Fishery Agency members had not been able to agree on effective management of the southern albacore fishery.

“Our lack of unity and resolve has allowed distant water fishing nations to expand their own fisheries and to favour their own fleets,” he stated.

Movick urged the public and decision makers “to see issues more clearly and objectively … So that we, as a region, can protect our fisheries resource, while achieving our economic aspirations.”


Since 2012, tuna long line fishing vessels, especially the albacore long line fishery had suffered massive losses in profits; vessels had been moored and workers have been laid off.

“Sadly, the brunt of the impact has fallen mainly on the domestic fleets of FFA members,” Movick stated. He pointed out that a few years ago there were warnings of a risk of over fishing by scientists, fisheries managers and even domestic industry stakeholders, but still “FFA members have not been able to agree on a unified regional cooperative framework to effectively manage the southern albacore fishery across its range.”

The term “Tunanomics” was an attempt “to ensure that when people are talking about Tuna Fishery, they were fully aware of the factors affecting the economic dependence of Pacific Peoples on the wealth from our oceans.”

The Pacific Ocean’s tuna fishery is the biggest tuna fishery in the world today, and the Pacific Islands countries are the principal caretakers of this stock.

He pointed out that because of the reliance of small island economies on tuna fishery to support government revenues and to develop and sustain national economic growth. “That caretaking role prompted Pacific island governments to create FFA in 1979, and their founding aim retains much relevance today – To promote and to assist Pacific Island countries to derive maximum economic benefits from the sustainable harvesting of tuna resources in their EEZs.

Tuna harvest

In 2012, the value of the fishery has been estimated to be 7.2 Billion USD from a total catch of 2.5 million tons of tuna. Members of FFA receive a portion of the returns estimated to be around 8-15% of the value of the catch, an increase from the 5% or less that Pacific Islands countries received before 2010.

He claimed that FFA member countries had successfully improved the value of Pacific Island economies from the harvest of tuna.

During 2012:

The total volume of tuna harvested in the FFA members’ waters was 1.6 million tons of tuna, valued at close to 4 billion USD.
100,000 metric tons of catch is processed domestically in FFA countries annually
Employment in the sector has risen to around 15,000 jobs
Access fees for foreign fishing boats have increased to 220 million USD
Gross Domestic Products contributions have also been estimated at 240 million USD.

The launch of the Tunanomics workshop 10-11 February, was attended by Mr Efstratos Pegidis, the new Head of the European Commissions Office for the Overseas Countries and Territories in the Pacific, SPC’s Manager for the Oceanic Fisheries Program, Dr John Hampton, and the Pacific Islands News Association President Moses Stevens.

Matangi Tonga Magazine:

18) Pacific Forum Delegation Praises Fiji Progress Towards Democracy
Group, including Australia’s Bishop, ‘encouraged’ by visit

By Dominique Schwartz

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 17, 2014) – A group of South Pacific government ministers has praised Fiji’s progress towards democracy, saying it should be rewarded with greater regional involvement.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has been part of the six-member Pacific Islands Forum delegation, which has spent two days gauging Fiji’s progress towards democratic elections.

“Collectively we are encouraged by what we’ve seen and we very much hope that by September this year, Fiji would have held an election deemed by the international community to be free and fair,” Ms Bishop said.

The group says there has been significant progress by Fiji over the past year, with the approval of a constitution, the establishment of an election office and the registration of four political parties and more than half a million voters.

New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully says Fiji must prove its elections are fair.

“Ministers encouraged Fiji to welcome full international observation of the election to leave no doubt as to its legitimacy,” he said.

The group says Fiji’s ministers should be invited to take part in the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus trade talks, and meetings of forum trade ministers.

It also discussed the possibility of the country’s return to full membership of the forum after elections, due by October.

But it says more work is needed to ensure freedom of speech, assembly and the media.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio Australia also reported that Fiji Labour leaders are waring Pacific Island nations "against rushing to normalise relations with the country before there are conditions for free and fair elections."]

Fiji has been subjected to widespread international restrictions since military leader Frank Bainimarama seized control in a 2006 coup.

Mr Bainimarama has announced he plans to run in this year’s elections and will stand down as military leader so he is eligible to be a candidate.

Radio Australia:


19) Britain braces for more floods

Monday, February 17, 2014

LONDON – Sodden communities along the River Thames are bracing for more floods as Britain counts the cost of a storm that’s claimed several lives and left tens of thousands of homes without power.

At least three people were killed in separate incidents in Ireland, Britain and the English Channel after violent winds and heavy rain swept in from the Atlantic on Friday.

Pulling down power lines and disrupting transport networks across the region, the storm brought fresh misery to flood-hit communities in Britain, parts of which are suffering their wettest start to the year for 250 years.

Prime Minister David Cameron warned on Saturday that the worst was not yet over.

“What we do in the next 24 hours is vital because tragically the river levels will rise again. So every sand bag delivered, every house helped, every flood barrier put in place can make a big difference,” Cameron said.

20) Japan snowstorm kills 12, strands thousands of motorists

Posted 16 February 2014, 23:35 AEST

A severe snowstorm sweeping across Japan has killed 12 people and left more than 1,650 injured, Japanese media reported, as the extreme weather sparked widespread transport chaos.

At least a dozen people have died in snow-related incidents in seven prefectures after the storm broke records, with Tokyo blanketed in 27 centimetres of snow, according to the Kyodo news agency.

A further 2,150 people have been evacuated from their homes over fears the weight of the snow would cause their houses to collapse, public broadcaster NHK said.

At least 800 cars were stuck on a hillside trunk road in Japan and other roads nearby after they were hit by the snowstorm, officials said.

More than 100 flights were grounded Friday and Saturday and several major rail services were disrupted.

The storm was moving northward and was expected to strengthen by Monday, Japan’s meteorological agency said, warning of heavy snow, blizzards and avalanches as well as high waves in eastern and northern Japan.

National Route 18 that runs through Gunma and Nagano prefectures north of Tokyo was partly closed as hundreds of cars were stuck due to heavy snow, a local official said.

The congestion extended for several kilometres, said the official in the ski resort of Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture.

“We have opened up three community halls nearby for people who were inside the stuck cars, and are now preparing to offer hot meals,” he said.

“Some drivers have run out of gasoline so they need temporary shelter.”

Up to 250 cars were stuck on the road, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

The temperature fell as low as minus 3.6 degrees Celsius in Karuizawa, with accumulated snow about 90 centimetres deep, the weather agency said.

Congestion extended for 30 kilometres on National Route 4 that runs through the northern prefectures of Fukushima and Miyagi, NHK reported.

The transport ministry has started delivering emergency aid including water and portable toilets to drivers of stuck cars, it said.

Snow began falling Friday morning in Tokyo and had piled up to 26 centimetres by early Saturday, a week after the heaviest snowfall in decades left 11 people dead and more than 1,200 injured across the nation.

Most snow in the capital had melted thanks to rain late Saturday and sunshine Sunday.

But forecasters predict more snow again in the region around Tokyo later this week.



21) Vanuatu opposition claims backing of 3 cabinet ministers

17 February 2014

Reports from Vanuatu say three cabinet ministers have resigned and are supporting a motion for a vote of no confidence in the government of prime minister, Moana Carcasses.

According to the opposition the ministers who have left the government are the minister of youth and sports, Tony Wright, the climate change minister Thomas Laken and justice minister, Jonas James.

The opposition says 27 MPs of the 52 in the House have signed the motion and a vote is expected on Tuesday next week.

The opposition press officer, Jeff Batunvanu, says a key driver for the cabinet ministers to leave the government are investments made by the Vanuatu National Provident in foreign companies which they do not think are in the interests of Vanuatu.

“Which is quite a substantial issue and how the government has accepted to pay this payment out so fast. There are promises [of funding] by the prime minister towards the members of parliament. I think that is some of the issues that have been forwarded in the statement.” c/- radio new zealand.

22) Demands to remove thousands from New Caledonia electoral roll

By Online Editor
3:55 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, New Caledonia

The president of New Caledonia’s Congress has demanded that more than 6,700 voters be removed from the electoral roll for this May’s provincial elections.

Roch Wamytan says it is a serious political problem, adding it is not normal to have so many anomalies 15 years after the signing of the Noumea Accord.

To vote in the May election, voters have to have been enrolled since before 1998.

Wamytan, who is a member of the pro-independence movement, says there has been cheating as almost 2,000 young Kanaks are not on the roll.

He says he has been to the UN to raise his concerns and a delegation will arrive in New Caledonia to examine the issue.

The provincial assemblies will determine the make-up of the next Congress which can organise an independence referendum.

Meanwhile, journalists at New Caledonia’s only daily newspaper have approved a motion of defiance against its editor, Fabrice Rouard.

The journalist’s organisation accuse Rouard of being offended by last Wednesday’s front page picture of a flag of the pro-independence FLNKS movement.

The organisation says he didn’t want to see the FLNKS flag because it doesn’t match the newspaper’s values.

The journalists say they are against the emergence of a partisan line which would change the territory’s only paper to a propaganda tool.

When the paper was sold to local business interests last year almost half the 44 journalists resigned.

The head of the paper, Philippe Demazel, says there are internal problems in the newsroom and the Kanak flag poses no problem.


23) Fiji PM’s party manifesto

By Online Editor
2:09 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has revealed how his party’s manifesto will look going into the general elections.

He told the Fiji Sun at the Sukanaivalu Barracks in Labasa during a farewell trip to the North as commander:
“My party manifesto is what the RFMF had fought for in 2006 and it is in the new Constitution.”

The Prime Minister said his new party is open to all Fijians.

“It is an inclusive party and the name too will be inclusive,” he said.

When asked if some of the Cabinet Ministers will be the party candidates he said – “It is up to them to join my party and be a candidate for the election.”

He said that his party would continue efficient service delivery for all Fijians.

However he said there was room for improvement.

The new party will continue with the developments the rural areas.

“More new roads will be constructed; we’ll see that all have access to clean water.’’

The new party he said would be launched soon after he had stepped down as RFMF commander at the end of this month.

He said that the Republic of Fiji Military Forces would continue its good work and support the Constitution after he steps down as Commander at the end of this month to form his political party.

“I have been given the assurance from the top brass of the RFMF,” he said.

Meanwhile, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has described his meeting with Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, last Friday as fruitful.

When asked about the travel sanctions, he said he had told Bishop that there were still selective sanctions in place and he wanted all travel sanctions to be lifted.

He said as an example that this was affecting people such as judges and board members.

Commodore Bainimarama said he had been given an assurance that Australia would look into this matter.

The Prime Minister said there were other issues they talked about including the elections.

He said more detailed information about their meeting would be released soon.

Commodore Bainimarama aid he had told  Bishop that the new constitution had paved the way for democratic elections.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun at Borron House on Friday night, Bishop said: “I had a very positive meeting with the Prime Minister.”

She said she thought the meeting would last for only 30 minutes but it went on for one hour.

Bishop said they even talked about rugby and other sporting events.


24) Elections win will be a bonus: PM Bainimarama

By Online Editor
3:58 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister  Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says winning the elections will be a bonus considering the tremendous work the military has done so far.

Speaking at his farewell church service at the Sukanaivalu Barracks in Labasa, Bainimarama said this was part of his conversation with Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop during their historical meeting last Friday.

“We were talking about elections and I told her , if I win the elections it will be a bonus. The military has done a huge job in changing people’s views to see clearly the dark times Fiji lived in before. We now have a new constitution. A constitution that allows us, who are being paid, to work extra hard and to provide services to those Fijians who rely on us.”

And with less than two weeks left before he steps down as military commander, Bainimarama also told soldiers, the path the military is taking won’t change, despite the change in leadership.

“When I say there will be no change, there will be no change in the government leadership, I will still be the Prime Minister until the elections. The path the military is taking will not change as well. My trust is on the senior officers here that they will lead the military on the direction we are going since 2000.”

Bainimarama is expected to step down as army commander on the 28th of this month.

He will announce his successor as well as his new political movement early next month.

Meanwhile, Australia is keen to assist Fiji with its tourism development plans.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop made this known in her talks with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last Friday.

“The Australian people have very affection for the Fijian people. They come here as tourists in their droves, about 300, 000 Australians come to Fiji every year as tourists so we want to normalize the relations that exist between the people of our two wonderful countries. We want to normalize that at government to government level and also ensure that business trade and investment can continue to engage in a very positive manner”.

Australia has also expressed interest in re-strengthening military ties with Fiji and allow Fijians to work in Australia under the Seasonal Workers Programme.

There are also plans to establish an exchange programme of civil servants of both countries.


25) ‘People, parties trying to get the youth vote’

Torika Tokalau
Monday, February 17, 2014

THE new president of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) Youth Council, Pita Waqavonovono, says it will be interesting to see how young people determine the next government.

Mr Waqavonovono was elected to the council on Saturday by youths from different constituencies and provinces.

“We feel that all political parties have started working with young people. And that’s an important shift in terms of party politics and it’s important that they incorporate young people into their work,” he said.

Mr Waqavonovono said one of his plans with the SODELPA Youth Council was to try and feed into the national executive committee and policies which would help young people, and get their views translated into policies.

“So, one of the things you see now is that people and parties trying to get the youth vote.”

Mr Waqavonovono advised everyone above the age of 18 years to register to vote for a better future.

“Look for a political party or leader who best suits your interest and who will take your vision and aspiration for Fiji into the election and make it work.

“So start doing your own personal research — as citizens that is what we should be doing.”

He also extended an invitation to young people to find the nearest SODELPA office and pick up the party constitution.

“Find out what we are all about and I encourage you to join us.” Fijitimes

26) 1-day poll ‘achievable’: Bishop

By Online Editor
2:12 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Fiji

The Australian Government believes that while a single day election will be a monumental undertaking, Fiji is well capable of doing this.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that there were many things to consider when conducting an election in one day.

“We understand that the government wishes to hold elections on a single day and that hasn’t occurred before,” Bishop said.

“Therefore there are a number of challenges but I believe that the government recognises those challenges, the electoral commission will need to be well resourced.

“The elections office will need to be well resourced and there are the matters including voter registration and voter identification.

However, she said the confidence shown by the people especially in the registration process showed that a single day election were more than just a possibility.

“But that’s my point about the number of people that have already registered — that to me indicates a wide degree of support for the holding of an election.

“And therefore voters are likely to be keen to vote so the fact that it’s being held in one day presents challenges but it’s certainly achievable.”

Bishop visited the country with the Ministerial Contact Group chaired by her New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully who also praised Fiji’s progress towards an election.

“First of all we have recognised the very substantial progress that has been made with preparations for elections, not just the Constitution and the framework but also the substantial electoral enrolment program and all the work that has gone into getting the electoral office ready to prepare for elections,” McCully said

“We’ve welcomed the work that has been done and we’ve reaffirmed our commitment to ongoing support as that process goes forward.”.


27) Julie Bishop’s Fiji shift backed in region

By Online Editor
4:02 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Fiji

Australian foreign Minister Julie Bishop has urged Fiji and its Pacific neighbours to embrace her program of rapprochement with the island nation as the moves to bring Fiji in from the cold won strong support throughout the region.

Foreign ministers from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands have publicly backed Bishop’s Bula initiative to restore relations with Fiji, highlighted by her meeting on Friday with its military ruler Frank Bainimarama.

The Pacific Islands Forum’s six-country Ministerial Contact Group (MCG), including Australia, issued a statement that anticipated “welcoming Fiji’s full participation in the forum” after its elections, which are scheduled for September.

The MCG, which is chaired by New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully, and which has suspended Fiji’s participation, at the weekend conducted its final assessment before the election of Fiji’s return to democracy, concluding that it had made “significant progress”.

McCully said the final test would be whether the election was “free and fair”.

He said that New Zealand had already relaxed its own sanctions against Fiji.

Bishop told The Australian in Suva that she had kept Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, as well as New Zealand, informed of her program for rapprochement with Fiji seven years after its coup triggered its isolation.

“My aim is to see Fiji as a fully functioning, engaged member of the Pacific family, the Commonwealth and the international community, and that the relationship between Australia and Fiji returns to being warm and forward-looking, that reflects the deep affection between our peoples,” she said. Bishop said she took the view that Australia would “never be able to restore the bilateral relationship if we didn’t act now”.

Bishop met at the weekend with the other foreign ministers, the leaders of Fiji’s political parties, including the disenfranchised opposition to Bainimarama now gearing up for the election, and with non-government organisations that had been under frequent fire from the regime.

Bishop said she had expected “a push-back from the parties” against Australia’s new initiative to restore connections with Fiji. “But they agreed that it was a good time to build links, there was quite a warm engagement,” she said.

The NGOs, she said, “were far more critical”, recalling the human rights failings of the regime, particularly the attacks on the freedoms of association, speech and political activity, and urging caution until a free and fair election had been held.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek told The Australian Bishop “must ensure momentum towards democratic reform keeps pace and is not sacrificed as part of moves towards normalisation”.

“Labor wants Fiji to return to democracy and this includes independence of the judiciary, reinstatement of rule of law, democratic elections, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and a free media,” she said.

“This is Australia’s long-held position, is in line with regional and Commonwealth views, and Labor expects Julie Bishop to reinforce it.”

Business strongly backed Bishop’s move. Frank Yourn, the executive director of the Australia Fiji Business Council, said yesterday: “We’ve been advocating a different approach by the Australian government, so this initiative by the Foreign Minister is very welcome.”

Bishop was applauded at an informal meeting with Australian business leaders in Suva just before leaving Fiji.

As an indication of the country’s regionally strategic importance, ANZ Bank launched on Friday its Asian Business Centre in Suva as a hub for fostering greater enmeshment between Asian and Pacific companies.

The Fiji media were awash over the weekend with the story. Her meeting with Bainimarama dominated television and radio bulletins, and the daily newspapers.

The Fiji Times led its weekend edition front page with: “Talks are on — Bishop: Australia keen to mend ‘broken bridges’.”

“Whether this visit can serve as a beacon of hope for the people of Fiji will be known soon,” it editorialised.

“Ultimately though, it is now up to us to determine our destiny.” The Fiji Sun, which has been highly critical of Australia, led with: “Bishop’s promise — Australian Foreign Minister on mission to strengthen Fijian ties before elections.”.


28) Fiji Keeps Pressure On Australia Over Travel Sanctions
Attorney-General calls restrictions ‘economic sabotage’

By Dominique Schwartz

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 17, 2014) – Fiji’s military-backed government is keeping up the pressure on Australia to officially scrap its travel restrictions, calling the bans an “economic sabotage”.

During her visit to the Pacific nation last week, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the travel sanctions were under review.

Ms Bishop has met with Fiji’s interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama in the capital, Suva, and presented him with a plan to normalise bilateral relations.

The plan did not include the lifting of Australian travel bans on government officials, imposed after Commodore Bainimarama seized power in a military coup in 2006.

Fiji’s Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says Australia’s travel restrictions are an abomination.

“It’s an economic sabotage,” he told the ABC.

“Why would you want to deprive a country from not being able to access the best brains available to help run the country or sit on state-owned enterprises?”

Ms Bishop says the restrictions on government officials had been eased significantly.

“Since we became the government, we have issued visas to all those who have applied for them,” she said.

“In effect, we have agreed to visas for about 56 visas including those from ministers and senior officials.”

But Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says while the policy remains formally in place, Fijians will be nervous about trying to visit Australia.

“There are still some people who are reluctant to come on board because of the fact that there has been no general announcement made,” he said.

“So people don’t necessarily want to go through the throes of ‘we’ll deal with these matters on a case-by-case basis’.

“And they do not necessarily understand the extent of the travel ban.”

Radio Australia:


29) PINA board re- elected

By Online Editor
11:05 am GMT+12, 17/02/2014, New Caledonia

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) president Moses Stevens
from Vanuatu, is in for his third term as the PINA president.

During its Annual General Meeting at Koniambo, in New Caledonia’s northern Province, acting PINA secretariat manager Makereta Komai said from the advice of their lawyers,  Stevens and his deputy Michael Jackson, from Niue, had to continue to ensure a smooth transition since PINA is now a Company Limited by Guarantee

Also reappointed to the board are:

* Anish Chand (Fiji) representing television industry

*Janet Kwalahu (Papua New Guinea) representing radio industry

*Evelyn Toa (Vanuatu) representing national media bodies

* Leone Cabenatabua (Fiji) representing print industry

Meanwhile, the Suva-based regional news media organisation Pacific Island News Association (PINA) is now a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG).

This was passed during the PINA annual general meeting (AGM) in New Caledonia on Friday afternoon.

“We will now be known as PINA Limited,” acting PINA secretariat manager Makereta Komai said.

Fiji Media Industry Development Authority director and former PINA manager Matai Akauola told delegates at the AGM that the resolution of turning PINA into a CLG was from a Maximise Report in 2005.

“The report was backed by the then PINA board and we continued on with the process until it was finalised by the lawyers,” he said.

PINA president Moses Stevens said this was the forward for the organisation.

“We faced a lot of challenges but continued on regardless,” he said.

“By making PINA a CLG means accountability and transparency, which is essential when it comes to attracting major donors.”

Stevens urged PINA critics to pay up their subs and be engaged in the development of PINA.

“There’s no point talking from the outside. Join the family and be part of the solution,” he said.

PINA, the original Pacific Islands news media organisation, has in recent years faced splits in membership and the emergence of other regional media groups.


30) Kundu TV to broadcast FIFA World Cup

By Online Editor
4:24 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea state broadcaster National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) has signed a historic partnership agreement with Official TV rights holder Click Pacific Limited to broadcast all matches of the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

At a signing ceremony in Port Moresby NBC’s managing director Memafu Kapera and Click Pacific’s Richard Broadbridge signed the partnership arrangement, which will see all 64 matches of the tournament in June this year being broadcast solely on NBC’s Kundu Television.

The agreement allows for Click Pacific to raise all sponsorship revenue for both partners and providing all TV and radio content from Brazil and revenue share of sponsorship monies to Kundu TV.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with NBC.

This agreement will ensure the people of Papua New Guinea view all sixty four matches ‘live’ with a daily highlights package for those who can’t watch a full match”, Broadbridge said.

“Our team will now be approaching potential sponsors who would like the opportunity to place their products beside the greatest show on earth.

The FIFA World Cup is no doubt the largest event of 2014 and we’re proud that the people of PNG will be part of this great spectacle,” he added.

Click Pacific Limited also of PNG acquired Pacific Island TV rights of this year’s football world cup and is sublicensing rights across the region with Fiji, Samoa and now PNG in the bag.

“The World Cup of Soccer is a major global event and the partnership between NBC and Click Pacific will now enable viewers and listeners to receive this great content in the provinces and districts of Papua New Guinea,” Kapera said.

Click Pacific says other territories like Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are yet to make formal offers but there has been some interest in those countries.


31) American national held with 1.6million in ‘illegal’ currency

By Online Editor
2:02 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea authorities are holding an American man who tried to smuggle into Bougainville 1.6 million Bougainville kina from the United States on Saturday.

American citizen Barry Keith Webb flew in from Manila on Air Niugini flight PX 011, which arrived at 5am on Saturday with bookings to transit to Buka on Air Niguini flight PX 251 the same day. Airport authorities detained Webb after going through his documents and baggage, which included a brief case full of newly printed Bougainville kina totalling 1.6 million.

The airport authorities consisting Customs, Immigration, National Airport Corporation and Air Niugini alerted responsible government authorities including police and the central bank, who interrogated the man, who claimd to be an executive of the International Organisation of Economic Development (IOED).

The United States Embassy was also alerted and their officials were also present at the airport during the interrogation, which almost took four hours at the Jackson International Airport on Saturday morning.

According to Webb, he was travelling to Bougainville on an invitation from authorities in Bougainville, specifically from the Corner Pinati Avenue, King Square, Tonu City.

He had in possession documents and a letter from those in Tonu, which he handed to Government authorities as proof.

In one of the documents which the Post-Courier is in possession of, Tonu City leaders wrote to Webb in November 12, 2013 advising him that he had won a permanent position to represent the central bank of Bougainville as the minister for international monetary relations.

The letter was signed by a King David Peii II as the head of state, Sir Peter Lising as the governor of the Central Bank and Roger Renaud as the secretary of State on his permanent appointment with details of his job descriptions.

“As the Minister for International Monetary Relations for the Central Bank of Bougainville to represent the Central Bank of Bougainville for the purpose of developing relationships internationally with Central Banks of other sovereign nations and /or commercial banks and additionally for the purposes of developing corresponding accounts and facilitating exchange relationships for Bougainville’s Kina (BVK) with other currencies worldwide,” they advised Webb.

Under this decree, your responsibilities shall include, but not be limited to the following:

*OPEN accounts in other central banks for the purpose of facilitating relationships with those sovereign nations;
*ACT as primary signatory in the establishing and maintenance of said accounts;
*MAINTAIN relationships with the central banks where accounts are located;
* FACILITATE contracts for exchange of Bougainville kina with other currencies;
*ACT as facilitator and/or signatory in the process of the issuance and/or monetisation of any sovereign guarantee issued by the Government of Bougainville and/or the central bank of Bougainville;
* ACT as facilitator and/or signatory in the process of the development of the monetary system of Bougainville; and
*FULFILL any and all decrees issued under the authority of or by King David Peii II.

But Bank of PNG Governor Loi Bakani told the Post-Courier that the money was illegal and that the central bank lawyers were looking at possible penalties and working on the charges to be laid today.

“The money is illegal. If you look at the 100 Bougainville kina note, it has the kina name on it but different features and pictures, therefore it is illegal,” Bakani said.

“Also the legal tender is in Papua New Guinea kina and the change of the design also has its own penalties.”

Bakani, who was also at the airport for the questioning, said the Bank Act was breached and he has instructed his lawyers to work on the charges to be laid on Webb today, including other penalties.

Customs Commissioner Ray Paul confirmed the incident but said he is waiting for full details from all government authorities before he could comment.

He said the Customs office will hold a press conference today about the matter.

Immigrations officials also told the Post-Courier last night that Webb would face penalties but said they would rather have the police and other authorities announce the consequences he would face today. Police advised they will respond today when they all meet to determine the next course of action.


32) Nautilus ends deal with PNG govt

By Online Editor
10:57 am GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Nautilus Minerals Limited which is currently operating the world’s first Sea Bed Mining in Papua New Guinea has announced, it is terminating its agreement with the State of PNG.

The government is understood to be aware and the Mining Minister Byron Chan could not be reached for comment.

A statement released by the company last week stated that contrary to the arbitrator’s award of October 2, 2013, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea had failed to complete the purchase of its 30-percent interest in the Solwara 1 Project.

It stated that in accordance with the State Equity Option Agreement signed by the parties in March 2011, Nautilus has terminated the Agreement and will now claim damages.

Nautilus  said it continues to seek an amicable resolution of the dispute with the State.

The company is here to explore the ocean floor for polymetallic seafloor massive sulphide deposits.

It was granted the first mining lease for such deposits at the prospect known as Solwara 1, where it is aiming to produce copper, gold and silver.

It has also been granted its environmental permit for this site.

The statement further reads that the company also holds approximately 500,000 square kilometers of highly prospective exploration acreage in the western Pacific in PNG, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga, as well as in international waters in the eastern Pacific”.

A Canadian registered company, Nautilus is listed on the (TSX:NUS) stock exchange and (OTCQX:NUSMF). Its corporate office is in Brisbane, Australia.

Its major shareholders include MB Holding Company LLC, an Oman based group with interests in mining, oil & gas, which holds a 28% interest, Metalloinvest, the largest iron ore producer in Europe and the CIS, which has a 20.75% holding and global mining group Anglo American, which holds a 5.95% interest.


33) Plans For International Investment, Trade Forum In Vanuatu Underway
Investors from French Territories invited to explore opportunities

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 15, 2014) – Initial discussions are taking place for Vanuatu to host a first ever international Investment and Trade Forum in Port Vila June 2014.

A Steering Committee has been setup to look into the logistics involved. The first meeting of the Steering Committee took place in December last year at the conference room of the Ministry of Agriculture. In the meeting the Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture Mr Howard Aru confirmed that the Vanuatu Government will support the initiative and make sure the forum takes place as planned.

“I can confirm to you now that there is political will. I will do what I can to see it happens”, said DG Aru.

The objective of the Forum is to facilitate potential investment opportunities between companies from the French territories of New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna and the French Polynesia to meet face to face with existing businesses, and especially indigenous Ni-Vanuatu entrepreneurs who might be in need of cash injection to help fund their expansion plan. It is an opportunity for foreign businesses to sit down with local counterparts to discuss possibilities for joint venture arrangements.

Some awareness had already taken place both in New Caledonia and Vanuatu with some potential participants in the two countries showing interest.

The Investment and Trade Forum targets especially the productive sector (agriculture, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture, forestry and manufacturing), but other sectors will also be considered.

The project was initiated in 2012, by Mr Gaston Wadrawane, who was seconded to the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) by ADECAL (Agence de Developpement Economique de la Nouvelle Caledonie) of New Caledonia in collaboration with Mr François Japiot, Adviser. Mr Wardrawane spent a year with the VIPA.

The plan to host the forum in 2012 fell through due to unavailability of funds and Government support.

The second meeting of the Steering Committee took place on February 3. DG Aru again stressed that there is political will to support the planned activity but he emphasized the need to have all the stakeholders, including Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade, VIPA and Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to carry out some important tasks they have been assigned to do to in preparations for the event.

The meeting gathered representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Department of Agriculture, VIPA and Adviser Mr François Japiot. The Ministry of Trade is yet to appoint a representative to the Steering Committee, as their presence and contribution in organizing the event vitally is important.

Vanuatu Daily Post:

34) ANZ Asian Business Centre launched in Fiji

By Online Editor
10:53 am GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Fiji

ANZ has announced the launch of the ANZ Asian Business Centre in Fiji, marking a first for Fiji and the Pacific.

The Centre will provide personalised service and attention to the business needs of ANZ’s Asian business customers.

“Customers will receive the dedicated support of our highly experienced Asian Banking Relationship Managers,” said ANZ CEO Fiji and CEO Pacific, Vishnu Mohan.

“As a strong and established business in the region, with super regional connectivity to 33 markets around the world, including 12 in the Pacific and 15 in Asia, we understand the unique needs of our various customer segments, including our valued local and off-shore Asian customers.”

Mohan said that through the Asian Business Centre, ANZ would support intra-regional links of trade, investment and people, to help Fiji and the Pacific grow.

“We are dedicated to providing deep local insight and connectivity to businesses operating in and around the Pacific region, including Cash, Trade, Markets, and Relationship Lending products in sectors of expertise such as tourism, manufacturing and infrastructure,” said Mohan.

He added that the ANZ Asian Business Centre would also serve as an avenue for business customers who wish to trade directly in Renminbi, also known as Chinese Yuan.

ANZ last year was the first bank in the Pacific to provide its corporate and commercial customers in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu the ability to trade directly in Renminbi doing business in China.

The new ANZ Asian Business Centre is located on the first floor of the ANZ House Branch in Suva.

ANZ has been in Fiji since 1880 and is now the largest bank in the country with 15 branches and 81 ATMs servicing Retail, Commercial and Institutional customers and employing about 600 staff. Fiji is also the location of ANZ’s Pacific Headquarters, which shifted from Melbourne to Suva in 2013.


35) Too many fishing boats

By Online Editor
2:01 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Fiji

There are simply too many ships fishing within Fiji waters for too little tuna stocks.

This was the message Radhika Kumar, a representative of the Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association who was a panelist at last week’s public lecture on Fiji’s tuna industry.

Kumar, who is also the general manager of Solander Pacific Limited, said the association would like to see more action taken to create a more even field for locally-owned vessels and those which were highly-subsidised.

“The fundamental problem is that there are too many boats chasing too little fish and that situation is getting worse despite the warning form the science community,” Mrs Kumar said.

“These vessels are very heavily-subsidised, so every day we go to sea, the vessel alongside us are getting as much as $US1000 ($F1884) a day in fuel subsidy alone.”

She said while the association welcomed initiatives by the Fiji Government to help ease the strain on locally-owned vessels, more was needed to be done.

“The Fiji vessel is totally unsubsidised and to ease our situation in Fiji, the government has reduced the licences. But as you are all aware, tuna is a very highly migratory species, so Fiji should now go to our neighbouring countries such as Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tuvalu and ask them to do the same.”

Meanwhile, this is the time to begin bettering fisheries management — before it becomes more than an economic problem.

This was the sentiment of panelist Bubba Cook at a public lecture earlier this week at USP’s Marine Campus.
Cook, who represented the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on the panel, said it was a “luxury” that at present the tuna issue was an economic one and not a biological one, and that a combined regional effort was paramount.

“We’re in a situation where we have issues with increased capacity in the region and we’re figuring out ways to deal with that increased capacity and it basically boils down to political will,” Cook said.

“Fiji has shown that political will by reducing the licence numbers here in Fiji’s waters. But reducing it by five or 10, while it’s positive and it’s great we also have to consider the fact that there are over 3000 vessels fishing in this region.”

He said a regional effort to insist that the Western and Central Pacific Fishing Commission (WCPFC) tackle the problem now was necessary.

“And that’s going to take everyone at this table and everyone in this room lobbying the appropriate people to make that happen because it’s not going to happen otherwise. It’s going to take the collective will of the people in this region and the people behind this table to push the WCPFC to take this issue further instead of ignoring it at the WCPFC meetings like it has for the last two years.”.



36) No expat to be top cop: PNG Prime Minister

By Online Editor
10:59 am GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has stated clearly that the Government will not be hiring a foreigner to become Commissioner of Police once the term of the current police chief expires.

He said he has confidence that a Papua New Guinean will rise up from the 5000 policemen and women to take over the commissioners post.

O’Neill said Papua New Guineans must take ownership of their own country instead of relying of foreigners including the Australian police to lead them.

He also told Parliament that the Government was now implementing recommendations on the Police Report and the Guns Report that was tabled in 2011 under the leadership of former Police minister and current MP for Goroka Bire Kimisopa.

The recommendations were to rebuild and modernise the police and also the implement the Guns Report of 2011 by introducing a Bill for a total ban of guns in the country. The Prime Minister was responding to questions from Komo-Margarima MP Francis Potape who heaped praise on the Government for the arrangement with Australia to bring in the federal police to help PNG.

He asked whether the Government has plans to recruit a foreign police commissioner to improve the police force in the country. O’Neill said the police commissioner plays a very important role in any police force.

“The maturity, stability and respect that that person holds in any force determine where the force is heading to, we have in the current situation in a man who spent well over 40 years as a policeman in the country who has serve with distinction and held in high respect by all members of the force and heading the rebuilding exercise of the police force today,” O’Neill said.

“Police has got a lot of challenges and that was highlighted in a report done by former Minister and now Goroka MP which the government has not adopted and as a result the morale and work of the police was in decline for many years but we have taken on board many of the recommendations of the report inclding improving training, re-open Bomana training college, open up officers joint service college at Igam barracks so lot of work is going on.”

“I appreciate the support by the Australian police but that extension of support is not going to be here for ever, we have to take ownership of issues in this country ourselves, we cannot just continue to wait for outsiders to come and lead our lives, it is important that we build to take charge of our issues ourselves.”

“I don’t think it’s necessary for us to appoint a foreigner to come and head our police force, I think we must have trust and confidence in our own people. Among the 4 to 5000 policemen and women, there must be certainly someone out there who wants to make a difference in his own country.”

“Our job is to find that policemen, before we go to 2017 elections we must have a police force that we must trust, our people must not fear them , that is what is happening today and good signs of improvement happening today.”.



37) Mass Breakout At Manus Islands Detention Center Reported
Unknown number of asylum-seekers knock down fence

By Liam Cochrane

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 17, 2014) – Refugee advocates and a doctor on Manus Island say asylum seekers have escaped from the Papua New Guinea detention centre.

Health workers at the Manus Island detention centre told a local doctor there has been a “mass breakout”.

They told the doctor to prepare for casualties, but Dr Otto Numan says no injured asylum seekers or guards have been brought to the hospital.

The Australian-based Refugee Action Coalition put out a statement last night saying protests at the centre had escalated earlier that day.

The group says a fence was knocked down in the early evening and a riot squad deployed.

It is not clear what caused the unrest or how many asylum seekers escaped.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison confirmed there was a “disturbance” at the centre last night.

“I’m advised that staff are reported safe and accounted for and that the centre is reported to be calm,” he said in a statement.

Mr Morrison confirmed that a number of detainees were arrested and that a number had received medical attention.

He also said there was some minor property damage to the centre.

He said more information about the incident will be released once it is confirmed by his department.

Mr Morrison rejected any suggestion that detainees had been informed they would not be resettled in Papua New Guinea.

Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles has called for the Government to release details of what happened as soon as possible.

“The last time there was an incident at Manus Island, the first response by Scott Morrison was that this was essentially a matter for Papua New Guinea, that’s obviously not right,” he said.

“This is a facility which is integral to Australia’s asylum seeker policies, a facility where there are many Australians working. It’s very important that the Australian public can be made fully aware as soon as possible.”

There are currently about 1,300 detainees on Manus Island.

PNG’s foreign minister Rimbink Pato says officials have started processing refugee applications.

But the country does not have a visa category for refugees and there has been little public information about how, and where, they might be resettled.

Mr Pato told PNG’s parliament last week that he would seek the help of the Australian Government and the United Nations in deciding whether to resettle refugees within the country.

He said the option of resettling refugees in a third country would also be explored.

“So what the cabinet has decided recently is to appoint a group of eminent Papua New Guineans who will be assisted by relevant expertise from the UN, from the Australian Government, and other responsible stakeholders, to come up with relevant policy framework determining the question whether those asylum seekers will or will not be settled in PNG,” he said.

The Manus Island detention centre was first set up by the Howard government in 2001.

It was closed by the Labor government in 2008 but reopened by them in November 2012.

Radio Australia:


38) US Secretary of State Kerry mocks those who deny climate change

By Online Editor
3:47 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Indonesia

US Secretary of State John Kerry has called climate change perhaps the world’s “most fearsome” destructive weapon and mocked those who deny its existence or question its causes, comparing them to people who insist the Earth is flat.

In a speech to Indonesian students, civic leaders and government officials, Kerry tore into climate change sceptics. He accused them of using shoddy science and scientists to delay steps needed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases at the risk of imperiling the planet.

A day earlier, the US and China announced an agreement to cooperate more closely on combating climate change. American officials hope that will help encourage others, including developing countries like Indonesia and India, to follow suit.

China and the United States are the biggest sources of emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that cause the atmosphere to trap solar heat and alter the climate.

Scientists say such changes are leading to drought, wildfires, rising sea levels, melting polar ice, plant and animal extinctions and other extreme conditions.

Also in the Jakarta speech, Kerry said everyone and every country must take responsibility for the problem and act immediately.

“We simply don’t have time to let a few loud interest groups hijack the climate conversation,” he said, referring to what he called “big companies” that “don’t want to change and spend a lot of money” to act to reduce the risks.

Kerry later singled out major oil and coal concerns as the primary offenders.

“We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts,” Kerry told the audience at a US Embassy-run American Center in a shopping mall.

“Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits.”

“The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand,” Kerry said. “We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”

Kerry said the cost of inaction will far outweigh the significant expense of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that trap solar heat in the atmosphere and contribute to the Earth’s rising temperatures.

He outlined a litany of recent weather disasters, particularly flooding and typhoons in Asia, and their impact on commerce, agriculture, fishing and daily living conditions for billions of people.

“This city, this country, this region, is really on the front lines of climate change,” Kerry said. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that your entire way of life here is at risk.”

He added: “In a sense, climate change can now be considered the world’s largest weapon of mass destruction, perhaps even, the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

The solution, Kerry said, is a new global energy policy that shifts reliance from fossil fuels to cleaner technologies. He noted the President Barack Obama is championing such a shift and encouraged others to appeal to their leaders to join.

The US-China statement issued just after Kerry left Beijing on Saturday said the two countries agreed on steps to carry out commitments to curb greenhouse gases, including reducing vehicle emissions, improving energy efficiency of buildings and other measures.

Beijing and Washington launched a climate change discussion last year, promising progress in five areas: reducing vehicle emissions; advanced electric power grids; capturing and storing carbon emissions; gathering greenhouse gas data; and building efficiency.

Kerry was in Indonesia on the last leg of a three-nation tour of Asia that started in South Korea. After leaving Indonesia on Monday, he planned to visit Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Before the climate change speech, Kerry toured Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque, one of the largest in the world, to pay his respects to Indonesia’s Muslim majority population.


39) Tevita Kuridrani in Brumbies’ season-opener against Queensland Reds

By Online Editor
4:21 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Australia

The ACT Brumbies are to bring Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani straight into the starting line-up for their Super Rugby season opener after the end of his five-game ban for a dangerous tackle.

And Andrew Smith may make a rare appearance at inside centre for Saturday’s clash against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium.

Kuridrani was sent off during the Wallabies’ victory over Ireland on their European spring tour last year for lifting flanker Peter O’Mahony.

His suspension meant he missed the last two games of the tour and all three of the Brumbies’ trial games.

But he is eligible to face the Reds on Saturday and looks likely to be given the No.13 jersey as part of Stephen Larkham’s first Super Rugby back line since being named Brumbies head coach.

Kuridrani established himself as the Brumbies outside centre on the way to a Super Rugby grand final and made his Wallabies debut in the Bledisloe Cup against New Zealand last year.

In all of his eight Tests, he played alongside gun fullback Israel Folau in what turned out to be a break-out year for the pair.

Folau backed the 22-year-old to have a ”bright future”.

”He had a great spring tour last year and I really enjoyed playing with him,” the code hopper said. ”He’s a young kid who’s got a bright future ahead of him.

”Hopefully he does really well this year as well.”

Kuridrani is known for his bash-and-crash style of rugby, with powerful running in direct lines.

But he’s also excellent around the breakdown, which has become a focus of the modern Brumbies game plan.

Folau said Kuridrani’s defence was also top notch. ”His defence is great, he’s really strong and he’s good at reading when teams throw some attacking plays at him,” Folau said.

”His strength is in attack when he runs strong lines and carries the ball strongly.

”Obviously there are things he wants to work on … but he’s got a bright future and he’ll be fine.”

It was thought Kuridrani and Smith would battle it out for the No. 13 jersey, with the latter the favourite given his strong performances in the pre-season trials. But it looks like Smith will get the nod at inside centre.

The Brumbies will be without usual No. 12 Christian Lealiifano until mid-March after he had ankle surgery at the end of the Wallabies tour.

It’s hoped he will be ready for the round-five clash with the NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium on March 15.

Pat McCabe and Japan international Harumichi Tatekawa were both in contention to replace Lealiifano, but it is believed the Brumbies are concerned about McCabe’s confidence after two broken necks in the past 15 months. He’s played just 85 minutes since June.

Smith’s inclusion would make for a powerful centre combination as both Smith and Kuridrani are direct runners.

South African playmaker Lionel Cronje is also in line for a spot on the bench against the Reds. The 24-year-old is a versatile back who can play at five-eighth, in the centres or at fullback.

He came to the Brumbies from the Johannesburg Lions and has 11 Super Rugby caps from South Africa and is a former South Africa under-20s representative.

40) One win, one dream for ambitious Cooks

By Online Editor
4:20 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Cook Islands

In June, the Cook Islands will play the most important game in their short but colourful history, a game against Fiji to determine who will qualify as Oceania 1 for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.

The Cook Islands is one of the IRB’s 14 Oceania Member Unions and has been in this situation before while attempting to qualify for the 1999 and 2007 tournaments. On the verge of qualification in 1997, they lost to Tonga and Fiji, and in 2006 lost a two-Test series to Tonga.

So excited by the prospect of having another shot at qualifying, the Cook Islands Rugby Union has created a community campaign called ‘One Win, One Dream’. The campaign’s aim is to build community awareness of the match, support the Union’s voluntary work and to raise funds for talent identification, warm-up fixtures, team travel, team camps and preparations.

The Union President Lara Sadaraka reveals: “In 2013, we won the Oceania Cup by defeating Papua New Guinea (37-31), Solomon Islands (39-12) and Tahiti (38-5). This was stage one of the qualifying process for the Rugby World Cup. The next phase of the qualifying process is a one-off Test against Fiji.”

“In essence the Cook Islands are ‘One Win’ away from participating at Rugby’s showcase event. This presents the Cook Islands with a wonderful opportunity and we are excited with the potential this holds for our proud nation. We are not overwhelmed by the task at hand, we are ready and raring to embrace it and give it our very best shot.”

IRB invests in development of Pacific Rugby

It is a big task given that Oceania Rugby has been dominated for many years by Fiji, Samoa and, to a lesser extent, by neighbours Tonga. The Pacific Islands do represent one of the world’s most amazing Rugby nurseries and the IRB is investing significant funds in ongoing development through high-performance programmes in the three senior island nations.

Nonetheless, Rugby has been played in the Cook Islands since the 1920s. In 1954 the Rarotonga Rugby Union was formed but it was only in 1989 that a national body, the Cook Islands Rugby Union, was established in an attempt to centralise the Game in Rarotonga and the other 14 outer islands that make up the country. In March 1995, the Cook Islands Rugby Union became a Full Member of the IRB.

Like many of the Pacific Island nations, a large number of Cook Islanders live and work in New Zealand, where many play Rugby. Many players of Cook Island heritage have played for New Zealand, including most recently, Rene Ranger. And, for such a small nation, they compete at some of the highest levels of the Game. The Cook Islands men’s Sevens team participates each year at various tournaments and has qualified to compete at this year’s Hong Kong Sevens and also the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Undaunted by their Fijian opponents, the Cooks have been busy preparing for the qualification match and, according to the team’s manager Cam Kilgour, this campaign will be a strong one.

“The past 10 months have seen big changes in and around Cook Islands Rugby in terms of our structure and the player base. Barry George (Fifteens head coach), Chad Tuoro (Sevens head coach) and myself know how important it is to have the Cook Islands as a tier two nation and we believe we have the talent to do that, both in the Cook Islands and around the world, especially New Zealand.”

Oceania Cup win was the first step

“First and foremost, if we are to succeed in this goal we need to have improved programmes for all our players and set up strong competitions between them. The 2013 Oceania Cup in PNG was the first step and a big step forward for our plan to develop. Now we have the chance to play Fiji in a one-off match.”

“This is our biggest opportunity to date. We have some very good players and, with the amount of players who have now made themselves available to play for the Cook Islands, we believe it’s not a long shot like in the past.”

“Spearheading the challenge will be prop Stan Wright (Auckland, Leinster and now Stade Francais) who, as a professional, has great influence on other overseas Cook Island players. His leadership on and off the field carries huge respect in the Cook Islands community.”

“Hooker Francis Smith (Tasman Makos) and wing Chay Raui (Auckland) bring more leadership and experience to the squad with ITM Cup experience. Other notable players high on our radar are Tim Bateman (NZ Maori), Joe Kamana (Melbourne Rebels) and Sam Anderson-Heather (Otago), plus others in Japan and in Europe.”

Only 80 minutes away from RWC 2015

“We now have great competition for spots and the fact that we are only 80 minutes away from opening Rugby World Cup 2015 against England at Twickenham is a huge incentive. Over the past few weeks we have added Brent Semmons as forwards coach and current Auckland Sevens coach Paul Feeney as our backs coach, adding even more strength to our challenge,” added Kilgour.

Fiji is currently ranked 11th in the IRB World Rankings while the Cook Islands are ranked 46th. Fiji has 8,500 registered senior male players compared the Cooks’ 500 spread across 29 clubs. So you can see why the Cooks Islands are excited by the challenge of having the opportunity to play Fiji and to qualify for RWC 2015. If they pull it off it would be a major but welcome surprise, the realisation of a dream that begins and ends with one win….


41) Cowboys overcome Broncos to win NRL Nines

By Online Editor
4:25 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, New Zealand

North Queensland have won their first ever title in beating Brisbane 16-7 in the final of the inaugural Auckland Nines.

The Cowboys led 10-0 at halftime on the back of tries to Antonio Winterstein in the fifth minute who whizzed past two Broncos defenders with some light stepping close to the line and Curtis Rona who also crossed out wide in the eighth minute.

Broncos playmaker Ben Hunt closed the gap with a five-point try in the 16th minute before one of the players of the tournament, Rona, burst away for the match-winner with one minute to play to the delight of his teammates.

Earlier, the Cowboys toppled hot tournament favourites the Warriors in an 8-0 semi-final upset.

Spurred on by rapturous home-town support the Warriors had set the tournament alight, with captain Shaun Johnson and Sam Tomkins starring, but were stopped in their their tracks by a determined Cowboys outfit.

The free-scoring Warriors looked out of sorts in the tournament’s penultimate match and Johnson admitted as much post-game.

“It was a disappointing way to go out, we started off poorly it was the worst we played all day,” Johnson said.

“We were excited before the game, just gutted we couldn’t get through. We were just a bit off.”

Aucklanders embraced the event with 89,003 fans passed through the gates of Eden Park over the two days.

Warriors owned Eric Watson said the Nines had created almost unprecedented interest in rugby league in New Zealand.

“It is very special. We all have dreams but to imagine having all 16 teams playing together at Eden Park is incredible,” Watson said.

The event has pumped over $5 million into the New Zealand, which Duco Events Director David Higgins, the brains behind the tournament, said had exceeded expectations.

“It’s been a fantastic thing for Auckland and a fantastic thing for rugby league and will be around for years to come,” he said.

A season ending injury to Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote took some gloss off the Nines’ success.

Coote ruptured his ACL on the first day of the tournament and will miss most of the NRL season, while Manly winger David Williams has also suffered a suspected ACL injury. The former Kangaroos flyer is due to undergo scans on Monday.

While South Sydney playmaker Luke Keary also faces an extended period on the sideline with a shoulder complaint.

Wests Tigers utility Curtis Sironen (foot) is out for six weeks, Newcastle pivot Jarrod Mullen will miss around four weeks with a hamstring injury, while Cronulla playmaker Todd Carney is in doubt for the NRL season start with a hamstring complaint.

The North Queenslanders take home a $370,000 winner’s prizecheck after two enthralling days of Rugby League which saw 256 NRL players contest 31 nine-a-side matches played over nine-minute halves.

A total of 89,003 enthusuastic fans attended Eden Park over the two days – with 43,600 spectators yesterday on day 1 (Saturday) and 45,403 today (Sunday) .

42) Sam Burgess leaving NRL after 2014 season, joins English rugby union club Bath for three years

Updated 17 February 2014, 12:04 AEST

Rabbitohs star Sam Burgess will leave the NRL for English rugby club Bath after the teams agreed to a three-year deal.

Sam Burgess will leave the NRL at the end of the 2014 season after agreeing to a three-year deal with English rugby union club Bath.

Burgess is crossing codes with the aim of becoming a dual-international and taking part in England’s 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs confirmed in a statement the star forward had been granted a release from the last two years of his contract “after long discussions”.

Despite the fact his looming departure will no doubt be a major talking point all year, Burgess was adamant his mind would be solely in Redfern in 2014.

“I’m happy this has all been sorted out before the start of the season so that I can concentrate on my game and the team without any other things in the way,” Burgess said in the Rabbitohs statement.

“An opportunity presented itself to head back home to England and to pursue a chance to represent my country in two different sports.

“With 2015 being a Rugby World Cup, it was an opportunity I had to pursue and I thank the Rabbitohs for allowing me to make this move and start the next chapter in my sporting career.

“But all of that starts next season.

With 2015 being a Rugby World Cup, it was an opportunity I had to pursue and I thank the Rabbitohs for allowing me to make this move.

Sam Burgess

“We have a great opportunity in front of us now as a group and I’ll be doing my best every week to help us win each game and hopefully improve on what we’ve been able to achieve in the past two seasons.”

South Sydney said the signing was for an undisclosed fee but it has been reported Bath will pay the South Sydney Rabbitohs 500,000 pounds ($A926,405) to buy out the remaining two years of Burgess’s contract.

The deal looked in trouble last week when England’s Rugby Football Union said it did not want to share the cost of the transfer fee with the Somerset club.

Bath is clearly hoping for big things from the 25-year-old, eventually deciding to take the full fee out of the club’s pocket.

“I’ve known Sam since his rugby league days in England and he is an exceptionally talented athlete,” head coach Mike Ford said in a statement on Bath Rugby’s website.

“He’s hard working, a huge presence both on and off the field, and an ambitious young Englishman, all of which are qualities that we are building our squad around.

“I’ve no doubt Sam will fit in seamlessly here at Bath and we’re looking forward to having him join us and start making the transition.”

Burgess has been one of the form players of the competition since arriving from Super League club Bradford in 2010.

The England international’s star status was only elevated when he was joined at the Rabbitohs by older brother Luke and younger twins George and Tom to create a formidable family forward pack.

He did, however, lose some shine after facing accusations of dirty play after a string of on-field incidents towards the end of the 2013 NRL season and through the Rugby League World Cup.

The deal means the NRL will lose two of its biggest stars after this season with Sonny Bill Williams also returning to rugby union at the end of 2014 – setting up a potentially mouth-watering 2015 World Cup clash.