Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 959

1) People in PNG told to prepare for arrival of Cyclone Ita

7 April 2014.

People living in coastal areas around Milne Bay in eastern Papua New Guinea are being told to move to higher ground as a tropical cyclone closes in.

Tropical Cyclone Ita, which is a category one storm but intensifying, is moving in a southwesterly direction to the southwest of Sudest Island – off the eastern tip of mainland PNG.

The co-ordinator of the Milne Bay provincial disaster office, Eric Balaria, says the cyclone is expected to make landfall tomorrow.

“It’s expected to affect the southern part of Milne Bay. We have advised people living along the coastlines to move inland and find shelter. You know, proper shelter, safe shelter so that when it does make a landfall they’re able to be safe.”

Eric Balaria says thousands of people could be affected by Cyclone Ita, but the office hopes it veers south towards Australia.

Cyclone Ita developed out of the tropical low that brought massive flooding to Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands.

2) Solomon Islands floods: Thousands remain in Honiara evacuation centres

Updated 7 April 2014, 18:35 AEST

Aid agencies in Solomon Islands say the full extent of the damage from flash flooding won’t be known until thousands in evacuation centres return home.

People walk through debris resulting from days of heavy rain in the Solomon Islands, which caused flash flooding and the Mataniko River in Honiara to burst its banks, April 4, 2014. (Credit: Audience submitted)

Aid agencies in Solomon Islands say the full extent of the damage from flash flooding won’t be known until thousands in evacuation centres return home.

Eight children are among 23 people confirmed dead in the floods, with as many as 52,000 people affected by the disaster.

Video: World Vision says more international assistance required (ABC News)

Australia and New Zealand have sent aircraft, equipment and specialist teams, as well as money,to assist in the clean up.

Cherise Chadwick from Solomon Islands Red Cross has told Asia Pacific thousands are still in evacuation centres in the capital, Honiara.

“Many of those people are not sure what they’re returning back to,” she said.

“They left their houses as the flooding was in process, and they haven’t gone back yet, so it’s very hard to know if they’re going back to a damaged house, or a completely destroyed house at this stage.”

I’ve visited Solomon Islands perhaps 30 times since 1980, but never have I seen the capital Honiara in such a mess.

Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney

Honiara has been effectively split in two, after the Old China Town bridge completely collapsed on Thursday, and the Mataniko bridge was reduced to one lane.

Major infrastructure including the sewerage system and water supplies have been badly damaged or destroyed.

Ms Chadwick says that’s a major worry for those in evacuation centres.

“We’re quite concerned about the possibility of outbreaks of disease due to the problem of water access – as many of these evacuation centres are schools, there’s limited water in those schools.

“The main water network has also been heavily disrupted, so we’re trying to get the main water network up and running, but that’s obviously taking some time.”

Solomon Islands National Disaster Council says 40,000 people in Guadalcanal are also estimated to have been affected by the disaster.

Assessment teams are being sent to the province, but Ms Chadwick says it remains difficult to access the disaster hit regions.

“Guadalcanal province itself has been very difficult to access to really get a sense of what actually is the situation out there.

“We do know that there’s been extensive flooding, but obviously access has hampered the efforts to go in and see what the situation is there, but we are expecting a similar situation.”

World Vision Solomon Islands national director Andrew Catford said a greater level of international support will be required.

“One of the things that can hamper relief efforts is the funding doesn’t come in as quickly as what you’re having to implement, and certainly that’s been the case so far,” he said.

“Given the scale of this, 12,000 people in Honiara, 40,000 approximately in rural areas, it’s going to be not a terribly cheap exercise to get those people back on their feet.”

The Australian Government has increased its travel warning to the country, advising visitors to exercise a high degree of caution and follow the instructions of local authorities.

3) Estimates of missing after Solomons’ flood put as high as 80

7 April 2014

There are predictions in Solomon Islands the number of people killed in last week’s floods could reach 100.

The official death toll is still 21 but with the sun out today the search for victims has been stepping up.

Our correspondent, Dorothy Wickham, says as many as eighty others may still be missing.

But she says it will be difficult establishing the correct numbers.

“We have a lot of illegal settlements around Honiara and that is one of the reasons why it is very difficult to pin down numbers at this point. And we are not very good with statistics, as you know. I don’t think our last census was very accurate either. And it is going to have to come back to each family member to come forward and say ‘we’ve got this number of people missing -we had so many people in our house on that day and on that hour. You know we have got people moving in from the provinces on a daily basis here so it is going to be difficult to pin down numbers.”

Our correspondent in Solomon Islands Dorothy Wickham..Radio New Zealand Int

4) 26,000 Solomon Islands children affected by floods

7 April 2014

The United Nations children’s support agency UNICEF says it estimates 26,000 children have been affected by last week’s extreme floods.

It says many of those affected are from the poorest areas of the capital Honiara and many are living in rural areas and settlements which have not yet been reached because of damage to bridges and roads.

The agency says children are especially susceptible to disease due to a lack of food and weak immune systems.

It says they have also suffered huge trauma and will need intense support.

UNICEF New Zealand is calling for 400,000 US dollars in urgent funds to help children in the aftermath of the floods.Radio New Zealand Int

5) NZ Air Force heading to storm-ravaged Solomon Islands, Aust boosts aid

By Online Editor
09:53 am GMT+12, 07/04/2014, Solomon Islands

A Royal New Zealand Air Force plane is being sent to the Solomon Islands after flash flooding and heavy rains ravaged the country, leaving 21 dead and thousands of people homeless.

A RNZAF C-130 Hercules is loading up with supplies to head to Honiara this morning where the flooding is worst. The airport in Honiara is re-opening to accept overseas help.

An estimated 12,000 people are now living in 16 evacuation centres following Friday’s storm, which is believed to be the worst natural disaster to ever hit the country.

Many areas of Honiara have been left isolated, after bridges collapsed and roads were destroyed.

Swollen rivers and debris have made it difficult for relief agencies to know just how many people are still affected.

Officials are also concerned about the spread of disease, with water supplies contaminated.

Relief agencies are relying on emergency stock kept in warehouses in Honiara, but there are fears this could soon run out.

A state of emergency has been declared and 17 New Zealand police officers, already in Honiara, are helping Solomon Islands police with the aftermath.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says 147 New Zealanders are registered as being in the Solomon Islands. New Zealand has already announced it will provide NZD$300,000 in aid.

Meanwhile, Australia has boosted aid to the Solomon Islands, donating an extra AUD$250,000 in emergency relief assistance after deadly floods.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the money is in addition to an initial announcement of AUD$50,000 on Friday.

Australia will also deploy two engineers and two rapid response team members to help the Solomon Islands government, United Nations and non-government organisations respond to the disaster.

Bishop has spoken to the Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Lilo and expressed condolences for the loss of life.

The Australian High Commission in Honiara is contacting Australians in the country to check on their welfare and safety, and is also helping with recovery efforts along with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers based there.


6) Nyus i kam long MP mo Pati

Bakgraon blong Andrew Napuat

[English mo Franis lanwis bakgraon blong Andrew yu save faenem long websaet]


  • Graon mo Jastis Pati (GJP) hemi onli politikol pati long Vanuatu we i gat kraeteria blong jusum ol kandidet blong hem: evri kandidet blong GJP oli mas gat (1) longfala histri blong mekem fri sevis blong givhan long komuniti blong olgeta, mo (2) nogat eni histri blong misyusum mane long eni wok we oli holem o long level blong komuniti. GJP Eksekutiv i skrinim evri kandidet blong mek sua se oli ol stret lida we oli fitim kraeteria ia bifo oli save kam wan kandidet blong pati. Folem polisi ia, GJP i selektem Andrew Napuat olsem kandidet blong hem long 2014 Port Vila by-eleksen. Mr Napuat hemi wan lida insaed long Assemblies of God jioj, hemi wan komuniti lida long Port Vila mo long hom aelan blong hem long Tanna, mo hemi gat ekspiriens blong wok long manejmen level long NGO mo long Gavman. Wetem 31 yia, Andrew hemi yangest kandidet long by-eleksen ia.

Andrew Napuat hemi finisim sekondri skul blong hem long Matevulu College mo hemi gat wan Bachelor of Management mo naoia hemi stap skul from wan Masters in Management thru long Revans University. Fes wok blong hem long 2005 hemi blong raetem ol materiel blong turism trening program long Vanuatu Institute of Technology (VIT), we oli bin ol fes trening materiel we Vanuatu National Training Council i apruvum. Nambatu wok blong Andrew stat long 2006 kasem 2008 hemi olsem Senior Project Officer blong Youth Outreach Project blong NGO Save the Children Australia. Long wok ia hemi givhan blong organaesem mo ranem ol trening blong ol yut aotrij ofisa mo ol yut volontia long ol defren ples long Vanuatu. Stat long 2009 kasem 2011, Andrew hemi bin wok olsem Executive Officer blong Ministri blong Jastis mo Komuniti Sevis, mo long wok ia hemi bin manejem Corporate Services Unit blong Ministri mo givim sapot mo advaes long ol big man blong Ministri ia. Long taem ia tu, Andrew hemi bin holem ol defren posisen olsem Jeaman blong Vanuatu Public Services Human Resource Officers Network (2009-2010), Sekretri blong Commission of Inquiry long Health Crisis (2011) mo Akting CEO blong Malvatumauri Nasonal Kaonsel blong ol Jif blong 5 manis long 2011. Long en blong 2011, Public Service Commission i apoentem Andrew olsem Chief Executive Officer blong Ofis blong Presiden blong Ripablik blong Vanuatu (Stet Haos), wan wok we hemi holem kasem taem we hemi risaen long manis Maj 2014 blong kontestem by-eleksen.


Andrew hemi wan strong mo aktiv memba blong Assemblies of God (AOG) Jioj. Long Port Vila hemi bin holem ol defren posisen long lokol jioj blong hem olsem Presiden blong Yut, Tresora mo Sekretri, mo long 2010 hemi bin tekemap wok olsem administreta blong Port Vila Global Mission Church long Bladinieres (wan wok we hemi stap mekem yet). Long 2011 hemi bin wok wetem Eksekutiv blong TAFEA AOG Jioj blong mekem first-ever AOG TAFEA Executive Master Plan, mo long 2012 Nasonal Eksekutiv Kaonsel blong AOG Jioj long Vanuatu i bin apoentem hem blong givhan blong wokem first-ever Master Plan blong Nasonal Eksekutiv Kaonsel blong AOG Jioj Vanuatu. Stat long 2013 hemi stap olsem jeaman blong Creation Team Vanuatu, wan inter-denominational mo inter-organisational grup we hemi stap toktok wetem gavman blong putum Christian stori blong kriesen (we i stap long Genesis) i go insaed long nasonal kerikulum blong ol skul.


Stat long taem we hemi stap skul yet, Andrew hemi bin stap givhan long komuniti blong hem blong North Tanna we oli liv long Tanna mo long Vila tu. Long 2007 mo 2008, hemi bin wan memba blong komiti blong UNICEF Country Program Action Plan (CPAP) mo stat long 2007 kasem 2010 hemi bin wan “Action Partner” long Oxfam International Youth Partnership (OIYP) program. Lidaship blong Andrew long Oxfam Youth Partnership i bin mekem se oli selektem hem olsem yut reprisentetiv blong reprisentem Vanuatu long Commonwealth Youth Leadership miting long Cyprus long 2009. Long 2008 mo 2009 Andrew i bin wan Honorary Mentor blong Revans University long Vanuatu mo las yia Andrew i tekemap wok blong Tresara blong Port Vila Boxing League.

  • Long 2009, Andrew hemi part blong wan grup blong ol yangfala blong Tafea we oli bin stat blong planem mo mekem fulap aktiviti blong pulum wan ples ol pipol blong Tafea we oli liv long Port Vila blong sapotem Tafea Provinsel Gavman Kaonsel mo blong leftemap laef blong ol pipol blong Tafea. Nem blong grup ia hemi TAFEA Yang Pipol Asosiesen, mo grup ia nao i bin stanemap niufala oganaesing komiti blong Tafea Day we i bin jenisim fasen we ol pipol long Port Vila i stap selebretem Tafea Dei stat long 2010, blong gat insaed ol forum blong save toktok mo givim tingting blong givhan long divelopmen blong Tafea Provinsel Gavman mo laef blong ol pipol blong Tafea long Vila. Las yia i bin gat bitim 5,000 pipol i atendem Tafea Dei selebresen blong Port Vila. Asosisen ia i setemap tu wan grup long intanet blong mekem rod blong ol student mo ol profesenel teknikol man blong Tafea oli save storian tugeta, mo naoia intanet grup ia i gat bitim 600 man insaed. Andrew hemi bin memba tu blong Advisory Board we hemi organaesem fes Disaster Relief long 2011. Andrew hemi gohed yet blong givhan long Tafea Provinsel Gavman wetem planing mo implementesen blong ol divelopmen program blong hem, espesli long yia ia 2014.

Andrew i bin karem raet blong kontest long nakamal blong hem, we hemi Lamakaun long North Tanna. Antap long hemia, ol 15 bigfala nakamal blong Tanna wetem ol smolsmol nakamal andanit long olgeta evriwan i bin agri blong Andrew i kontestem by-eleksen ia. Ol nakamal ia i gat Louwitahl, Lamanpinasim, Loukawilis, Itonga, Green Hill, Lepuku, Lamanapiap, Lapasilis, Ipnime, Loukasapin, Loelafamah, Lounipina, Louiapup, Kamtueling mo Lounamlo. Ol 9 traeb blong North Tanna tu oli bin agri blong hem i kontest, hemia Namipnapikoe, Nipikaseneangin, Manite, Koalne, Kamtuelingne, Roapine, Namtaliakisne, Nakaipne mo Sulane traeb.

Graon mo Jastis Pati (GJP) i glad bakagen blong save givim wan nambawan mo stret kandidet olsem Andrew Napuat blong ol pipol blong Port Vila oli save vot from long by-eleksen ia, mo hemi stap luk fowod blong sapot blong yumi evriwan we yumi tu yumi wantem jenisim politik long Vanuatu.


Mande 7 Eprel
12pm: Manples Market
5.30pm: Ohlen Mataso
7.30pm: Manples Kokoriko

Tyusde 8 Eprel
12pm: Shanghai mama’s market (Petanque eria, Sea Front)
5:30pm: Seaside Paama
7.30pm: Seaside Tongoa
9.00pm: Seaside Futuna

Wednesde 9 Eprel
11am: Market Haos
5.30pm: Blacksand
7.30pm:  Switi

Tosde 10 Eprel
5:30pm: Emae komuniti opposite New Covenant Jioj (Sheperd studio eria)
7.30pm: Bladinière; nakamal blong Patrick

Fraede 11 Eprel
11am: Sea Front Stej
5.30pm: Fresh Wota 5 T-Junction
7.30pm: Vao komiuniti (St Paul Senta, Freswota)

KAMPEN T-shet:
Yu save kam long ples blong kampen, o sipos no long reception blong Ministri blong Lands, blong pem wan kampen T-shirt blong Andrew blong 1000 vatu.
NAOIA TU yu save pem tu long Beverley Hills General Store (hemia narasaed smol park long en i go long Freswota 5).

Yu save daonlodem mo printim-aot o yu save sendem long email posta blong Andrew Napuat, kandidet blong yumi, long ples ia.

Statistik form:
Sipos yu wantem givim sapot long GJP mo yu wantem mifala save yu, kam long long ples blong kampen o long reception blong Ministri blong Lands blong pikimap wan statistik form blong fulumap nem blong yufala mo givimbak bifo by-eleksen.

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu

7) Vanuatu daily news digest | | 7 April 2014

by bobmakin

  • Carcasses warns Government employees against opposing New International Airports is the heading to a Letter from Sergio to the Daily Post Editor today. We all know that this airport concept is the idea of a few political appointees and advisers from Singapore (calling themselves VTDL), originally planning to come here to plant tobacco on Tanna. We all know that there has never been an EIA for the Rentabau airfield (Greenfield) project, that custom owners have never been consulted as they must be under the new laws and that now the Prime Minister and convicted criminal George Winslett want everyone to fall in behind the big ideas of politicians and high flyer civil servants. And now we are told not to question.
  • We all now know that Parliament is supposed to meet to authorise massive financial support to these officials’ and Singapore investors’ plans on Friday and vote a huge amount of money from the public purse for the project because Government doesn’t have money. The MPs could not be sent the extra-ordinary sitting’s papers in advance, so no chance to consult their constituency.
  • (We also know that Government has not sought a cash guarantee to pay the Fishermen who have been cheated by governments over many years, even though their problem was promised to be rectified in the Carcasses 100 Days List, very incomplete 265 days later.)
  • Government employees, civil servants, media commentators are being criticised by Government for having their own ideas and interests. Sergio, in his Letter, reminds us of our right to freedom of expression and the Christian moral duty to denounce matters which are not correct. Sergio also points out illegalities in what the Airport Concession Agreement requires of Government. Clause 3.2(a) gives VTDL the exclusive right to license and authorise VTDL to carry out project works and aeronautical and non-aeronautical services. The Government must amend or repeal laws that affect these rights for VTDL. No other agency must be permitted to enjoy such rights. The foreign company which has never invested in Vanuatu will be entitled to sideline Air Vanuatu and Airports Vanuatu Limited and other aviation companies and airlines, the Vanuatu Finance Centre, the Vanuatu Hotels and Resorts Association and the Chamber of Commerce. Sergio points out how AVL is a Government owned company, held on behalf of the people of Vanuatu as a State-owned Enterprise (SoE), but yet VTDL can just take over. Sergio quite reasonably asks”Does VTDL own the country of which the Government will will have to seek permission on new airports?”
  • Sergio ends his piece: “This situation is very serious of which it warrants the Parliament to remove Natapei and Carcasses from their executive arm of state since their conduct in office is highly questionable. It is essential that they be removed before they cause more irreparable damage to the national interests of this nation.”

Sergio is probably a young person or he would have added that this is not what Independence was fought for.

8) Vanuatu’s Crystal Shores Development Revealed As Investment Scam
Overseas ‘investor’ who announced project reportedly a ‘performer’

By Bob Makin

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 4, 2014) – No sooner is the huge Crystal Shores ‘development plan’ scam revealed – in Wednesday’s Daily Post – than lawyer / developer/investor in Vanuatu, Robert Herd, is advising prime ministerial political adviser, Gilles Daniel, that it is a scam.

The foreign “investor” brought to Vanuatu by George Winslet and Jack Dimh was due to leave the country Wednesday.

The person was suggested by Herd to be a performer and demanded $20,000 for his part in the Crystal Shores scam.

If Erakor or Eratap villagers were expecting to be recipients of the many millions of dollars being requested for casino or hotel licences, they are completely misguided by the project literature.

Lands Minister Regenvanu also sees the whole matter as a huge scam.

It is to try to prevent such happenings that he has been working hard to get the land reform legislation, now passed by Parliament, completed.

On the other hand a representative of Erakor’s chief council, Mr Tim Kalmet, has told 96 Buzz FM that the project was a “scam and a fraud”.

At any rate, the foreigner allegedly wanting the $20,000, Michael Foxmann, identified himself to this writer whilst being interviewed by Messrs Barak Sope and Andy Ayamiseba, Wednesday morning at the Grand.

The issue is likely to be hotly discussed in political rallies in the capital.

Foxmann was supposed to meet with the Prime Minister but when “discovered” by Winslet and Dimh no appointment was made, although the PM clearly knew of the plan as Gilles Daniel did.

No other political appointees’ or civil servants’ names were given in the communication Daily Post is using as evidence. The Winslet/Dimh duo is said to have conveyed their apologies for time wasted. Nothing else has been said about the deception their Erakor/Eratap scam involved.

No Environment Impact Assessment was ever sought for the 2,000 hectare development of almost everywhere from Erakor Lagoon to the Teouma River. No public awareness meetings were held. Custom owners knew nothing of the deception being carried out involving leasing their land and their subsistence gardens.

One Erakor custom owner spoken to by this reporter was planning to drill bore holes in his land next week, land which the project assumes belongs to Crystal Shores investors.

Lands Minister Regenvanu is emphatic that the whole affair is a scam and has been around for many years. It has been tried on unsuspecting investors more than once before.

Meanwhile, Jack Dihm has stated that Mr George Winslett is no longer associated with South Pacific Limited (SPL).

Vanuatu Daily Post


9) Samoa MP Joins Parliamentarians For West Papua
Toeolesulusulu first Samoan, seventh from Pacific Islands region

By Jason Brown

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, April 3, 2014) – Aana Alofi No. 3 M.P., Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster, has become the first Samoan Member of Parliament to join a global group of parliamentarians calling for self-determination for West Papua.

In doing so, Toeolesulusulu is the 86th member to join the International Parliamentarians for West Papua, and only the seventh from the entire Pacific Islands region.

The group was launched in the Houses of Parliament, London, in 2008, following decades of reports about human rights abuses by Indonesian security forces in West Papua.

The West Papua Declaration signed by the M.P.s reads,

“We the undersigned recognise the inalienable right of the indigenous people of West Papua to self-determination, which was violated in the 1969 “Act of Free Choice”,

AND call upon our governments through the United Nations to put in place arrangements for the free exercise of that right SO that the indigenous people of West Papua can decide democratically their own future in accordance with international standards of human rights, the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations.”

Toeolesulusulu is no recent convert to the cause, having first learnt about West Papua over a decade ago when he was working in Fiji for the World Wide Fund for Nature (W.W.F.).

One of the other groups also working there was the P.C.R.C., the Pacific Centre for Resource Concerns, which had long focused on making the region nuclear free, as well as supporting independence efforts.

People from West Papua were campaigning in Fiji at the time, and they, along with most other non- governmental organisations there at the time, got to hear about their concerns.

However, since then, that interest and support for West Papua is actually “waning”, said Toeolesulusulu, “in the 80s and 90s, there was strong lobbying, there was more active work going on.”

This is partly because Pacific states have moved on from their founding years, when international issues of independence have region. turned to domestic issues of sustainability and economic growth.

He also blames a lack of leadership from western countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, but also closer partners like New Zealand and Australia – all with their own interests in West Papua.

“New Zealand and Australia are tied to Indonesia with trade and military connections,” said Toeolesulusulu.

He agreed that trade links had had a corrupting influence on regional politics, but indicated the problem was wider than just the region.

“It’s a global phenomenon, you look at Africa, South America, and how the United States, for example, pushes its global agendas to get their way. Also New Zealand and Australia, they also have interest to push, to put their own people first.”

However, he did not agree with criticism that the Melanesian Spearhead Group had ‘sold out’ when it recently signed trade and sovereignty agreements with Indonesia.

“That’s a strong statement.

“As I’ve said, the relationships now are more directed towards trade and development assistance, and a lot of countries are looking more to their local needs.”

As Indonesia continues to pour thousands of its own migrants into West Papua, getting self-determination for West Papua gets harder, he says.

“They should have done the right thing at that time. “It’s even harder now with still more Indonesians coming into the region.”

But he says it’s an important area of human rights, “that we should be doing more to make a stand.

“Especially when you look at how the Pacific Islands came about, when you look at Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, all these countries had colonial powers.”

Toeolesulusulu praises the role taken up by Vanuatu. “Countries like Vanuatu are starting to take a strong interest.”

Earlier this month, Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Kalosil Carcasses, a founding member of the IPWP, speaking at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, called for international action on West Papua.

“Why are we not discussing it in this Council, why are we turning a blind eye to them and closing our ears to the lone voices of the Papuan people, many of whom have shed innocent blood because they want justice and freedom.”

Mr. Carcasses said roughly 10 percent of the indigenous population have been killed by Indonesian security forces since 1963.

More recently, between October 2011 and March 2013, 25 Papuans were murdered but nothing has been done to bring the perpetrators to justice.

He urged the Council to consider adopting a resolution to establish a country mandate on the situation in West Papua, which would include an investigation of alleged human rights violations, and provide recommendations on a peaceful political solution.

Samoa Observer

10) Recordings Appear To Confirm Flosse’s Militia Killed Journalist
Leaked conversation between GIP boss and killer obtained by Le Monde

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 7, 2014) – New evidence appears to confirm that the French Polynesian journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud, was killed by President Gaston Flosse’s G-I-P militia in December 1997.

The French newspaper, Le Monde, has obtained transcripts of secretly-recorded conversations among the suspects who already face charges of kidnapping as a result of an investigation, now in its 10th year.

Walter Zweifel reports.

The recordings reveal that the G-I-P boss Rere Puputauki told Tino Mara that he, that is Mara, killed the journalist, who had been under surveillance by the president’s intelligence unit.

An investigation for murder was launched in 2004 when a former spy made the explosive claim that Jean-Pascal Couraud had vanished because the G-I-P had kidnapped and drowned him off Tahiti.

Last year, when the three suspects were first charged, their homes were bugged and now part of the recordings have been leaked to Le Monde which has been embroiled in disputes with Gaston Flosse.

Rere Puputauki’s lawyer says he will lodge a complaint for defamation.

Radio New Zealand International


11) US TV’s ‘60 Minutes’ Films Documentary In Palau
Host Anderson Cooper on island for production

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, April 4, 2014) – Anderson Cooper, one of the top and most well-known news anchors of the Cable News Network (CNN), is coming to Palau.

A source disclosed to Island Times that Cooper is coming to Palau to do a documentary.

The source said that the documentary will touch on majestic tourist sports of this island nation, including the renowned Rock Islands.

Cooper is arriving today at the Palau International Airport. It has not been disclosed whether Cooper will come by himself or in the company of other people.

The Roll ‘em Productions-OTV will be helping with the production of the documentary. Roll ’em-OTV is Palau’s only Pacific Island-content television station.

Cooper’s documentary will be aired later over the 60 Minutes on CBS News.

The 60 Minutes on CBS News is one of the most successful television broadcast in history, offering investigative reports, interviews, feature, among others.

Anderson Hays Cooper is an American journalist, author, and television personality. He is the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°. The program is normally broadcast live from a New York City studio; however, Cooper often broadcasts live on location for breaking news stories.

From September 2011 to May 2013, he also served as host of his own eponymous syndicated daytime talk show, Anderson Live.

Cooper is a son of Wyatt Emory Cooper and the artist, designer, writer, and heiress Gloria Vanderbilt. His maternal grandparents were millionaire equestrian Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt and socialite Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, and his maternal great-great-great-grandfather is Cornelius Vanderbilt of the prominent Vanderbilt shipping and railroad fortune.

Cooper gained additional fame lately over his coverage of Supertyphoon Yolanda which hit the eastern part of the Philippines late last year.

Island Times

12) Cartagena group expresses climate action optimism: Marshall Islands foreign Minister

By Online Editor
09:49 am GMT+12, 07/04/2014, Marshall Islands

An international climate meeting in Marshall Islands last week has “forged a common purpose around a set of objectives” for a new global climate agreement, said Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony deBrum on Friday.

The Cartagena Dialogue, a grouping of about 40 developed and developing nations that meet outside of the formal global climate negotiations, wrapped up four days of meetings in the Marshall Islands capital on Friday with optimism being expressed about opportunities to break international deadlocks for faster paced action to reduce the climate threat.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its latest report, “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability,” on the day the Cartagena meeting opened in Majuro, underlining the severity of the threat of climate change.

“Shocked by the most alarming scientific report on climate change the world has ever seen, the Cartagena Dialogue alliance of progressive countries has for the first time forged a common purpose around a set of objectives for a new climate agreement due to be signed in 2015,” said deBrum.

“I’m convinced we will get a legally binding agreement (in 2015) that may not be perfect, but will be an agreement we can build on,” said Swedish climate change Ambassador Anna Lindstedt in Majuro.

“We need to ensure all countries commit to limiting emissions.”

In Majuro last week, about 60 climate negotiators and ambassadors discussed ways to speed progress toward a major agreement in the lead up to a global climate conference scheduled for Paris in 2015.

DeBrum said the Cartagena Dialogue group decided to shift gears to “raise the political tempo in the lead up to this year’s big meetings, including U.N. Secretary General Ban-ki Moon’s Climate Summit for world leaders in September. We committed to accelerate preparations now to bring forward our post-2020 emission-reduction targets as early as possible next year in time to seal an ambitious new agreement in Paris, and to use the agreement to take vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning to a new level globally.”

Lindstedt said holding the Cartagena session in the Marshall Islands brought home the vulnerability of low-lying islands to sea level rise. “It was my first time on an atoll,” she said. “It was an eye-opener. It’s not until you see it for yourself that you understand the situation (of islands).” Most islands in the capital atoll are less than a meter above sea level and few are wider than 100 meters.

During March, high tides and storm surges caused widespread flooding in Majuro and other atolls in the country, forcing the government to declare an emergency and provide flood relief.

“We don’t necessarily agree on what a new agreement will look like,” said Lindstedt, “but the majority of countries do want a legally binding agreement.”

Talks in Majuro were helpful to the ongoing process, officials said. “We had good discussions on different negotiating issues,” Lindstedt said. “We talked about how to prepare national (climate actions) to feed into the negotiations to reach an agreement.”

Countries are now beginning to focus on a planned global consultation on climate at the United Nations just prior to the opening of the General Assembly in September.

“The secretary general has asked our leaders to come to New York this September armed with bold pledges and new actions to reduce emissions here and now,” deBrum said. “This group of countries is committed to doing just that.”.



13) New agreement to share military technology will boost ties with Japan

By Online Editor
12:51 pm GMT+12, 07/04/2014, Australia

Australia will deepen its ­security alliance with Japan in a new agreement to share military technology as Tony Abbott moves to strengthen the relationship beyond an imminent deal to boost trade.

The defence agreement opens the way for Australian access to advanced systems that could greatly increase the power of a new submarine fleet while saving billions of dollars.

The agreement will be announced in Tokyo today as the Prime Minister also finalises a trade deal that will cut the price of Japanese cars, and increase exports of Australian beef and dairy products.

Abbott will highlight the security alliance by becoming the first foreign leader to attend a meeting of Japan’s national security council, the cabinet group set up by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in an assertion of his foreign policy ambitions.

In another sign of the tighter links, today’s talks will be followed within weeks by a visit to Australia by Japan’s Defence Minister, Nobuteru Ishihara.

While China has objected to Australian security ties with Japan in the past, the new framework is being presented as a “modest and evolutionary” step in a longstanding alliance.

The initiative also has enormous symbolic importance because it elevates a key security declaration signed by John Howard and Mr Abe in April 2007, months before both leaders lost power.

The Joint Declaration on ­Security Co-operation included military exchanges, joint exer­cises, peacekeeping co-operation and counterterrorism, but it triggered a public complaint from China.

It was supposed to lead to ­annual JAUSMIN meetings with foreign and defence ministers from each country, but the forum was held only once, in June 2007, and then lapsed when Kevin Rudd took power.

The Australian understands the Abbott government intends to restore the annual 2+2 foreign affairs and defence forum.

Abbott said yesterday he wanted to “explore opportunities” to deepen the defence and security co-operation between Australia and Japan. The Australian understands the initiative is a commitment to negotiate a ­science and technology sharing agreement, similar to the one sealed a year ago between Japan and Britain.

The timing is sensitive, as Mr Abbott heads to South Korea ­tomorrow and then to China on Wednesday.

Abbott sought to assure China yesterday that Australia’s deeper ties with Japan were no threat. “I want to strengthen and deepen all of our friendships in our region — they are all important,” Abbott said.

“They are all very important and the point that I make is that you don’t make new friends by losing old ones, and you don’t strengthen some friendships by weakening other ones.

“That’s the very strong message that I bring, that Australia is in the business of making friends, we are in the business of strengthening our friendships.”

In an important message to Japan, Abbott used an interview with the Nikkei newspaper two weeks ago to support Mr Abe’s changes to domestic law to allow more military exports.

“If it’s all right for the US, the UK and Israel and France and Germany and China to export arms, why is it wrong for Japan?” Abbott said.

China has objected to  Abe’s changes, which would explicitly authorise Japan to share advanced military technology with more allies than its existing agreements with the US and Britain.

Australia has expressed great interest in Japan’s submarine technology, including a diesel-electric propulsion system ­regarded as the best of its kind in the world.

As the Abbott government prepares to allocate billions of dollars to a new submarine fleet, Japan’s Soryu-class design is seen as an ideal “drive train” for future Australian vessels.

In December, Defence Minister David Johnston described the Japanese motors as “obviously something very special”.

China has also tightened its security ties with Australia in ­recent years, muting any criticism it may have of the Abbott government’s agreements with Japan.

China and Australia endorsed a “defence engagement action plan” in January that will see closer co-operation on ­maritime engagement and high-level visits. The deputy chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army, Wang Guanzhong, was in Australia in January for talks.


14) McCully to visit Papua New Guinea

By Online Editor
1:09 pm GMT+12, 07/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

The New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully is in Papua New Guinea for a visit focused on fostering business links and support for renewable energy projects.

McCully says PNG is one of the fastest growing economies in the region, and the visit will include a small New Zealand business delegation.

He will be meeting with the PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and a range of senior ministers, including consultations with the Foreign Minister.

McCully says he will be promoting the capability and expertise of New Zealand companies and looking at the work carried out by the New Zealand aid programme.

He also says he is looking to stepping up New Zealand’s support for renewable energy in PNG.



15) Guadalcanal Plains i bungim bikpla bagarap tru long disasta long SI

Updated 7 April 2014, 16:07 AEST

Oxfam insait long biktaun, Honiara i tok ol wok blong painim pipol nao igo long ol wok halvim blong moa long 50-tausen pipol, em tait wara ibin kamapim long las wik.

Honiara pipol ino gat wara, taem ol disasta menijment ofisa i traim best blong ol long lukautim ol pipol insait long ol imegensi senta.
Odio: World Vision na ol narapla NGO grup long Solomkon Islands istat long bringim halvim igo long ol pipal
Disasta blong tait wara insait long Solomon Islands kepital, nao i wok long muv igo long givim ol emergensi halvim long samting olsem 12-tausen pipol, husait nao ino gat haus.

Long wankaen taem, ol intanesinol aid halvim i wok long isi isi igo insait long kantri, na planti moa itok ol bai halvim.

Ripot ikam long Honiara i tok moa long 21 pipol i dai pinis na narapla 30 i lus.

Laen blong Oxfam, Red Cross, Save The Chilren na World Vision iwok bung nao long Ofis blong World Vision long Honiara olsem het ofis blong kisim ol halvim igo long ol komuniti insait long Honiara.

Katie Greenwood blong Oxfam i tok bikpla wokbung nao em long givim klinpla wara long drink na stretim kuik ol toilet na drein sistim long ol pipol insait long ol imegensi senta.

Ms Greenwood i tok olgeta aid grup na gavman ofis i wokbung wantaim long traim wok wantaim long kisim halvim igo kuik long ol pipol.

Lawrence Hillary, Response Manager blong World Vision Solomon Islands i tokim Caroline Tiriman olsem ol pipol insait long Southern na Eastern saed blong Guadalcanal ibungim bikpla bagarap tru.

“Wai na midia ino bringim aut ol stori long hap, bikos excess igo long Guadalcanal Plains i hat tru,” em ibin tok.

Em i tok olsem na ol halvim igo long hap bai kisim sampla taem. Na tu, Mr Hillary i tok, i hat long ol pipol i kisim hariap ol marasin oa medikol tritment long displa taem.

Honiara siti pipol ino gat iet wara, taem ol disasta menijment ofisa i wok long mekim olgeta samting long lukautim ol pipol insait long ol imegesni senta.

Displa ol tait wara i rausim ol haus blong ol pipol na moa long 30-pla pipol, i wok long lus iet.

Pacific Correspondent Sean Dorney i tok displa i nambawan taem em i lukim displa bikpla heve ba bagarap i kamap long kepital Honiara.

Joanne Zoleveke blong Solomon Islands’ Red Cross i tok ol volantia blong ol i ripot olsem bikpla bagarap i kamap insait long eastern hap blong Guadalcanal.

Ms Zoleveke i tok ol i lukluk long halvim ol pipol insait long Honiara na ol pipol insait long 16 imegensi senta.

Gallery: Honiara hit by flash flooding after torrential rains

Video: Solomon Islands floods disaster ‘worst in living memory’(ABC News)

Australia Gavman bai givim moa halvim

Australia gavman i tok aut long givim $AU250,000 igo long ol imegensi saplai long Solomon Islands, bihainim iet askim blong Solomon Islands gavman.

Foren Minista blong Australia, Julie Bishop, i tok em ibin salim bikpla sori blong Australia pipol long displa birua igo long Solomon Islands Praim Minista Gordon Darcy Lilo long dai blong ol pipol.



16) Îles Salomon: l’Australie et la Nouvelle-Zélande envoient de l’aide

Mis à jour 7 April 2014, 14:10 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Le bilan des inondations-éclairs sur Guadalcanal s’établit pour l’instant à 21 morts, dont au moins 8 enfants, et 40 disparus.

49 000 Salomonais sont sans-abri. Plusieurs ponts ont été détruits à Honiara, les potagers également, et le souci principal est bien sûr l’accès à de l’eau potable, et le rétablissement de l’électricité. Mais la pire menace, c’est la dengue, avec toute cette eau stagnante.

L’Australie a annoncé dimanche qu’elle débloquerait 250 000 dollars pour les secours, qui viennent donc s’ajouter aux 50 000 dollars déjà promis vendredi par la ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères, Julie Bishop.

Quant à la Nouvelle-Zélande, elle a envoyé à Honiara lundi matin un avion cargo chargé de personnel qualifié et de matériel et de produits de première nécessité. L’aéroport a pu rouvrir hier après le déblaiement des débris apportés par les crues sur la piste.

La tempête tropicale qui a provoqué les inondations aux Îles Salomon s’est transformée en un cyclone de catégorie 1 au-dessus de la mer de Corail pendant le week-end et fait route vers le Queensland, qui pourrait être touché par le cyclone Ita en fin de semaine. Radio Australia

17) PNG-Indonésie: la frontière fermée entre Vanimo et Jayapura

Mis à jour 7 April 2014, 14:07 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Il y a eu un affrontement entre des membres de la branche armée de l’OPM, le Mouvement de Libération de la Papouasie occidentale, et les forces indonésiennes.

La frontière à Wutung côté papou, entre l’Indonésie et la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, entre Jayapura et Vanimo.

Le poste frontière de Wutung, à l’extrême nord, entre la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et l’Indonésie, est fermé depuis samedi. C’est le résultat d’une échauffourée entre des membres de la branche armée de l’OPM, le Mouvement de Libération de la Papouasie occidentale, et les forces indonésiennes.

L’incident a commencé à 5 heures du matin. Les indépendantistes ont braqué le gardien de bâtiments publics indonésiens, ils lui ont demandé 5 litres d’essence, avec lequel ils ont incendié un marché et une station de lavage de voitures indonésienne. Les indépendantistes ont ensuite brandi leur drapeau, l’Étoile du Matin, ainsi que deux drapeaux des Nations-Unies.

D’après le quotidien Jakarta Post, il y a eu un échange de coups de feu entre Indonésiens et indépendantistes, au cours duquel la baie vitrée d’un mirador a été endommagée.

Les Papous de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée qui souhaitent rentrer en Papouasie indonésienne pour y faire du commerce doivent désormais passer par bateau. Le poste frontière restera fermé jusqu’aux élections indonésiennes, qui auront lieu mercredi. Radio Australia

18) Pacifique: les Lapita, victimes du scorbut et de la goutte

Posté à 7 April 2014, 13:43 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Les premiers Polynésiens à avoir posé le pied sur les îles du Vanuatu il y a 3000 ans ont été décimés par plusieurs maladies liées à un déséquilibre alimentaire.

Ce sont les conclusions d’une équipe internationale de plus de 100 scientifiques, qui a exploré méthodiquement chaque centimètre carrés du plus vieux cimetière du Pacifique, découvert en 2003 à Teouma, sur la côte sud d’Efate.

Le site continue de révéler des informations cruciales sur la vie des pionniers polynésiens. Récemment, Matthew Spriggs, co-directeur des fouilles et directeur de l’institut d’archéologie de l’Université Nationale Australienne, s’est penché sur le régime alimentaire des ancêtres.

Et ils n’étaient pas en grande forme. Car à chaque fois qu’ils arrivaient sur une île, avec ce que les anglophones appellent, leur « paysage portatif », en clair, des plantes et des animaux, il fallait tout recommencer, planter ces plantes vivrières et attendent qu’elles donnent leurs fruits.

En attendant, les pionniers devaient survivre en se nourrissant principalement de protéines : poissons et fruits de mer, poulets qu’ils avaient emmenés avec eux sur leurs pirogues.

Conclusion : les ancêtres Lapita souffraient de nombreuses maladies liées à ce déséquilibre alimentaire, parmi lesquelles, le scorbut du au manque de vitamine C, mais aussi la goutte, et d’autres pathologies. Radio Australia


19) PNG’s Unitech Students End Boycott, Return To Class
Return of Vice Chancellor Schram welcomed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 7, 2014) – Students at Lae’s University of Technology in Papua New Guinea go back to classes today after a five week boycott over last year’s removal of Dr Albert Schram as the vice chancellor.

Dr Schram was deported after a clash with some on the university council but he obtained a new employment visa last week and immediately returned to Lae.

The liaison officer with the Students Representative Association, Stanley Kombra Tepoka, says they are delighted to have Dr Schram back on the campus.

And he says they feel vindicated by the government’s promise to make public the report of Judge Mark Sevua’s investigation into the allegations of mismanagement and corruption that students have been complaining about.

“It’s already been tabled and its already been presented to the Chancellor, now it is going to be published and then the recommendations implemented.”

Unitech student leader Stanley Kombra Tepoka who says the two 15-week semesters will become 13-week terms to accommodate the lost weeks.

Radio New Zealand International

20) Australia Officials To Talk Education, Gender Issues With PNG
Delegation promotes New Colombo Plan an overseas internship program

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 6, 2014) – Australia’s parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs will head to Papua New Guinea on Sunday for a three day visit focusing on education and gender issues.

In a statement, Senator Brett Mason says his visit to PNG will “underline the importance of Australia’s relationship with Papua New Guinea and build on the Prime Minister (Tony Abbott)’s visit in March.”

Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja, will accompany Mr Mason.

Mr Mason says education support in Australia’s aid program to PNG remains a key development outcome.

The statement also says the senator’s trip will promote the Government’s $AU100 million [US$93 million] New Colombo Plan, which is designed to give Australian undergraduate students new opportunities to pursue study programs and internships in countries in the Indo-Pacific region. The New Colombo Plan, currently in its pilot phase and providing opportunities in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, will be rolled out more broadly across the Indo-Pacific from early next year.

Radio Australia


21) Solomon Islands goes to the polls on 29 October

By Online Editor
09:51 am GMT+12, 07/04/2014, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands will go to the poll on 29 October.

Insiders said the date was arrived at after a number of potential dates were thrown about in discussions at the highest political level.

“The consensus is that October 29 is the day. So unless something drastic has happened between now and then, Wednesday 29 October is it,” one source said.

It is not clear whether Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo will officially announce the date during the current sitting of Parliament. Many believe Lilo will wait.

October 29 seems to fall within the timeframe for an election. Voter registration under the Biometrics Voter Registration system is due to be concluded on Friday week, 18th April.

A provisional list of voters, subject to revision, is expected to be distributed from 5 June. Voters will be allowed to raise objections between then and 21st June when the final list to be used in the voting would be produced.

On 25 September the current House is due to be dissolved. By law a national general election must be held within 90 days.

Holding an election on 29 October would give intending candidates about a month to campaign.

Attempts by Solomon Star to get comments from electoral commission  were unsuccessful.

A response from the Prime Minister’s Office is expected today.


22) Conviction could end Fiji Labour leader’s political career

7 April 2014

An Australian National University expert on Fiji says the conviction against the leader of the Labour Party is his end in politics.

The Fiji High Court has found former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry guilty of breaching the Exchange Control Act.

The court found Chaudhry had invested $1.5 million Australian dollars outside Fiji without informing the Reserve Bank, while he was the Minister of Finance.

He is due to be sentenced on the 1st of May, likely ruling him out as a candidate for this year’s election.

Brij Lal from the Australian National University says it will be the end of his political career.

“He will not be able to contest this election because of this impending conviction. This must be a mattter of grief for him given that his once illustrious career has come to an end in this fashion.”

Brij Lal of the Australian National University.Radio New Zealand Int.

23) Fiji constitution will trump any decree in court – lawyer

7 April 2014.

A Fiji telecommunications lawyer says the public will have constitutional redress through the courts if their phones or internet are monitored in the lead-up to the election.

Section 63 of the Electoral Decree says any person is prohibited from communicating political messages by telephone, internet, email, social media or other electronic means 48 hours before polling opens.

But Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro of the IT company, Pasifika Nexus, says the constitution and international covenants will triumph over any decree in court.

She says while there is the capability for surveillance, that evidence being admissable in court is unlikely.

“The police can only enforce if complaints have been brought to them. Evidence can only be extracted from either individuals, or by internet service providers, or any network providers or telcos. And there are already express provisions within Fiji laws by way of extraction of that evidence.”

A Fiji telecommunications lawyer, Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro.

24) Fiji’s interim government publishes 2013 constitution in Braille

Updated 7 April 2014, 10:56 AEST

Fiji’s Constitution is available in Braille for the first time.

The first Braille version of Fiji’s Constitution has been released.

The United Blind Persons Association of Fiji says the interim government agreed to publish the constitution in Braille after receiving a submission from the nation’s disabled community.

The Association’s Rosie Senikula has told Pacific Beat the disabled sector was also able to have input into the 2013 constitution.

“There were several meetings that were taking place last year regarding submissions from each of the affiliated organisations of Fiji Disabled Federation and there was a submission submitted to the government,” she said.

Informed voters

Members of the blind community can access the document at the Fiji School for the Blind in Suva.

Ms Senikula says being able to read the constitution will help inform blind voters ahead of the September election.

“Our members have been registering themselves for the elections and at least with the constitution in Braille, it will give them a great boost in feeling free to be part of the elections as well,” she said.

The Fiji constitution is also available in English, iTaukei and a Hindu translation is presently being worked on.

 25) Fiji Government Objects To NGO’s Constitution Booklet

Citizens Constitutional Forum’s outreach called ‘misleading,’ ‘inaccurate’

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 6, 2014) – The Fijian Government will write to the Citizens Constitutional Forum to immediately withdraw one of its booklets which it says contained anomalies “in fact a couple of lies on what’s in the constitution and what’s not in the constitution.” Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the booklet, titled, “Citizens’ Constitutional Forum 2013 Fiji Government Constitution booklet” contained additions and omissions that appeared to be deliberately done to misinform the public.

“We will of course be writing to them asking them to withdraw this booklet whether it’s in the vernacular version or English version,” he said.

“We will also write to their donors tell them that this is precisely what this organisation is doing.

It is factually incorrect.” “It’s very worrying because we understand activities such as this are being funded of course by foreign entities, government etc but more to the point that CCF supposedly an independent impartial NGO or member of the civil society is here telling lies to the public of Fiji.

“Unfortunately this is the type of environment we thought politician would be stirring up but it appears the NGO’s are doing it also.

It is of a great concern.

This is the very same people who go up to various organization, international and locally potray themselves as independent when they are not.” Sayed-Khaiyum says the government will await the NGO’s response to the request before deciding further action to be taken.

He highlighted one of the sections included in the 45-page booklet, pertaining to the acquisition of property including lands in which the booklet stated the acquisition of property and/or land by the state but did not mention that the state will return the land/property to the owners when it no longer has any use for it.

“Page 25 of this booklet, entire page talks about whether there is freedom from compulsory arbitrary acquisition of property but more so it talks about the rights and protection of the itaukei, Rotuman and Banaban lands.

“It talks about protection and ownership of interest on land interesting enough; in this particular section three times it mentioned “however a written law may authorize compulsory acquisition of property when necessary for the public purposes and on the basis that the owner is promptly paid the agreed compensation.” “Compulsory acquisition has always been part of Fiji constitution- section 9 of the 1990 constitution had compulsory acquisition, section 40, sub section two of the 1997 constitution had compulsory acquisition and that is for public purposes.

“This has been the case, however the manner in which CCF has put it seems to have indicate to landowners whether you are a customary owners or the freehold title owners that the state at anytime could come in anytime to buy this land and take it away from you.

“What is more damaging about this page is that the CCF fails to mention the new provision in the 2013 new constitution that if the state no longer requires the land for public purposes that it must therefore give back that land.

“That is the first time such a provision has been included in any constitution.

It is in our constitution and the CCF has failed to mention that.

“Anybody reading this would think that Government could come at anytime and buy the land pay compensation and take away the land.

There is a provision in the constitution that land no longer required for public purposes must be given back to the land owners and the CCF has deliberately not mention or refer to that section at all.

It is trying to create disquiet amongst landowners and this is a deliberate attempt.” The AG also highlighted the booklet’s interpretation of the Bill of Rights in which it says the protection of which was weak because “the parliament has the power to restrict these rights and freedoms.” The booklet further says that the “parliament may limit of restrict all of the following rights by enacting a law it deems “necessary” further going on to state an example that “even though the Constitution provides freedom of speech for its citizens, the Parliament may pass a law stating that anyone that protests in front of the courthouse will be arrested, therefore restricting a citizens’ freedom of speech by way of protest’.

“That is not true,” says the AG.

The booklet also contains factual errors in which it stated the abrogation of the 1997 Constitution was done in 2006, when it happened in 2009.

It talks about the leader of opposition having now diminished power and that the PM and the AG have powers over the judicial branch including the Judicial Services Commission.

It also made reference to the immunity provision where it stated that persons entitled to the immunity provision have broad unqualified immunity which the AG says implies that persons that qualify for immunity can get away with offences outlined in the Crimes Decree.

“This is not the case.

There are limitations.” The AG says the CCF are telling untruths and spreading lies to the grassroots under the banner of a supposedly civil society organisations describing it as a “great travesty not only of justice but great travesty of what this booklet is doing and what this organization is doing being funded by foreign government.” The government acquired a copy of the booklet when it convened a meeting with the NGO coalition on Tuesday.

“In the course of the discussion, which actually was very good, CCF gave to this office the handbook which is apparently a booklet CCF is taking around throughout Fiji at the grass root level even translated into vernaculars and according to them is simply a information booklet in very plain English language as to what is contained in the constitution.” The government is not aware on the number of copies that are in circulation.

It is believed that the booklet has been in circulation since late last year.


 26) Former Fiji PM Chaudhry Found Guilty, Can’t Contest Election

Labour Leader free on parole as he awaits sentencing

By Shalveen Chand

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 5, 2014) – Former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry was convicted yesterday by the High Court in Suva of breaching the Exchange Control Act.

Justice Paul Madigan reconvened court three hours after the four assessors had unanimously found Chaudhry guilty on three counts.

In an almost packed courtroom, Justice Madigan, in his judgment, said the offence was one of strict liability and all the elements of the offence were proven in the admitted facts.

Under the Exchange Control Act, Fiji residents have to declare to the Reserve Bank of Fiji foreign currency held in overseas banks or bring the money back to Fiji where it can be held in local banks authorised by RBF to deal with foreign currency. Also under the Act, Chaudhry faces a maximum jail time of two years and or a fine of three times the value of what has been kept in the banks abroad.

The conviction also means Chaudhry is no longer eligible to be a candidate for the 2014 election as provided in the Constitution and the Electoral Decree 2014.

Section 56(2)(g) of the Constitution and Section 23(4)(g) of the Electoral Decree state that a person is eligible to be nominated as a candidate for election to parliament only if the person has not, at any time during the eight years before being nominated, been convicted of any offence under any law for which the maximum penalty is a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more.

Justice Madigan said Chaudhry never denied that he was a Fiji resident, that he did have foreign currency in banks abroad, that the money was held by an overseas bank that was not authorised by the RBF to do so, and that he allowed the investment of his money without the approval of the RBF.

He said Chaudhry was made aware of the law by a letter from RBF solicitors in November 2009 but there was no attempt to repatriate the money.

Justice Madigan said he found Chaudhry guilty on all three counts.

Chaudhry was allowed bail until sentencing but has been told not to access funds abroad either directly or indirectly. He was also has been told not to travel abroad.

Defence counsel Matthew Hutchings asked the court to have mitigation and sentence submissions on May 1.

He said the defence needed time to prepare as the RBF had already given a schedule of fines to the prosecution for the offences Chaudhry had been convicted of.

He added Chaudhry was 72 years old and had a cardiac problem for which he travelled abroad regularly.

Justice Madigan said for the interest of justice, he would allow the convict time to prepare his mitigation and set May 1 for the court to hear the mitigation and sentencing submissions.

Fiji Times Online.

27) CCF spreading lies, says Fiji Attorney-General

By Online Editor
1:05 pm GMT+12, 07/04/2014, Fiji

FIJI’S Attorney- General, Aiyaz Sayed -Khaiyum, has accused the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) of telling lies in its interpretation of the 2013 Constitution contained in a booklet.

And he has called on it to withdraw the booklet and he will also be writing to the donors explaining the situation. When asked whether action would be taken if CCF refused,Sayed-Khaiyum said they would wait for CCF’s response before a decision was made.

CCF executive director Akuila Yabaki could not be reached to comment.

A booklet, titled “Citizen’s Constitutional Forum 2013 Fiji Government Constitution,” is believed to have been in circulation.

The Attorney-General said it contains “so many factual inaccuracies with deliberate omission and deliberate addition.”

He has also called on the public not to believe in it.

“It’s a great travesty not only of justice but great travesty of what this booklet is doing and what this organisation is doing being funded by foreign governments,” he said.

“Going down to grassroot people and spreading misinformation. They are spreading them lies. They are telling them untruths under the banners of the supposedly civil society organisations which is waging propaganda.

“And all of us need to be very annoyed by this because we want ordinary Fijians to have the right information, to be informed by facts. Let them make up their mind. It does not mention at a single time the fact there was widespread consultation on the constitution. Not a single time.”

One of the issues highlighted by  Sayed-Khaiyum, as outlined in the booklet, was the freedom from compulsory arbitrary acquisition of property where they talk about the rights and protection of the iTaukei, Rotuman and Banaban lands.

The booklet states that “however a written law may authorise compulsory acquisition of property when necessary for the public purposes and on the basis that the owner be promptly paid the agreed compensation.”

Sayed-Khaiyum said: “Compulsory acquisition has always been part of Fiji in the British times. Section 9 of the 1990 Constitution had compulsory acquisition. Section 40: 2 of the 1997 constitution had compulsory acquisition and that is for public purposes.

“This has been the case, however, the manner in which CCF has put it seems to have indicated to landowners whether you are customary owners or the freehold title owners that at anytime the State could come in to buy this land and take it away from you.

“What is more damaging about this page is that the CCF fails to mention the new provision in the 2013 new Constitution that if the state no longer requires the land for public purposes that it must therefore give back that land. That is the first time such a provision has been included in any constitution and the CCF has failed to mention that.”.

Meanwhile, Khaiyum says politicians are known to stir things up but it appears non-government organisations are doing it also.

Referring to a controversial booklet put out by the Citizens’ Constituion Forum, he said in Suva yesterday:

“It is of a great concern.

“This is the very same people who go up to various organisations, internationally and locally and portray themselves as independent when they are not.”

Last Tuesday he met representatives of NGOs, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and CCF who sought clarification on some provisions of the Electoral Decree.

During the meeting he was handed a copy of the booklet, titled Citizens’ Constitutional Forum 2013 Fiji Government Constitution, which CCF said it is taking to the grassroots to explain in simple English the Constitution.

The AG said: “Unfortunately to our great astonishment, when we went through this booklet, we found a number of lies and lies on what’s in and what’s not in the Constitution.

“It’s very worrying because we understand activities such as this are being funded of course by foreign entities and governments etc. But more to the point is that CCF supposedly an independent, impartial NGO or member of the civil society is here telling lies to the public of Fiji.

“In this book there have been so many factual inaccuracies, deliberate omission and deliberate addition.

“It has been repeatedly said on many occasions that people must present the facts as they are. Whose flags are they flying? Can you say CCF is impartial? What is their agenda?”.



28) So long, Laisa Taga

By Online Editor
09:47 am GMT+12, 07/04/2014, Fiji

Former Adi Cakobau School sprint queen and then trailblazing woman news media executive Laisa Taga passed away at her home in Cunningham, Suva, Friday.

Taga, 56, the first woman editor of a daily newspaper in Fiji, died surrounded by her family, including her son Aisake Niumataiwalu Tarogi , after battling cancer.

Fiji Sun Publisher/CEO Peter Lomas, who first recruited Taga as a journalist on the original Fiji Sun, said:

“Laisa was a remarkable journalist and editor. She led and influenced through deeds, rather than talking. She made a true difference in many lives. But one of her most enduring legacies is showing the way for the women who are editors and news executives today.”

“Laisa was also never afraid to stand up for what she believed. She was removed from her job as executive producer of our first local TV news. She had refused to bow to political pressure on stories from ministers in Ratu Mara’s interim government.”

The eldest of the five siblings Taga will be remembered as a caring sister in their family.

Mosese Taga said: “Our dearest sister was a pillar of strength for us being the eldest in the family. She was always concerned with our well being and always there to help when required.

“We are very proud of her and we will miss her forever. There will be no one else like Laisa to us.”
She did wonders for Adi Cakobau in secondary school athletics in 100 metres and 200 metres events.

The Votua, Lekutu, Bua, native won three consecutive national secondary schools titles on the athletics track.

She set records which stood for years. She represented Fiji in athletics including the 1974 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand.

Former national athletics champion Albert Miller said Taga will be remembered in athletics by her powerful running style.

He said: “Laisa will be missed by all. I can remember her back in the days when she used to run for her school Adi Cakobau School in the 70s. She was always quick for her time.

“She was a very powerful 100m and 200m runner.”

From ACS she went to the University of the South Pacific in Suva. She entered journalism as a cadet on the original Fiji Sun.

Her talent was obvious. She won a scholarship to study journalism in Australia.

After graduating Taga joined the Ministry of Information. She became executive producer of the first local TV news bulletins broadcast in Fiji.

After the differences with the then Mara interim government ministers she returned to the private sector. She became managing editor of the Daily Post – when it was at its peak – and the first woman to edit a daily paper in Fiji.

Taga then accepted an offer to join the region’s biggest magazine publishing company, Islands Business International. She became the group’s editor-in-chief, a position she held until her death.

This included producing the biggest magazines in the Pacific Islands, Air Niugini’s Paradise and Air Pacific’s former Islands, and business and trade magazines.

The respect with which Taga was held locally and regionally in the media led to her being elected to senior positions in the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA).

PINA board member representing the print media industry Leone Cabenatabua said: “The passing away of Laisa Taga is indeed a very sad day for the media industry not only in Fiji but throughout the Pacific. For us in the print industry, it is a day of agony as we’ve lost someone who we look up to all the time and is always ready to share her mind on issues that will make us become a better journalist.

“For us many journalists, we will always remember Ms Taga as a woman of substance. Yes, she was a woman of positive influence and meaning.

“And throughout the years  Taga has mentored many of us who have excelled in the field of journalism. Today, she is no longer with us but in our hearts we will always have a special place for her.”….



29) New Pacific exporter survey breaks new ground

Updated 7 April 2014, 18:09 AEST
By Jemima Garrett

The first ever survey of Pacific exporters has just been launched, in an effort to get detailed information for potential investors.

The aim is to get a detailed picture of opportunities and challenges for Pacific businesses so trade ministers from Pacific Islands Forum countries can better target their action to support exports.

The survey is being coordinated by regional business and tourism promoter, Pacific Islands Trade and Invest, Sydney.

The company’s senior trade and investment commissioner Caleb Jarvis told Pacific Beat the initiative is ground breaking.

“We are in a region where there is lots of exciting exports happening but there is a complete absence of good quality data out there, in particular about exporters and tourism operators so we expect that the data from this survey is really going to assist us creating solutions in the future.”

The data collection exercise is being undertaken by the Sydney-based market research firm ACAResearch, which has formulated questions on, targetted towards attaining more information about exporters in the region.

“We need to get a snapshot about who are the Pacific Island exporters so in terms of size of business, where they reside, what type of products they sell, where they are currently exporting,” said Caleb Jarvis, of Pacific Islands Trade and invest.

“There is wide difference in terms of …you know there is big mining and exploration companies exporting huge volumes mining and energy type commodities out from the region and at the other end of the spectrum we’ve got small vanilla farmers who are exporting directly to markets in Europe and Japan and Australia.”

Mr Jarvis says there are significant challenges in getting enough exporters to complete the survey.

He says the efforts would require the assistance of regional agencies such as business chambers, councils, national tourism offices, government departments and investment promotion authorities.ttp://

30) Shock followed by growth forecast for Solomon Islands economy

By Online Editor
4:16 pm GMT+12, 07/04/2014, Solomon Islands

A regional economist says the Solomon Islands economy is likely to suffer following last week’s devastating floods but growth should rebound in the medium term.

Emma Veve of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says damage to the port in the capital Honiara and roads in and out are a concern for the country’s key logging industry.

The ADB had earlier projected a slight pick up in growth to three percent for this year after last year’s moderated growth due to lower earnings from logging, agriculture and mining.

Veve says an infrastructure rebuild should see a return to growth in six to eighteen months.

“Certainly in the immediate aftermath of the disaster there’s a shock to the economy, a negative shock. You see a decline in agricultural production, you see job losses. Government needs to come in fairly quickly and start to provide food for people, help people start rebuilding homes.”.


31) ANZ announces support for Trade Pasifika 2016 in PNG

By Online Editor
10:04 am GMT+12, 07/04/2014, Fiji

ANZ has announced its sponsorship commitment to the next Trade Pasifika, scheduled to be held in Papua New Guinea in 2016.

ANZ was the Gold Sponsor of the regional trade event that was held last week in Suva. Trade Pasifika showcased agriculture, aquaculture and tourism products from across the Pacific.

“Trade Pasifika 2014 presented a great opportunity to connect on matters of great importance for the sustainable development and long-term prosperity of Pacific nations through trade,” said ANZ CEO Pacific and CEO Fiji, Vishnu Mohan.

“We were very proud to support Trade Pasifika in 2012 and again this year as Gold Sponsors, and I am pleased to announce our commitment to support Trade Pasifika once again when it is held in Papua New Guinea in 2016.”

Mohan commended the decision to hold the next Trade Pasifika in Papua New Guinea, where ANZ has had a presence for over 100 years. “We see great potential for Pacific businesses to draw from PNG’s experiences,” said  Mohan.

“As a nation rich in resources and trading opportunities, and with important connectivity to Asian markets, we see PNG as an ideal ‘next stop’ for Trade Pasifika.”

Mohan said that ANZ launched a major report on PNG’s future last October, highlighting the significant potential that exists for the nation to benefit from Asia’s growing demand for natural resources and agricultural commodities

The ANZ insight report, “Bold Thinking: Imagining PNG in the Asian Century”, highlights that PNG’s resources sector has the potential to grow export revenues at least fourfold to US$23 billion per annum by 2030.

32) Regional meet focuses on best EPA deal

By Online Editor
4:11 pm GMT+12, 07/04/2014, Fiji

Pacific ACP Trade and Fisheries officials meet in Suva Monday  to identify a strategy to secure a lasting and development-focused EPA agreement for regional countries ahead of negotiations with the European Union (EU).

The meeting’s chairperson and Fiji’s Trade and Industry Ministry Permanent Secretary, Shaheen Ali, says he has also set his sights to focus the meet on mapping a way forward to successfully achieve a better Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Speaking at the opening of the meet in Suva today, Ali said the focus is to develop an EPA agreement that is government friendly and would bring benefits to everyone.

“It is therefore, incumbent upon us as Senior Trade and Fisheries Officials to discuss and recommend a negotiating strategy to our Ministers and Leaders that secures an agreement on an EPA that has a lasting developmental impact in our countries.

“I want to reiterate that only as a consolidated and unified group – working together – we can hope to be successful. We need to be both stronger and smarter – to have a lot more unity of purpose – to successfully conclude an agreement that benefits us all,” Ali said. He adds that Fiji wants the best EPA for the region.

“From Fiji’s stand-point, we want one EPA for the region, the best EPA, an EPA that is development oriented, and that means getting Papua New Guinea to join us, to conclude one agreement that covers us all.”

The meeting will also focus on other trade-related issues, including EPA Strategy, Development Cooperation, Aid for Trade, Hubs and Spokes, and an update on the work on the United States and Pacific Island country arrangements as well as an update on possible trade arrangement with China.

“With your commitment and support, we will be able to propose progressive recommendations to our Ministers that will take our region forward,” Ali told officials.



33) PNG/Indonesia border crossing to stay shut until weekend

7 April 2014.

A Papua New Guinea-Indonesia border post closed due to armed clashes last weekend, will remain shut until the end of this week.

The PNG Defence Force is monitoring the developments in the region, while keeping surveillance of the Wutung border post and protecting the lives of Papua New Guineans.

The PNG foreign minister says the government has expressed its concerns to the Indonesian ambassador.

An Indonesian military commander based in Papua, Christian Zebua, told the Jakarta Post the government would use the closure to repair facilities damaged during the clashes.

34) Rebels border threat

By Online Editor
09:44 am GMT+12, 07/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

There is a build-up of OPM rebels on the Papua New Guinea-Indonesia border, says an intelligence official currently on the ground.

The increasing presence of members of the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) coincides with PNG lodging an official protest note with the Indonesian government yesterday over developments on the border.

According to the official, OPM rebels were wearing sky blue berets and wondering around the area known as “Batas”.

Last Friday they lowered the Indonesian flag, burnt the PNG Government’s border administration facility and proceeded to raise the West Papuan and UN flags.

A day later the rebels fired about 60 rounds of ammunition into the Indonesian government-controlled Batas area, which is like a free trade zone for travellers and traditional border crossers. The Indonesian military did not return fire but they continue to beef up their presence in the volatile region.

The rebels’ wearing of the blue beret has also confused authorities as they are normally worn by UN peacekeeping forces.

“The wearing of the blue sky berets now poses a lot of questions and threats,” the official said, though he added the berets could have been fakes purchased from shops in Jayapura.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Rimbink Pato confirmed yesterday that Indonesian Ambassador Andrias Sitepu was called to the Department of Foreign Affairs Office to receive a diplomatic note presented by the Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs, William Dihm setting out the concerns of the Papua New Guinea Government about the recent border incidents.

The PNG Defence Force is monitoring the developments in the region, while keeping surveillance of the Wutung border post and protecting Papua New Guinean lives. “They have instructed the local villagers not go to their gardens or not to venture into the bush as the areas is crawling with OPM rebels,” the source said.

It is understood most of the OPM rebels are from the Wamena tribe in the Highlands region of West Papua.

Coincidentally, there are three Wamena settlements in the Sandaun Province especially in the Vanimo Green open electorate.  Three years ago the PNG Government undertook a special operation code-named “Sunset Merona” to capture, arrest and deport OPM rebels.

“The alleged rebels fled before the PNG authorities got here and came back when everyone went back to Port Moresby,” he said while highlighting that the locals do not need passports and visas to move across the border.


35) Vanuatu beach boys miss out on Youth Olympics

7 April 2014

The Vanuatu boys beach volleyball team have failed to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games.

The team of Steward Charlie and Jean Vitdio Pakoa were beaten by Thailand in the opening pool match in Khanom, Thailand before proving too strong for the Maldives.

In a must win match against Qatar Vanuatu lost the opening set 21-18, won the second 21-19 but couldn’t maintain their resurgance losing the deciding set 15-10 to finish in a share of ninth place.Radio New Zealand Int.

36) Manuca sees red as Tafea upsets Hekari
By Online Editor
4:23 pm GMT+12, 07/04/2014, Fiji

Fijian international Tuimasi Manuca did not have the best start in this season’s OFC Champions League opener against Tafea FC this afternoon at Govind Park as his side lost 3-1 while he had to make an early exit after getting a direct red card.

The most experienced Fijian in the competition did not impress in attacking play for the 2010 champs who struggled from the opening whistle.

Stylish striker Dalong Damalip got the first goal for Tafea in the 9th minute of play and Joses Nawo added the second from a powerhouse attempt in the 29th minute.

Hekari pulled one back before halftime through a Tutizama Tanito penalty.

The Western heat took its toll on both teams in the second spell forcing the coaches to make changes to keep their players active and going till the final whistle.

While Hekari toiled hard to grab the equaliser, Tafea played with a lot of confidence and defended well.

An off the ball incident inside the Tafea box saw the match referee Matt Conger send Manuca off.

Replacement Don Mansale scored Tafea’s third and final goal in the 84th minute.

Tafea FC temporarily leads Group C with 3 points.


37) Unbeaten run ends

Monday, April 07, 2014

BERLIN – Augsburg ended Bayern Munich’s record run of 53 league games without defeat with a 1-0 win victory in the Bundesliga yesterday.

Bayern coach Pep Guardiola rested a raft of first-team players ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final encounter with Manchester United.

Bavarian neighbours Augsburg — who had never beaten Bayern in the Bundesliga — took full advantage with a first-half winner from Sascha Moelders after Mitchell Weiser on his Bayern debut lost the ball to Daniel Baier.

“No complaints. We lost because the opponents were a little bit better than us,” Guardiola said.

“We fought and tried a lot. That’s football, that’s sport — you can’t always win. Sooner or later there will be a defeat. We accept that and now have to prepare for Manchester United as soon as possible.”

In relegation tussles, VfB Stuttgart downed Freiburg 2-0 to move out of the bottom three, while Nuremberg slipped to second last after a 2-0 defeat at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Second-placed Borussia Dortmund came from behind to beat Wolfsburg 2-1 to go three points clear of rivals Schalke, who drew 1-1 at Werder Bremen, while Eintracht Frankfurt beat neighbours Mainz 2-0.

Bayern, who have captured the title in record time and had won their last 10 away games, were finally defeated in a match which had offered Guardiola the opportunity to rest players ahead of United’s visit on Wednesday.

Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and captain Philipp Lahm were left out of the squad. In came reserve-team full-backs Ylli Sallahi and Weiser on their debuts, while Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg started for the first time.

David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Mario Goetze, Thomas Mueller and Dante were on the substitutes’ bench.

38) Waratahs end tour on a high

Monday, April 07, 2014

CANBERRA – The NSW Waratahs ground down the Stormers 22-11 in Cape Town to finish their South African tour on a high with their first away win of the Super Rugby season.

The two-try arm-wrestle was exactly the type of low-scoring affair one would expect against the defensively-strong Stormers at Newlands.

Both sides entered yesterday match without a number of key players, but ill-discipline late in the game by the Stormers allowed the Waratahs to kick away through a string of penalty goals.

The win means the Waratahs are just the second side from 20 attempts this year to win a game after crossing the Indian Ocean, lifting them to fourth on the table.

Waratahs No.15 Kurtley Beale had more of a playmaking role at fullback in Israel Folau’s absence, constantly hitting runners on the inside near the fringe of the ruck.

“He’s got great skills Kurtley, great vision, him coming in there at second receiver adds a lot more to our attack and I was really happy with his performance,” Waratahs captain Dave Dennis said.

The Waratahs dominated territory and possession, especially early, but constantly turned over the ball before delivering a five-point blow.

It was frustrating to watch NSW coach Michael Cheika, who has been in the media in recent weeks for his fiery passion, was seen laughing heartily in the coach’s box at a decision made by referee Glen Jackson against his side when they were hot on attack.

Halfback Nick Phipps scored the opening try in the 13th minute after swooping on an untidy Stormers scrum to put his side up 7-3.

But the home side soon hit back when ever-elusive centre Juan de Jongh made his second line break of the match to put winger Kobus van Wyk over in the corner.

Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley knocked over three points to give his side a slender 10-8 lead into the break.

Two Waratahs penalties after half time gave the visitors a handy eight-point lead.

No.13 du Jongh then went over a second time, only to be controversially denied by the TMO, however the Stormers had a penalty advantage and sharpshooter Peter Grant reduced the deficit to 16-11.

Another two penalty goals to the Waratahs put them back out to more than a converted try in front at 22-11.

The Stormers pressed hard late, and Phipps was shown a yellow card after the siren, but the Waratahs held strong to deny them a bonus point.

“Just the second half, we couldn’t execute,” Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen said.

39) Leicester wins EPL spot

Monday, April 07, 2014

LONDON – Leicester City clinched promotion to the Premier League without kicking a ball yesterday as their two main rivals both lost.

Nigel Pearson’s side had already beaten Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 on Friday to move within touching distance of a return to the English top-flight for the first time since 2004.

And the Championship leaders were able to celebrate confirmation of their promotion less than 24 hours later as third-placed QPR lost 2-1 at Bournemouth, while fourth-placed Derby crashed 1-0 at Middlesbrough.

Tommy Elphick and Lewis Grabban scored to win it for Bournemouth either side of Armand Traore’s replay for QPR, while on-loan Chelsea midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah struck in the 69th minute to give Middlesbrough victory over Derby.

Those results ensured a top-two finish for the big-spending Foxes, who are owned by a Thai consortium backed by chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Leicester’s promotion has been on the cards for several weeks after they surged nine points clear of second placed Burnley thanks to a superb 21-game unbeaten run.

They already have 89 points, two more than Cardiff’s final total when the Welsh club won promotion as second tier champions last season.

With six games still to play, Pearson’s men can focus on finishing top and possibly cracking the 100-point barrier.

O bira ani Nau – Advent Echoes ( Solomon Islands)

Uploaded on Apr 25, 2007

Boys from the solomon islands singing in the Malaitan Language about God’s Love..

DMP Live- Lewa (PNG B-Mobile launching in Honiara)

Published on Feb 3, 2013

DMP (Door Mans Project) from the Solomon Islands performing live at the launching of B-Mobile, a Papua New Guinean mobile company in Honiara, the capital city of the Solomon Islands……

Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 958b

1) Eight children among 15 people confirmed dead

Updated 6 April 2014, 16:54 AEST

Eight children are among 15 people confirmed dead in flash flooding in Solomon Islands, with as many as 52,000 people affected by the disaster.

The National Disaster Council says in a statement that six boy and two girls under the age of seven were killed in the floods. Six women and one man are also confirmed dead. Other agencies, including Oxfam, are reporting at least 18 dead.

Audio: Oxfam says logistical issues are hampering relief efforts (ABC News)

The council says 40,000 people in Guadalcanal and 12,000 people in the capital Honiara are estimated to have been affected by the disaster. The city and the whole of Guadalcanal province were declared a disaster area on Friday.

Many residents remain without running water, as disaster management officials struggle to look after those people sheltering in evacuation centres.

Flash flooding has swept away entire residential districts and at least 30 people are missing.

Joanne Zoleveke from Solomon Islands’ Red Cross says the organisation’s volunteers have reported extensive damage especially in the eastern parts of Guadalcanal. They were expected to send assessment teams into the area early Sunday.

Ms Zoleveke says her focus remains in Honiara and the people in the 16 evacuation centres.

“We really need to get on top of helping these people live comfortably and hygienically, and (ensure they) are being fed and looked after well. That’s our greatest concern now here in Honiara,” she said.

She says the extent of the flooding has been a big shock for many Solomon Islanders.

“We really didn’t expect it to be this damaging and I think the people in the evacuation centres especially are obviously traumatised by all this. So, it’s affecting everybody… and everybody seems to be concerned for those who are having a hard time at the moment,” she said.

Gallery: Honiara hit by flash flooding after torrential rains

Video: Solomon Islands floods disaster ‘worst in living memory’(ABC News)

Major infrastructure including the sewerage system and water supplies have been badly damaged or destroyed. Electricity and communications have also been severely affected. The Mataniko bridge – the major bridge connecting east and west Honiara – was declared unsafe for use on Friday. The Old China Town bridge completely collapsed on Thursday.

Flights remain suspended at Honiara’s Henderson International Airport due to debris on the runway and damage to navigation and lighting systems.

Aid workers fear outbreaks of disease in the city and are waiting for Honiara airport to reopen so emergency relief supplies can be flown in.

The National Disaster Management Office says its focus is on distributing food and water to people sheltering in evacuation centres.

Further Australian aid

The Australian government has announced it will provide $AU250,000 in emergency relief supplies to the flood-hit country, in response to a request for assistance from the Solomon Islands government.

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, says she has conveyed Australia’s condolences to Solomons’ Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo for the loss of life.

She says the funding builds on the $50,000 in emergency assistance announced on Friday.

In addition, Australia will provide engineers and two Australian Government Rapid Response Team members to assist the Solomon Islands’ government and aid agencies responding to the floods.

Ms Bishop’s told ABC Insiders Mr Lilo wants supplies rather than cash, and also asked for teams of relief workers.

“We have got two RAAF flights leaving full of equipment. One will be taking engineering equipment to set up their airport, which has been devastated, so we’ve got lights and equipment and engineers. And then another will be filled with humanitarian supplies and relief workers,” she said.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has updated its travel advice for the Solomons warning of road closures and delays at Honiara’s Henderson International Airport.

External Link: Solomon Islands hit by flash floods after torrential rain (World Vision Solomon Islands)

Tropical Cyclone Ita

The low pressure system that caused the deadly flooding in Solomon Islands has formed into Tropical Cyclone Ita over the northern Coral Sea.

The Solomon Islands Meteorological Service has issued a tropical cyclone watch advice for Rennell and Bellona, Western, Russells and Guadalcanal provinces.

Winds of between 30 and 40 kilometres an hour, increasing to 55 kilometres an hour are expected over Rennell and Bellona, southern Guadalcanal, Russells and Western and Choiseul provinces. Seas will be moderate to rough, with potential for coastal flooding.

The Australian bureau of meteorology reported that Tropical Cyclone Ita was situated 1070 kilometres east-northeast of Cairns at 10am Sunday eastern Australian time, moving in a westwards direction and intensifying.

It says the tropical cyclone is expected to remain well offshore for the next few days and poses no immediate threat to the Queensland coast.


2) Cyclone Ita threatens Solomon Islands

6 April 2014

As the the recovery operation gets underway on Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands following days of destructive flooding, the tropical low at the centre of the disturbance has become a cyclone.

The Solomon Islands Met Service has issued a tropical cyclone watch for several provinces, including Guadalcanal.

Cyclone Ita is a category one storm but intensifying as it moves away from the country.

Early this afternoon it was about 500 kilometres west south west of Bellona Island.

The forecast is for winds up to 30 knots and a threat of coastal flooding.

Meanwhile the country’s main airport Henderson Field in Honiara has re-opened after the flooding dumped debris on the runway.

Tomorrow morning a New Zealand Air Force cargo plane is due to fly in relief supplies and emergency response staff from government agencies and aid organisations.

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says while the clean-up is starting, the people on Guadalcanal have a number of critical concerns.

“I think access to clean water and that the power supply comes back to normal. That [the power] has basically been achieved here in Honiara but the outskirts still have a problem. Transport, you know, we lost a few bridges. The food gardens, all the farmers have been affected so it is also an economic problem for Honiara.”Radio New Zealand Int

3) Students pray for families

Dawn Gibson
Sunday, April 06, 2014

SOLOMON Island students in the country remain on edge with many of them in a state of shock and missing classes following news of the terrible weather conditions facing their families and friends in Honiara.

According to Solomon Islands Students Association president at USP, Roylex Sitana, a number of students missed their mid-semester tests on Friday as they tried their best to contact families, some of whom they believed to have been washed away by the flooding.

Mr Sitana, a 27-year-old USP student, said at the moment there was a lot of worry for more than the 930 Solomon Island students at the university.

“Everybody’s worried to be honest, students didn’t attend classes today (Friday) and they’re very scared about the welfare of their families in Honiara,” Mr Sitana said.

“I’ve been talking to the students and some of them say that their mother and father have been washed away in the flooding, so we’re trying to keep everyone calm right now.”

According to Mr Sitana, there are about 1600 Solomon Island students in Fiji.Fijitimes

4) State ready to help

Nasik Swami
Sunday, April 06, 2014

THE government says it will stand in unison with and support the Solomon Islands following flash floods in the Melanesian nation that have caused severe destruction and death.

In a message to his Solomon Islands counterpart Gordon Darcy Lilo, Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama conveyed the sympathies of the Fijian people.

“Our condolences also go to the families of the victims, and we pray to the Almighty God to give them patience and fortitude, and to grant all the souls eternal rest,” PM said.

He said Fiji knew from past experience the terrible damage that flooding and similar disasters could wreak not just on land and houses but on the lives of those affected.

“The government and people of Fiji, therefore, are with you at this difficult time and my government will lend you and the people of the Solomons whatever support we can in the coming weeks.”

The severe flooding has claimed 16 lives AND displaced thousands of citizens in most parts of the country, mainly in the nation’s capital, Honiara.Fijtimes

5) Flood warning

Serafina Silaitoga
Sunday, April 06, 2014

PEOPLE living in low-lying areas of the Northern Division have been reminded to move to high ground if the water level rises as a result of heavy rain.

The plea from acting commissioner northern Alipate Bolalevu follows heavy rain warning in force for eastern Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands, Yasawa, northern Lau and the Lomaiviti group.

Mr Bolalevu said his team had also been monitoring the weather situation.

“We are working with the police and government departments and we are carrying out our own monitoring,” he said.

“Right now, it’s just a warning of heavy rain to the North and we are reminding people to move to high ground when the need arises. And it is also important for them to move during daylight because it will be much safer.”

Mr Bolalevu also urged the people not to cross flooded creeks or rivers.

“We don’t want any reports of fatalities as a result of unnecessary action and we hope people will be careful during this weekend of heavy rain.”

6 ) Port Vila By-Eleksen Kampen

Olgeta -


Fraede 4 Eprel
12pm: Malapoa waetwud
5:30pm: Stade Basketball Kot
7.30pm: Chik Kau Store, Fresh Wota 1

Satede 5 Eprel
2pm: Ohlen Freshwind (Jif Malachai)
3.30pm Beverly Hills (bae i gat fandresing tu long taem ia)
7.30pm: Jif Francis Nakamal, Fresh Wota 6

Sande 6 Eprel
1pm: Santo restoron, Bladinière
2.30pm: Etas shograon
4pm: Etas haf-rod
5.30pm: Teouma Ville Shopping Senta

Mande 7 Eprel
12pm: Manples Market
5.30pm: Ohlen Mataso
7.30pm: Manples Kokoriko

Tyusde 8 Eprel
12pm: Shanghai mama’s market (Petanque eria, Sea Front)
5:30pm: Seaside Paama
7.30pm: Seaside Tongoa

Wednesde 9 Eprel
11am: Market Haos
5.30pm: Blacksand
7.30pm:  Switi

Tosde 10 Eprel
5:30pm: Emae komuniti opposite New Covenant Jioj (Sheperd studio eria)
7.30pm: Bladinière; nakamal blong Patrick

Fraede 11 Eprel
11am: Sea Front Stej
5.30pm: Fresh Wota 5 T-Junction
7.30pm: Vao komiuniti (St Paul Senta, Freswota)

KAMPEN T-shet:
Yu save kam long ples blong kampen, o sipos no long reception blong Ministri blong Lands, blong pem wan kampen T-shirt blong Andrew blong 1000 vatu.
NAOIA TU yu save pem tu long Beverley Hills General Store (hemia narasaed smol park long en i go long Freswota 5).

Yu save daonlodem mo printim-aot o yu save sendem long email posta blong Andrew Napuat, kandidet blong yumi, long ples ia.

Statistik form:
Sipos yu wantem givim sapot long GJP mo yu wantem mifala save yu, kam long long ples blong kampen o long reception blong Ministri blong Lands blong pikimap wan statistik form blong fulumap nem blong yufala mo givimbak bifo by-eleksen.

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu.

7) Vanuatu daily news digest | 5 April 2014

by bobmakin

  • Daily Post leads today with Parliament being summoned for the Second Extra-Ordinary Session for this year on Friday this week. The main item is seen to be the Promissory Notes for the Greenfield airport for Vanuatu and the Opposition has expressed its grave concern in the matter. [The Greenfield airport is what has previously been discussed as the Rentabau airport for the superseded Boeing 747 jumbo jets.] This is to be constructed by Vanuatu Trade Development Limited. Approval for a government guarantee and loan are being sought through the parliamentary sitting even thoughthere has been no Environment Impact Assessment for the project or tourism industry demand. Custom land owners have not been consulted as the legislation requires. There must be legal – or political – reasons why the sitting of Parliament is planned for immediately prior to the election on April 15.
  • Access to national broadcaster air time for the forthcoming Port Vila by-election is determined by the amount of any party or candidate’s payment according to VBTC News this morning. The report spoke of the considerable manpower the station would need to employ to undertake its task.
  • Who is running for the Moderates may well continue to be in doubt come election day, it seems. Originally UMP President Vohor proposed local accountant Ephraim Songi, but Songi has been forced to campaign as an Independent following the establishment of a Port Vila Moderate Alliance (PVMA) which favoured Saby Natonga of the National Community Association. Green Confederation leader Moana Carcasses, however, on his return from overseas, decided for Jean-Yves Chabod who seemed to be winning when Vanuatu Times went to press. PVMA’s Alick Noel was, however, reported to be doing excellently. PM Carcasses saw Chabod as a winning element in the unity stakes. All Moderate leaders stressed unity despite not uniting on a preferred candidate.

Recently appointed Governor of the Reserve Bank Simeon Athy takes issue with the National Integrity project of Transparency Vanuatu in Post. He sees the methodology of the US Millennium Challenge as giving “a better result” because it provided Vanuatu with “the construction of two national roads.”

Mr George Winslett has had his chance to say that the Erakor / Eratap Crystal Shores project of South Pacific Limited is no scam but just a feasibility study in Daily Post this morning. He urges everyone to get behind the government and start backing its progressive actions. This is the first suggested proof, if one can believe Winslett, of government involvement in the scam which like the Greenfield airport has had no EIA or custom owner approval.

The Championing Change National Youth Congress is taking place today at the Freswota Park. Prime Minister Carcasses and other leaders will discuss a great variety of topics including those of special youth interest and concern to women.

Under ‘infant industry’ provisions consumers are having to pay inflated prices for the local chicken product, Chiko, presently in financial difficulties. A winding-up petition is to be heard on Wednesday.

8) Vanuatu daily news digest | 4 April 2014

by bobmakin

The main stories as yet un-reported here. Others are still to come.

  • The major item in today’s Daily Post is buried on page 6. Illegal appointments are becoming too common in Vanuatu is the headline, Transparency observes. Not one of the new AVL board of directors follows the legal appointments procedure.Transparency is concerned about these and other appointments to statutory bodies where there are clear outlines as to eligibility for appointment. The item points out that a court ruling would have to find the appointments illegal since all members are picked from outside article 76 of the AVL Act, one new member even being the chairman of Air Vanuatu which is a client of AVL, clearly suggesting allowing a conflict of interest. Furthermore, they are being made at a time when government is seeking an extra-ordinary sitting of Parliament in advance of the end-month ordinary sitting to obtain approval of the huge financial guarantee for the VTDL Rentabau / Greenfield airport project which has not been requested by the tourism industry, and which will interfere with the custom owners’ heritage, contrary to the provisions of the government’s just introduced lands legislation.
  • PM Carcasses was on Tuesday warning civil servants against working contrary to the government’s interests. His saying that the VTDL new Greenfield international airport, together with other airport works (like the long overdue work on Bauerfield), is aimed at elevating the economy and providing employment for people. Government is apparently committed to the Greenfield airport from other points he made. No Environment Impact Assessment or tender was ever sought for this project of a few Asian businessmen who came to Vanuatu to establish a tobacco plantation. The idea for the airport was cooked up by political appointees and the Asian business people.
  • At least VBTC (national radio and television) gets the Prime Minister’s support for working with government interests, in yesterday’s Daily Post. The Board of VBTC was congratulated on all the hard work they have put in to develop and run VBTC they were told on Tuesday when the PM visited Brodkas Haos and staff. The Government has a “next vision” for VBTC. “We are progressing with the new plan to ensure it is done right, because we believe that the investment involved should double the current level of service by VBTC to the whole of Vanuatu,” Carcasses said. He did not explain, or it was not reported, what this vision encompassed and whether it would include replacing the failing transmitters.
  • Daily Post yesterday revealed that the Crystal Shores project to turn the area between Erakor Lagoon and the Teouma River into a 2,000 hectare subdivision for casinos and hotels and wealthy foreigners was a scam. No Environment Impact Assessment was ever sought for such a venture, contrary to Vanuatu legislation, although investors are woo-ed by the lavish and lying brochure in circulation. Tim Kalmet of Erakor revealed the project as fraudulent to Buzz FM 96. Another real estate developer and lawyer advised Prime Ministerial political adviser Gilles Daniel that the foreigner posing as a front man in the Crystal Shores scam was demanding his appearance fee. One of those involved in the scam has resided in Vanuatu for over ten years and in 2002 was convicted of failing to declare his drug offences in Australia to the Vanuatu authorities.


9) French Polynesia president loses parliamentary immunity
By Online Editor
07:08 am GMT+12, 04/04/2014, French Polynesia

The French Senate has lifted the parliamentary immunity of French Polynesia’s president, Gaston Flosse, who in February was charged with abuse of public funds by arranging free water supply to his residence.

The decision in Paris means he can be detained for questioning and may be banned from communicating with other people charged over the same issue.

He is alleged to have deprived the township of Pirae of more than US$100,000 US dollars a year by securing free water for himself and 22 other nearby villas.

Gaston Flosse, who was the mayor of Pirae for 35 years, was charged along with his son-in-law, Edouard Fritch, who succeeded him in 2001.

His parliamentary immunity has been lifted several times and he has been repeatedly convicted for corruption, but all sentences are being appealed.

The next ruling affecting the president is due in June when the court will decide whether he abused public funds over the purchase of Anuanuraro atoll.


10) Tonga minister says no concerns about passport processes
By Online Editor
4:12 pm GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Tonga

Tonga’s Justice Minister, Clive Edwards, has dismissed concerns about the sale and issuance of passports.

Last month, TVNZ reported an investigation in Tonga highlighted major weaknesses in the country’s immigration office.

The report also raised questions about the role of the Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano, in the issuing of some passports.

Edwards says the Auditor General, Dr Pohiva Tu’i'onetoa, had no right to make public what he says were incomplete documents that the Cabinet is yet to sight.

He confirms that the prime minister is regularly asked to sign off on passport requests and this is all above aboard and on the recommendation of officials.

“Look the government and cabinet are quite satisfied that things are being done properly and these stupid reports, and political reports, that are being bandied around by the media, it’s nonsense.”.


11) Marshall Islands college president questions accreditation process
By Online Editor
09:13 am GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Marshall Islands

The College of the Marshall Islands’ president has criticized a United States-based accreditation body for not discovering fiscal problems at the Majuro-based institution until they were already being fixed.

College President Carl Hacker raised concerns that the Western Association of Schools and Colleges did not discover serious financial problems at the college in the late 2000s and only put the college on “warning” status well after it began solving those problems. Hacker delivered his concerns to presidents and officials from colleges around the region at the Pacific Post-secondary Education Council meeting held recently in Honolulu, and also in a widely circulated report issued Wednesday.

“During our report on accreditation (at the meeting), I mentioned that we were placed on ‘warning’ primarily concerning our finances,” said Hacker. “I reported that our unaudited year-end figures do show a dramatic improvement over previous years and that we have replenished our Contingency Fund.”

Deficits and lack of money in the Contingency Fund were two items red-flagged by the Western Association of Schools and College for immediate action by the college.

But Hacker expressed concern over a WASC process that didn’t discover the problems in a timely manner, commenting that “the accreditation process did not catch what was happening at CMI when CMI was racking up major deficits, and now that we are solving this problem we are placed on sanction and those who were responsible do not have to provide answers (and are) not (held) accountable.”

He said he raised the issue with WASC during a visit to Majuro a year ago, pointing out that the college had submitted financial reports nearly two years before hearing anything back from WASC and by then, the problem was on its way to be solved.

“This did not absolve CMI from tackling the problem, but those who were responsible for this finance situation have effectively gotten away with poor transparency and financial management and the accreditation process picked up nothing,” he said.

Unaudited financial records for the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2013 show the Majuro college generated its first financial surplus in more than six years.

As a result of the “warning” sanction, a two-person WASC team will visit the College of the Marshall Islands from April 15-16 primarily to address financial concerns the accreditation body listed in its earlier sanction.

Last year, WASC put CMI on warning because of ongoing financial deficits and the college’s limited reserve fund. In response, the college has submitted both a 51-page follow-up report and a 23-page special report on “fiscal stability” at CMI.

The two-member WASC team coming to Majuro will be headed by Dr. Sharon Hart, president of Northern Marianas College, who will be joined by Milton Higa, Vice chancellor of Kapiolani Community College in Honolulu.

The WASC team will present a report from the review of CMI to the WASC commission that meets from June 4 to 6.



12) CFMEU alleges 457 visa workers exploited at Rinehart’s Roy Hill

Updated 5 April 2014, 10:00 AEST

The Federal Government is being asked to investigate claims that 457 work visas are being abused at Gina Rinehart’s $10 billion Roy Hill iron ore project in the Pilbara.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union says there are up to 200 white collar 457 visa workers employed by contractor Samsung C&T on the project.

The union says the workers are doing low-level clerical work for Roy Hill’s main construction contractor.

CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor says he has written to the Employment Minister Eric Abetz calling for an urgent investigation.

“We’ve got a whistleblower who has informed the union that there’s up to 150 to 200 Korean workers who have been brought in, that they are being exploited,” he said.

“The allegation is that they’ve been brought in to do certain types of work and then they are being allocated other types of work in breach of their visa conditions.”

Aside from being asked to do work outside their visa conditions, the CFMEU alleges many of the staff are working more than 84 hours a week and being paid as little as $16 an hour.

“Those workers have been exploited by working long hours, and not being appropriately paid for them,” added Mr O’Connor.

Audio: Listen to Pat McGrath’s report for PM (PM)

“So we have a situation where local jobs haven’t been offered to people here in Western Australia, and then 457 workers are being utilised and those 457 workers are being exploited, and that’s a situation that we think is outrageous.”

However, a spokesman for Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill project has rejected the allegations.

Roy Hill spokesman Darryl Hockey says Samsung has assured the company it is meeting all of its industrial relations and visa legal requirements.

“This is an independent company. We don’t have the right to go through their books. What we have asked of them is an assurance that everything is OK, and they have given us that assurance,” he told the ABC’s PM program.

“Samsung is an outstanding company with great integrity, with a worldwide reputation, and when a company of that stature makes a commitment like that we are duty bound to accept it.”

13) WA Senate election results show swing away from major parties

Updated 6 April 2014, 10:30 AEST

The Greens and the Palmer United Party (PUP) have emerged as the big winners after Western Australia’s Senate election re-run.

On projected results the Greens have picked up a 6.7 per cent swing, which would ensure Scott Ludlam retains his Senate seat.

PUP also looks to have picked up a seat with a swing towards the party of about 7 per cent.

The projected data from the ABC’s election analyst Antony Green showed the Liberals and the ALP had falls of 5.6 and 5 per cent respectively.

“The overall balance between the two parties, it looks like it’s going to be exactly the same as it was last September,” he said.

The Liberals appear to have secured two seats with Labor reduced to one.

WA Senate election results

As counting continues in the election re-run, you can find all the numbers on the ABC’s results page.

Mr Green said it appeared swings away from the two major parties had transferred to the Greens and PUP.

The outcome for the sixth seat remains unclear and the Australian Electoral Commission says it may be weeks before the final results are known.

The blame game has already begun to determine what caused the swing away from the two major parties, with a backlash against union involvement in the Labor Party and a protest vote against the Government appearing the key factors.

Greens Senator Ludlam lost his seat in the first count in September, but regained it on the second count when the lost votes were not included.

He said he was “tremendously proud” looking at the early results.

“Our campaign isn’t funded by the coal industry or gas industry,” he said.

We had a strong online campaign backing up the most motivated grassroots face-to-face campaign that I’ve ever seen.

Senator Scott Ludlam

“The only way to compete with the major party financing by big business or Clive Palmer buying seats, is people power.

“We had a strong online campaign backing up the most motivated grassroots face-to-face campaign that I’ve ever seen.”

Former Labor senator Chris Evans said the Greens had run a good campaign.

“The Greens certainly won the campaign in the sense that they were able to promote an image through their candidate,” he said.

“They were creative. And quite frankly both the major parties looked a bit dull in comparison.

“As I say there was nothing at stake. And people I think were prepared to shop around and look around at alternatives for the major parties because government wasn’t at stake.”

What are your thoughts on the projected results from the Senate election re-run? Have your say.

Union involvement in ALP’s preselection process under scrutiny

As attention turned to what caused the swing away from the major parties, Mr Evans was critical of Labor’s preselection process.

The decision to put the former union heavyweight Joe Bullock ahead of sitting Senator Louise Pratt on Labor’s ticket was publicly criticised within the party at the time.

“In my view there’s no question that the Labor Party has a serious problem with its preselection processes, particularly in Western Australia,” Mr Evans said.

Photo: Joe Bullock waits for fellow Labor candidate Louise Pratt to vote below the line in the WA Senate election. (ABC News: Jessica Strutt)

“We had a situation where two large unions were able to make a decision about the candidates.

“They’re not necessarily producing the best candidates and they’re not allowing the party rank and file to be empowered.

“That’s something the Labor Party has to fix. But I think the reality of this election… was the fact that the Greens and the Palmer United, I think they were the biggest spending parties, but they were able to do something that was interesting and gave people a chance to give the major parties a bit of a whack without having to have any consequence if you like.”

Federal Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan said she was pleased to hear Mr Evans supporting a view she had held for some time.

“I am not opposed to union movement in the Labor Party, I absolutely understand and appreciate the importance of unions in delivering a sort of fair and just Australian society,” she said.

“What I have been a great critic of and will continue to be a great critic of is the concentration of power in the hands of a few union secretaries.”

You know the last two days of the campaign have been a bit of a distraction but they have by no means been a dominant feature.

Senator Louise Pratt

Senator Pratt said the media attention given to a speech made by Mr Bullock last year was little more than a “distraction”.

In the speech, Mr Bullock made derogatory statements about Senator Pratt and ALP members.

“We have been campaigning on health and education and Tony Abbott’s cuts and people’s very real concerns about the cuts Colin Barnett has made, and the fact that Tony Abbott wants to go even further,” Senator Pratt said last night.

“The last two days of the campaign have been a bit of a distraction but they have by no means been a dominant feature.”

Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop made mention of Senator Pratt’s decision to vote below the line rather than follow the party’s advice and vote above the line.

“I took the luxury of voting for myself,” Senator Pratt said.

“Joe said: ‘Of course you should vote for yourself’. We are both candidates.”

Liberals blame protest vote for swing against Government

Meanwhile, Liberal Party members have downplayed the swing against them.

Ms Bishop said a protest vote was expected.

…they know that by voting today, they would not change the Government in Perth or in Canberra and as a result, they feel more comfortable in spraying their votes around.

Senator Eric Abetz

“The Greens are the protest party and so in a by-election, particularly where people in Western Australia are voting for the third time in 12 months, they’re going to protest and so the Greens would be the beneficiary in a vote like this,” she said.

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz said state issues had played a role.

“There is no doubt that the West Australian Liberal Government or Coalition Government is going through some tough times,” he said.

“We had that cynically orchestrated strike by teachers in the week in the lead-up.

“All those things do add to a negative view of the Government in the short-term and the consequences then flow and they know that by voting today (Saturday), they would not change the Government in Perth or in Canberra and as a result, they feel more comfortable in spraying their votes around.”

There had been questions through the campaign about the visibility of PUP’s lead candidate Dio Wang, with advertising focused on the party’s founder Clive Palmer.

But Mr Wang said he had been out meeting people face-to-face in regional parts of the state.

“What I’m focused on as a politician is you need to talk to people and to understand what they think,” he said.

“And regional Australia has been suffering a long time because of the noise from the Liberal Party and the Labor Party.”

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of the carbon tax: “I will definitely vote for it, if there’s nothing else fishy in the Bill.”


14) Fidji: le discours raciste d’un chef coutumier

Mis à jour 4 April 2014, 17:24 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Le chef coutumier Ratu Timoci Vesikula a mis en garde Franck Bainimarama,

Ratu Timoci Vesikula en plein discours raciste, sur Fiji TV.
À Fidji, l’unique chaîne de télé privée, Fiji TV, est sous le coup d’une procédure pour avoir diffusé des propos racistes. Ceux du chef coutumier Ratu Timoci Vesikula, qui a mis en garde Franck Bainimarama, sous l’œil des caméras, contre les Indo-Fidjiens, lors d’un meeting public.

Tout cela, en fidjien dans le texte. Personne n’a interrompu ce chef dans son discours raciste, qui a donc continué en affirmant que les intérêts des Fidjiens et des Indo-Fidjiens étaient incompatibles. « Même si nous vivons côte à côte depuis longtemps, il est impossible de mélanger l’eau et le kérosène », a déclaré le chef coutumier Ratu Timoci Vesikula.

L’Autorité du Développement de l’Industrie des Medias, la MIDA, équivalent fidjien du CSA français, estime qu’il s’agit ni plus ni moins que d’une incitation à la haine raciale, ce qui contrevient au code éthique des media. Fiji TV est donc mis en cause pour avoir diffusé ce discours raciste sans commentaire ni contradiction. Mercredi Fiji TV a donc du diffuser une mise au point de Franck Bainimarama, et devrait sûrement être contrainte de s’excuser auprès des téléspectateurs. La chaîne de télé privée encourt également une amende de 55 000 dollars australiens.

On écoute Samisoni Pareti, le correspondant de l’ABC à Fidji :

« Jeudi la MIDA a déclaré que le discours du chef coutumier Ratu Timoci Vesikula, était un appel à la haine raciale, et que le gouvernement devait maintenant décider si oui ou non il souhaite intenter des poursuites pénales contre ce chef. »

La MIDA a prévenu qu’elle surveillerait de près les media fidjiens, à l’approche des élections démocratiques qui auront lieu le 17 septembre prochain, et qu’elle exigerait des traductions de tous les discours diffusés en fidjien.

Autre mesure, qui semble déconnectée de l’affaire de ce discours raciste: la MIDA rend obligatoire l’enregistrement de tous les journalistes indépendants, leur imposant de déclarer pour quels media ils travaillent – sous pseudo ou pas.

« Les statuts de la MIDA stipulent que toutes les media doivent s’enregistrer auprès de la MIDA. Mais cela veut-il dire que les journalistes indépendants doivent aussi s’inscrire, puisqu’ils sont leurs propres patrons ? Ce n’est pas clair. Et il y a une autre question en suspens : les journalistes indépendants qui sont les correspondants de media étrangers à Fidji et dont le travail est diffusé à l’étranger, doivent-ils eux aussi s’inscrire ? C’est aux avocats de trouver la réponse. »

Samisoni Pareti, le correspondant à Fidji de l’ABC, notre maison-mère.

15) Australie Occidentale: « C’est une manoeuvre d’intimidation contre les syndicats »

Posté à 4 April 2014, 17:02 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

La justice s’apprête à saisir les biens de grévistes qui ne peuvent pas payer leur amende.

L’affaire remonte à 2008, lorsque 117 ouvriers syndiqués ont organisé une grève de 8 jours sur le site de production de gaz naturel liquéfié de Woodside à Karratha, sur la côte nord de l’État. Or il s’agissait d’une grève sauvage.

Woodside a donc traîné en justice ses 117 employés récalcitrants. Et en 2013 ils ont été condamnés à une amende de plus d’un million de dollars australiens, pour combler le manque à gagner de Woodside pendant huit jours.

À la suite de quoi, l’amende a été révisée à la baisse, 680 000 dollars. Mais 33 des 117 ex-grévistes n’ont pas pu réunir l’argent pour payer l’amende. Fair Works Australie, l’équivalent du tribunal des prudhommes, a donc ordonné la saisie de leurs biens.

C’est une première dans l’histoire syndicale du pays. « C’est une manoeuvre d’intimidation contre les syndicats », a regretté Mick Buchan, le secrétaire-général du CFMEU, le syndicat du BTP, de l’exploitation forestière, et des mines et des hydrocarbures. Radio Australia

16) PNG: la détention des migrants légalisée

Mis à jour 4 April 2014, 17:23 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

C’était la principale épine dans le pied du gouvernement papou de Peter O’Neill, et du gouvernement australien depuis la réouverture du centre de rétention des demandeurs d’asile à Manus en novembre 2012. La section 42 de la Constitution papoue a été amendée fin mars.

À Manus, les demandeurs d’asile sont désormais exemptés de la section 42 de la Constitution papoue. En clair: ils peuvent être détenus sans voir commis de délit.
Cette section garantissait les libertés personnelles de tout individu, qu’il soit Papou, ou étranger, et cela incluait donc les demandeurs d’asile. D’autre part la Constitution n’autorise pas le gouvernement papou à atteindre aux libertés personnelles, donc à enfermer des étrangers s’ils rentrent légalement sur le territoire papou. Ce qui est le cas des demandeurs d’asile, transférés à Manus sur décision du gouvernement australien dans le cadre d’un accord légal entre les deux pays.

Ces arguments de poids sont utilisés par Belden Namah, le chef de l’opposition papoue, dans un procès contre l’État pour obtenir la libération des demandeurs d’asile et la fermeture du centre de rétention à Manus.

Après une première tentative qui a été contrée par le gouvernement papou, le 29 janvier, Belden Namah a finalement obtenu des juges de déposer un recours. Son avocat plaide l’anti constitutionnalité de la détention des demandeurs d’asile alors qu’ils n’ont commis aucun délit.

Seulement voilà, fin mars le gouvernement de Peter O’Neill l’a pris de vitesse, en faisant passer rapidement un amendement à la fameuse section 42, qui exclut, purement et simplement, les demandeurs d’asile : ils ne bénéficient plus des libertés personnelles dont jouissent les Papous et les autres étrangers sur le territoire papou. Voilà qui rend leur détention légale.

Pour Loani Henao, l’avocat de l’opposition papoue, cet amendement, c’est un subtil aveu de culpabilité de la part du gouvernement papou :

« Il vous suffit d’analyser les circonstances particulières dans lesquelles cet amendement a été voté. Il doit son existence à l’accord passé il y a près de deux ans entre l’Australie et la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée pour l’accueil, sur le sol papou, des demandeurs d’asile rejetés par l’Australie. Et je suis quasiment certain que si cet accord d’accueil des demandeurs d’asile n’avait pas existé, le gouvernement papou n’aurait jamais songé à faire voter l’amendement. Et j’irai même plus loin : je pense que le gouvernement a bien conscience que la détention des demandeurs d’asile n’est pas légal et contrevenait à l’article 42, et qu’il essaie de légaliser ses décisions après coup. »

Pourtant rien n’indique que l’amendement constitutionnel de l’article 42 ait une valeur rétroactive.

« Il n’est pas dit clairement dans le texte si l’amendement est rétroactif. Donc de mon point de vue, il est entré en vigueur le 11 mars, le jour où le Speaker du Parlement a certifié l’amendement. »

L’avocat de Belden Namah a revu sa stratégie et cible désormais l’amendement constitutionnel lui-même.

« L’amendement de la section 42 n’a pas été fait pour bénéficier aux Papous ni au gouvernement papou. Il a été voté sur l’ordre d’un gouvernement étranger, le gouvernement australien. Et je pense que cela devrait inquiéter tout le monde, car la souveraineté de mon pays n’a pas été respectée. »

Maître Loani Henao, qui représente le chef de l’opposition papoue, Belden Namah, répondait aux questions de Liam Fox, notre correspondant à Port-Moresby.

Notons que d’après Rimbink Pato, le ministre papou des Affaires étrangères, l’accueil à Manus d’une partie des demandeurs d’asile de l’Australie va rapporter 420 millions de dollars australiens à la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.  Radio Australia

17) Boxe en Nouvelle-Calédonie: le come back d’Affif Belghecham

Par Angela Palmieri
Publié le 05/04/2014 | 21:44, mis à jour le 06/04/2014 | 17:35

C’est sur un ring de Nouvelle-Calédonie que l’ancien champion de France des poids moyens a repris les gants. Lors de cette soirée de boxe organisée par le comité régional, Affif Belghecham a battu aux points le Samoan Letoa Togasilimai.

Muté en Nouvelle-Calédonie, il y a quelques mois, en tant qu’éducateur à la protection judiciaire de la jeunesse, Affif Belghecham a accepté de remonter sur le ring après trois années sans combat.

Samedi 29 mars, à la salle omnisport de l’Anse Vata à Nouméa, l’ancien champion de France a affronté un samoan fougeux, plus jeune, plus grand et supérieur en allonge, Letoa Togasilimai.

Mais malgré ses 40 ans, Affif Belghecham a démontré son professionnalisme en sachant gérer son combat du début à la fin.
Il a notamment réussi à imposer à son adversaire, un combat de près (in fighting), tout en maîtrisant parfaitement son jeu d’esquive. Seul bémol, Affif Belghecham aurait pu gagner par KO, mais le manque de compétition s’est fait ressentir dans l’absence de précision de certains coups.

Sur le ring, le Samoan donnait l’impression d’être plus agressif, mais en réalité la plupart de ses coups étaient parés.
Sans compter qu’ Affif, en bon stratège, a attendu la fin de chacune des six reprises pour marquer des points lorsque son adversaire était fatigué..

Originalité de ce combat que nous vous proposons de voir en intégralité, ces deux boxeurs ont une fausse garde (poing droit en avant).

L’intégralité de ce combat (20mn) entre Affif Belghecham et Letoa Togasilimai avec des images signées Louis Palmiéri.

18) Nouméa: un mort et un blessé grave au coeur du quartier de Magenta (MAJ 19h00)

Par Gonzague de La Bourdonnaye
Publié le 05/04/2014 | 07:21, mis à jour le 05/04/2014 | 20:09

Que s’est-il passé dans une rue paisible de Magenta ? Difficile encore d’expliquer les circonstances du drame, mais une bagarre s’est terminée dans un bain de sang avec un mort et un blessé par balles. Un fait divers sanglant qui intervient en plein débat sur l’usage des armes en Nouvelle-Calédonie.

Les circonstances du drame qui s’est déroulé cette nuit (nuit de vendredi à samedi), au domicile d’un particulier, rue de Prony, à Magenta, sont encore floues. Ce qui est sûr, c’est qu’une bagarre a dégénéré et s’est soldée par la mort d’un homme que les pompiers, dépêchés sur place, n’ont pas réussi à réanimer.

Selon le journal “Les Nouvelles”, qui apporte cette précision, une deuxième personne aurait ensuite été blessée à l’épaule après un tir de fusil de chasse. Elle a aussitôt été évacuée vers le CHT Gaston Bourret.

Alcool ? Pas alcool ? Il est encore trop tôt pour déterminer les causes de ce nouveau fait-divers sanglant, qui a eu lieu en plein coeur de la ville. Plusieurs personnes ont été appréhendées et sont toujours entendues par la police.

Ce fait divers, avec arme à feu, intervient au moment où le gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Calédonie vient de refuser le décret de limitation des armes proposé par l’Etat. L’Etat, qui avait laissé il y a 4 ans s’appliquer en Nouvelle-Calédonie une loi particulièrement permissive, libéralisant la vente d’armes, s’était brutalement ravisé à la fin de l’année dernière. Depuis, les fait divers impliquant l’usage d’armes à feu, y compris en ville, se sont multipliés et ont placé, si besoin en était, l’insécurité au coeur des différentes campagnes électorales en cours.

MAJ 19h30 : A suivre les derniers développements de l’enquête, en images , ce samedi soir avec le reportage de Sheïma Riahi et Maurice Segu (Montage Bernard Caba):


19) Fire razes more than 1,000 homes in Philippines slum

Updated 6 April 2014, 11:59 AEST

A huge night fire has destroyed more than 1,000 homes in a slum in the Philippines’ largest southern city, sending residents running for their lives, officials said.

Davao city’s skyline lit up as firefighters battled for more than five hours against flames that leapt swiftly from one shanty to another in the depressed coastal neighbourhood of Isla Verde on Friday night, witnesses said.

“I’m back to zero. I don’t know how I can recover,” grocer Norayna Serad said.

The 28-year-old lost her store and merchandise worth 100,000 pesos ($2,225) that she had paid for with three years worth of savings from working abroad.

“Maybe I will need to go back to Kuwait and work as a maid again,” she said.

The blaze was finally under control early yesterday but by then more than 5,000 people were left homeless, local civil defence officials said.

All that was left of the homes were charred or blackened posts, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.

Children scavenged for twisted metal and corrugated iron sheets among the ruins to sell for scrap.

“These were houses made of light materials. They were all razed to the ground,” Jimmy Martinez, an official of the civil defence office for the Davao region, said.

Some of the houses had rested on stilts that stuck out of the coastal waters, and firefighters said they had difficulty moving through the narrow, winding alleyways between the shanties, he said.

More than 1,000 families sought refuge at a government schoolhouse that escaped the blaze.

Mr Martinez said the slum sat on a previously vacant government lot that had been gradually settled by impoverished migrants to the city of 1.5 million people – a common phenomenon in Philippine urban centres.

The fire was apparently started when an untended candle in one of the homes tipped over in the early evening, Davao fire investigator Ramil Gillado said.



20) Medicine shortage

Mere Naleba
Sunday, April 06, 2014

HEALTH Minister Dr Neil Sharma finds it hard to believe people in Lau are not getting full medical treatment because of a shortage of medical supplies in certain health and nursing stations.

During the government tour to the Lau group, the issue of people not receiving medical treatment was raised in a number of villages.

“There are only two growth (population) areas, one is Kadavu and the other is Lomaiviti,” Dr Sharma said.

“In the rest of Fiji, the population is going down, so I find it hard to believe the substantial complaint.”

Dr Sharma said in most cases where nursing stations or health centres faced a medicine shortage, it was because nurses and doctors stationed there did not send in reports stating which medical item they did not have.

“What can I do? Whose fault is it?,” he said

“If the doctors and nurses don’t put in their supply properly, if they don’t make the orders, how do you expect us to read their mind?

“There is a system whereby they can make emergency inquisition.”

The issue was raised by Kabara district rep Qalo Lelea during a talanoa session at Naikeleyaga Village on Kabara and by villagers of Vanuavatu and Oneata and Vunuku Village on Moala.

“The system is well tuned in for people to respond, when you are falling short of something then you place your order,” Dr Sharma said.

“You know your geographical isolation. If you don’t place your order and everything finishes, then you turn around and say you haven’t got the supply, who is to be blamed then?

“You tell me who is to be blamed?

“Is the doctor there and the nurses there or the pharmacies over here?”

Dr Sharma said the distribution islands was updated and the question that should be asked was why medical officers stationed in such areas did not place their orders on time.

“If you look at the distribution all the distribution is up to date.

“So, if they are falling short of a certain item, then that means that items are not on the list and if there is a shortage, why aren’t they placing their orders?”

Dr Sharma said the medicine shortage was a tiny issue blown out of proportion by the media.Fijitimes


21) Fiji Labour Party leader Chaudhry convicted, released on bail
By Online Editor
4:21 pm GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Fiji

Former Prime Minister and Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry has been found guilty of all three charges of breaching the Exchange Control Act by Judge Justice Paul Madigan in the High Court in Suva and convicted accordingly.

Chaudhry was also unanimously found guilty of all three counts by the four assessors earlier today.

The mitigation and sentencing submission date has been set for 01 May, 2014 as Chaudhry’s defence counsel is not available before this date.

He has been granted bail on the condition that he not access his funds overseas directly or indirectly and he surrenders his passport to the court. The state prosecution did not object to bail.

Chaudhrry faces a sentence of two years imprisonment or a fine of AUD$4.5m (three times the amount owned by him in Australian banks). He was charged with three counts of breaching the exchange control act.

On the first count, he was charged with failure to surrender foreign currency, between November 1, 2000 and July 23, 2010, contrary to the Exchange Control Act.

For the second count, he was charged with ‘dealing in foreign currency’ otherwise than with an authorised dealer without the permission of the RBF, between November 1, 2000 and July 23, 2010.

On the third count the charge is of ‘failure to collect debts’, between November 1, 2000 and July 23, 2010 being a Fiji resident and having the right to receive $AU1.5million from financial institutions in Australia and New Zealand, he allegedly caused the delay of payment of the said sum, in whole or in part, to himself by authorising the continual re-investment of the said sum, together with interest acquired, back into the said financial institutions without the permission of the Reserve Bank of Fiji.



22) Call for regional media advocacy
By Online Editor
12:18 pm GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Fiji

Information is power and people rely on what’s available through various news media to make better choices and decisions.

This was the sentiment of Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) president Moses Stevens at the recent Asian Development Bank Pacific Business Media Summit in Australia.

“In the same manner, our news and documentary programs help our donor partners in their monitoring process of their aid assistance to our islands,” he said.

“I believe we can create a media-friendly environment in the Pacific through education and advocacy on the role of the media, and equally significant if we expand the scope of the media sector in our various localities.

“The more news and information outlets there are, the more chances there are for our people to access information from different perspectives.”

Given the small sizes of media organisations in the region, he said journalists ended up doing general reporting duties.

With this scenario, Stevens said, there was no consistency in reporting economic news and other significant sectors in mostly smaller island countries.

“If the media organisations are empowered to have enough manpower, they could have specialised reporters in different fields of their editorial coverage.”

He said this would allow the news organisations to become consistent and progressive in their coverage and reporting of development activities.


23) Fiji Media Authority Finds Fiji One News Guilty Of ‘Hate Speech’
Fiji TV ordered to apologize for broadcasting Chief’s public talk

By Anna Majavu

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, April 3, 2014) – The Fiji state-controlled Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) has ruled that a Fiji Television is guilty of “hate speech” and could be fined for broadcasting a public meeting at which politicians spoke.

MIDA chairman Ashwin Raj said at a press conference in Suva today he was taking legal advice about the kind of fines that he might levy against Fiji One News, and that the television station would have to issue a public retraction after he ruled that the TV station was in breach of the Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) decree.

Fiji faces a general election to restore democratic rule on September 17.

Fiji One News recently broadcast a public meeting at which Verata chief Ratu Timoci Vesikula first asked Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama for guarantees that his community’s land would be protected, and then told Bainimarama that race was still a “fact of life” in Fiji.

Without the support of the country’s indigenous people, Bainimarama would “never return to power after the general elections”, Ratu Timoci said.

Ratu Timoci also said certain sections of the population (which according to Fairfax , implied Indo-Fijian) would want to appease and pacify Bainimarama just to have their aspirations met.

The Fiji Times quoted Ratu Timoci telling Bainimarama that indigenous Fijians “were living in poverty” and “simply living in a bad state”.

Ratu Timoci was also guilty of “hate speech”, said Raj, as he had contravened the 2009 Crimes Decree provisions which barred anyone from “urging political violence”. The maximum fine for this is 10 years in prison.

A video of the meeting has been uploaded to Facebook and is in wide circulation.

Official complaint

After the meeting, Bainimarama laid an official complaint against Fiji One News, which MIDA said it would investigate.

Apart from announcing that the investigation had found that Vesikula’s statements amounted to hate speech, Raj hit out at the media for giving “unfettered prominence” to Ratu Timoci’s speech.

Ratu Timoci had said that different races in Fiji were “like water and kerosene”, Raj said.

He said Ratu Timoci had “breached the bill of rights” by casting slurs on Indo-Fijians and that his statements amounted to him “threatening racial hatred”.

Raj denied that he was impinging on the freedom of the media by ruling against Fiji One News and said the TV station should not have broadcast information likely to “promote communal discord”.

He told journalists that their “subjectivities” should not get in the way of their work, and lashed out at journalists from different media houses for writing “unsubstantiated statements”.

Raj said he was not a “lackey of the regime” and said that “laws need to be respected at all times”. He warned the assembled journalists that there would be “consequences” if they did not adhere to Fiji’s media decrees.

[PIR editor’s note: An audio broadcast of the MIDA press conference can be found here.]

Warning to politicians

He also said that the MIDA investigation would serve as a warning to other politicians who might want to make similar statements to Ratu Timoci in the months leading up to the election.

Raj again lashed out at “freelance” journalists who had not registered with the government, saying if they did not register with MIDA soon, he would seek recourse against them in line with the media decrees.

The freelance journalists “distort a ton of things” and were guilty of “sheer recklessness”.

“I have to deal with that. They cannot be the law and the transgression” he said, labelling the freelance journalists as “rogue elements”.

No journalist could operate in Fiji without registering, or else they would face fines of up to F$100,000. Raj also said the government had spent a lot of money on workshopping journalists on issues like hate speech and that it was about time the media “got the hang of it”.

“The media industry in this country needs to grow up,” Raj said.

Even members of the public, and not just the media, needed to be “very, very careful” about how they conducted themselves, Raj said.

MIDA, which was established by a military order, has been in the news lately for announcing that three New Zealand and Australian journalists would remain banned from Fiji because of alleged negative reporting on the regime.

Pacific Scoop
All editorial and news content produced under the principles of Creative Commons. Permission to republish with attribution may be obtained from the Pacific Media Centre –


24) Microfinance provider helps 1200 women in business

Jone Kalouniviti
Friday, April 04, 2014

THE South Pacific Business Development Microfinance Limited has helped fund the businesses of 1200 women in the Western Division so far.

And it also covers life insurance for as much as $5000 to $10,000. Those businesses, which range from small village canteens, handicraft centres, baking and sewing ventures, have helped improve the lives of many families.

SPBD general manager Elrico Munoz said the company had worked hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Women and Social Welfare and stakeholders to administer unsecured business loans for women.

“We usually cluster groups of women in communities or villages into groups of 10 to 35 so they can help each other out, and loans are administered depending on the type of business they would like to set up,” Mr Munoz said.

SPBD has offices in Sigatoka and Lautoka.Fijitimes

25) Women in PNG still have barriers in business
By Online Editor
09:51 am GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is experiencing exceptional economic growth with large new investments in communication, construction, real estate and more notably in the PNG-LNG.

Road infrastructure is in stages of improvement and has started to link remote areas.

These investments have spilled over into other sectors that have created more opportunities in employment and expanding exciting business says the Patron of the PNG Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry Patron and wife of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Lynda Babao.

Speaking during a breakfast meeting staged by the PNG Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Port Moresby  this week Babao said the opportunities in PNG to now be endless as PNG has yet to capitalise and specialise in many industries including tourism and agriculture like other countries have.

However, she said there to also be barriers that still need to be overcome particularly for women of PNG whom she also hailed as “an untapped resource” in doing business an achieving financial independence.

She said while some commendable initiatives have been undertaken both by government and the private sector, there needs to be more social and legislation changes.

Babao said the major obstacle for women to be education and knowledge, access to funds especially to start up business, law and order, government officials and lack of strong supportive business network.

She said education and knowledge to be key in the lack of often results in low self-esteem which further hinders confidence in negotiating or seeking appropriate assistance to establishing a business.

Babao said a strong supportive business network where women can have access to professional help such as lawyers, accountants and law enforcement officers to also be another important factor in women in doing business and achieving financial independence.

“A network of advocates mentors and role models that can inspire, motivate and guide women through the stages of business. I cannot emphasis how important a supportive network is for I believe it played a significant part in establishing and growing my business,” she said.

Despite these challenges Ms Babao said she to be confident the future to hold promise.

She said initiativs undertaken by governments through its policies including free education, free health, Family protection Bill, its support to the National Development Bank and the efforts from private sector and other partners to be factors that would enable the women of this country to realise their dreams.

“We should take note of what initiatives are working and replicate them.

“Professional such as lawyers and accountants should be made to do a certain pro-bona every year as part of their lisencing to practice their profession in the country.

“In line with government policies I see a next generation of PNG business women being educated, confident, having the support from both their male and female counterparts and being able to have a choice in numerous financial facilities that cater to their specific needs enabling them to contribute to the formal sector,” she said.


26) European Union supports Pacific enterprises at regional trade show
By Online Editor
09:55 am GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Fiji

Four enterprises from the Pacific have been supported by the European Union to showcase their products to international buyers at Trade Pasifika 2014.

The enterprises – Liman TL and Maubere Mountain Coffee, both from Timor-Leste; Women in Business Development Inc. from Samoa; and the Crab Company (Fiji) Ltd from Fiji – are just four of the many enterprises from the Pacific that are exhibiting at this year’s trade show, which  is currently under way at the Vodafone Arena, Suva, Fiji.

Support for the four enterprises has been facilitated through the European Union-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project, which works with private sector enterprises in strengthening the export capacity of Pacific countries in the agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and livestock sectors. This project is implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The trade show features the best of agriculture, aquaculture and tourism products from 17 Pacific Island countries.

IACT project Team Leader, Samu Turagacati, said that Trade Pasifika is a valuable opportunity for small and medium enterprises looking to export overseas.

“The remoteness of some of our Pacific enterprises puts them in a challenging position when it comes to gaining access to larger offshore markets for their products. Trade Pasifika provides a platform for these enterprises to meet with buyers who they otherwise may not be able to meet, foster business relationships, and secure market leads for their products,” he added.

Turagacati said that European Union’s support for enterprises at trade shows is vital in helping the Pacific to become a recognised provider of high quality, consistent, safe, clean products.
It is expected that exhibitors will be able to establish key business contacts that may lead to trading opportunities at the three-day event.

These contacts, Turagacati says, can either be people who want to buy and distribute products, or those who are part of the distribution chain and can provide valuable information about the export market

He explained that a careful selection process was followed by the IACT team to select enterprises to exhibit at Trade Pasifika. Expressions of interest were sent to enterprises that met the criteria and were export ready, or already exporting. Out of this, he said, four enterprises came back confirming their participation.

Turagacati says that Trade Pasifika also provides exhibitors with the opportunity to learn from each other, especially in the areas of product branding, packaging, promotion, distribution and pricing.

The IACT project is considering several other trade shows for its enterprises in key export markets this year. These include the Fine Food shows in New Zealand and Australia and the SIAL Food Fair in Paris, France.

The support provided for the four enterprises to exhibit at Trade Pasifika is part of an agreement that was signed last year to strengthen the existing partnership between SPC and the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), the parent body responsible for organising Trade Pasifika.


27) Natural disaster major threat to Pacific economies

By Online Editor
4:23 pm GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Fiji

The relationship between natural disasters and economies was highlighted at the Second Pacific Regional Meeting of Ministers of Energy and Maritime Transport in Nadi..

Fiji’s Minister for Labour Jone Usamate said the cost of these disasters to Pacific economies especially infrastructure is large and often unsustainable.

“Unexpected events and natural disasters bring destruction to our communities and negatively impact our economic growth and sustainable development as Pacific people,” Mr Usamate said.

“Pacific people share many development problems that are common to all of us problems in the areas of energy and transport services however we are still confident that we can seek and find solutions to our development problems,” Usamate said.

Usamate pointed out that regional integration, partnership and dialogue will be the avenue to address these challenges.

Meanwhile Tokelau’s Minister for Transport and Energy Foua Toloa told participants that his country is the first country in the world to be producing one hundred percent of its electricity from a renewable source—the sun.

“Commitments of this nature define the approach of developing “Pacific solutions to Pacific problems” as we strive to address the impacts of climate change on our island nations,” Mr Toloa said.

“I urge leaders to adopt similar actions and be a beacon to the rest of the world in how to reduce a country’s carbon footprint,” Toloa said.

Toloa said the government of Tokelau has plans to maintain the strong momentum and ensuring that initiatives are maintained.

The meeting ends today with regional countries signing the communiqué on discussions and way forward.


28) PNG Expects Unprecedented Growth, Wealth Gap To Widen
ADB economist says LNG boom to be felt by ‘lucky few’

By Jemima Garrett

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 3, 2014) – An Asian Development Bank economist has warned that despite unprecedented economic growth forecast for Papua New Guinea, the gap between rich and poor will widen.

The latest Asian Development Outlook report has predicted growth of six per cent this year, leaping to 21 per cent in 2015.

The Asian Development Bank’s PNG economist, Aaron Batten, says the boom will come mostly from the onset of liquid natural gas exports.

But Mr Batten cautions that outside of the mining and petroleum industries the PNG economy is slowing dramatically.

“What we do expect to happen is that over the next couple of years as growth becomes more concentrated in the mining and petroleum sectors is a slowing of that job creation and new income earning opportunities in PNG,” he said.

Mr Batten says the benefits of the massive economic growth expected in PNG may only be felt by a lucky few involved in the resources sector.

However, the ExxonMobil PNG LNG project, which will come on line later this year, may produce tangible benefits for all Papua New Guineans.

Aaron Batten says a fund set from the PNG LNG project’s royalties should lead to more spending on public services.

“The Sovereign Wealth Fund can play a very important role in helping PNG to mitigate some of the adverse effects of its dependency on mining and petroleum projects, particularly in smoothing out some of the volatility that is typical of these types of economies,” he said.

Radio Australia

29) Companies Explore Nickel Deposits In Southern New Caledonia
Province enters into joint venture with Eramet, Vale

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 3, 2014) – New Caledonia’s southern province has approved a deal with two major nickel companies to explore a huge ore deposit.

The province’s memorandum of understanding with Eramet of France and Vale of Brazil provides for a four-year study of the Prony and Pernod deposits in the south of the main island.

A joint venture company, in which the provincial government is the biggest shareholder, is to examine estimates that the deposits contain three million tonnes of nickel which could be mined over 50 years.

Should a processing plant be built, the province will have a 10 percent stake plus a small share of the value of the nickel sold.

The opposition is critical of the deal, saying it is rushed as only six weeks remain before the provincial election.

The deal is to be formally signed off by the head of Eramet and Vale at the end of the week.

The two companies each have a large nickel plant in the southern province.

Radio New Zealand International


30) Contestants talk effects

Mere Naleba
Sunday, April 06, 2014

CLIMATE change is not only affecting countries overseas but also islands in Fiji that are now experiencing rising in sea level because of the effect

The Hibiscus Events Group this year has started auditions for the Hibiscus Festival scheduled for August with those entering the auditions being asked to talk briefly on climate change as the theme this year is “Climate Change Affecting Human Lives”.

The festival, through the partnership of the Fiji School of Medicine and the Health Ministry, will also use the platform to discuss issues regarding climate change leading to non-communicable diseases.

“This year the committee and the contestants will advocate on the theme that has and will continue to affect our home, our Pacific, our world with Climate Change — Affecting Human Lives,” said events chairman Hirdesh Prasad.

“The 2014 Vodafone Hibiscus Festival hopes to create this awareness since climate change has already affected agriculture, human health, ecosystems, water supplies and people’s livelihoods. The effects are experienced from the tropics to the poles, from our small Pacific Islands to the larger continents as well as the wealthiest nations to the poorest one.”

He said the challenges many faced daily was trying to improve local and global health, and to control NCDs and promote the protection of people from the effects of climate change.

“This is the message that the Hibiscus committee wants to take to the nation in this year’s festival and we can only achieve it if we work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health,” he said.

Auditions for the festival had started and will continue on the next two Saturdays.Fijitimes


31) Fijiana thrash Ireland 36-7

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Update: 6:34AM THE Fijiana team smashed Ireland 36-7 in its final Pool B match in Guanzhou last night.

The Iliesa Tanivula-coached side scored five tries to Asinate Savu (2), Timaima Ravisa, Litia Naiqato, Rusila Tamoi and Ana Roqica.

The team had earlier lost to Australia 24-5 in their second pool game yesterday.

The Fijiana side is now sitting in second spot in Pool B and will now meet Russia in one of the Cup quarter-finals.Fijitimes

Fijiana to appear at Women’s World Sevens in China

5 April 2014

Fiji make their second appearance on the Women’s World Sevens Series later today at the penultimate round in Guangzhou, China.

The Fijiana team won three of five matches in the opening round in Dubai, in November, beating France in the bowl final.

They’ve been drawn alongside England and Ireland in Pool B this weekend as well as joint series leaders Australia, who won the Cup title in Dubai and Brazil.Radio New Zealand Int.

32) Hekari on the road to begin OFC tour in Fiji

By Online Editor
12:53 pm GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

Hekari United FC depart Port Moresby Friday for the Oceania Football Confederation champions’ league in Fiji starting on Monday.

They play their first match at 1pm (PNG time) and another on Thursday and the final round robin match on Sunday April 13.

Head coach, Jerry Allen said team preparation has been good despite losing some of their key players who are nursing injuries.

But that will not hinder the 23 men squad from putting their best shot on the field and performing to the best of the ability.

Team manageress, Vonnie Kapinato said: “All the players have the passion for football and they love it both on and off the field and discipline must always be maintained.

“I believe the boys can do it and make it to the finals because they have done it before and have experienced the fact that they can it.”

Franchise owner, John Kapinato said Hekari has already set the standard and the dynamics of the players has risen rapidly.

Kapinato said: “Hekari is representing PNG and it is sad they have received no support from the Sports Minister despite sending a letter and also the PNGFA has given nothing to the team.

“Everyone should be proud of Hekari participating at the tournament because if we win all our matches in Fiji I will ensure that the semi final is played in Port Moresby”.

If Hekari wins the champions league then they will qualify for the world league in Morocco towards the end of this year.

The team is David Muta, Kema Jack. Koriak Upaiga (captain),Leslie Kalai, Godfrey Baniau, Ericson Komeng, Ian Nurphan Yanum, Kilapolena Iaravai, Nigel Dabinyaba, Raymond Gunemba, Tonga Esira, Joachim Waroi, Nicholas Muri Maka’a, Tutizama Tanito, Pita Bolatonga Senibiaukula, Tuimasi T. Kubunavanua Manuca, Jean Kaltack, Scott William Gannon, Brian Kaltack, Neil Samuga Hans, Wilson Giasuau Kila and Daniel Joe.


33) Tafea FC targets Hekari in first game

Maciu Malo
Sunday, April 06, 2014

TAFEA FC is confident of dethroning the star-studded Hekari United in their first OFC Champions League clash at Ba’s Govind Park.

After a friendly game against Vodafone Shop and Save Nadi on Friday, the Vanuatu-based side has set its target on the champion PNG outfit.

Team manager Stephen Felix said his troops had prepared well for the tournament and they were eager to show their class against Hekari.

He said the boys were in top shape and they are confident of their chances.

“Our aim is like all other teams playing in this competition, we are here for a purpose,” said Felix.

“Our first focus is to do well against Hekari in our first game before we can concentrate on other pool games.

“The boys are also aiming to secure the semi-final spot and they know what is required in the pool stages.”

Felix said the inclusion of some Fijian boys in the Hekari outfit would inspire the side to do well.

But he has faith in his side that they would deliver the goods for our fans here in Fiji and back home.”

“All these boys are local players back home who have proven their worth to be in this team and I am confident they will give Hekari a good run for their money.”Fijitimes

34) Iamo likely to retain PNG Pepes Netball coach
By Online Editor
12:50 pm GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

Ani Iamo is likely to be retained as the national Pepes coach and she has in front of her a huge task now to qualify for the World Cup and win a medal at next year’s Pacific Games.

Since Iamo’s appointment as head coach last year the Pepes have produced several improved performances at regional tournaments.

The Pepes finished a surprise second behind Fiji at the Pacific Netball Series in Apia, Samoa, last June.
The highlight of that tournament was a pair of upset victories over Samoa (56-48) and Cook Islands (67-53).
The Pepes then headed to Singapore with the top seeding for the Nations Cup last December.

They held convincing victories over Sri Lanka (76-52), Ireland (66-33) and the USA (72-31), but a 43-44 loss to home side Singapore and a 52-52 draw with Uganda was enough to relegate the spirited Pepes to a third-place playoff which they won.

Iamo, along with her staff, has been credited for rise in the Pepes’ fortunes.

They actively promoted of the next generation of national stars and have made use of Netball PNG’s development and training programmes to develop a playing group that performed consistently over the last 12 months.

If re-appointed Iamo will stay in the job for two years seeing the Pepes to the World Cup qualifiers in June and the Pacific Games.

Former assistant coach Mona Lisa Leka, pictured, who also played a part in the Pepes’ rise is expected to be overlooked for re-appointment owing to the fact that she holds the executive post of secretary in the PNG Netball. The National was reliably informed there were other two applicants for the job – both overseas-based Papua New Guineans – but no formal announcement has been made yet.

It is understood the two women are Australian citizens but Papua New Guineans heavily involved with netball. Team manager Lydia Veali has re-applied for the job but a decision has yet to be made also.

PNG Netball president Julienne Leka-Maliaki is currently overseas.

But a special Netball PNG executive meeting was held yesterday and final endorsements will be made by the PNG Olympic Committee.

The train-on squad of 20 players has been training with the group to be trimmed to a final 12 for the regional qualifier in Rarotonga, Cook Islands in June.

The squad is set for a high intensive training camp during the Easter weekend but the unavailability of playing courts is a concern.

The Rita Flynn courts are expected to undergo refurbishment this month for the Pacific Games.

The Sir John Guise indoor stadium is another venue now undergoing redevelopment.

The train-on squad: Tiata Baldwin, Maleta Roberts, Raylene Andrew, Japhet Tulapi, MaryPaul Buehler, Jacklyn Lahari (shooters), Winnie Mavara, Kimberly Alex, Marinama Maha, Nerrie Adula, Cheryl Renagi, Gase Moka, Shannah Dringo (midcourt), Kilala Owen, Susan Wellington, Lua Mavara, Courtney Abel, Tau Galewa, Alice Tai (Defenders).


35) Chelsea returns to top of English Premier League with 3-0 win against Stoke

Updated 6 April 2014, 7:29 AEST

Chelsea returned to the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 win at home to Stoke on Saturday in a timely boost ahead of their do-or-die Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Jose Mourinho’s side bounced back from their 3-1 mid-week quarter-final first leg loss in Paris to move a point ahead of Liverpool, who will regain top spot if they avoid defeat away to West Ham on Sunday.

“I think the players played well,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “Normally after a defeat you don’t start confidently but this team today went upwards all the time. After the second goal the game was over.”

Egypt winger Mohamed Salah marked his first Premier League start by giving Chelsea, who welcome PSG on Tuesday, a 32nd minute lead at Stamford Bridge when he turned in Nemanja Matic’s cut-back.

Salah then won a penalty after Andy Wilkinson’s poor challenge and although Frank Lampard’s 61st minute spot-kick was saved by Asmir Begovic, the veteran England midfielder followed up to make it 2-0.

Willian added a third goal with a curling shot in the 72nd minute.

City maintains title challenge

Manchester City maintained their title challenge with a 4-1 win at home to Southampton that left them two points off the summit and still with two games in hand over both Chelsea and Liverpool at the end of this weekend.

Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Saints’ Rickie Lambert both struck from the penalty spot before Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko scored in first-half stoppage-time to make it 4-1 to Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

However, controversy surrounded Nasri’s goal with David Silva, who played in the France midfielder, offside when he received the ball.

City substitute Stevan Jovetic added a fourth goal in the 81st minute.

“I haven’t seen it (City’s second goal) yet but it is the referee (Chris Foy) who decides,” said Pellegrini.

“I don’t think the difference between the two sides was just one goal.”

Defeat was made worse for the Saints when Jay Rodriguez, one of their England strikers, was carried off on a stretcher after suffering a first-half knee injury that put a huge question mark against his chances of being selected in Roy Hodgson’s squad for this June’s World Cup finals in Brazil.

United move above Spurs

Juan Mata scored twice as Manchester United moved above Tottenham, who face Sunderland on Monday, and into sixth place with a 4-0 win away to Newcastle.

Following their impressive 1-1 Champions League draw at home to title-holders Bayern Munich, David Moyes’s side took the lead at St James’ Park courtesy of Mata’s curling 39th minute free-kick.

The Spain midfielder doubled United’s advantage five minutes after half-time.

Javier Hernandez then made it 3-0 in the 65th minute after being played in by Japan’s Shinji Kagawa and substitute Adnan Januzaj completed the scoring in stoppage time.

“Mata was terrific and so were Shinji Kagawa and Darren Fletcher,” said United manager Moyes.

The Scot, who made eight changes from midweek, added: “We’ve left a few players at home and not played a few players. We are hoping they will be fit for Wednesday night’s game at Bayern Munich.”

Fulham off the bottom

Fulham moved off the bottom of the table with a 2-1 win away to Aston Villa.

The Cottagers remained in the relegation zone but are now just five points shy of safety with five games left.

Jason Puncheon scored two goals as Crystal Palace moved seven points clear of relegation with a 3-0 win over Cardiff that left the Welsh club in the bottom three.

West Bromwich Albion went five points clear of the drop zone with a 1-0 victory away to Norwich while Hull beat Swansea by the same scoreline at the KC Stadium.

Everton and Arsenal, fifth and fourth respectively, clash at Goodison Park on Sunday.


36) Matildas lose 1-0 to Brazil with coach Hesterine de Reus under investigation over alleged player mutiny

Updated 6 April 2014, 18:28 AEST

The Matildas have lost 1-0 to Brazil as allegations of a player mutiny against coach Hesterine de Reus are being investigated by the FFA.

Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop says he is looking into allegations of a revolt by the Matildas players against coach Hesterine de Reus.

Gallop was at the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre in Brisbane on Sunday to watch the Australian women’s side go down 1-0 to Brazil in the first of two tune-up matches against the South Americans ahead of the Matildas’ Asian Cup title defence in May.

That result played second fiddle to revelations that Australian players have allegedly approached union body Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) to take action against 52-year-old Dutchwoman de Reus over her tough disciplinarian line.

Gallop said the governing body was working quickly to investigate the “concerning reports”.

He confirmed that national technical director Han Berger, head of national performance Luke Casserly – who has been with the team this week – and former Matilda and current women’s football co-ordinator Sarah Walsh would put together a report.

“We will put a report together as quickly as possible,” he said.

“We’ll work out how to take it forward from there.

“At the moment we are getting on top of these concerning reports.

“We’ll make sure we do a thorough job on that first.”

Photo: Player mutiny … Matildas coach Hesterine de Reus.(Getty Images: Chris Hyde)

Some of the reported complaints have included being in virtual lockdown at team hotels, being barred from seeing parents and general disenchantment with de Reus’s hardline coaching methods.

Dual international Ellyse Perry, the highest-profile player in the squad, has also been shown the door by the coach who does not believe the 23-year-old can become a world-class footballer as long as she is playing cricket for Australia.

De Reus took her place beside the players’ bench on Sunday, but it remains a distraction ahead of an Asian Cup campaign where the Matildas need a top-five finish to secure a World Cup berth.

If the talk of mutiny against the coach was true leading into the match, it did not affect the Matildas on the field as they banged bodies and took the game to the physical world number six ranked side.

Debora “Debinha” Oliveira broke the deadlock in the 67th minute with a well-constructed play that put her one-on-one with Matildas goalkeeper Brianna Davey, who had repelled several previous raids but was powerless to stop the Brazilian striker in clear space.

Striker Michelle Heyman had a chance to level the scores in injury time but her shot sailed just wide.


37)  Hurricanes beat Bulls 25-20 in Super Rugby clash in Napier

Updated 5 April 2014, 22:55 AEST

The boot of Beauden Barrett gave the Hurricanes a first Super Rugby win over the Bulls since 2008 with a 25-20 victory.

The Hurricanes made heavy work of it but 20 points from the boot of Beauden Barrett gave them a first Super Rugby win over South Africa’s Bulls since 2008 with a 25-20 victory in Napier on Saturday.


View full stats sheet

The hosts simply dominated the first half but led only 16-13 at the break after Bulls full-back Jurgen Visser scored out of the blue from his own up-and-under to cancel out his opposite number Andre Taylor’s 15th minute effort.

Barrett’s fourth penalty extended the lead 25 minutes into the second half but the Bulls responded immediately through replacement fly half Handre Pollard’s brilliant solo effort, which he converted to put the visitors 20-19 ahead.

Fly half Barrett ensured the Hurricanes would not pay for their first half profligacy, however, kicking two more penalties in the final eight minutes to give his side their third win of the season.


Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 958


1) Port Vila By-Eleksen Kampen

Olgeta -

KAMPEN T-shet:
Yu save kam long ples blong kampen, o sipos no long reception blong Ministri blong Lands, blong pem wan kampen T-shirt blong Andrew blong 1000 vatu.
NAOIA TU yu save pem tu long Beverley Hills General Store (hemia narasaed smol park long en i go long Freswota 5).

Yu save daonlodem mo printim-aot o yu save sendem long email posta blong Andrew Napuat, kandidet blong yumi, long ples ia.

Statistik form:
Sipos yu wantem givim sapot long GJP mo yu wantem mifala save yu, kam long long ples blong kampen o long reception blong Ministri blong Lands blong pikimap wan statistik form blong fulumap nem blong yufala mo givimbak bifo by-eleksen.


Tosde 3 Eprel
5:30pm: Simbolo Red Laet
7.30pm: Namburu Park

Fraede 4 Eprel
12pm: Malapoa waetwud
5:30pm: Stade Basketball Kot
7.30pm: Chik Kau Store, Fresh Wota 1

Satede 5 Eprel
2pm: Ohlen Freshwind (Jif Malachai)
3.30pm Beverly Hills (bae i gat fandresing tu long taem ia)
7.30pm: Jif Francis Nakamal, Fresh Wota 6

Sande 6 Eprel
1pm: Santo restoron, Bladinière
2.30pm: Etas shograon
4pm: Etas haf-rod
5.30pm: Teouma Ville Shopping Senta

Mande 7 Eprel
12pm: Manples Market
5.30pm: Ohlen Mataso
7.30pm: Manples Kokoriko

Tyusde 8 Eprel
12pm: Shanghai mama’s market (Petanque eria, Sea Front)
5:30pm: Seaside Paama
7.30pm: Seaside Tongoa

Wednesde 9 Eprel
11am: Market Haos
5.30pm: Blacksand
7.30pm:  Switi

Tosde 10 Eprel
5:30pm: Emae komuniti opposite New Covenant Jioj (Sheperd studio eria)
7.30pm: Bladinière; nakamal blong Patrick

Fraede 11 Eprel
11am: Sea Front Stej
5.30pm: Fresh Wota 5 T-Junction
7.30pm: Vao komiuniti (St Paul Senta, Freswota)

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu

2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 2 April 2014

by bobmakin

Crystal Shores seeking investors for Erakor and Eratap

  • One of the earliest land projects under the new reforming lands legislation will involve the entire populations of both Erakor and Eratap, jointly and together. South Pacific Ltd, a company of George Winslet, Ric Buckton and Jack Dihm, with project experience in Vanuatu, Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Canada and California, is intending selling shares and leases to investors to almost all of the land between the Erakor Lagoon and Teouma River. Two thousand hectares are involved. Their brochure shows plans for lagoon and island resorts and golf courses, and investors can even purchase a casino licence for two million dollars.
  • “Crystal Shores” is the name of the undertaking. No Environment Impact Assessment has been sought nor application made to the new Land Planning and Management Committee. Indeed, out of 6 people from Erakor and Eratap addressed Monday, not one was aware of what South Pacific Ltd intends to do with their land. All could identify their own land within the plans for the project but none had been approached to sell it, despite Crystal Shores seeking investors to purchase their subsistence gardens. Some felt their land was being stolen.
  • The Crystal Shores Land Acquisition Plan shows certain large areas marked as “untitled parcels”, rather suggesting Winslett and Dihm (both resident) feel they could easily obtain these areas. They must surely be aware of the earlier attempts to build a much smaller hotel complex at Etmat Bay which had a permanent road built to it from the main road to Erakor, later closed because of the division the project caused in the community. Erakor is marked as Stage One. Eratap is called Stage Two and a somewhat demeaning “Indigenous Reserve” has been set aside for the Eratap people even though they own all of Stage Two themselves, whether or not there are leases over certain parts of their land. Indeed, Eratap villagers have been in court during the week over a major land matter.
  • Potential Asian, American and Australian interested investors, possibly with CIIP status, receive brochures showing golf clubs and beach resorts. The printed material allegedly demonstrates the promoters’ expertise in creating such places, starting with Breakas, Pango. The Master Plan has provision for beach, lagoon and island resorts, townhouses, bungalows, hilltop, country and oceanfront lots, and forest estates.
  • It is not known whether this “project” is intended to join another, rumoured to be in the planning stage, located just the other side of the Teouma River. This would be in close proximity to the “greenfield” airport the government wants to build, allegedly at Rentabau.
  • None of these projects have been the subject of awareness discussions involving important environmental and sea level discussions and the populations whose lands and birthright would become the principal asset in the investment. Anyone thinking of investing should note that they can purchase copies of the most recent lands legislation from the Lands Department for VT 900. Not quite as lavish a document as the Crystal Shores brochure for investors it is, never-the-less, essential reading for everyone intending to lease anywhere in Vanuatu – an essential component in due diligence.


3) Samoa first Pacific country to complete global sustainable programme

By Online Editor
09:44 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Samoa

Samoa has received a boost to its international tourism credentials by being the first Pacific country and the second country worldwide to complete a sustainable tourism programme.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council says their Early Adopter Programme is a way to help countries to put sustainability high on the priority list for tourism ventures.

The programme was implemented by Sustainable Travel International and managed by its Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Jeremy Sampson.

Sampson says Samoa have long demonstrated good sustainability practices and set up its own monitoring unit back in the 1990s.

“Samoa actually has demonstrated leadership in sustainability practices for a long time. They really have a great baseline in place for destination management and I think they should be recognised for that. They have a vision for Samoa to be recognised as the leading sustainable tourism destination in the region.”.


4) Samoa and American Samoa delegates meet to set agenda for May talks

By Online Editor
3:30 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, American Samoa

Trade and investment talks between Samoa and American Samoa this week will be a prelude to the two-Samoa talks in May.

American Samoa’s Director of Commerce Keniseli Lafaele says the two days of talks in Tafuna focus on the economy.

Issues to be discussed include economic integration, opportunity for investments in both countries, and ways to ease doing buisiness..

Samoa’s deputy prime minister Fonotoe Lauofo Pierre is leading Samoa’s delegation which will include Samoa’s ministry of commerce, labour, and industry and ministry of foreign affairs and trade CEOs and their key staff.

Also attending are representatives from Samoa’s private sector and non-government organizations.

The American Samoa delegation comprises members of the two Samoa task force that was appointed by governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga last year.



6) Proposed legislation could make it easier for Guam residents to obtain firearm permits

By Online Editor
08:56 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Guam

More residents in Guam may soon be able to carry concealed firearms if a bill introduced into its legislature is passed.

The bill, which has bipartisan support, was introduced into Parliament by Senator Tony Ada.

Co-sponsor of the bill, Senator Aline Yamashita, has told Pacific Beat that at present 50 per cent of residents in the US territory who apply for a permit to carry a concealed firearm are unsuccessful.

She says the Second Amendment to the US Constitution says people shall have the right to bear arms and the proposed legislation would mean more Guam residents would be able to exercise this right.

Senator Yamashita says if the bill is passed people wanting to apply for a licence to carry concealed firearms would have to undergo safety training.

“They should absolutely be trained for a concealed weapon and so there is a variety of training courses that they would have to complete,” she said.

The bill also proposes that those who are given a licence to carry a concealed firearm in Guam are not mentally impaired and do not have a criminal conviction.

Senator Yamashita says applicants will be screened by police.

A public hearing on the proposed legislation is expected to be held in about a month.


7) Report: CNMI Minimum Wage Hikes Offset By Price Spikes
Average inflation adjusted earnings show meager 1% increase

By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, April 2, 2014) –A 114-page U.S. Government Accountability Office report released yesterday showed that increases in CNMI employees’ earnings as a result of minimum wage hikes have been largely negated by consumer price increases, including fuel. The CNMI’s current minimum wage of $5.55 an hour will increase by another 50 cents to $6.05 an hour on Sept. 30 this year.

Employees’ average earnings increased by 3 percent from 2011 to 2012, but prices increased by 2 percent.

This means the inflation-adjusted average earnings of those employed increased only by 1 percent, says the GAO report.

GAO is the U.S. Congress’ investigative arm.

From 2006 to 2012, average inflation-adjusted earnings fell by about 2 percent. This was a result of about 29-percent increase in average earnings that was offset by an about 31-percent increase in prices in the same period.

But minimum wage was not as important a concern as the potential loss of foreign workers after Dec. 31, 2014, when the transitional CW program expires, and a halt to Russian and Chinese tourists’ parole into the CNMI, the GAO report says.

Meanwhile, the Inos administration said yesterday that Gov. Eloy S. Inos’ proposed fiscal year 2015 budget takes into consideration this year’s scheduled Sept. 30 minimum wage increase of 50 cents an hour.

“The impact on this budget proposal for the salary adjustments to a total of 189 employees is estimated at $220,000,” press secretary Angel Demapan told Saipan Tribune.

As of 7 last night, the Legislature had yet to receive the governor’s proposed 2015 budget. But the governor had until 11:59pm last night to do so.

GAO’s report, “American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Economic indicators since minimum wage increases began,” cites the impact of minimum wage increases since 2007.

The 2007 U.S. law requires the CNMI and American Samoa to increase their minimum wage by 50 cents every year until it reaches the federal wage floor of $7.25 an hour.

But subsequent laws allowed the CNMI to skip a 50-cent hike in 2011, 2013, and 2015 amid concerns about their impact on the economy. The CNMI will reach the current U.S. minimum wage on Sept. 30, 2018.

Since the sizeable garment industry left the CNMI, the territory has relied on its lone industry, tourism.

The GAO report says the minimum wage “was not as important a concern for discussion group participants as the potential loss of the foreign labor force.”

“For hotel representatives we spoke with, providing easier access for Russian and Chinese tourists by having the Department of Homeland Security continue to parole these individuals into the CNMI was a greater concern than the minimum wage,” the GAO report says.

Workers on both Saipan and Tinian “feared that prices would increase along with the minimum wage, as they said had occurred at the time of previous increases.”

Commerce Secretary Sixto Igisomar, in a comment letter to GAO’s David Gootnick, said key challenges faced by CNMI businesses range from “uncertainties surrounding the availability of qualified workers or a labor force, pending a decision from U.S. Department of Labor on contract workers (CWs) program extension.”

He said the CNMI governor continues to urge U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to extend the CW program.

Igisomar also said businesses are predisposed to a high cost of transacting business in an isolated economy that is dependent on imported goods to operate the lone tourism service industry, among others.

He said the cost of fuel locally and globally affects local utility and transportation costs, as well as the opportunity for airlines to service the CNMI tourism industry.

“Although the CNMI does not have a specific disposable income ratio, the average income should negotiate the cost of basic necessities, which it does not. Our residents must cope with the additional burden of high utility and health care costs,” the Commerce secretary said.

This year, the CNMI government and its employees must cover a more than 30-percent increase in the government employee health insurance plan premiums, while government retirees saw a 25-percent pension cut.

“This hurdle for government employees is dwarfed by the complete lack of health insurance coverage in the private market for new insured lives in the year 2014—due to implications of the Affordable Care Act,” Igisomar told GAO’s Gootnick.

GAO says the CNMI’s gross domestic product decreased by approximately 36 percent from 2006 to 2012. It has remained relatively flat since 2009.

Population declined from 69,221 in 2000 to 53,883 in 2010.

The total number of people employed fell by some 6 percent or from 25,229 in 2011 to 23,720 in 2012, based on CNMI government tax data.

From 2006 to 2012, the number of people employed went down by 45 percent or from 43,036 to 23,720. Decreases prior to 2009 reflect the closures of garment factories, which employed thousands of foreign workers.

CNMI hotel occupancy and room rates have increased in recent years, but industry representatives that GAO spoke with characterized the recent growth as “an opportunity to recover and reinvest in their properties.”

From June 2011 to June 2013, the median wage among workers employed by CNMI hotel industry questionnaire respondents increased by 10 percent—from $5.33 to $5.86 an hour, the GAO report says.

Future minimum wage increases would affect the wages of 94 percent of current workers in the CNMI hotel industry by the time the minimum wage reaches $7.25 in 2018.

GAO says that based on the wages workers currently earn, minimum wage increases would increase the average annual cost per worker in 2018 by $3,051 since June 2013.

In 2018, payroll will be representing 31 percent of hotels’ total operating costs compared to some 26 percent in 2012.

Hotels representing the majority of all workers employed by respondents to GAO’s questionnaire attributed past cost-saving strategies and price increases to minimum wage increases.

The GAO report says hotels also attributed their actions to other increased costs and changes to U.S. immigration law, which reduced the number of available permits for foreign workers in the CNMI.

Saipan Tribune


8) Australian foreign affairs public servants on collision course with their bosses

By Online Editor
3:23 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Australia

Public servants at the merged foreign affairs department are on a collision course with their bosses after left-leaning AusAID trade unionists crushed their conservative DFAT colleagues in an internal power struggle.

The electoral rout of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials sets up a clash with departmental bosses as the heavily unionised AusAIDers prepare to defend generous entitlements built up before their agency was abolished.

As the Community and Public Sector Union’s national leaders called for the feud to be left in the past, one DFAT public servant fired a parting shot at the victorious AusAIDers, accusing them of issuing a ”hardline Bolshevik manifesto” in their hour of triumph.

Bad blood between the two groups has been simmering since the uneasy marriage of Foreign Affairs and overseas aid departments was announced last September.

Cultural differences have emerged starkly as management struggles to integrate the two departments.

In the ballot for a head of the merged department’s CPSU ”section”, AusAID veteran Aileen Croghan easily brushed aside DFAT stalwart Christopher Lang 466 votes to 149 with ballots falling along departmental lines.

It was widely expected the more heavily unionised AusAID workers would dominate the vote, but now delegates from the scrapped agency face wage talks with management dominated by DFAT bosses.

In her victory email Croghan hit back at claims that AusAID union delegates were too close to the left wing of the Labor Party. ”Suggestions circulated to members and the media prior to and during the election about a takeover or link to party politics in these decisions are simply untrue,” the newly elected section secretary wrote.

But one DFAT insider said the basic distrust between the two camps was still there.

The foreign affairs official described Ms Croghan’s email as a “hardline Bolshevik manifesto”.

“They say one thing and do another so the hypocrisy is still there,”’ the DFAT worker said.

Another foreign affairs official simply said; “’They broke it, they now own it”’.

Lang refused to speak publicly about his defeat and the CPSU leadership saidCroghan was not available for interview.

A key source of friction between the two departments has been the perception in DFAT that AusAID conditions, particularly on overseas postings, are more generous than those of their new colleagues. They are expected to be a sticking point in the enterprise bargaining talks.

DFAT’s media operation failed to respond to questions before deadline on Tuesday.

CPSU deputy secretary Rupert Evans played down the rift between the factions, saying it was good to see so many union members voting.

“The key focus of CPSU members and delegates now is fighting to protect jobs and services and dealing with the Abbott government’s highly aggressive bargaining framework,” Evans said…..


9) Australian Immigration Minister Morrison to be briefed on Manus incident

By Online Editor
3:32 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Australia

The Australian immigration department will brief minister Scott Morrison on the latest findings into the death of an asylum seeker at Manus Island.

The department has received an interim report into the violence at the detention centre last month that left 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati dead.

It comes as Morrison prepares to visit Papua New Guinea this week for an update from local police on the progress of investigations into the incident.

A spokesperson for Morrison said he would be briefed on the progress report, adding the government was following the same processes as Labor did when the Nauru centre was burned down last year.

“The final report will be released, consistent with those same processes,” the spokesperson told AAP in a statement.

The spokesperson said Labor did not release the report into the riot at Nauru in July 2013 until after the election, and had delayed other similar reports.

A review into the violence at the Manus Island centre is being conducted by former secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Robert Cornall.

Labor has been pushing for the release of the interim report, arguing the government must take all precautions to prevent any future incidents.

“(The government) now needs to release the report to make sure whatever safeguards are needed can be put in place to avoid such a tragic incident occurring again,” opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles said.

The government has also copped criticism for not sending Australian police to assist PNG with the investigation.



10) Woning long taim nogut bilong win, ren na si bruk long Solomon Islands

Updated 3 April 2014, 11:23 AEST

Gina Kekea

Odio: Gina Kekea ripota long Honiara i ripot long taim nogut bilong ren na win

Ol woning blong Solomon Islands Meteorology Sevis i tok ol pipol imas wuas gut taem ol igo aut long ren na imas banisim gut haus blong ol long displa ol taem nogut.
Gina Kekea i tok dispela  strongpla win na ren i karamapim olgeta hap blong Solomon Islands na tu long kapital Honiara.

Em i tok taim em ibin go long wok long moning em i ken pilim na lukim dispela taim nogut i kamap antap long ol bik rot na ol wara long ol eria long Honiara.

Em i tok main haiwei long Kukum long East Honiara i pulip long ol rabis ol bik rot na tu ol pipal i igo leit long ol wok bilong ol.

Gina Kekea i tok dispela bed weta i National Secondary Svchool long Guadalcanal i pilim impek bilong dispela bad weta we ol sumatin na tisa i fesim bai oli kisim ol igo aut long skul or evacuation.

Emi tok wan wik tasol pastaim long School holide long Easter tasol dispela bed weta bai mekim ol i out wan wik pastaim long holide i stat.

11) Vanuatu president agensim salim bilong Vanuatu passport

Updated 2 April 2014, 15:48 AEST

President blong Vanuatu i givim aut strongpela toktok long ol diplomat blong Vanuatu imas NOKEN salim ol passport blong Vanuatu.

Odio: President bilong Vanuatu Johnson Abbil na niupela ambassador Odo Tevi i toktok

President Iolu Johnson Abbil itok em i no bin harim sel blong Vanuatu passport long UN ofis, tasol dispela kain pasin i nap bagarapim nem blong kantri na em i mas stop.

Mr Abbil i mekim dispela toktok  taim em i apointim Odo Tevi, gavana blong Reserve Bank blong Vanuatu bipo olsem niupela Vanuatu Ambassador long United Nations.

Long taim em ibin  komisenim Odo Tevi President i tok emi makim Vanuatu long narapela kantri na wok bilong em i bilong soim gutpela nem bilong kantri.

President i tok, dispela longwanem ol ibin tokaut long Vanuatu pinis igo long wold olsem Vanuatu i “happinest place on earth” na i laikim oli kipim dispela gutpela nem bilong kantri.

Wanpela samting i givim nem nogut long Vanuatu em long oli save salim hait passport bilong kantri na i askim niujspela Ambassador na ol narapela i makim Vanuatu ovais long wok halivim gutpela nem bilong kantri.

Long toktok bilong em niupela ambassador i tok namba-wan samting bilong em long United Nations long tgupela ailan, Hunter na Mathews long ikam kamap hap bilong Vanuatu na narapela em long wok Vanuatu i mekim bilong kisim mak bilong divelopment em i kamapim nau bilong mitim Milenium Divelopment Gol.


12) Le comité de la décolonisation rend compte de sa mission en Nouvelle-Calédonie

Par Elif Kayi
Publié le 03/04/2014 | 16:27

En visite en Nouvelle-Calédonie du 10 au 15 mars, le Comité de la décolonisation des Nations-Unies a rendu compte de sa mission. Pour les Calédoniens, rien de nouveau cependant dans ce rapport préliminaire.

  • Le « comité de la décolonisation » des Nations-Unies (de son nom complet : Comité spécial chargé d’étudier la situation en ce qui concerne l’application de la Déclaration sur l’octroi de l’indépendance aux pais et aux peuples coloniaux, aussi appelé) a rendu compte de sa récente mission qui s’est tenue en Nouvelle-Calédonie du 10 au 15 mars dernier.
  • Le Vice-Président du Comité, Amadu Koroma, originaire de Sierra Leone, a rendu compte, dans un rapport préliminaire, de la mission qu’il a conduite et qui a été était suivie d’une rencontre avec des responsables gouvernementaux français à Paris, le 17 mars dernier.
  • Si la mission traitait de manière générale de l’examen de la situation politique, économie et sociale du pays, un des points phare portait sur l’analyse des problèmes de la liste électorale spéciale pour les prochaines élections provinciales, qui se dérouleront le 11 mai.
  • Pour les Calédoniens, le rapport n’apporte cependant aucune nouveauté. Amadu Koroma a ainsi relevé une différence dans la compréhension des dispositions de l’Accord de Nouméa en ce qui concerne les conditions d’une liste électorale spéciale. Il rappelle dans le rapport que si certains estiment que la liste électorale ne peut comprendre que les personnes bénéficiant d’au moins de 10 ans de résidence en Nouvelle-Calédonie au moment de l’Accord de Nouméa en 1998, d’autres jugent que cette liste doit être complétée de toutes les personnes ayant atteint 10 ans de résidence, même après 1998.
  • Autre élément pouvant faire office de lieu commun sur le Caillou, mais qui semble apparemment attirer l’attention hors de ses frontières : Amadu Koroma a tenu à indiquer qu’il avait rencontré des Européens en faveur de l’indépendance, ainsi que des Kanaks souhaitant rester Français.

13) Le “Collectif la ville dans la tribu” pourrait ne pas obtenir gain de cause

Par Elif Kayi
Publié le 03/04/2014 | 15:00, mis à jour le 03/04/2014 | 16:57

L’affaire des “cases Mwa Ka” a été présentée ce jeudi matin au Tribunal Administratif de Nouméa, en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Le “Collectif la ville dans la tribu” avait demandé la condamnation de la mairie de Nouméa pour la destruction des cases. Le rapporteur public a conclu au rejet de cette demande.


Le “Collectif la ville dans la tribu” , qui avait demandé la condamnation de la mairie de Nouméa à hauteur de 11.580.000 francs CFP, suite à l’évacuation et la destruction des “cases Mwa Ka”, ou “cases Moselle”, pourrait ne pas obtenir gain de cause.

L’audience publique s’est déroulée ce jeudi matin auprès du Tribunal Administratif de Nouméa.

Si le rapporteur public près le Tribunal Administraif a bien conclu que la mairie de Nouméa avait commis une faute en utilisant du personnel communal pour détruire les dites “cases Mwa Ka”, ou “cases Moselle”, il a aussi souligné que la jurisprudence indique que leur construction illégale sur le domaine public déchargeait la commune de toute infraction.

Notre correspondant Sylvain Duchampt a assisté à l’audience ce jeudi matin :

La demande du Collectif de faire condamner la mairie a donc été rejetée par le rapporteur, dont les conclusions vont à présent être mises en délibéré. Les résultats du délibéré devraient probablement tomber sous quinzaine.

Construites en 2012 sur la place du Mwa Ka, à la baie de la Moselle de Nouméa, les cases traditionnelles devaient représenter les différentes aires coutumières de Nouvelle-Calédonie. Conçues pour la célébration du 24 septembre, elles devaient être immédiatement démontées après la célébration de la fête de la citoyenneté.

Une pétition, qui aurait recueilli plus de 10.000 signatures, avait cependant rapidement circulé, demandant le maintien des neuf cases.

Une délégation du Sénat coutumier s’était rendue sur les lieux pour demander aux membres du collectif d’évacuer les lieux. Mais le collectif avait rejeté toutes les recommandations d’évacuation. Leur argument : l’absence de légitimité d’une institution coutumière “issue du système colonial”.

Des propositions avaient aussi été faites pour reloger les cases. Le conseil d’administration du Port Autonome, présidé par Gilbert Tyuiénon vice-président du gouvernement de Nouvelle-Calédonie, avait voté à l’unanimité la mise à disposition d’une portion du quai Fed pour l’installation des cases.

Finalement, le 12 novembre 2012, les forces de l’ordre étaient intervenues pour évacuer les cases.

Dans le camp politique, les réactions n’avaient pas été unanimes. A commencer par le camp indépendantiste, au sein duquel les prises de positions divergeaient. Le porte-parole du FLNKS, Victor Tutugoro, avait montré peu de compréhension à l’égard du collectif : “Il fallait s’attendre à une telle opération même s’il a été un peu brutale”. Les propos avaient par contre été plus vindicatifs du côté du Parti Travailliste. “C’est une grande déchirure pour les Kanak” avait déclaré Louis Kotra Ureigei, qui avait qualifié l’intervention des forces de l’ordre de nouvelle “humiliation” pour le peuple kanak. Du côté non indépendantiste, seule Calédonie Ensemble avait parlé de “gâchis”, alors que les autres composantes semblaient satisfaites de l’intervention.

14) Manus: G4S refuse de coopérer

Mis à jour 2 April 2014, 15:56 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

En Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, les responsables de G4S refusent d’être interrogés par la police papoue.

C’est en tout cas ce qu’affirme le numéro 2 de la police papoue, Simon Kauba. Mais les dirigeants de G4S assurent avoir coopéré. G4S est la société de sécurité privée embauchée par le gouvernement australien pour garder le centre de rétention de Manus.

Or le 17 février dernier le centre a été attaqué, 62 demandeurs d’asile ont été blessés, et l’un d’entre eux, Reza Barati, un Iranien de 23 ans, est mort sous les coups dans des circonstances que la police papoue tente d’éclaircir. Même si des demandeurs d’asile affirment que des policiers papous faisaient partie des assaillants le 17 février.

G4S n’est plus chargée de la sécurité du centre de rétention, la société a passé la main à Wilson Security la semaine dernière. L’Australie et la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée mènent chacune leur enquête sur ces violents affrontements du 17 février.

15) Majuro: l’Australie participe du bout des lèvres au Dialogue de Carthagène

Mis à jour 2 April 2014, 15:53 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Les Îles Marshall accueillent cette semaine la conférence du Dialogue de Carthagène.

  • Ce groupe réunit une quarantaine de pays développés et en développement, qui se sont rassemblés après l’échec du sommet du climat à Copenhague en décembre 2009, pour faciliter la poursuite des négociations sur la lutte contre le changement climatique. Les Îles Marshall sont très vulnérables au changement climatique. Début mars, elles ont subi les pires grandes marées depuis 30 ans .
  • Parmi les pays du Dialogue de Carthagène, on trouve, aux côtés des pays latino-américains, la Grande-Bretagne et l’Australie, les deux moteurs de cette initiative. Or depuis 2010 l’Australie a basculé dans le camp libéral, et le Premier ministre Tony Abbott va supprimer la taxe carbone. Il a déjà supprimé la commission australienne du climat, quelques jours seulement après son élection.
  • À Majuro, le ministre marshallais des Affaires étrangères, se dit très déçu par le désengagement de l’Australie dans la lutte contre le changement climatique. Tony de Brum se plaint aussi de l’envoi d’un représentant insignifiant par l’Australie à cette conférence du Dialogue de Carthagène. Le ministre australien de l’Environnement ne fera pas le déplacement.

La conférence du Dialogue de Carthagène est un tour de chauffe en vue du Sommet du Climat organisé par l’ONU à New York en septembre, qui lui-même préparera la signature d’un accord sur les réductions d’émissions à Paris fin 2015.


16) Regional ministers urged to work together to address transparent transport and energy ideas

By Online Editor
09:23 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Fiji

Regional minsters from Pacific were urged to share information, ideas and experiences in the areas of transport and energy.

This was relayed by Fiji’s Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations Jone Usamate at the official opening of the “Second Pacific Regional Meeting of Ministers of Energy and Maritime Transport” in Nadi Wednesday.

“The theme has been chosen because it captures the nerve centre of our vulnerability as a small island states in the Pacific in the middle of the Pacific Ocean quite far away from our major source markets,” Minister Usamate told participants.

“Energy and transport key drivers of our economies but they are also the two sector that pose the greatest challenge to our sustainable development as a nation because the cost of providing these two essentials service to our people is huge,” Minister Usamate said.

Minster Usamate highlighted that the Pacific Plan gives leaders some strategies direction on how to address this problem as it also focuses on sustainable development as one of its key pillars in its framework.

Sharing similar sentiments, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community director Dr. Collin Tukuitonga pointed out although the maritime transport sector is critical for the Pacific region development efforts and is the backbone to the regional international trade.

“For many Pacific Island communities domestic shipping s the only means of international connectivity and access,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

“To address the development of regional coordinated approach to improve port state control in the Pacific would be an essential part of addressing the leaders concern,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

Dr Tukuitonga said the meeting provides an important platform to address the relationship between energy supply and transportation sector. He said that regional ministers should use the meeting to exchange ideas and present challenges and opportunities.



17) Chile earthquake and tsunami: Thousands return home after mass evacuation

Updated 3 April 2014, 8:12 AEST
Thousands of people evacuated from Chile’s low-lying coastal areas returned home on Wednesday morning (local time) as damage from a massive overnight earthquake and tsunami seemed mostly limited.

The magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile yesterday, killing six and triggering a tsunami that pounded the coastline with two-metre waves.

The quake hit shortly before 9:00pm (local time) on Tuesday at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres, and was centred 86 kilometres north-west of Iquique in northern Chile.

The first waves struck Chile’s northern coast within 45 minutes of the quake, with roads left gridlocked as residents abandoned their coastal homes for higher ground.

More than 900,000 people were evacuated from the coastline – many still with fresh memories of the deadly magnitude 8.8 earthquake in February 2010 that struck the country’s central-southern regions.

Many slept outside on hillsides away from the coast after the tsunami warnings.

Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, has been flying over some of the affected areas and has declared parts of the country’s north a disaster zone.

She visited Iquique and praised people’s orderly response to the emergency.

“We are here to recognise the calm behaviour of the people of Iquique who showed great civic responsibility, as did those of Arica,” she said.

“I think you have given us all a tremendous example.”

Authorities are still evaluating the full extent of damage, and Ms Bachelet has promised troops and police reinforcements to maintain order while damage is repaired after landslides blocked roads.

An unusually large number of tremors that preceded Tuesday’s quake had unnerved residents, who emptied beaches, rushed to buy emergency rations, and prepared for an eventual evacuation.

“The government of Chile has been working hard to improve the awareness of people living along the coast to the threat from tsunamis and on what to do if one is approaching,” said Steven Godby, an expert in disaster management at Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, England.

“Several tsunami drills have taken place since the (earthquake and) tsunami that killed an estimated 500-plus Chileans in February 2010, and recent earthquakes in the region have helped to keep the threat firmly in people’s minds.”

Kevin McCue from the Australian Seismological Centre says the aftershocks could go on for months and could be as strong as magnitude 7.

Mines in Chile, the world’s number one copper producer, appeared to be undamaged.

Angamos, a key copper exporting port in northern Mejillones, escaped major damage, but workers were evacuated as a precaution, port union leader Enrique Solar told Reuters.

Fact file: Earthquakes and tsunamis

About 80 per cent of tsunamis are caused by an earthquake at or below the sea floor.
Earthquake causes a large area of the sea floor to either lift up or drop down.
The ocean water above the displaced sea floor then rises or falls abruptly. This results in a tsunami wave on the surface of the ocean which travels out in all directions.
The upthrust or downthrust of the ocean bottom can occur over hundreds of square kilometres. This pushes up the water above creating a huge mass of water like a hill.
As the wave approaches shallow water the front of the wave slows down. The height of the water behind increases as it tries to catch up and leads to the wave breaking.

Source: ABC Science-


18) Scholar says Papuans should lead local response to HIV/AIDS

3 April 2014

An Australian researcher says NGOs led by indigenous Papuans should play a bigger role in the response to HIV/AIDS in the Indonesian province.

Jenny Munro is a cultural anthropologist at the Australian National University, and been involved in recent studies on HIV/AIDS in West Papua.

She says government studies have shown HIV affects about 2.5 percent of the indigenous population, although some scholars believe it could be much worse.

That compares to about 1.8 percent of the migrant Indonesian population.

Ms Munro says one of the factors is that most Papuans tend to live in rural areas.

“There really are very limited HIV information and testing and treatment services outside major cities, another big issue is that sort of the Indonesian perspective and international models often put forward by donors are still setting the agenda so to speak.”

Jenny Munro says Papuan NGOs have the community links and cultural expertise to deliver more effective prevention and treatment programmes.

19) Mosquito-borne virus epidemics sweeping Pacific region have social and economic costs

Updated 3 April 2014, 12:00 AEST

Catherine Graue

Political leaders in the Pacific are being warned that mosquito-borne viruses could have serious social and economic costs for the next five years.

The region is dealing with an unprecedented chain of dengue fever, zika virus and chikungunya epidemics.

The chief medical officer for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Dr Yvan Souares, says countries could have been better prepared as they watched their neighbours grapple with outbreaks.

Dr Souares says rapidly growing international air travel is the main driver of the epidemics, as exemplified by the emergence of zika virus in French Polynesia and its spread to neighbouring New Caledonia via passengers on direct flights.

“New Caledonia has been documenting imported cases from French Polynesia non-stop since late November, and they’re currently facing an epidemic of zika virus,” he said.

Dr Souares says regional governments will have to deal with the impact of the current outbreaks for several more years if a similar situation among Indian Ocean countries several years ago is any indication.

“It took… four years for the Chikungunya virus to go around the islands of the Indian Ocean, by the way generating 1.4 million cases in those four years,” he said.

Dr Souares says if Pacific health experts had been consulted, the current outbreaks sweeping the region could have been forseen.

But he says the emphasis now has to be on increased action and cooperation.

Dr Souares suggests better surveillance of incoming passengers from countries experiencing outbreaks of dengue fever, zika or chikungunya.


20) Bougainville passes Public Finances Act

By Online Editor
08:59 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) unanimously passed the Bougainville Public Finance (Management and Administration) Act 2014 during its special parliamentary sitting Wednesday.

According to the ABG Minister for Finance, Planning and Treasury, Albert Punghau, the Act is very important as it will enable the ABG “to make sure that we take responsibility in managing our own affairs in terms of finance.

“Under this Act, it has strict compliance in terms of public finance management. This means that the government and the people of Bougainville must make sure that public finances must be managed in an accountable and transparent manner so that goods and services can be delivered to the people of Bougainville,”Punghau said.

“This Act also talks about internal audits and audits of public finances. This is very important in terms of good governance of public finances and expenditures. “It also talks about the budgetary process in this Acts as to how we will formulate future budgets under this law.

“These future budgets will be done in a manner that will be all inclusive; people must participate, the local level governments, the council of elders must also participate in budgetary formulation.” Punghau said this Act will also address the responsibility of good governance especially in relation to the delivery of goods and services down to the ordinary people in the districts, instead of being centered and used up at headquarters level.

Punghau however, said the passage of this Act also comes with responsibilities.

“When we passed this Act, we have also put ourselves huge responsibilities. Laws are passed for compliance. If we have to the pass laws, we will not blame any other person now.

“We will not blame PNG for mismanagement and for corrupt practices that is taking place in Bougainville.

“These corrupt practices and mismanagement of public funds will be the responsibility of this government now.” The Act will come into effect following approval of a date set by President John Momis and the Bougainville Executive Council (BEC).

Apart from this, the other laws that were also unanimously passed by ABG yesterday are the Bougainville Contracts and Tenders Act 2014 and the Bougainville Public Service (Management and Administration) Act 2014. The contracts Act which was also tabled by Mr Punghau contains strict guidelines associated with the awarding of contracts in Bougainville.

According toPunghau, it will also put an end to the awarding of contracts to those who are not qualified to be awarded the contracts. Currently nearly all major contracts in Bougainville have been awarded by the Central Supply and Tenders Board, with Mr Punghau pointing out that this has resulted in a lot of corrupt practices taking place.

“People without any wheelbarrows are also getting the contracts. This is ridiculous, it is not on.

“This law we have passed will make sure that all this things do not happen in Bougainville,” Punghau said.

21) Reports of shots fired at protest in West Papua

3 April 2014

There are reports emerging of heavily armed police breaking up a student protest in the Indonesian province of West Papua that was calling for the release of political prisoners.

The protest in West Papua’s capital, Jayapura, is said to have begun at 8.30am local time, before armed police turned up 3 hours later to try and disperse the crowd.

The students retaliated by throwing stones at police.

The police retaliated by firing several shots, before the students fled.

No further information is currently available.

PNG Coalition Members Urged To Abandon O’Neill Government
Ministers sacking means Alotau Accord ‘failed’

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 1, 2014) – Members of the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party and United Resources Party have been urged to walk out of the Coalition Government led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Pangu Pati general secretary Morris Tovebae said on behalf of the political parties during the signing of a joint communiqué on the failed Alotau Accord last Saturday that the leaders of the two parties were sacked by O’Neill.

He said their Cabinet ministers and MPs should leave O’Neill and the coalition after he sacked Don Polye and William Duma.

“If their leader is sacked, the party is sacked. They should do the honourable thing by walking out of the government,” Pati said.

“If they don’t do that, they are representing no one’s interest in the Government.”

The National

22) UN hoping for more women in Vanuatu political leadership roles

3 April 2014

A United Nations womens’ advocate is hoping a workshop being held in Port Vila this week will encourage more women into national political roles.

Dr Rosina Wiltshire says despite signing the CEDAW convention, Vanuatu has one of the lowest levels of womens’ participation in leadership.

She says five of the women trained in a previous visit are now in office at the provincial level and a quota system has helped to achieve this.

“And I want to say that I congratulate the government and people of Vanuatu for establishing a quota for women at the provincial level. And we hope that that will also happen at the national level. Everybody in Vanuatu is going to benefit from their participation.”

Dr Rosina Wiltshire.

23) FLNKS Wants Thousands Struck Off New Caledonia Voter Rolls
Pro-independence group files over 7,000 challenges to names

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 2, 2014) – New Caledonia’s pro-independence FLNKS movement has lodged more than 7,000 court cases to demand that thousands of voters be struck off the roll for next month’s provincial election.

Voting will be restricted to long-term residents in line with the decolonisation process which, after the election, opens the way for a possible independence referendum.

The FLNKS insist that people who arrived in New Caledonia between 1988 and 1998 are only allowed to vote if they were also enrolled in 1998.

Special commissions assisted by magistrates from France’s highest court have been revising the rolls for a month and refuse to remove any voter, which has now prompted the court action.

The FLNKS says in its submission that neither the law nor the constitution is changed by any declaration on the subject, even if it is by the prime minister.

The loyalists are fiercely opposed to the FLNKS stance and have formed an association to assist those threatened to be removed from the roll.

Radio New Zealand International

24) New Caledonia opposed to tighter gun laws

Updated at 8:49 pm on 3 April 2014

The New Caledonian government says it’s opposed to tighter gun laws as France suggested a limit of four hunting rifles per person.

Paris vowed last year to restrict gun ownership by March but the government of Harold Martin says such a step will only cause more political problems.

After the law change was signalled last year, the French high commissioner Jean-Jacques Brot said sales had doubled while the local press said weapon sales had grown tenfold.

There are suggestions that now more than 100,000 rifles are in circulation.

There have been several shooting incidents in public as well as homicides, which a leading politician, Philippe Gomes, says has raised New Caledonia’s armed crime rate to three times that of France.

25) Bainimarama above the law – Fiji Law Society

3 April 2014

The Fiji Law Society says not much can be done to hold Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama accountable for breaking his own decrees until a parliament is put in place post-election.

Rear Admiral Bainimarama has been accused of breaching the Political Parties Decree for campaigning and appointing candidates before his party has been registered.

The breach is punishable with prison.

The Law Society president, Dorsami Naidu, says the regime has given itself the power to be above the law, by interpreting the law in a way that suits it.

“It’s very unfortunate when we are being told on the one hand that these decrees will be enforced, that we want a democratic election, it’ll be transparent and open and accountable. But it seems not to be the case. It’s a case of one rule for the citizens and others, and one rule for the regime.”

Dorsami Naidu says when a parliament is formed, elected parliamentarians will be able to speak out and influence change.

26) Party website now online

Naik Swami
Thursday, April 03, 2014

THE Fiji Labour Party is now online.

Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry said members of the public could visit the website on for an insight of the party’s history, policies and achievements.

Mr Chaudhry said the website would feature candid views on political, social and economic developments and other issues of interest in the lead-up to the general elections.

“The FLP website has been reconstructed and upgraded,” he said.

“It has a clean, uncluttered look, is informative, well organised and user friendly with easy reference to an extensive news archives categorised according to subject headings, chronologically arranged.”

Mr Chaudhry earlier said the website would give space to the public to contribute issues which they were not able to do in the media.Fijitimes

27) Commonwealth offers technical support for Fiji election

By Online Editor
12:42 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, United Kingdom

The Commonwealth has welcomed recent developments in Fiji and has made known it remains willing to offer any technical expertise needed to assist the conduct of the 2014 Elections in September.

In a statement, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma today welcomed the announcement that elections will be on 17 September 2014.

In particular, he noted the gazetting of the Electoral Decree and the appointment of a Supervisor of Elections.

He welcomed the provisions of the relevant decrees that seek to create an enabling environment for the free and fair conduct of elections on a level playing field.

He reiterated the importance of the Commonwealth values of human rights, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the media, freedom of expression, association and assembly.

The Secretary-General emphasised the need to work together to create an environment based on tolerance and respect, that would safeguard transparency and inclusivity throughout the election process.

He further said that the Commonwealth would collaborate with its partners to support Fiji’s return to civilian and constitutional democracy.


28) Fiji Labour Party Leader’s counsel calls for no case to answer

By Online Editor
3:33 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Fiji

Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry’s defence counsel QC Peter Bodor today called for no case to answer in his trial at the Supreme Court saying there was insufficient evidence from the State to charge his client.

Chaudhry is charged with three counts of breach of the Exchange Control Act. State Counsel QC Clive Grossman, a Hong Kong Criminal defence Barrister told the assessors that the Exchange Control Act ensures the country’s safety that Fiji residents only bring in Foreign Currency that was needed.

“To ensure that the best can be done where Fiji residents has funds overseas, they are bound to bring back to Fiji these funds,” Grossman told the assessors.

Chaudhry’s first count was Failure to surrender Foreign Currency where he breached Section 4 of the Exchange Control Act, the court heard.

The court heard Chaudhry had AUD$1.5million in various banks in Australia and New Zealand. In his second count, He was charge for dealing without permission.

The court heard that the five banks in Australia and New Zealand were unauthorised dealers in Fiji.

In the third count, He was charged with delaying the repatriation and continuing with the investment with unauthorised dealers.

Chaudhry pleaded not guilty to all three counts.

The State only had one witness, the Board Secretary of the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF), who was called into the witness box this morning. The agreed facts were read out to the assessors before the witness was examined.

When examined by the State counsel, the state witness, said to open an account overseas, a Fiji resident would need approval from the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

In this case, the witness said Chaudhry didn’t write to RBF and it was only after Siwatibau and Sloan lawyers had written to him on their status as RBF lawyers did Chaudhry reply to Sada Reddy.

When cross examined by QC Bodor, the witness said authorised dealers are those licensed by RBF and are located in Fiji.

She told the defence that for anyone to take FJD $20,000 (US$10,826) out of Fiji, they need approval but if it was to be less than $20,000 than they would need to go through the authorised dealers.

She added to take foreign currency out of Fiji, it has to be equivalent to FJD$10,000 (US$5,514) but for Fijian currency, it can only be up to $500. She added information on this was available at the RBF.

State Counsel Grossman after the cross examination closed the prosecution case to which the defence counsellors said that came too early and there should be a no case to answer.


29) Former Fiji PM Chaudhry’s Case Begins Tomorrow
Labour Party leader accused of violating foreign currency laws

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

Four assessors were sworn in today before Justice Madigan during which he reminded them of their responsibilities.

Justice Madigan reminded the assessors that the case will have extensive coverage from the media and their decision should not be based on what they hear or read.

Madigan told assessors that the trial may take four to five days based on the evidence.

Chaudhry is being charged with three counts of breach of the exchange control act.

Chaudhry is charged on the first count with ‘failure to surrender foreign currency,’ between November 1, 2000 and July 23, 2010, contrary to the Exchange Control Act.

For the second count, he is charged with ‘dealing in foreign currency’ otherwise than with an authorised dealer without the permission of the RBF, between November 1, 2000 and July 23, 2010.

On the last count the charge is of ‘failure to collect debts’, between November 1, 2000 and July 23, 2010 being a Fiji resident and having the right to receive AU$1.5million from financial institutions in Australia and New Zealand, he allegedly caused the delay of payment of the said sum, in whole or in part, to himself by authorising the continual re-investment of the said sum, together with interest acquired, back into the said financial institutions without the permission of the Reserve Bank of Fiji.



30)  Land concerns

Ana Madigibuli
Thursday, April 03, 2014

THE iTaukei Land Trust Board general manager Alipate Qetaki was asked about government’s role in the iTaukei Land Trust Board by the Tailevu Provincial Council member.

They said many decisions were being made according to government’s decision rather than what the landowners needed.

Provincial council member Ratu Isoa Tikoca also asked whether government contributed financially to the board.

“I would like to highlight this because even though government does not contribute financially to TLTB their decisions in running the trust board is immense,” Ratu Isoa said.

“For them to make huge decisions within TLTB and to change the various laws and regulation is a concern for us here at the provincial council.”

He raised his concerns on the Native Land Amendment Decree Number 31 of 2009 and the Native Land Amendment Regulation on 2010 on removing special entitlement of chiefs and turaga ni mataqali from the share of rents and royalty and there is also the Landuse Decree number 36 of 2010 to bring, select areas of Native land directly under government control was also raised.

Mr Qetaki said TLTB hoped to meet members of the council who looked after the land issues to address the concerns highlighted on native land.

He added there was a new unit called the Landowners Affairs unit which looked after all landowner’s grievances regarding iTaukei land.Fijitimes

31) Call for iTaukei protection

Ana Madigibuli
Thursday, April 03, 2014

VERATA chief Ratu Timoci Vesikula has requested that Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama explain if all people are now known as “Fijians” and indigenous Fijians now called “iTaukei Fijians” — what is it exactly that the iTaukei Fijians owned?

This was one of the numerous concerns raised by the chief, who addressed the Prime Minister at the Tailevu Provincial Council meeting earlier this week.

Ratu Timoci explained that people living in the villages were living in poverty and were becoming non-religious, lazy and refusing to partake in village activities.

The chief said people were simply living in a bad state.

He said this was what life looked like in various villages in the province and he questioned the Prime Minister about the existence of the laws which were supposed to protect them.

He told the Prime Minister that before the general election, he needed to put in place village laws which would help leaders in various villages within the province.Fijitimes


32)  Fiji TV station investigated over Bainimarama story

Updated at 4:44 pm on 3 April 2014

A Fiji television station is being investigated by the country’s media watchdog over alleged unfair reporting of a visit to his home province by the regime leader Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama.

The government has laid an official complaint against Fiji Television with the Media Industry Development Authority citing a breach of the Media Decree’s code of ethics and practice.

Fiji Television says it has received the complaint which relates to comments by the Tailevu chief, Ratu Timoci Vesikula, during a visit by the prime minister earlier this week.

The chief is reported to have questioned the leader’s stance on indigenous affairs.

The broadcaster reports the government has complained he was not given the right of reply.


33) PNG urged to narrow gap between rich and poor

2 April 2014
Papua New Guinea has been warned of the need to narrow the gap between rich and poor with skyrocketing growth predicted for next year.

This comes in a major new report on the region’s economy.

Sally Round reports.

“The Asia Development Bank’s flagship economic report forecasts a record 21 percent growth rate for PNG in 2015. The rapid growth is due to the start of gas exports later this year and the first full year of production next year. But the bank warns the nearly 40% increase in government spending over the last year on infrastructure, health, education and law and order is not having the effect it could. And it says marginalised provinces in PNG in particular are missing out because of poor prioritising by local governments and unpredictable funding from national coffers. The ADB recommends improving the accountability of local authorities and better systems to get services to the people.”

34) New Caledonia province in new nickel venture

3 April 2014

New Caledonia’s southern province has approved a deal with two major nickel companies to explore a huge ore deposit.

The province’s memorandum of understanding with Eramet of France and Vale of Brazil provides for a four-year study of the Prony and Pernod deposits in the south of the main island.

A joint venture company, in which the provincial government is the biggest shareholder, is to examine estimates that the deposits contain three million tonnes of nickel which could be mined over 50 years.

Should a processing plant be built, the province will have a 10 percent stake plus a small share of the value of the nickel sold.

The opposition is critical of the deal, saying it is rushed as only six weeks remain before the provincial election.

The deal is to be formally signed off by the head of Eramet and Vale at the end of the week.

The two companies each have a large nickel plant in the southern province.

35) PNG to experience record economic growth, concerns over who will benefit

Updated 3 April 2014, 12:45 AEST

Jemima Garrett

Gas developments to provide unprecedented economic growth in PNG amid concerns about wealth distribution.

An Asian Development Bank economist has warned that despite unprecedented economic growth forecast for Papua New Guinea, the gap between rich and poor will widen.

The latest Asian Development Outlook report has predicted growth of six per cent this year, leaping to 21 per cent in 2015.

The Asian Development Bank’s PNG economist, Aaron Batten, says the boom will come mostly from the onset of liquid natural gas exports.

But Mr Batten cautions that outside of the mining and petroleum industries the PNG economy is slowing dramatically.

“What we do expect to happen is that over the next couple of years as growth becomes more concentrated in the mining and petroleum sectors is a slowing of that job creation and new income earning opportunities in PNG,” he said.

Mr Batten says the benefits of the massive economic growth expected in PNG may only be felt by a lucky few involved in the resources sector.

However, the ExxonMobil PNG LNG project, which will come on line later this year, may produce tangible benefits for all Papua New Guineans.

Aaron Batten says a fund set from the PNG LNG project’s royalties should lead to more spending on public services.

“The Sovereign Wealth Fund can play a very important role in helping PNG to mitigate some of the adverse effects of its dependency on mining and petroleum projects, particularly in smoothing out some of the volatility that is typical of these types of economies,” he said.

36) Solomon Islands warned of declining logging industry

By Online Editor
09:38 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands country faces a challenging future in terms of its economic growth given the dwindling forestry industry as more natural forests are being logged out.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) economist Milovan Lucich who is looking after Nauru, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu sounded the alarm during last week’s ADB Pacific business media summit in Sydney, Australia.

He said with Solomon Islands relying heavily on logging as its main revenue earner for over many years now, it would affect its revenue when logging stops.

“With the declining logging industry slowly affecting Solomon Islands, it would affect the country’s economy in few years time,” he said.

Currently logging is the third largest revenue earner for the country.

Lucich therefore highlighted the Solomon Islands government needs to prepare and look at other industries to support the economy.

“Its important to support other industries such as agriculture, mining and tourism.”

Currently Gold Ridge in Guadalcanal is the biggest mining operations to have occurred in the country.

The government is also shifting its support to the tourism industry now.

This was evident with the appointment of a Fijian Josefa Tuamoto to head the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB).

Lucich highlighted that creating an enabling environment for sustainable economic growth remains a challenge for Solomon Islands.

Meanwhile ADB said its operation in the country seeks to reduce poverty by promoting equitable private sector-led economic growth through assistance in three core sectors: transport and information and communication technology; public sector management; and energy.

37) Fiji calls for stronger intra-regional trade among Pacific Island Countries

By Online Editor
3:45 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Fiji

Trade Pasifika 2014 was officially opened in Fiji Tuesday night with a firm recommendation from host country Fiji for stronger intra-regional trade among Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs).

This, it believes, will provide the best platform for exchange with international trade partners, given the many challenges that characterise business and entrepreneurship in individual countries in the region.

“Intra-regional trade, amongst our Island countries, should be seen as a ‘stepping stone’ and ‘building block’ to trading with international partners. Therefore, there is a need for Pacific businesses and traders to come under one roof to create business linkages and synergies between importers and exporters, in order to facilitate and grow trade and business in the region,” said Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade Shaheen Ali in his welcome speech at Tuesday night’s opening reception.

“This ties in with our theme – we have to make it our business to create growth through exports and trade – starting with trade amongst ourselves. At the same time, if we are able to come together to develop a ‘common market’, with harmonised customs rules, mutual agreements on biosecurity requirements and facilitation of trade in general, we will become a very attractive market of 9 million consumers for our trading partners,” Ali said.

For those who have been mooting the idea of trade integration in the Pacific, Trade Pasifika is by far the closest the region has come to having Pacific goods and services under one roof.

The inaugural Trade Pasifika was held in Fiji in 2012 with support from most regional organisations such as the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) among others.

This year’s event – themed ‘Exporting for Growth. It’s everyone’s business’ – is only the second so far but has already proven popular among businesses in the region with 14 PICs and Territories represented.

Organisers say around 100 entrepreneurs from the 14 PICTs will showcase their goods and services during the three-day expo, up from the 50 that exhibited in 2012. They will be matched with an equally keen interest from some 60 buyers who have come from as far China, Europe, Abu Dhabi and nearby markets Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to see what businesses here
have to offer.

Link ups between buyers and sellers will take place within the margins of workshops and seminars, lunch and learn sessions and the general exhibition and there are expectations that new deals will be secured. A highlight of this year’s event is the focus on Youth Entrepreneurship and Women in Business and delegations from the region are predominantly made up of women.

The exhibitions begin today (Wednesday) at the Vodafone Arena in the Fijian capital Suva and key trade areas showcased are agriculture, aquaculture and tourism.


38) ANZ reaffirms commitment to supporting Pacific trade and investment

By Online Editor
09:41 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Fiji

ANZ has announced its commitment to helping Pacific countries build long-term trade and investment links amongst each other and the rest of the world.

ANZ Head of Commercial Banking for the Pacific, Saud Minam, highlighted this at Trade Pasifika 2014, being held in Suva, Fiji, from 2-4 April.

ANZ is the Gold Sponsor of the regional trade event with the theme ‘Exporting for Growth, It’s everyone’s business’, showcasing Pacific agriculture, aquaculture and tourism products from 17 Pacific island countries.

“In the Pacific, we are a bank that follows trade and investment flows across our 33 markets in the Asia Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and America,” said Minam.

“We do this to help our customers progress, and to help country economies grow, with a specific focus in the Pacific on supporting key areas of natural resources, infrastructure and agriculture, with a selective focus on tourism in certain countries, the predominant being Fiji.”

Minam added that ANZ was also very keen to help grow Pacific SMEs.

“We understand that today’s SME is tomorrow’s large corporate, and possibly someday a multinational enterprise,” he said.

Minam also highlighted the opportunity provided by China’s shift towards higher private consumption and income growth providing new opportunities for the Pacific tourism sector.

“ANZ’s economic insights point to tourism from China representing a massive market, where from 2009 to 2012 outbound tourists from China increased only from about 3.6 per cent of the population to about 6.1 per cent. This represents a shift from 50 million people to about 90 million people seeking tourism destinations abroad.”

Arrivals into the Pacific topped 1.5m visitors most recently, with Fiji absorbing about 40% of those flows.
“For Fiji, where tourism accounts for about 37.8% of GDP (2013), and indeed for the rest of the region, we must turn our attention to investment to ensure countries can tap into China’s rising tide of tourists, as well as the traditional tourism markets of Australia and New Zealand,” said Minam.

Minam added that as a bank with a 130-year history in the Pacific, with the largest geographical footprint of any bank in the region across 12 Pacific markets, servicing nearly half a million customers and employing about 2000 staff, ANZ understand the importance of tapping into the opportunities that global trade and people flows have to offer.


39) Tanoa Group Abandons Tonga’s International Dateline Hotel Renovation
Fiji company pulls out of planned $9 million investment

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, April 1, 2014) – The Tanoa Hotel Group of Fiji has pulled out from its proposed take over of the International Dateline Hotel, Tatafu Moeaki, the CEO for the Ministry of Finance and National Planning told the Tonga Chamber of Commerce yesterday, March 31.

Moeaki did not elaborate on why the take-over negotiations came to a sudden end, other than to stress that the Tonga government did not revert over what it initially put on the negotiation table. He said that after a hand-shake with enthusiasm to move forward, the Tanoa Group had come back and said that they were pulling out.

Moeaki said that government, as the land owner, had offered a 75-year lease, and the Tanoa Group was willing to invest TOP$18 million [US$9 million] in renovating the property.

The hotel had been closed since February 28, to enable the Tanoa Group to start the $18 million pa’anga reconstruction work.

Moeaki said that the hotel would remain closed while negotiations would resume with the other bidders to take over the reconstruction and the running of the International Dateline Hotel. He said they would also be talking to the Tanoa Group.

During his presentation, for the members of the Tonga Chamber of Commerce, there was an assumption that the Tanoa Group was not happy with the government taxation regime, which discourages investments.

Lisiate ‘Akolo, who was Tonga’s Minister of Finance during the negotiation with the Tanoa Group, expressed his surprise that they had pulled out. He believed that there were only a few legal matters to be agreed on before a final agreement was to be signed, and he was disappointed that the Tanoa Group pulled out.

The International Dateline Hotel was established in 1966 on the Nuku’alofa seafront. It has 126 rooms.

Matangi Tonga Magazine ( Isa, Hope someone help renovate the hotel, I stayed there in 1982 and again in 2012! Beautiful piece of work it is! Maalo! )


40)  Fiji steps up border control systems

By Online Editor
3:35 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Fiji

Fiji is stepping up its game to counter criminal activities and catch illegal immigrants by improving border control systems at Nadi Airport.

The Immigration Department has spent close to $50,000 (US$27,097) to improve its computerised Integrated Border Management System by installing two new servers.

The system was launched by Defence Minister, Joketani Cokanasiga Tuesday.

“The need to improve border security, facilitate the mobility of people and to guard against irregular migration are national objectives which every sovereign country shares. Fiji is no exception. The launching of these IBMS servers today is proof of the Fijian government’s commitment to the fulfillment of this objective on a national level.”

The launching of the two Integrated Border Management System severs at Nadi Airport will improve border security says Director Immigration, Major Nemani Vuniwaqa.

“The IBMS which was launched and implemented on 11th of April last year it’s now 12 months down the line the system is an integrated system whereby all the different modules passport modules permit modules visas all different modules are integrated we want all these modules to be talking to each other communicating to each other but along the lines we found out that there were some teething problems.”

The new purchase servers would help boost data retrieval and from today the system is more advanced.

Meanwhile, smuggling of drugs can be expected as Fiji is the hub of the Pacific and has developed at a very fast rate.

Assistant Fiji Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says criminals are looking at different ways of transporting drugs.

However, he says that has not deterred police from investigating cases.

“What we have so far has been fruitful in detecting all these substances that have been coming in which are now under analysis for the proven of alleged hard drugs.”…


41) Indonesian ‘Fugitive’ Has Big Construction Plans For Port Moresby
Djoko Tjandra (Joe Chan) plans to build 2 skyscrapers in PNG capital

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 1, 2014) – Port Moresby’s K1 billion [US$353 million] skyscraper will go ahead despite coming under the scrutiny of the Ombudsman Commission and moves within the Government to stop its construction. This was revealed in an exclusive interview yesterday with Indonesian fugitive Djoko Tjandra, aka Joe Chan, who owns the company Central Lands Limited which proposes to build and manage the 32-floor office complex in Waigani.

Chan is currently in Port Moresby after travelling in from Singapore on his private jet on March 26 to inspect his multi-billion kina business operations. This was his first media interview after fleeing Indonesia in 2009, hours before the Indonesian Supreme Court convicted him of embezzling $US62 million. The man has strong connections with several PNG cabinet ministers, MPs and government department leaders as well as a big following and partnerships with other multi-million kina corporations in PNG. Speaking to the Post-Courier yesterday, he said he has successful businesses all over Asia but most of his interests are in PNG.

He said he has been in PNG since 1972, has set-up a number of businesses since independence and was “not a stranger to the country” as he has been part of its development and walked the changing face of PNG through his and his family’s businesses. “I wasn’t born yesterday. I came to PNG in 1972 and I have been in business with PNG since then,” he said and added he was not a fugitive and had cleared his name in Indonesia. “I am a Papua New Guinean. I am not a bad man. I am a harmless man and like any other Papua New Guinean businessman, I deserve to be treated the same way,” he said.

When asked what would happen with Indonesia continuing to push for his deportation, he said: “I am in Papua New Guinea; I am a Papua New Guinean. I travel in and out of Singapore and PNG without any problems”. The proposal to construct the multi-million kina building and the PNG Central Government multi-office complex will go ahead, he said as he owns the title and the land in Waigani.

Another building – a 50 storey skyscraper – will be built at Ela Beach, he said as he talked about his investments in PNG. A rice project in the Central Province, registered under the Naima Group of Companies, will also be launched soon, according to the Indonesian.

This newspaper first met Chan at an office in the Pacific Place building in Port Moresby and followed him to the Central Government Office where one of his proposed buildings will be constructed. Very quiet and reluctant to speak at first, the interview with the wanted Indonesian was interspersed with accusations aimed at his opponents and humour. Central Lands Limited occupies the ground floor of the Central Government Office and has approval from the Department of Personnel Management according to Chan. His employees met him upon his arrival at the project site yesterday and during the interview revealed that the Waigani project will employ up to 1500 workers and Ela Beach 2000-2500. More investments are planned for the NCD.

In a new twist to Chan’s PNG citizenship and passport saga, the PNG Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura issued a statement yesterday to advise that the Indonesian’s application for an APEC Business Travel Card had been approved against his PNG passport number B330971. Speaking to this newspaper to clear the air on the Indonesian, Mr Rabura said Chan was issued with a new PNG passport because of his frequent overseas travels and he had run out of pages with his current one.

In a bid to justify the decision by the authority to issue Chan with another passport, the Chief Migration Officer said a report by the authority’s committee of review into the cancellation of Chan’s first passport found that the action was unjustified and he could use it to travel into and out of PNG. “Accordingly, Mr Joe Chan was informed on May 30, 2013 that he could continue to use his PNG passport number B330971 for travel and identification purposes as a citizen of PNG, consistent with the decision of the Committee of Review,” he said. Chan, who denied that he travels with VIP clearance, said he flies in his private jet with his two pilots and is never in a queue because he is just one man “with nothing to hide”. It is understood he will soon travel out of PNG to check on his other business interests abroad.

PNG Post-Courier


42 ) Australian Immigration Minister Morrison to be briefed on Manus incident

By Online Editor
3:32 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Australia

The Australian immigration department will brief minister Scott Morrison on the latest findings into the death of an asylum seeker at Manus Island.

The department has received an interim report into the violence at the detention centre last month that left 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati dead.

It comes as Morrison prepares to visit Papua New Guinea this week for an update from local police on the progress of investigations into the incident.

A spokesperson for Morrison said he would be briefed on the progress report, adding the government was following the same processes as Labor did when the Nauru centre was burned down last year.

“The final report will be released, consistent with those same processes,” the spokesperson told AAP in a statement.

The spokesperson said Labor did not release the report into the riot at Nauru in July 2013 until after the election, and had delayed other similar reports.

A review into the violence at the Manus Island centre is being conducted by former secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Robert Cornall.

Labor has been pushing for the release of the interim report, arguing the government must take all precautions to prevent any future incidents.

“(The government) now needs to release the report to make sure whatever safeguards are needed can be put in place to avoid such a tragic incident occurring again,” opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles said.

The government has also copped criticism for not sending Australian police to assist PNG with the investigation.


43) ) Fiji coup snitch under lock in Australia

By Online Editor
09:32 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Australia

What  was supposed to be a routine bridging visa evaluation (BVE) check for  Fiji 2000 coup whistleblower Maciu Naqari Navakasuasua ended up in him being detained at the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre for deportation.

And he has called on Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to conduct an investigation into how he was “tricked” to delay his evaluation for a day that got him detained as an overstayer.

For the past 10 years, Navakasuasua had been living in Australia under Bridging Visa E, which allowed him to stay and work legally following his release from Nukulau Prison in 2003.

As a Bridging Visa E holder, Navakasuasua was to report to the Immigration Department after every three months.

Navakasuasua — an explosives expert who joined a nationalist movement and was jailed for three years for his involvement in the 2000 coup that removed the Mahendra Chaudhry-led Fiji Labour Party government from power — claimed in 2005 that George Speight was only a frontman and that some businessmen were involved in the plot.

He fears for his life if he returns to Fiji, saying he had been warned.

He said he was supposed to report to the immigration office in Melbourne on March 5 but received a text message from an immigration officer on March 4 advising him to report on March 6.

He said after receiving the message, he contacted the officer at the Immigration Office who confirmed the change of dates.

When reporting to him on March 6, he was advised that he had overstayed for a day and would be detained automatically.

“I’ve been technically tricked but my hands are tied. I just have to follow the law,” a disappointed Navakasuasua said this week.

“I clearly told my case officer that had he told me that I would be arrested upon my arrival, I would still have the courtesy to report to the Immigration Office, something I had been doing faithfully for the past 10 years.”

Navakasuasua, who uses the name Maciu Naqari while in Australia, said the officer told him that he would cancel his Bridging Visa E based on character grounds under Section 501 of the Immigration Act.

“I’ve been living legally in Australia and contributed so much to the economy. Now I’ve been considered a criminal,” he said.

He said he would seek all legal avenues to stay in Australia.
Upon arriving in Australia, Navakasuasua confessed and apologised in the media about his involvement in the 2000 coup that was led by Speight and extremist nationalists.

He named a number of high-profile people, including businessmen, who he claimed to have had a hand in plotting the overthrow of the FLP government.

He maintained that he would be killed if he returned to Fiji.

“I would rather kill myself here than return home,” he said.



44) Severe flooding hits Solomons’ capital

3 April 2014

Torrential rain in and around Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands, over the past two days has caused widespread damage.

There is also an unconfirmed report of one death resulting from the flooding.

The director of the National Disaster Office, Loti Yates, says a depression, sitting over the country for the past two days, has caused the worst flooding in the region in eight years.

He says the Matanikau River which runs through the centre of Honiara, flooded, destroying houses and gardens.

“Just talking to the mayor of the city and he estimated that about 100 houses have been swept away. A lot of properties have been destroyed. The old Bailey bridge was under water, so yes, it has had a lot of impact on people living along the river banks.”

Loti Yates says there is damage throughout the city with flooding in all the gullies.

He says many businesses and schools have been closed and there have been reports of looting.

45) Remote Vanuatu residents call for more early cyclone warning systems as climate changes

Updated 3 April 2014, 13:55 AEST

Sen Lam

A Vanuatu aid worker says the South Pacific nation’s outlying islands are most at risk from changing weather patterns brought on by climate change.

Port Vila’s market house collapsed during Cylcone Lusi (Credit: ABC licensed)

There’s growing concern on the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu about the effects of climate change.

This week’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the impacts of rising sea-levels and ocean acidification as a result of global warming caused by human activity.

Vanuatu’s climate youth ambassador and CARE field officer Mala Silas says climate change is also bringing about increasingly erratic weather patterns that are hitting remote island communities hard.

Ms Silas says last month’s Cyclone Lusi that swept through Vanuatu, killing 10 people, has raised concerns the world’s changing climate could mean more severe storms more often.

She’s just returned from examining the impact of Cyclone Lusi on remote Futuna Island and says it’s highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Ms Silas says locals are concerned about the impact on agriculture, on which they rely for income from exports as well as for their own food supply.

She says the residents of Futuna urgently need better communication systems, as the current radio network is inadequate and the mobile network is all but non-existent in some villages.

Ms Silas says more effective early warning systems would allow locals to respond to imminent cyclones by preparing shelter and storing food before they’re hit.

46) ) ‘We don’t want to be wiped off the map’: Marshall Islands govt

By Online Editor
09:34 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Marshall Islands

Ambassadors and climate negotiators from around the world will see the realities of climate change “on the ground” while meeting this week in Majuro, the country’s foreign minister said on the eve of the opening of the Cartagena Dialogue.

The group representing about 40 nations is focused on increasing traction for a global climate treaty at its four-day conference that opens Tuesday in Majuro, a low-lying necklace of coral islands most of which rise less than a meter above sea level.

Four weeks ago, high tides flooded parts of Majuro, the third inundation of the capital atoll in the last 12 months by tides that caused damage to homes and government facilities.

“My low-lying atoll country is on the frontline of the battle against climate change,” said Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony deBrum.

“In early March, we were hit by the highest king tides in more than 30 years, which displaced more than 1,000 people and forced our government to declare a state of emergency.

“Even the most conservative scientific predictions suggest my country risks being wiped off the map by the end of this century,” deBrum said.

To prevent this, the Marshall Islands has “put climate change at the top of our country’s political and diplomatic agenda, and we are determined to do what we can to ensure that we do not have to abandon our homes and our precious Marshallese culture and way of life,” deBrum said.

Marshall Islands officials see the Cartagena Dialogue gathering in Majuro as an opportunity to gather momentum on the road to U.N. Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon’s Climate Leaders Summit this September in New York.

DeBrum said many countries in the process are focused “on the inking of a new global climate agreement in Paris at the end of 2015.

“We believe this is an opportunity for those countries truly committed to an ambitious and effective global treaty in 2015 to set the pace of negotiations through to Paris. Here in Majuro, on the frontline of climate change, there is no better place for this process to start.”

DeBrum said the anticipated imminent release of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report will “undoubtedly paint a bleaker and more serious picture than ever before of the worsening impacts of climate change.”

He hopes that the meeting in Majuro, where a person can stand in the road and see the lagoon on one side of the island and the ocean on the other, will be “an opportunity for negotiators to see with their own eyes what this means on the ground for countries like my own.”.


47) Vanuatu Community Told, Geothermal Energy Risks Minimal
Meeting in Takara about planned thermal energy project reassuring

By Bob Makin

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 1, 2014) – The dangers associated with the planned thermal source of energy at Takara are not great.

Over 100 people, many of whom were women, from the region and Emau island, learned of the negligible danger posed by testing of this source of energy, and the worst a power station could mean, at a public meeting at Takara on Saturday.

Chiefs of the area hosted the meeting to move the important development further on, from the land ownership dispute stage to that of discussing the advantages and disadvantages of a geothermal project for Efate’s electricity at Takara.

There were – and still are – many questions, but the gathering got answers to many worries. The meeting was effectively the launch of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which is the very next step.

Brian Phillips of the Geothermal Task Force was present and Albert Williams, Head of the Environment Department, along with Tim Hewatt, Vanuatu representative, and Geoff Ward, the CEO, of Geodynamics Limited.

There is no likelihood of any sort of volcanic disturbance, eruption or lava flow, or any explosion from the energy source. Indeed, hot saline water is the only thing to emerge from the source, and then it goes back down into the ground from which it came. This seemed to be the primary concern, that the energy could be harmful.

Another major fear was the size of the area of land required for the testing, drilling and for the ultimate construction of power plant facilities. The ultimate power station, the meeting learned from the Geodynamics pair, if all the tests prove the location at Takara as ideal, will still only be small in size, geothermal energy not needing the huge space of the carbon-hungry kinds of electricity generation such as we presently have at Tagabe. And pipes of not huge diameter can deliver the hot water between the source and factory quite easily.

For Albert Williams and Geothermal Task Force leader Brian Phillips, the main purpose of the meeting was to hear all the concerns the community, land owners and residents, might raise. Williams is putting Donna Kalfatak, Efatese scientist, at the disposal of the people of Takara to hear and evaluate any further concerns as the EIA goes ahead. There is limited time for this, but all environmental questions must be raised.

The meeting learned of the sorts of drill-holes needing to be bored for testing and then the means by which sources of geothermal power will be accessed. Drilling will possibly go down to 2,000 metres.

There was discontent expressed by some, especially as regards the signatories to the agreement which allows the environmental and social impact study to proceed. Custom ownership thereby raised its possibly disrupting character.

The EIA, to be conducted by professionals in a company called SLR, will be concerned with existing marine and land-based life – the animals and plants including natongtong – and the areas of garden land used by people for their livelihoods. Already there has been considerable study undertaken, and specialised mapping, and this will increase with the EIA, to which the government is committed.

Then it is hoped by those at Saturday’s meeting that the entire population, custom owners and non, will come back to approve the EIA to enable work to begin. It can only win with the approval of the community.

Saturday’s meeting at Takara was a precursor of the kind that can now be expected under the new lands legislation: the entire community was invited to be present. There was a large presence of women (nearly a quarter of the gathering). Those who disagreed with aspects of the project were present along with those who want it to proceed. Comments were invited from everyone. It was indeed a community consultation, and no ministers or politicians were present.

Vanuatu Daily Post

48) ) Solomons Symposium Focuses On Community-Based Resource Management
Communities, supporting partners share experiences

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 1, 2014) – In a rare opportunity, agencies that support community-based resource management (CBRM) came together last week from across Western Province to share their experiences and ideas in a three-day symposium.

It was hosted by WorldFish through the CGIAR Research Program Aquatic Agricultural Systems and funded by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. Western province hosts many community managed sites and support partners and has a long history of community-based management.

The organisers of the symposium said that Western province was the ideal place to better understand what has succeeded and what challenges still remain – lessons that could help communities across Solomon Islands improve the management of their natural marine and terrestrial resources.

During the symposium, participants discussed the achievements and potential of community-based resource management – their discussion led to plans to work more closely together to better support community efforts.

Representatives had experience with marine, forestry and agricultural resource management, which meant a variety of perspectives on CBRM practice were heard.

CBRM is a way for communities to safeguard the future of their natural resources, and is a nationally supported approach.

The reason CBRM is so important in Solomon Islands was summed up by Agnetha Vave-Karamui, from the ministry of environment, climate and disaster management who said “Why is CBRM such an important focus? Because people own, can manage and must benefit from managing their own resources.”

CBRM recognises that Solomon Islanders are the owners and custodians of their resources, and it draws strongly on customary tenure and existing traditional knowledge. Through support and information provided by partner agencies (such as those represented at the symposium) CBRM can empower communities to better address resource decline, and improve sustainability.

This symposium was an important milestone for CBRM support agencies to come together, and the meeting prompted the development of a common vision for Western province.

The importance of supporting community management efforts across all scales, from the community level through to the national level was emphasized by the agencies that attended.

Representatives were from community-based organisations, NGOs, provincial departments and national government ministries.

Attendees included WorldFish, Kolombangara Island biodiversity conservation association, Solomon Islands community conservation partnership, World Wide Fund for nature, Roviana conservation foundation, Tetepare descendants association, Marovo resource management areas network, natural resources development foundation, Marovo island nature biodiversity and livelihoods trust, provincial fisheries, provincial agriculture extension, ministry of fisheries and marine resources, and the ministry of environment climate and disaster management.

Solomon Sta


49) New Vanuatu coach looking for dream start

3 April 2014

Vanuatu beach volleyball coach Jason Lochhead says qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games in August would mark a perfect start to his new role.

The ex World Tour regular has replaced Lauren McLeod in charge of the Vanuatu programme.

He’s in Thailand with the Vanuatu boys team who are vying for one of six places at the Youth Olympics in August in Nanjing, China.

“Hopefully I don’t really know what the competition is like for the Youth Olympics but hopefully we can get the boys in which will be a huge start for the boys programme. Then for the girls the first two are Asian event Tours and we will definitely be trying to win those and then two World Tour events and two tops will be our aim for that.”

The Youth Olympic qualifier begins on Thursday with the elite women’s pairing of Henriette Iatika and Miller Pata in action from next week.

50) Athletics Fiji saga continues

By Online Editor
3:52 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Fiji

Albert Miller has responded to media reports that elected committee members remain as executives of Athletics Fiji.

And despite an annual general meeting over the weekend in Nadi whereby new office bearers were elected, Miller, the Athletics Fiji president, stated that the present committee remains.

“I need to reassure the athletics public that the plans and developments in Fiji are on course and we the constitutionally elected committee are still in control,” he said in a press statement.

Athletics Fiji vice-president Joe Rodan Jr said they would try to solve the matter for the benefit of the sport.

“There are many questions in regards to the authority, mandate and procedural matters that basically renders the Saturday meeting unconstitutional and illegitimate but above all does not represent the voice of the affiliated clubs to Athletics Fiji,” said Rodan Jr.

“There is current discussion on how this should be rectified but our priority is development and support for athletics especially with important competitions coming up like the Easter games and the secondary school athletics to name a few.

“Our main role as an organisation is to protect the sport and the interest of the clubs affiliated to it so we cannot allow individuals or groups with self-interest to undermine the work we have built together for so many years.

“There is currently attempt by Athletics Fiji to resolve the issue and there is optimism that some amicable solution will be reached soon for the benefit of the athletes.”


51) Change to Pacific Nations Cup format

By Online Editor
3:50 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Fiji

The 2014 Pacific Nations Cup will be played in two groups for the first time ever.

With the addition of Samoa, who skipped the tournament last year, the 2014 title will be contested between Canada, defending champions Fiji, Japan, Samoa, Tonga and the United States.

The North Pacific Conference sees Canada, the USA and Japan do battle.

In the South Pacific Conference, Vodafone Fiji, Samoa and Tonga will face-off.

Fiji’s first match is against Tonga on June 14 before playing Samoa on June 21.

The final of the tournament will see the winners of the two pools clashing in November.

52) ) Non-Oceania players to feature for OFC teams

By Online Editor
3:49 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Fiji

The influx of non-Oceania players in the OFC Champions League football competition just compliments the tremendous talent that is around the region.

These are the words of OFC Media and Communications head, Gordon Glen Watson, who believes the 2014 edition of the Champions League, will be no different.

Team playing the in the Group Stages, to be played in Ba and Lautoka, has recruited from all over the world to bolster their teams.

However, Watson says the Oceania players are the ones to look out for.

“The impact Alick Maemae has had in Vanuatu, of course he is from the Solomons. Benjamin Totori and Roy Krishna, who has made a lot of success for himself at Waitakere United, which led to a contract with Wellington Phoenix. The international players come in and add something in my opinion. But of course it works in microcosm in our region. Some of the examples I spoke of earlier show that.”

Meanwhile, 2011 OFC Champions League finalist, Amicale FC is confident about its chances in this season’s edition of the regional competition in Fiji.

With players from different parts of the world and a newly appointed Australian coach, the top Vanuatu club is ready to play to their full potential.

Coach Nathan Hall believes the extensive pre-tournament build up his side has played will help them in the matches against defending champions Auckland City, Nadi and AS Dragon.

“We have made some pretty big changes to the squad and brought in lots of new players so combinations and getting players to understand each other takes time,” he told OFC Media.

All in all, there is a lot of desire, determination and hunger within the squad at the moment and here’s hoping we can carry that energy into the OFC Champions League Group Stage and do the people of Vanuatu proud.”

2011 golden boot winner Fenedy Masauvakalo will again be leading the attack for the side while veteran goalie Chikau Mansale will be guarding their goalmouth.

Fijians; Ilaitia Tuilau, Esava Naqeleca and Shivan Swamy together with Alick Maemae, Nelson Sale and Jack Wetney of Solomon Islands add flair and depth to their squad while three Serbians and last season’s golden boot winner, Nigerian Sanni Issa add further experience.

“Myself and the players know that we need to get off to a good start and that one or two mistakes could make the difference between winning the group and/or finishing third or fourth,” Hall added

In its recent friendly matches, Amicale beat Fiji’s current National League leader Suva twice and drew one match.

The Champions League gets underway in Ba on Monday and the next day at Lautoka’s Churchill Park.

source: fbc sports/ fiji live/pacnews

Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 956


1) Australia’s South Sea Islander community launches campaign for united government lobby group
By Online Editor
12:19 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Australia

Australian South Sea Islanders are meeting in the Queensland town of Mackay to work on ways to improve Federal Government recognition of their community.

The WANTOK Australian South Sea Islanders National Forum, a gathering of descendents of Melanesian labourers brought to Australia in the 1800s, is discussing the structure of a new national body to lobby the government on behalf of South Sea Islanders.

They are continuing discussions on a push to be included as a separate ethnic group in Australia’s 2016 national census.

President of the interim national body for Australian South Sea Islanders, Emelda Davis, says it’s important the community is seen as distinct from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, with whom they’re sometimes grouped.

“We’ve got various types of identity that people use in terms of how they identify as Australian South Sea Islanders,” Davis said.

“Some are specifically South Sea Islanders, some like to be called Kanak, and there’s a number of other terms that are used. So it’s just getting a general agreeance on what term will be used on the census form.”

Davis says the national forum is aiming to get consensus on what the term should be.

Davis also says South Sea Islanders need to take a “bureaucratic stance” on the way they lobby the Commonwealth for funding of programs within their community.

“The need for a formal structure (for the community) is that the Government cannot speak to individual organisations. We need to have a united voice – one voice, one mob. That will assist with understanding that all the organisations across Australia — because we’re nationwide now, Australian South Sea Islanders are in every part of the country — they need to have a united voice and something that’s agreed on as to how we move forward,” Davis said.

“Australian South Sea Islanders are as disadvantaged in all areas as our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Australia’s South Sea Islander community was recognised as “a distinct ethnic group” in Australia by the Commonwealth Government in 1994. At the time, the Government acknowledged the history of the community, including the indentured labour system, and the severe disadvantage of the descendants of those slave labourers.

Davis says little has been done in the 20 years since.

“Nothing has truly been followed through. There aren’t meaningful programs and services for our elders, education, [economic] development, health issues. We’re still behind the eight ball,” she said.


2) Solomon Islands foreign minister meets with EU in Brussels
By Online Editor
3:42 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Belgium

The Solomon Islands Foreign Minister has met with European Union officials to discuss the economic partnership agreement and prospects for free visa access for Solomon Islanders in the Schengen area.

The Schengen Area is the area of 26 European countries that have abolished passport or any other type of border control between their common borders.

Clay Forau Soalaoi met with the head of the Asia-Pacific Division of the European External Action Services, Viorel Isticioaia-Budura, in Brussels.

He highlighted the importance of the visa free access into the Schengen area as a positive step in enhancing the relationship between Solomon Islands with the EU.

He says it would make travel more convenient and less costly as the current practice is to obtain visas in Canberra or Port Moresby before travel.

Viorel informed that the EU will upgrade its office in Honiara and will be headed by an Ambassador.


3) Solomons’ Development Fund Requirements To Change: Secretary
Constituency funds under fire as ‘slush fund’ for MPs

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 29, 2014) – The implementation of Solomon Islands Constituency Development Funds (CDF) will be done in accordance with the requirements of the new Public Financial Management Act (PFMA) and its subsidiary financial instruments.

That’s according to the Permanent Secretary for Finance and Treasury, Shadrach Fanega.

Mr Fanega said these instruments include the Interim Financial Instructions (IFIs) and Procurement and Contract Administration Manual (PCAM).

He said Government is looking at streamlining the procurement requirements and processes to ensure efficient and effective implementation of CDF projects.

Mr Fanega added the extensive consultations are being undertaken between the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) and Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MOFT) to help clarify the rules, requirements and processes under the PFMA.

He said that a three-day intensive training workshop was conducted by his ministry for Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) staff and Constituency Development Officers earlier this week.

“And the main outcome of the workshop has been the preparation of tender documents which are being put out in the media to invite expressions of interest from potential suppliers bidding to be preferred suppliers for commonly procured CDF project services/materials/inputs,” Mr Fanega said.

“This will allow evaluation and selection to be done in the next couple of weeks, so that the actual procurement of goods and services can be undertaken as from next month.”

Mr Fanega explained that the preferred supplier arrangements will then be fully compliant with the new PFMA requirements since it would have gone through the rigours of the normal pre-qualified tender process albeit only once.

“It will be more efficient because MRD will be able to purchase from any of the preferred suppliers for certain goods and services, without having to go through the process each time they go out to procure, thus expediting implementation of these CDF projects.”

Mr Fanega expressed appreciation to the Government and Members of Parliament for their commitment to the goals of the public financial management reforms in abiding by the principles and provisions of the PFMA and its subsidiary instruments.

“By executing CDF projects under the new PFMA and the procurement rules, they are actually putting into effect the policy intention to enhance transparency of and improve accountability for the use of public funds.”

Solomon Star

4) Vanuatu daily news digest | 31 March 2014

by bobmakin

  • The first work to re-upgrade Bauerfield airport started last Friday following a “ground-breaking ceremony launched by Prime Minister Carcasses,” Radio Vanuatu News informs us this morning. The VTDL company which has previously been called Vanuatu Trade Development Limited when it was planning to grow tobacco on Tanna is now Vanuatu Transport Development Limited, but always VTDL. No loan is neededfrom the Vanuatu Government any more. VTDL will use its own resources to carry out the upgrade. It is now eight months since the concession was signed with VTDL without any tenders being called. After completion of the Bauerfield work, VTDL will build a “greenfield” international airport (presumably at much discussed Rentabau) even though there has been no major call for such a facility from the tourism or export industries. VTDL will also upgrade Pekoa, Whitegrass and Norsup airfields those attending the ground-breaking at AVL learned.
  • Mr Odo Tevi, former Governor of the Reserve Bank, who was controversially terminated after being re-appointed to the post recently, has now been appointed Ambassador to the United Nations. A formal appointment ceremony will take place at State House tomorrow. The central banking skills of Odo Tevi have been regionally applauded, most notably lately by his work for the MSG on the possibility of a single Melanesian currency. Tevi had brought court action against the government for his termination but this is presumably lifted in view of his acceptance of the New York position recently vacated by Independence leader Donald Kalpokas.
  • The National Geothermal Task Force met with villagers and Emau islanders on Saturday to discuss an Environmental Impact Assessment for the project at Takara with the chiefs, families and land owners. Environment Director Albert Williams was present and a large attendance including many women (almost a quarter of the gathering) was encouraged to voice all its concerns about dangers posed by the project, whether from the energy unleashed or from damage to gardens. All were heartened by the answers provided by Geodynamics’ senior representatives. The area needing to be occupied by the power generating facility will be considerably smaller than that needed for fossil-fuel generation and the power source, very hot saline water, will be returned to the soil after the heat has been used.

5) Vanuatu daily news digest | 28 March 2014

by bobmakin

There’s still not a lot of hard news as such, the cyclone Lusi and last minute moves of parties and candidates taking up much of the space. But campaigning has begun and real issues should soon start making headlines.

Breaking news … TVL have just hooked into the cable. Well done, TVL! – and vanuatudaily sources.

  • Contracted nurses salaries continue to be a huge problem. Post says outstanding pay was to be received by mid-month, but still has not all arrived. Complications have been found in the administration of appointments. Health DG Santus Wari said his staff are working hard to clear the backlog whilst also working on a new plan for a “roadmap for long-term health planning policies.” Their existing policy of “the health services go to the patient, rather than the other way around,” has certainly proved unworkable, but administrative staff time would most assuredly be best spent presently in ensuring their 100 contracted professionals at VCH are fully paid.
  • Don Paterson has been appointed inaugural Chairman of the new Land Planning and Management Committee on the recommendation of the Malvatumauri. Having been responsible for the drafting of the original customary land tribunals act, Professor Don is Vanuatu’s “foremost legal expert on land matters,” according to Minister Regenvanu and has continued to lead academic discussion on the topic, hosting a summer school on lands during the last USP break.
  • I ought to have mentioned yesterday the South Pacific Tourism Organization’s “Pacific Regional Tourism Strategy 2015 – 2019″ which places Vanuatu in the same category as Fiji. Vanuatu stakeholders have taken issue with this categorisation in view of Fiji receiving more than twice as many visitors annually as Vanuatu. Stakeholders have been making their points of view known to the SPTO, Daily Post reported yesterday.
  • Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer has described the work carried out by the NDMO during cyclone Lusi as “highly professional,” VBTC News reports today. AusAid gave help to the relief activity by funding helicopter costs for shipment of materials to the worst flood-affected places. NDMO is continuing its assessments this week.

Air Vanuatu has welcomed the resumption of code sharing with Qantas after new IOSA certification and inspection of Air Vanuatu’s operations by IOSA.

Luganville Municipal Council has closed a poultry farm at Side River following complaints from residents of the area, Daily Post tells us today.


6) Radio Australia To Broadcast Live From Samoa
ABC’s Pacific morning program will focus on tourism

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, March 29, 2014) – ABC Radio Australia will broadcast its Pacific morning programme live from Samoa for the first time from next Wednesday to Friday 4 April at the cultural village at the Samoan Tourism Authority in Apia.

Coinciding with the Samoa Tourism Exchange, Radio Australia presenter, Phil Kafcaloudes will focus on some of the recent successes and current challenges facing Samoan tourism.

Assisted by local Samoan co-hosts; Mata’afa Keni Lesa, Editor of the Samoa Observer and Lady Lala, presenter at 89.1 My F.M., Phil will also explore the ever-changing Samoan lifestyle and culture with a focus on sport, education, development and local food.

The 3-day broadcast will include live interviews with some fabulous Samoan guests and we’re anticipating the Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegao might also join us. Some of the live interviews will include Australian High Commissioner, Sue Langford; Chief Executive Officer Samoa Tourism Authority, Papali’i Sonja Hunter; Vice Chancellor for the Centre for Samoan Studies at the University of Samoa, Professor Asofou So’o and CEO Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee, Fa’amausili Taiva Ah Young.

Some of Samoa’s top athletes going for gold in this year’s Commonwealth Games will also drop by, and in between interviews, Phil will demonstrate his support for healthy living by loosening up and shaking it at a live zumba class on Thursday followed by live local music performances on Friday.

“I’m really excited to be broadcasting – for the first time – the Radio Australia Mornings program live from Samoa,” said Phil Kafcaloudes.

“We’ll be covering all the action, excitement and colour of this vibrant Pacific community and taking it out across the rest of the Pacific and to Australia.

“I’d love to see and hear from as many people as possible during the broadcasts to give Samoa that loud, bright voice it deserves.”

The live broadcasts will occur on Wednesday 2nd, Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th April from 11.30am – 2pm at the big cultural Fale at the Samoan Tourism Authority in Apia and be transmitted across the Pacific through ABC Radio Australia’s network of 16 24-hour Pacific FM transmissions.

You can wake up every morning listening to Radio Australia on 102FM in Apia with the ABC’s leading Pacific and Australian news and current affairs programs Pacific Beat and AM, followed by Mornings with Phil.

Radio Australia F.M. services available across the Pacific are:

Papua New Guinea – Port Moresby 101.9FM & Lae 102.1FM; Solomon Islands – Honiara 107F.M; Vanuatu – Port Vila & Santo 103FM; Fiji – Suva & Nadi 106.6F.M; Samoa – Apia 102FM; Tonga – Nuku’alofa 103FM; Cook Islands – Rarotonga 93F.M; Kiribati – Tarawa 90F.M; Palau – Koror 91.5FM; FSM – Phonpei 88.1F.M

Samoa Observer

7) Am. Samoa Hospital’s Primary Care Clinic To Remain Open
Threats to close clinic raised concern in Fono

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, March 28, 2014) – Senators are pleased with the LBJ Medical Center board decision not to close the useful services of the Primary Care Clinic, but have noted that it will continue instead under the leadership of the Medical Clinic.

Primary Care service was one of the many issues discussed during a more than 90-minute Senate LBJ/Health Committee hearing on Tuesday chaired by Sen. Mauga T. Asuega. LBJ witnesses at the hearing were board chairman Mase Akapo, chief executive officer Joseph Davis-Fleming and chief medical officer Dr. Iotamo Saleapaga.

Sen. Galeai Tu’ufuli recommended to LBJ not to close Primary Care, saying that this planned move had already prompted many public complaints and is a “big disappointment to me” as well as his colleagues in the Senate.

He noted that Primary Care provides easy and faster access to a physician by residents, including elderly senators, instead of going to the Medical Clinic unit where there is along wait of two-to-four hours, to see a physician.

He recommended that LBJ continue the Primary Care unit, even if it’s transitioned into another hospital department so that this important service can continue for the community.

Mase then shared the good news with senators, saying that the Primary Care Clinic will continue, but under the leadership of the Medical Clinic. He also explained that Primary Care will take over seeing patients from the Emergency Room if there is a long line for the ER.

He explained that patients at the ER, who are considered by the attending physician as not serious and non-emergency patients will be referred to Primary Care.

What was not asked during the hearing was whether or not the clinic would continue to make appointments to allow patients to see it’s doctors, i.e. not turn into a ‘first come, first serve” service, which is typical of the ER and other medical clinics of the hospital.

Planned closure of the Primary Care caused a flurry from lawmakers in both the Senate and House and strong criticism from the community who believed that the hospital would be doing an injustice to resident’s medical needs by shutting it down.

Drama over the Primary Care unit surfaced in January this year when Saleapaga recommended to the LBJ board closure of the clinic, alleging low patient numbers, overstaffing, repetition of what the medical clinics are doing, and not being “cost effective”.

Dr. Sean A. Stracensky, who headed the Primary Care at the time, dismissed claims by Saleapaga, but subsequently tendered his letter of resignation on Feb. 26 with his last day on the job, Mar. 12. He has since left the territory, and Samoa News has received many calls about the hospital’s ‘great loss’ of a physician who cared for his patients.

Samoa News was told that Stracensky always took the time to talk to his patients about their illnesses, and always put them at ease regarding any medical condition they had. They trusted him.

The Samoa News

8) U.S. Provides Water Catchment Systems To Samoa
87 tanks in Savai‘i to mitigate shortages during drought

By Deidre Taotua Fanene

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, March 28, 2014) – Savai’i is celebrating the installation of new 87 new rainwater tank systems for four villages, with help from the United States.

Community leaders from the Savai’i villages of Asau, Auala, Falealupo and Sapapali’i met yesterday morning in Auala, alongside officials from the United States government and Samoa government to mark the successful delivery of new rainwater catchment infrastructure for their respective communities.

The rainwater catchment and storage infrastructure provided through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will help to mitigate shortages of fresh water during prolonged drought.

Water scarcity, a result of climate change, is a critical concern of this community, said Charge d’ Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Samoa Peter Ganser.

“Climate change impacts all of us in the United States but more so here in the Pacific Islands and in Samoa where things like climate change and the love of the ocean means the intensity of storms has an enormous impact

“So it is in our best interests to work in a partnership with the villages of Samoa and with the government of Samoa and to share what we know with the people of Samoa in this partnership.

“In this particular case we have through our AID Program a ten village $1.2 million tala program.

“This morning we dedicated four of those projects.

These villages wanted the ability to collect rain water in a clean and efficient fashion. Those four projects cost a total of 500,000 tala, he said.

“It was engineered by fellow Pacific Islanders to take into account the things that we don’t know about in the United States but your fellow Pacific Islanders and Samoans know about.”

Mr. Ganser said there was a vision behind and beyond the water project, based on increasing urgency around climate change. “Secretary John Kerry who is our Secretary of State has stated that this is his number one priority,” said Mr. Ganser.

“Secretary Hillary Clinton who came before Secretary Kerry made women’s issues her number one issue.

Secretary Kerry is going to hold on and keep that as an important issue but he’s going to raise up climate change as a very important issue and this is going to be his corner stone effort. He noted that the United States has just announced the US$24 million Pacific American Climate Fund.

“We will be bringing that information here and we’ll be working with Non Government Organizations and Civil Society Organisations to ask for their input, to ask for them to submit plans and through that method we are going to expand what we’re doing here.

“So we look forward to the results of that programme.”

Etepo Poloma a Mayor of Asau village acknowledged the U.S. Government for their generosity.

“Asau is a big village and a lot of the people have moved to where the mountains are, but the water hardly reached there, so that is why our village really needs this rainwater catchment, he said.

“Even though there are twenty five rainwater catchments has been provided to our villages I still think it is not enough, because there are a lot of families that need these.

“So if the U.S. Government can provide another twentyfive or thirty of these for us that would be wonderful but as for now, we are very thankful for all that they have provided for us. U.S.A.I.D. through its Coastal Community Adaption Project (C-CAP) has provided nearly 87,000 litres of increased rainwater storage capacity to each village via a combination of free standing rainwater catchment and storage systems for household use, and polyethylene tanks that are attached to existing structures for shared community use. In total, 87 tanks were distributed amongst the four villages.

Samoa Observer


9) Marshalls Islands President names new Finance Minister

By Online Editor
3:44 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands President has named Jack Ading as the new finance minister, following last week’s resignation of Dennis Momotaro.

Momotaro’s resignation was due to fallout from the nomination of the former Lebanese security chief Jamil el-Sayed as the Marshall Islands Ambassador to UNESCO.

Momotaro was the only Cabinet member to break ranks during a vote of no confidence brought against the Cabinet over the nomination earlier in March.

Ading served a full four-year term as Finance Minister under two presidents from 2008 to 2012.

He was credited with stabilising the Marshall Islands loan payments to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2008 and improving the country’s fiscal position.

Momotaro is the fifth Cabinet member in the 35 years of constitutional government to resign his post.


10) CNMI Congressman Wants Warning On Federalization Transition
Sablan asks U.S. Labor Secretary for clarity on foreign workers

By Emmanuel T. Erediano

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, March 31, 2014) – U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan again urged U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez to announce whether the federalization transition period will be extended beyond Dec. 31, 2014.

During a U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on Wednesday, Sablan said Perez should make a decision “sooner rather than later.”

“Because leaving the decision to the last minute leaves businesses uncertain whether they will have an adequate number of workers,” Sablan said. “Leaving the decision to the end of the transition period also leaves a smaller number of consumers in the Northern Marianas. So [businesses] don’t invest. They don’t create more jobs. And that plays hell on an economy trying to pull itself out of a deep recession.”

Sablan told Perez, who appeared before the committee, that since the beginning of the transition period, the number of foreign workers has gone down from 17,245 to 9,617.

He cited the Government Accountability Office report quoting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as saying that as of October 2013, there were 9,617 nonresident workers in the CNMI.

“That’s the economic argument,” Sablan said.

Then there’s the humanitarian concern:

“Because waiting until the last minute leaves 9,617 foreign workers hanging in the breeze. Many of these people have lived in the Northern Marianas for decades. They have families and homes there. If they have to be gone by the end of this year, we owe them the courtesy of letting them know — as soon as possible. They need to start looking for work elsewhere, selling their belongings, and moving their families, their kids.”

Sablan added, “Mr. Secretary, I know the Northern Marianas does not have an admirable history when it comes to foreign workers. [California Congressman George] Miller will tell you that himself. It is possible your department does not trust that the Northern Marianas will replace foreign workers with U.S. workers — that we are just buying time.”

But Sablan noted that this time, the annual number of foreign workers permitted to work in the CNMI is no longer a decision to be made by the commonwealth government.

He said it is DHS that now sets the number, and federal law requires fewer and fewer guest workers each year.

“I also want to remind you that my office has reached out to your department to ask that you provide technical assistance to the Northern Marianas and advice on how to train U.S. workers.

“We want your help. We want to complete the transition that Public Law 110-229 [the federalization law] requires. But we need to do it in a way that keeps our economy whole and does not put the jobs of U.S. workers in that economy at risk. And the uncertainty — in the absence of your decision — is not helping. I hope you will take my words to heart. I’m not asking a question, sir, I am just making a statement, hoping that you’d hear us out and make a decision soon,” Sablan told Perez.

Sablan expressed full support for increasing the federal minimum wage rate to $10.10 as proposed by President Obama.

“I know that may sound strange coming from someone who asked for a delay in the minimum wage in my district. I did so because in my view the rate of increase in the Northern Marianas since 2008 needed to be tempered.

“But I have never wavered in my commitment to see workers in the Northern Marianas receive the full minimum wage. And I know they will be glad to see it increase to $10.10 per hour.”

In a separate interview, Gov. Eloy S. Inos echoed Sablan’s concerns.

He said the congressional delegate raised a valid concern because businesses in the CNMI need to know if they will have an adequate number of workers after this year.

Sablan has introduced H.R. 4296 which requires a five-year extension of the immigration transition period.

He said the bill has the same language contained in his Omnibus Territories Act, H.R. 2200, and its Senate companion, S.1237.

“Both of those bills are moving slowly because they contain other changes to territorial law, some of which are controversial. So I have decided to improve chances of enacting the transition extension with a stand-alone bill, H.R. 4296,” Sablan said.

“This is the same strategy that worked with the transfer of ownership of submerged lands. The transfer was originally part of H.R. 2200 and S.1237, but it was a free-standing bill, S. 256, that moved more quickly and became law on Sept. 18, 2013. Extending the transition period by five years will protect our tourism industry by preventing claims of asylum in the Northern Marianas by persons who enter under parole status.”

In his newsletter, Sablan said: “We do not have 9,716 local workers to replace those CWs by the end of this year. If those workers all have to leave, businesses will close and the local workers they employ will be out of a job. We need to continue the steady reduction in foreign workers. But, as the Government Accountability Office has advised Congress ‘any substantial and rapid decline in the availability of CNMI-only work permits for foreign workers would have a negative effect on the economy.’ ”

Marianas Variety

11) 52 Criminal Charges Filed In RMI Hospital Bribery Case
Pharmacy owner allegedly attempted to win medical contracts

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, March 31, 2014) – The Marshall Islands attorney general filed 52 criminal charges against the owner and manager of a Majuro-based pharmacy who, the AG said, bribed Majuro hospital officials on multiple occasions to win bids for medical equipment, supplies and maintenance.

Attorney General Jack Jorbon said charges against Marshall Islands government workers involved in the scheme will be filed in the coming weeks.

Genesis Island Enterprises RMI owner Herminio Alfonso and manager Ariane Jay Demayo were both charged Thursday with 52 criminal counts — 13 each of bribery, theft by deception, securing execution of documents by deception, and criminal conspiracy.

Only Demayo was on island and present at an initial hearing Friday before Chief Justice Carl Ingram. He was ordered to hand in his passport to the clerk of courts and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 3.

Private attorney Witten Philippo was initially retained by Demayo, but Deputy Public Defender Karotu Tiba took over handling the initial hearing minutes before it started.

Chief Public Defender Russell Kun said he will be representing Demayo going forward.

The charges list 13 instances between June 26, 2012 and June 26, 2013 when Genesis staff are said to have paid bribes ranging from $500 to $5,000 to associate hospital administrator Francis Silk in exchange for his “using his influence to steer bids toward Genesis by communicating confidential information to Demayo, usually by email, regarding potential MOH orders, and Genesis in turn would provide a ‘padded’ price quotation for the needed item. Silk also aided Genesis by using his influence as associate hospital administrator to recommend sole sourcing to Genesis and not provide an adequate number of price quotations from other vendors.”

Financial documents from Genesis that are included as evidence with the charges against Alfonso and Demayo include a check register that lists payments to people under the headings, “incentives to Dr. Eleuterio Magtangob,” or “Sir Francis incentive,” or “activity for Sir Baines.”

A Genesis “profit and loss” statement for 2013, included as AG’s evidence exhibit number two, lists nine individuals receiving over $93,000 as “incentives” in 2013.

The 52 charges against Alfonso and Demayo state that Genesis bribes were used to accomplish orders from the hospital for x-ray film and numerous laboratory supplies and equipment.

One of the a bribes was for a maintenance contract, the AG said, adding: “although the contact was paid in full, the CT scan was not properly working.”

The charges stated that the Genesis pair “deceived other health officials who signed on purchase requisitions” to believe the documents were “legitimate and urgently needed.”

If Chief Justice Carl Ingram finds good cause to move to trial at the April 3 preliminary hearing, the two will be asked to enter pleas of guilty or not guilty at that time.

Marianas Variety


12) Australia PM Declares 100 Days Without Asylum Seeker Boat
Abbott declares Operation Sovereign Borders a success

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 30, 2014) – Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declared “the way is closed” for people smugglers as the Government marks 100 days since a boat arrived in Australia’s territory.

Standing next to a sign comparing the number of boat arrivals under Labor and the Coalition, Mr Abbott congratulated Immigration Minister Scott Morrison on progress with Operation Sovereign Borders, which has been tasked with stopping asylum seeker arrivals.

The Prime Minister said Mr Morrison had done an “outstanding” job.

“This is the result of … full and methodical implementation of the policies that the Coalition took to the last election,” Mr Abbott said.

“It is too early to declare that the job is done, but nevertheless I think we can safely say that the way is closed.”

The Opposition said it was too early to “proclaim victory”, but welcomed the reduction in boat arrivals.

The Government said with the monsoon season coming to an end, the number of boats attempting the journey to Australia might increase.

But Mr Morrison said the first two phases of the operation – 100 days of a reduction in arrivals and the same amount without any arrivals – had been successfully completed.

He said Operation Sovereign Borders would now enter a new phase as the Government focused on the 30,000 people still in immigration detention.

“We now go into the third phase where we move into the post-monsoon period and the risks are just as great,” Mr Morrison said.

“We will maintain the intensity of all of our operations in all areas of Operation Sovereign Borders, both with our offshore processing, with what we are doing at sea and through our disruption and partnership operations all the way up through the region back to source.

“We need to work through the settlement arrangements there and the return of those who are found not to be refugees.”

Mr Morrison has released figures showing 606 people have now either voluntarily returned or been forcibly returned to their place of origin since Operation Sovereign Borders began.

The Government says for the first time since 2008 the number of people returning home is exceeding the number arriving.

Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles said the arrangements struck by the previous Labor government had been the main factor in the slowdown in boats.

“It’s too early to proclaim victory. This is not a footy match – this is not about scoreboards and banners and slogans. This is about serious public policy addressing a very, very complicated issue,” he said.

Morrison refuses to comment on Manus Island investigation

Meanwhile, Mr Morrison has refused to comment on reports Papua New Guinea police are investigating two Australian suspects in the recent killing of an asylum seeker on Manus Island.

Fairfax Media has reported witnesses to the violent death of detainee Reza Barati in February have identified two employees from security contractor G4S.

Mr Morrison said it was not appropriate to discuss the police inquiry.

“That matter is still before the Papua New Guinean police and as I said I’ll be in PNG this week to get a further update on where those investigations are at,” he said.

“Our own inquiry is also continuing under Mr [Robert] Cornall and when those matters are brought to a conclusion, if there are any requests that are made obviously we’ll work through those requests as appropriate.”

Radio Australia


13) Askim long ol kantri i wok bung long visa bilong ol seasonal wokas.

Updated 31 March 2014, 15:24 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Ol gavman blong Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands na Vanuatu long  helpim em i stretim gut ol wokbung wantem Australian gavman long saed blong ol visa blong ol seasonal wokas.

Odio: Askim igo long ol kantri i wok bung llong visa bilong ol seasonal wokas.

Despla toktok ibin kam long Emmanuel Bani, wanpla bisnisman blong Brisbane, long Queensland husat isave kisim ol wokas ikam long despla tripla kantri.

Mr Bani itok emi laikim planti wokman-meri long kam wok long Australia, tasol emi save hard long wonem long ol strongpla loa blong visa.

Em i tok wanpla samting emi save bagarapim nem blong PNG na solomon Islands em pasin blong kamapim trabal na spak.

Emmanuel Bani wanpla bisnisman blong PNG long Queensland i tok sapos ol gavman bilong tripela kantri i sapotim em, dispela bai i mekim em i painim maket bilong ol long bringim ol seasonal wokas ikam long Australia.

Em i tok long luksave bilong em long ol yar igo pinis, em givim tok piksa olsem rikrutment bilong seasonal wokas long Papua New Guinea olsem wanpela bikpela bot. Nek bilong em i liklik na bel bilong em i bikpela. Emi soim olsem i gat planti pipal i laik igo wok long Australia tasol oli save kisim liklik namba tasol aninit long dispela sistem.

Em i tok em i lukim olsem stat long taim em i bin kisim ol wokman namri bilong Solomon Islands na Vanuatu i kam wok long Australia, i bin givim bikpela haiivim igo long ol.

Emmuanuel Bani i tok taim em ibin igo long Solomon Islands long mekim awenes long seasonal wokas, em i bin lukim olsem, ol dispela ibin ikam long Australia na igo bek, ibin nap long ronim teksi, sola lait na ol narapela gutpela wok long halivim sidaun bilong ol- Radio Australia

14) PNG i gat planti liklik bisnis em ol pipal bilong ovais i papa long ol.

Updated 31 March 2014, 15:49 AEST
Pius Bonjui

Sasindra Muthuvel , Gavana bilong West New Britain Provins long Papua New Guinea i tok, i gat planti liklik bisnis we ol pipal bilong narapela kantri i papa long ol na isi long ol i karim ol samting igo insait long kantri.

Odio: TPI_smolbisnis_20140331

Emi tok em i no kirap nogut long save olsem sampela long ol i nap bringim hait ol fresh mit na ol plant igo insait long kantri.

Dispela ino stret aninit long import laws bilong kantri longwanem, sapos i gat ol binatang or sik long ol kain samting oli bringim igo insait long kantri bai givim birua igo long ol enimal na plant bilong kantri.

Tu Gavana Sasindran i tok em i laik lukim ol  ovasis bisnisman ino ken kisim na lukautim ol smol bisnis em ol Papua New Guineans iet i mas papa long ol.

Gavana bilong West New Britain Province, Sasindra Muthuvel i tok 99 pesent bilong ol smol bisnis i stap long han bilong ol pipal bilong narapela kantri na oli no gat dreka kontrol long ol.

Oli save kisim tok orait ikam long Idipendent Promosen Otoriti long kirapim bisnis bilong ol na tu oli ino save diklerim ol samting oli bringim igo insait na i save putim kost bilong ol igo daun or under vavlued.

Gavana Sasindran bilong West New Britain i tok planti taim ol ovasis liklik bisnis man meri i save diklresim ol win olsem bia na bringim igo insait na why dispela ino mekim ol peim takis.

Gavana i tok em i wanpela long ol samting bai rait igo long gavman na askim longwanem tru oli ino luksave na putim takis long wain.

Em i tok dispela ol wain import nau i wok long givim heve igo long ol pipal bilong provins longwanem oli baim na drink.Radio Australia


15) Franck Bainimarama fonde Fiji First

Posté à 31 March 2014, 14:53 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

À Fidji, le Premier ministre par intérim et ancien putschiste Franck Bainimarama vient de créer son parti politique.

C’est sous les couleurs de Fiji First que Franck Bainimarama se présentera aux élections du 17 septembre prochain, premier scrutin démocratique depuis 2006. Franck Bainimarama a baptisé son parti dimanche. Et il entame désormais une tournée dans les provinces de Fidji, pour réunir les 5000 signatures et les 5000 dollars nécessaires au dépôt des statuts de son parti Fiji First.

Par ailleurs, la Nouvelle-Zélande a levé officiellement les restrictions de voyage qui pesaient sur les dignitaires du régime de Franck Bainimarama, emboîtant ainsi le pas à l’Australie. Car Fidji a fait des progrès vers la démocratie en organisant ces élections en septembre, souligne Murray Mc Cully, le ministre kiwi des Affaires étrangères, qui se réjouit particulièrement de la nomination de commissaires électoraux. Radio Australia

16) 67 listes en compétition pour le second tour des municipales

Par Elif Kayi
Publié le 26/03/2014 | 11:06, mis à jour le 27/03/2014 | 10:00

67 listes ont été officiellement annoncées pour le second tour des élections municipales de dimanche prochain en Nouvelle-Calédonie.


67 listes ont été déposées ce mardi à 18 heures. Les tractations sont allées bon train et on note 15 fusions de listes, par rapport aux résultats du premier tour de dimanche dernier.

Du côté de Nouméa, Gaël Yanno et Gaby Briault avaient déjà annoncé lors de leur conférence de presse commune mardi à 14h la fusion de leurs deux listes. La liste menée par Gaby Briault obtient 8 places, dont 4 éligibles. Briault se retrouve en septième position sur la liste de Gaël Yanno, “Union pour Nouméa”. Marie-Claude Tjibaou n’a pas appelé à voter pour Sonia Lagarde (“Avec nous, ça va changer”), mais contre la majorité sortante. Pas de consigne de vote des autres candidats évincés au premier tour, Jean-Raymond Postic et Bertrand Cherrier.

A Païta, la liste Calédonie Ensemble, conduite par Frédéric De Greslan et arrivée en seconde position dimanche dernier 26%, a été rejointe par Silipeleto Dit Fiu Muliakaaka, dont la liste « L’unité dans la diversité pour vivre ensemble » avait crée la surprise dimanche en recueillant 8,40%. Muliakaaka obtient trois places sur la liste de De Greslan (“Pour un soufffle nouveau à Païta”) et arrive lui-même en septième position. Louisa Bréhé, qui avait recueilli 7,55% dimanche dernier, a quant à elle apporté son soutien au maire sortant Harold Martin (“Païta pour tous”).

Au Mont-Dore et à Dumbéa, pas de changement par rapport à ce qui avait été laissé entendre jusque-là : triangulaire au Mont-Dore et quadrangulaire à Dumbéa.
Au Mont-Dore, aucune alliance n’a été mise en place et les listes menées par Eric Gay (“Front pour l’Unité/Le Rassemblement UMP”), Monique Jandot (Calédonie Ensemble) et Jean-Irénée Boano (“Bien vivre au Mont-Dore pour une Nation Arc-en-Ciel”) se sont maintenues, comme attendu. On attend les consignes de vote de la candidate Chantal Courtot, évincée au premier tour.
A Dumbéa, les candidats avaient laissé entendre au lendemain du premier tour qu’il n’y aurait pas d’alliance. Une situation qui a été confirmée lors du dépôt des listes ce mardi. les quatre listes, menées par le maire sortant Georges Naturel (“Plus loin pour Dumbéa”), Bernard Marant (Calédonie Ensemble), Gil Brial (“L’Union pour Dumbéa”) et Muriel Malfar (“Passionnément Dumbéa”), passées au premier tour se maintiennent donc.

A Bourail, quatre listes restent en lice pour le second tour. Les deux candidats, Nadir Boufeneche (“Bourail, Uni pour le changement”) et Julien Boanemoi (FLNKS), arrivés respectivement troisième avec 21,33% et quatrième avec 17,81%, s’étaient deux déclarés ouverts aux négociations. Il n’y aura cependant pas d’alliance avec les deux autres listes, arrivées en tête, et conduites par Patrick Robelin (“Intérêt communal de Bourail”) et Brigitte El Arbi (“Unis dans la diversité”).

A Yaté aussi, quatre listes se maintiennent au second tour. La liste du FLNKS, menée par Adolphe Kamebo Digoue, était arrivée en tête dimanche dernier avec un résultat de 38,81%. Elle sera opposée aux trois autres listes “Entente pour un renouveau municipal à Yaté” d’Eliane Ouetcho, la “Liste Coordination Commune” d’André Vama et “Yaté autrement” de Roger Tara.

A Ponérihouen, où trois recours ont été déposés dès dimanche soir, quatre listes restent en lice pour le second tour : l’UC-Palika conduite par Pierre-Chanel Tutugoro – qui a déposé deux recours contre la liste de Fabrice Pouyé pour bulletin non conforme, mais aussi contre Astrid Gopéa -, “Union progressiste de Mélanésie – Union nationale pour l’indépendance”, de Pouya Meray, la liste du Parti Travailliste menée par Hubert Naaoutchoue et “Vivre ensemble à Ponérihouen” de Fabrice Pouye.

A Koumac, le maire sortant Wilfrid Weiss, qui avait obtenu 33,35% avec sa liste “Pour le Progrès communal”, s’était retrouvé au coude à coude au premier tour de dimanche avec celle de Pierre Delhumeau, “Tous pour Koumac”, qui avait récolté 31,06% des voix. S’ajoute la liste “Koumac Démocratie” d’Eric Gravina, qui avait été créditée de 12,53%. La liste FLNKS, conduite par Jean-Charles Monefara au premier tour, et qui avait obtenu 23,04%, ne se présente pas au second tour mais a annoncé avoir trouvé un accord avec Wilfrid Weiss dans la liste “Unis pour le progrès communal”. Monefara ne figure cependant pas sur cette liste.

A Kouaoua, les cinq listes participant au premier tour dimanche dernier, et qui avaient toutes franchi la barre des 10%, se maintiennent au second tour de dimanche prochain : le FLNKS Unitaire, conduit par Fredy Chagui, “Terre, commune et avenir de Kawiipa”, d’Alcide Ponga, “Kouaoua, une commune pour tous”, de Jean-Pierre Brumoere, “Diver-Cité Kawipa”, de André Diainon et “Union, progrès, avenir” de Wiliam Nomai.

Triangulaire à Maré avec la liste “Dynamique autochtone – FNLKS”, conduite par Basile Citre, “Dynamique unitaire Nengone” de Pierre Ateroy Ngaiohni et “Entente citoyenne” de Charles Yeiwene.

Triangulaire aussi a Ouégoa, avec “Union citoyenne”, conduite par Joël Carnicelli, “Ouégoa pour tous” de Fernand Martin et la liste “FLNKS Ouégoa”, conduite par Jacques Wahio.

Même configuration à Poya, avec l’Union FLNKS de Poya, conduite par François Meandu-Poveu, qui sera en lice aux côtés des listes “Poya Nekö-Horizon 2020″, conduite par Yasmina Metzdorf et l’ “Union nationale pour l’indépendance dans la diversité” d’Isaac Meandu-Poveu.

A Boulouparis, trois listes se font concurrence : “Boulouparis en mieux”, menée par Pascal Vittori, “Dynamique nationaliste de Boulouparis” de Gaston Poiroi et “Boulouparis en action” d’Alain Lazare.

On reste dans les triangulaires à Ouvéa et Voh. A Ouvéa, on retrouvera dimanche prochain la liste « Palika Iaai pour tous » de Boniface Ouno, “Agir pour Ouvéa – UC FLNKS” de Maurice Tillewa et la liste du Parti Travailliste conduite par Cédric Meaou. A Voh, ce sont les listes “Voh de demain”, de Jean-Luc Chenu, “Dynamique Vôôk-S’unir pour agir autrement”, de Rose Nassaie Wacalie et l’”Union nationale pour l’indépendance” de Guigui Dounehote qui seront opposées au second tour de dimanche.

Dernières triangulaire avec Pouébo, Pouembout et Touho. A Pouébo, la liste du Palika, conduite par Rodrig Tiavouane sera opposée à “Pouébo, avenir pour le défi du changement” avec Rock Doui et la liste de l’Union Calédonienne, conduite par Jean-Baptiste Dalap. A Pouembout, “Unis pour un destin commun”, de Jean-Doui Naouna sera opposée au “Mouvement citoyen” de Robert Courtot et à la liste de l’Union Calédonienne, conduite par Martine Bertoni. A Touho, la liste FLNKS Commune Océanienne, conduite par Alphonse Poinine sera opposée à l’”Union citoyenne pour le changement” de Daniel Poigoune et “Tha Paladjä” de Sylvain Nea.

A Houailou, la liste nationaliste unitaire (UC-UNI-Parti travailliste-FLNKS), conduite par Pascal Sawa sera opposée à la liste “Waai Oi Luu 2014, pour un changement durable”, conduite par Francis Euriboa. La maire sortante Valentine Eurisouké, qui avait obtenu 17,95% avec sa liste UNI-Palika au premier tour, se retrouve en 14ème position sur la liste nationaliste unitaire de Pascal Sawa.

A Kaala-Gomen, la liste “Entente communale”, menée par Alain Levant sera opposée à la liste “Ensemble ! Travaillons pour Kaala-Gomen” d’Hervé Tein-Taouva. A Poum, l’Union citoyenne, menée par Henriette Hmae, sera opposée à la Dynamique Unitaire FLNKS de Jean Vara. Deux listes aussi en compétition à l’île des Pins : la liste FLNKS, menée par Nicodeme Kouathe, et le liste Rassemblement-Knuie, conduite par Hilarion Vendegou.

Toutes les listes en compétition pour le second tour des municipales en Nouvelle-Calédonie à voir ici (PDF).

17) Z comme… Zircon, l’atout d’Eramet contre Glencore

Alain Jeannin
Publié le 28/03/2014 | 17:10, mis à jour le 30/03/2014 | 14:20

Si loin, si proche de Nouméa. Dans quelques jours, le projet minier de Grande Côte au Sénégal sera opérationnel. Il est conduit par TIZIR l’entreprise commune d’Eramet à 50 % avec la société australienne Mineral Deposits Limited.

Dans un monde où les projets des entreprises comptent presqu’autant que leurs résultats, le producteur franco-calédonien marque un grand coup.

L’investissement est de 650 millions d’euros. Son achèvement permet le démarrage des opérations de production de sables minéralisés. La montée en puissance de l’exploitation minière se traduira d’abord par la production des concentrés de minéraux lourds qui seront traités dans une usine de séparation.

Exploité par Grande Côte Opération (GCO), le gisement, présenté comme le troisième plus important au monde, permettra de fournir 7 % du total de la production mondiale de Zircon, un minerai utilisé dans les écrans plasma, les matériaux de construction, l’industrie aérospatiale…
La mine produira aussi de l’ilménite qui sert dans l’industrie chimique, notamment pour produire du plastique et du papier. Les produits ainsi obtenus seront transportés par voie ferrée jusqu’au port de Dakar, d’où ils seront expédiés vers les clients dans le monde entier.

Un projet séduisant

Avec ce projet, Eramet devient un acteur majeur de l’industrie des sables minéralisés. Ce projet a séduit les investisseurs financiers. Société Générale est redevenue positive sur le titre qui a gagné plus de 20 % à la bourse de Paris. Le projet sénégalais contribue par son importance à améliorer la capitalisation boursière du spécialiste des alliages et donc celle de sa filiale calédonienne, la SLN. Car c’est bien le nickel, la production phare d’Eramet en Nouvelle-Calédonie, qui reste source d’inquiétude malgré la remontée des cours.

“On ne fait pas de spéculation dans le vide”

Au LME de Londres, les cours ont perdu près de 500 dollars depuis le début de la semaine. Rien d’inquiétant pour le moment, les investisseurs ont pris leur bénéfice en clôture du mois de mars, après une hausse de 15 % des cours du métal. La spéculation devrait pouvoir reprendre en avril, même si la hausse des stocks du LME est de 26 000 tonnes de nickel toujours depuis le 1er janvier. La contradiction entre la hausse des réserves et le prix du métal qui reste élevé n’est qu’apparente. Didier Julienne, le spécialiste des matières premières nous précise: ” Pour développer la spéculation à la hausse des prix du nickel, il faut du volume, on ne fait pas de spéculation dans le vide.”

Une fusion au 16 avril

Le géant des matières premières Glencore et son voisin le groupe minier Xstrata ne pensent pas autrement. Avec un bénéfice net en baisse en 2012 de 17 % pour Glencore et de 37 % pour Xstrata, il est urgent pour eux de finaliser une fusion mainte fois retardée et qui est désormais agendée au 16 avril prochain. Une fusion d’autant plus nécessaire qu’Eramet a démontré sa capacité à rebondir en s’associant avec un partenaire australien dans son projet sénégalais de Grande Côte.


18) Alotau Accord dead: PNG Political Parties
By Online Editor
3:40 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

Political parties in Papua New Guinea have accused the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC) of using the noble intentions of the Alotau Accord to increasingly strengthen its grip on power and to systematically manipulate the State to advance its interests.

The parties said in a joint communiqué signed during an emotional and highly-charged meeting in Port Moresby on Saturday.

They called on sacked former treasurer Don Polye and members of his Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party, as well as sacked Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma and his United Resources Party, to pull out of government because of the way they had been treated by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his PNC.

Spokesman and Social Democratic Party general secretary David Dom told reporters the Alotau Accord had outlived its usefulness.

“The Alotau Acord has served its purpose well for the ruling coalition partner and its leadership,” he said.
“It served to extend the grace period to four years.

“Thus, it has delivered the desired political stability or more precisely protection and continuity in office for the ruling coalition partner.

“This effectively emboldens and enables the PNC and its leadership to do whatever pleases them anytime without fear of any opposition or scrutiny whatsoever.

“The Alotau Accord, having served its purpose, is no longer useful. It has outlived its political use by date for all the signatories.

“It is no longer something which a politician or coalition partner can continue to worship or uphold or pledge loyalty to.”

Dom said some coalition partners and individual MPs such as Polye had been “mistreated, mishandled, humiliated, or intimidated by the ruling coalition partner”.

“PNC and its leadership shamelessly continue to deny the no-win situation they have found themselves in,” he said. “Instead, they continue to shamelessly brag about a non-existent need to uphold the Alotau Accord. It is apparent that they do this purely out of fear.

“The dominant coalition partner – the PNC and its leadership – are now sacking and replacing, and in the process humiliating quality ministers, civil servants and coalition partners at will.

“This is not in accord with the letter and spirit of the Alotau Accord.

“Nevertheless, they will continue to dish out the same treatment whether partners like it or not.

“There is no stopping them for the grace period gives them a sense of power, security, and infallibility.”.

Meanwhile, the  Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC) is not working, political parties say.

Dom said the OLIPPAC was instituted for the dual purpose of preventing political instability and developing and strengthening a party-based political culture in the country.

“For a brief period, it served its purpose as intended, especially during the tenure of the then Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta,” he said. “However, a Supreme Court interpretation on the OLIPPAC rendered among others, Section 45 unconstitutional and was annulled forthwith. This was the crucial provision which annulled political stability.

“With it being annulled, candidates and parties could switch their allegiance at will. To this day, no attempt has been made to re-establish the power and purpose of the OLLIPAC.

“Thus, it remains a gigantic law without teeth and strength.

“In our opinion, this reflects a government leadership lacking either the will or having ulterior motives or both.”

Dom said the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties realised the need to maintain political stability and good governance, and in consultation with registered political parties, proposed changes to the OLIPPAC.

“The proposed changes were submitted to the current government for endorsement after it went through the compulsory vetting process,” he said. “For reasons now known, the proposed amendments have not been endorsed for Parliament to enact.

“The reason was that the dominant coalition partner (People’s National Congress) and its leadership has an alternative agenda.

“It was to amend the Constitution on the back of the Alotau Accord to accomplish its own version of political stability.

“On the other hand, the gradual and systematic weakening and decimation of its coalition partners and even the Opposition parties through intimidation, cleverly-disguised blackmails and application of divisive tactics.”.


19) Fiji govt welcomes Australia, NZ’s decision to lift travel sanctions
By Online Editor
3:51 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Fiji

The Fijian Government has welcomed Australia and New Zealand’s decision to lift all existing sanctions against Fiji.

Government in a statement said it has always believed that the sanctions were ill conceived and served only to discourage talented and qualified individuals from serving the Fijian people.

“We have always maintained that our three governments can work together if it is on the basis of a mutual respect for national sovereignty and on equal terms.

The removal of sanctions is a positive step towards restoring normal relations between our governments. The relations between our peoples has never weakened.

We now look forward to working with Australia and New Zealand on a number of areas of shared interest,” a  government statement said.

Fiji will go to the polls on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 to elect its new Government.

Four political parties have already registered for the general election while Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Sunday announced his proposed Fiji First political party in Suva.

In another development, Fiji’s newly appointed Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem has assured the public that the Elections Office is independent and will uphold its core rights.

Saneem said the immediate task would be to see that the mechanics of the Elections Office is in place and there are plans of extensive voter education.

He also announced that Electronic Voter Registration for overseas voters will resume in the second week of May.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says while all is not perfect in Fiji, he says the government believes it’s more constructive to provide assistance, as Fiji prepares for the September election.

McCully says the government wants to recognise the progress that’s been made towards free and fair elections.

“No-one is pretending the position in Fiji is perfect. I think it’ a significant step forward if we have got an election date established, a framework for elections, political parties registered. The question is how do we best re-inforce that progress and that’s the judgment we’ve made,” McCully told Radio New Zealand.

20) Ethnic differences will remain in Fiji, says Former Vice President
By Online Editor
3:47 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Fiji

Former Fijian Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi says there is no guarantee that ethnic differences won’t arise in the upcoming elections.

Speaking at the National Federation Party’s annual congress in Nadi at the weekend, Ratu Joni said eight years was not enough to eradicate the issue of race.

“Eight years is a relatively short time in which to expect monumental changes in voting patterns i.e. as in an end to ethnic voting. However, the stars appear to be favourable.” He said the 2014 general election is a significant milestone for a number of reasons.

“Firstly, it will be our first election in over eight years since the previous government was removed by force. Second, it will be the first non-racial election in our history, although there is no guarantee that ethnic considerations will be absent from how the electorate decides to vote,” Ratu Joni said.

He said the natural targets would be youths as in those under 35 years of age and the iTaukei together with members of other communities; each has its own set of peculiarities and the NFP has to consider, within an overarching set of principles which the NFP stands for.

“It is not an exercise in double standards or a matter of appealing to sectarian sentiments, although there is often a fine line distinguishing the recognition of special interests and seeking to play on the fears of a particular interest group. It is recognition that in our society there are common interests which bind all of us as in our love of country, and particular factors that smaller numbers may identify with as in ethnicity, religion, age group, institution or other criteria.”

“To them the message must be the NFP’s willingness to embrace a more inclusive and non-racial type of politics that is more substantial than merely having an iTaukei of renown as president of the Party,” he said.

Ratu Joni told NFP that they needed to convince iTaukei people that the party was more than just that of Fijians with Indian descendants.

“I am aware the Party was founded by AD Patel and Swami Rudrananda as a secular political organisation based in the cane belt. But that is neither here nor there, because perceptions are everything in our society. For most iTaukei of a particular age, the NFP is an Indo Fijian party and nothing anyone could say would change that perspective. How does one go about changing that? Several means come to mind.”

“The most obvious is recruiting more iTaukei to NFP ranks. If at all possible, it should be in numbers. A critical mass allows positive reinforcement and encouragement. It lessens the sense of isolation or being cut adrift from ones moorings. What it also does is encourage others because of the security derived from the group. To do this, one has to mitigate the strong sense of group identity that they have.”

“It is a feeling of connectedness if you will. That is achieved in part by giving them a sense of reassurance: validating what they esteem i.e. their land, culture, religion and identity. Further, that this identity is co-extensive with their citizenship of this country and not mutually exclusive.”.

21) Bainimarama Launches New ‘Fiji First’ Political Party
PM says he ‘wants a new Fiji’ as he launches his campaign

By Siteri Sauvakacolo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 31, 2014) – Fiji Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama’s proposed political party is known as Fiji First.

He made the announcement in Suva yesterday and also launched his campaign bus.

Rear Admiral Bainimarama said the proposed party’s name was derived from his belief that Fiji is “where every Fijian regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, status, colour, gender and creed is considered equal — where every Fijian is put first in relation to our collective progress, success and growth as a nation”.

“My political movement and I are getting ready to take each one of you on a journey — whether you be a commoner or a chief; a shopkeeper or a consumer, a landowner or a farmer, an office worker or a labourer, a woman or a man, a pensioner or a youth, a city dweller or someone living in our maritime or rural areas. We have to travel together to become the pride of the Pacific and the world.

“I want a new Fiji where we have basic amenities for everyone, jobs for all Fijians, an educated Fiji, a smart Fiji and a happy and successful Fiji for all Fijians.”

Rear Admiral Bainimarama said his government still had much more to do and he called on the people for their support to ensure it stayed in power to complete the work.

“No longer do the interests of a select few come before what is good for all Fijians. We must put Fiji first.”

He takes leave from work this week to officially start his campaign. His campaign includes a two-day tour of Viti Levu during which he will collect signatures for his proposed party. He will also travel to Vanua Levu.

Rear Admiral Bainimarama said he would announce further details as soon as he collected the needed signatures required to register his proposed Fiji First party.

Fiji Times Online.

22) Solomons Court Declares Panga Still Premier Of Guadalcanal
Vote of no-confidence ruled null and void

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 31, 2014) – Stephen Panga is still the premier of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.

This was after a High Court ruling on Friday, which declared Wednesday’s assembly meeting, in which Mr Panga was ousted in a vote of no-confidence, null and void.

The ruling came after Mr Panga’s lawyer, Gabriel Suri, challenged the legality of the meeting in the High Court.

The court ruled the meeting was illegal and every proceeding associated with it null and void.

This means Mr Panga remains the premier of Guadalcanal, despite commanded a minority government.

At Wednesday’s vote, 12 members of the 21-member assembly voted in support of the motion, tabled and moved by Rollen Seleso.

Mr Panga and his nine executive members boycotted the meeting.

Despite their action, speaker Joel Arambola allowed the meeting to go ahead.

The no-confidence motion was moved in the absence of Mr Panga, who was accused of abusing provincial funds amongst other allegations.

A meeting supposed to be called yesterday to elect a new premier could not go ahead because of the court challenge.

The court ruling means Mr Panga remains in power, and the speaker will have to reschedule a meeting again.

Meanwhile, the province faces dissolution because it has yet to pass its new budget for this year.

Provincial Government Act requires every province to submit their budget for approval to the minister by March 31 each year.

Due to the crisis gripping the province, members are yet to meet and pass the budget.

Solomon Star

23) New Caledonia Elects First Woman Mayor Of Noumea
Largarde to step down from French National Assembly seat

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 29, 2014) – New Caledonia’s capital has elected its first woman mayor in the second round of the municipal elections.

According to preliminary results, Sonia Largarde of the Caledonia Together Party has improved her result of the first round and won the Noumea race against Gael Yanno of the alliance linked to the French UMP.

She replaces Jean Leques of the rival traditional anti-independence group who had been at the city’s helm since 1986.

As a result of her success, Mrs Lagarde will have to quit the seat in the French National Assembly she won two years ago.

One of the territory’s members of the French Senate, Hilarion Vendegou, has lost the Isle of Pines mayoralty to his challenger of the pro-independence camp.

In French Polynesia, attention in today’s run-off is focussed on the contest for the mayoralty of Papeete.

Radio New Zealand International


24) Pacific media body calls for more investment in small media businesses
By Online Editor
09:33 am GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Australia

The President of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) has called for more investment in small media businesses.

Moses Stevens was at the Asian Development Bank Pacific Business Media Summit last week in Sydney and said there were a lot of ideas shared about business models, but says some small media outlets would love to have a better media model themselves.

He says there’s lots of investment in other small businesses in the Pacific, but if fledgling media outlets are going to help promote them, they too shouldn’t be outside that scope.

Stevens says the ADB is implementing microfinancing schemes for those who can’t afford start-up costs, and media groups also should be included.

“I think in the media sector if media are going to be a significant partner in disseminating information and exposing the needs there then I think they should be empowered as well and they should make some funding available for them to start off businesses in the media industry.”.

25) Do your job or quit ABC, Turnbull tells board members

By Online Editor
3:56 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Australia

Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says ABC board members who do not want to get involved in ensuring news content on the public broadcaster is accurate and impartial should get off the board.

Revealing he receives hundreds of complaints about the ABC each week, Turnbull said “the law of the land” couldn’t be clearer — the board needed to take responsibility for addressing issues of accuracy and impartiality.

“Some people have said to me, ‘The directors don’t want to get involved’, so I said to the directors, ‘Look, if you don’t want to get involved you don’t have to be on the board’,”  Turnbull told The Australian.

“Section 8 of the ABC Act says one of the board’s duties is to ­ensure the ABC’s news and information services are impartial and accurate, according to the standards of objective journalism.

“It couldn’t be clearer.

“My very strong view is that the ABC board must take ­responsibility.”

The ABC board is reluctant to involve itself in issues around impartiality and news content. Sources say it does not believe it is “obliged” to ensure editorial policies are upheld. It admits it has the power but says it is not obligated.

The board says the obligation to manage affairs is vested in managing director Mark Scott.

In an interview with The Australian  Turnbull disagreed and noted that section 10 of the act stated that the managing ­director had to “act in accordance with any policies determined, and any directions given to him or her, by the board,” so it is quite clear the board is in charge.

He said the ABC board “can appoint people, they can sack people, it can lay down the policies which the management must follow and the act expressly says to the board, ‘You have the responsibility to ensure that news and information are accurate and impartial’.”

Turnbull credits ABC chairman Jim Spigelman for commissioning audits into the ABC’s coverage of asylum-seekers and the federal election, but said impartiality was the responsibility of the whole board, not just the chairman.

“It’s the duty of the board to ensure that the gathering and presentation by the corporation of news and information is accurate and impartial, according to the recognised standards of objective journalism.

“How much clearer can it be? That’s the law of the land. It doesn’t say to ensure news is ­accurate and impartial when the managing director asks them to look into it,” Turnbull said.

Asked if he felt the board was doing its duty, Turnbull said: “I’ll be discreet about that, but if anyone was concerned that the ABC was not being accurate and impartial, I would be raising it with the board. Write to the chairman and all the directors.”

Turnbull said News Corp Australia newspapers, such as The Australian, had every right to be opinionated, but the ABC as a public broadcaster needed to remain impartial.

While declining to give his personal view, Mr Turnbull said he was aware there were concerns in the community about the ABC’s impartiality.

“I get hundreds of emails and letters every week about the ABC. I am constantly writing to people about it,’’ Turnbull said.

“Of course, I know there are concerns about the impartiality of the ABC, as there are indeed about all media, but of course the difference about the ABC is as I’ve said, The Australian is entitled to be as partial, biased or opinionated as it wants to be. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it, don’t read it.

“The ABC is a national broadcaster paid for with taxpayers’ money and it has to be absolutely accurate and impartial. That’s the deal. That’s the bargain they’ve got with the public.”

The ABC board meets this Thursday. It may address the possible breach of ABC’s editorial policy on impartiality and conflict of interest by Media Watch host Paul Barry.

There have been questions about whether Barry has a bias against News Corp, and whether there is a perceived conflict of interest as he continues to promote his anti-News Corp book on ­Rupert Murdoch, Breaking News: Sex, Lies and the Murdoch Succession, while the host of Media Watch, a role in which he is meant to be an impartial arbiter.

On Thursday, he will join a discussion panel on the topic, “The Murdoch press and its influence on Australian, British and American Politics”, at the Harold Park Hotel in Glebe, Sydney.

Two nights later, he will join another talk on News Corp, questioning whether “Rupert Murdoch, the powerful international media baron” has “too much power”. The official topic under discussion at the Union Hotel in North Sydney is: “Rupert’s Right? Exercising Freedom of Speech or Unmitigated Power?”

On Media Watch last week, Barry appeared to respond to concerns he was obsessed with News Corp by highlighting that News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt had written about the ABC 132 times this year on his blog.

Before the show, he tweeted: “Obsessed??? Who has written 132 stories about the ABC this year, with 125 of them negative?”.

Turnbull would not comment on Barry specifically, but printed out a copy of the ABC Act for The Australian, saying it was up to the ABC board to address ­issues relating to impartiality.

News Corp columnist Terry McCrann said Barry admitted his position on the Murdochs in an ABC radio interview with James O’Loghlin in September, when promoting his book.

“Crucially, he explained that he had started out ‘positive’ on them, but the more it went on, the ‘less I found his (Murdoch’s) behaviour defensible and I moved away from my great admiration’,’’ McCrann wrote in his column.

“That opinion is perfectly legitimate in an individual. But it is a disqualification for the role of host of Media Watch, which purports to independently and objectively assess the media in Australia, including the Murdoch papers.”

McCrann wrote that both  Scott and the ABC board’s failure to discharge Barry has left it in breach of the corporation’s statutory obligations.

Nine chief executive David Gyngell came to Barry’s defence, saying while it was clear Barry had a bias against News Corp, he believed the TV host could separate his personal views from the show he presented.

“Clearly, he’s got a bee in his bonnet about News, but a lot of people do. He’s got the forum to say something about it,’’Gyngell said. “He’s a smart enough and good enough independent journalist. (He can) define the barriers between writing a book on someone and having an ­agenda. I think he’s smart enough to have a differentiation.”

Asked whether Barry’s breach of the impartiality editorial policy would be examined at Thursday’s board meeting, Scott said: “I’m not commenting on board matters and board agendas.

“I’m not commenting on my discussions with the chairman. We discuss matters regularly but I don’t provide public commentary on that. My comment on Paul Barry is I stand by the ABC spokesman on Paul Barry.”

The ABC spokesman said: “Media Watch and its host Paul Barry have the full support of the ABC.”

The ABC’s conflict of interest requirements say external activities of individuals undertaking work for the ABC must not undermine the independence and integrity of the ABC’s editorial content.

26) Fiji Media Authority Undoing Progress: Educator
Robie says MIDA is sending wrong singles about freedom

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 29, 2014) – A Pacific journalism educator based in New Zealand says the Fiji Media Industry Development Authority is undoing the good work acheived in Fiji in the past.

This week the MIDA announced it would set up a media monitoring unit, to assess whether all media outlets were giving equal weight to each political party leading up to this year’s elections.

The MIDA Chairman, Ashwin Raj, says the unit will be independent, but the Director of AUT’s Pacific Media Centre, Professor David Robie, says he is very sceptical.

He says the authority is going the wrong way about encouraging a free media in Fiji, and is shooting itself in the foot.

“I think really they’re sending the wrong signals. What media is doing is saying, you know, everything is changed, and we’re now having a much freer media environment. That’s the best way, instead of trying to beat various media organisations with a big stick when it doesn’t like something that’s being reported. Forget all of that sort of petty sort of stuff and get on with encouraging free and open debate,” says Robie.

Radio New Zealand International

27) Media alliance in Tonga aims to attract better advertising deals
By Online Editor
09:30 am GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Tonga

A new media alliance in Tonga is aiming to band outlets together to make advertising more accessible.

The publisher of Taimi o Tonga, Kalafi Moala, says the real enemy for media is “out there” and not amongst different outlets.

He says some outlets are so small that their reach is not attractive to advertisers, so three already are pitching to advertisers as one group.

Kalafi Moala says the Taimi o Tonga network has grouped with the Kele’a outlet as well as the New Zealand-based Kakalu o Tonga.

He says he hopes other media will also come on board.

“If we combine those three then our reach will be quite substantial. So here we are forming an alliance and we are going to the advertiser and saying if you advertise with our alliance we can pretty much guarantee you a reach that you’ll be satisfied with. It will go to the whole Tongan community.”

Moala says the alliance may also eventually include the sharing of news stories from independent audiences.



28) A new way to send pictures

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, March 29, 2014

FOR smartphone users in Fiji, an application has finally arrived allowing user-to-user photo and video messaging.

Maztaba is a fast-paced evolution for Fiji’s mobile lifestyle.

This was designed locally by Mobimedia, a South Pacific and Asia-wide VAS supplier, (the creators of the trading site).

Mobimedia general manager Keeyan Admana says Maztaba is an application built for photo sharing in which the sender allocates how much time the photo may be viewed by the recipient before being erased from sender and recipient devices.

He said this was intended for individuals to share images and moments with their friends and relatives across the country.Fijitimes

29) Fiji rum is best in the world

Monday, March 31, 2014

Update: 3:40PM FIJIS Bounty overproof rum has won a number of significant awards in competition with the worlds best rums at the San Francisco Spirits competition this year.

In a statement this afternoon, Coca-Cola Amatil Limited said Bounty overproof rum was one of the portfolios of Fiji Rum Co spirits brands owned by Coca-Cola Amatils Fiji and Samoa-based alcohol beverage company, Paradise Beverages.

It has just scored at the top of the worlds most comprehensive international spirits competition, it said.

It won best overproof rum, best rum – beating a field of 130 rum brands from all over the world – best aged white spirit and the prestigious double gold medal, which is the highest honour for a brand at the event.

The company said Bounty white rum and Bounty dark rum won a silver medal and Bounty spiced rum a bronze.Fijitimes

30) K3b loan the best deal, PNG must own resources : PM O’Neill
By Online Editor
12:29 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

The country has made a saving of $AU400 million from the K3 billion(AUD$ 1.239 billion) UBS loan which Prime Minister Peter O’Neill described as the best deal for Papua New Guinea.

O’Neill, explaining the deal on FM100 talkback show on Friday, said this is not a new loan but one that replaces the IPIC loan with better terms and interest rates without breaking any laws of the land.

He said when the Government under the Somare regime went out in 2008-09 to negotiate for the LNG project, PNG government had no money to pay for its 19.4 percent shares in the project.

He said the government negotiated with the Arabs to get what is now the IPIC loan and in turn mortgage all government assets like Air Niugini, PNG Ports and all other assets held under IPBC and the General Trust.

O’Neill said the agreement was that by March 6, 2014, PNG government was to repay the loan at $AU8.55 per share and to repay the loan also include buying back Oil Search shares.

He said the Central Bank, IPBC and Treasury were tasked to go out and conduct a bidding process from banks to borrow money to buy back those shares.

He said when the bidding process was conducted the Central Bank, IPBC and Treasury recommended to government that they have found the loan from UBS to be most competitive in terms of interest rates,  in terms of repayment and so forth and government gave notice to the Arabs that it now has the money.

O’Neill said the government wanted to buy back but the Arabs wrote back to advising that they wanted to keep the shares. “The government had to find a way to get some shares because our people need to own their own resources, so Oil Search was prepared to go to the market to do their own business transactions with the Gulf Oil project.”

He said said Papua New Guineans have not held any interest in major resource projects such as Lihir, Misima and Porgera mines but have been mere tax and royalty collectors for the last 40 years.

“Papua New Guineans all throughout the country are crying for ownership of their own resources and rightfully so because we have had the experience over the past forty years about resource development in the country. “Many of our citizens feel that we have been deprived of the benefits from these resources that should truly be given back to Papua New Guineans.”

O’Neill said since this government took office, it heard that cry for resource ownership and was trying its best to find a way to increase the benefits that are going to come to Papua New Guinea.

“We don’t just want to be tax collectors, we don’t want to be royalty collectors, we must have ownership of many of our resource developments,” he said. He said that the Government was addressing these cries and did not break any laws in negotiating the loan with the UBS Bank for K3 billion. He said when PNG government went to negotiate the IPIC loan for the LNG project, the government had no money, so the State had to mortgage virtually everything it owns, including all assets of government.

He said by March 6 this year, PNG had zero percent shares in Oil Search due to the IPIC loan arrangements and with the Arabs refusal to sell back the 15 percent shares held in Oil Search.

“Knowing very well that Papua New Guineans want to own resources, the government had to find a way to get some shares, so when Oil Search was prepared to go to the market to do their own business transactions with the Gulf LNG project, they need to raise money to pay for that investment. He said Oil Search went public through the Australian Stock Exchange inviting every other shareholder and since PNG were not share holders, the government negotiated and asked that since the government has been 100 percent at one time, it asked the company to give back some shares to the people.

“I think all in all, you have some savings that PNG must be proud of and we must make sure that Papua New Guineans continue to own resources in their own country. These resources are not renewable resources, once they are taken out of PNG, it will never come back so Papua New Guineans must maximise their benefits.”.

31) Understanding new and emerging export markets
By Online Editor
09:27 am GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Fiji

The Pacific Islands Trade & Invest (PT&I) network, the trade and investment arm of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, is organising a three day workshop from 31 March to 2 April in Suva.

The Pacific Path to Market Workshop – a first for Fiji, will address market compliance constraints and highlight specific solutions to enhance exporters’ capacity. The importance of branding, cost-effective packaging, dealing with logistics and having an effective supply chain will also be discussed.

The ‘Pacific Path to Market Workshop’ is specifically designed to respond to the exporters’ current and future needs. The programme has been developed based on consultations with a number of businesses in Fiji over the past year to assist in increasing their exports.

The workshop is funded by the European Union through the European Development Fund, under the Pacific Integration Technical Assistance Project (PITAP) implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. PITAP is a component of the Strengthening Pacific Economic Integration through Trade (SPEITT).

The Pacific Islands Trade & Invest network has brought industry experts and international speakers from China and New Zealand to give a first-hand account of doing business in these markets. Export promotion staff from the PT&I offices in Auckland, Beijing and Sydney will be presenting opportunities in these markets for Fiji exports.

More than 80 businesses have confirmed attendance. This high level of interest shown by Fiji businesses is an indication of the drive that Fiji’s private sector has to explore new and emerging opportunities.

The Pacific Path to Market Workshop is expected to be organised in other Forum island countries later in the year. Representatives from some of the Pacific island countries are attending as observers at this workshop.


32) Indonesia fugitive Tjandra issued second passport in PNG
By Online Editor
3:39 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

Indonesian fugitive Djoko Tjandra has been issued a second PNG passport superseding the first under Joe Chan, which has been cancelled.

And the State and Immigration Department may face the Ombudsman Commission to explain the irregularities surrounding the issuance of a second passport to the fugitive, who is wanted in his country over fraud charges, when the first one was in question.

Tjandra’s first PNG passport was annulled and cancelled when Prime Minister Peter O’Neill called for an investigation into how the passport was issued against all immigration laws. Immigration has since issued him a second PNG passport, under a different number but same name because internationally, the number of the first passport is on a “wanted” list all over the world issued by Interpol.

On March 24, Tjandra returned from Singapore to PNG using his passport as confirmed by Government officials.  He is here to operate multi-million kina projects he has secured with some government ministers, MPs and leaders.

Last Friday, the Ombudsman Commission confirmed the office was taking up the issue but could not elaborate further.

The Post-Courier posed questions to immigration and the Government on the issuance of the second passport and why it was done. No one was able to respond but a senior government officer at the Attorney General’s office said the matter was still under investigations.

The Indonesian Government already has news of the second passport issued to Tjandra and last week, in Indonesian media, it was reported that the Government will soon write to the PNG Government to have an update of the fugitive they still need back in their country to answer fraud charges

33) PNG Man Arrested For Smuggling Drugs From Asia
Man detained at airport after arriving from Hong Kong

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 31, 2014) – A Papua New Guinea man is in police custody for smuggling into the country drugs worth millions of kina from Asia. The man, from the Highlands (named), flew in from Hong Kong last week and was caught at the by airport officials, police and government officials said. The Government and airport officials detained the drug smuggler for questioning and arrested him for having in his possession dangerous drugs.

Airport officials and Customs could not disclose a lot of information last Friday and police told the Post-Courier it is a very sensitive issue and that they could not release information about. The officials also said they needed to gather more information on the drugs, the person and the process in which airport authorities in Hong Kong failed to detect the drugs. One senior government officer said over the weekend that the drug smuggler may have connections to the PNG woman that got caught in Australia early this year for smuggling ice from Port Moresby to Australia. The officials said it could be a time to uncover the major drug syndicate operating in Port Moresby and linked to dealers all over Asia, Australia and the Pacific.
PNG Post-Courier

34) PNG MP Sentenced To 9 Years Hard Labor For Misappropriation
Tiensten ordered to repay $3.8 million

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 29, 2014) – A Papua New Guinea MP, Paul Tiensten, has been sentenced to 9 years in prison with hard labour – one year less than the maximum sentence.

The Pomio MP has also been ordered to repay a sum of 3-point-8 million US dollars that he was found guilty of misappropriating.

EMTV reports the National Court judge, Justice Gibbs Salika said the case stood alone with over 10 million kina being misapplied, whereas other MPs – who served between 1 and 5 years in jail – only misapplied less than 150 thousand kina.

The amount was allegedly paid to Travel Air, an airline owned by Kokopo businessman, Eremas Wartoto, during Tiensten’s time as Minister for National Planning and Monitoring.

This was one of the first cases investigated by the anti-corruption Task Force Sweep after it was established by the Government in August 2011.

Radio New Zealand International


35) Lawyer Attempting To Represent Manus Asylum Seekers Deported
Australian Jay Williams not licensed to practice in PNG

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 29, 2014) – An Australian lawyer representing 75 detainees on Manus Island has been forced to leave PNG after being threatened with arrest.

The ABC understands Sydney-based lawyer Jay Williams initially refused to leave because there was no court order justifying his deportation.

PNG’s attorney-general Kerenga Kua said yesterday Mr Williams did not possess a license to work in the country.

“What it means is that if you’re an admitted lawyer but don’t have a current practising certificate for 2014, you cannot practise law in this country,” he said.

Last week the PNG National Court judge Justice David Cannings granted Mr Williams access to the Manus Island detention centre to meet his clients, but he was ejected when he arrived.

Justice Cannings set up a human rights inquiry earlier this month to examine the conditions of asylum seekers at the Australian facility.

The PNG government put the inquiry on hold on March 21 after it obtained a stay order from the supreme court.

Justice Cannings responded by initiating a new inquiry.

The PNG government is seeking to appeal against Justice Cannings’s refusal to disqualify himself from the inquiry over allegations of bias.

Radio Australia


36) Land data

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Monday, March 31, 2014

DEVELOPERS and potential investors will soon have a better idea of places deemed good for development in Fiji with the introduction of the Geospatial Information System Management (GISM).

Land ministry permanent secretary Tevita Boseiwaqa said the ministry was working with stakeholders to come together with their respective data which would all be preserved as one.

“This data will keep a record of everything the public may need to know,” Mr Boseiwaqa said.

“From before, respective organisations kept a record of their own data which made it hard for the public to access.

“This will include data from the Lands ministry, other government ministries, USP and the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC).”

“Currently, there is none to guide us on this. Many developed countries have their own system which deals with capturing different sorts of data, physical, social or economical.” said Mr Boseiwaqa Fijitimes

37) Global warming dials up our risks, UN report says
By Online Editor
3:46 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Japan

Global warming is driving humanity toward a whole new level of many risks, a United Nations scientific panel reports, warning that the wild climate ride has only just begun.

Twenty-first century disasters such as killer heat waves in Europe, wildfires in the US, droughts in Australia and deadly flooding in Mozambique, Thailand and Pakistan highlight how vulnerable humanity is to extreme weather, says a massive new report from a Nobel Prize-winning group of scientists released early Monday.

The dangers are going to worsen as the climate changes even more, the report’s authors say, adding that no one is immune.

“We’re all sitting ducks,” Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer, one of the main authors of the 32-volume report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said in an interview.

After several days of late-night wrangling, more than 100 governments unanimously approved the scientist-written 49-page summary – which is aimed at world political leaders. The summary mentions the word “risk” an average of about 5 1/2 times per page.

“Changes are occurring rapidly and they are sort of building up that risk,” said the overall lead author of the report, Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science in California.

These risks are both big and small, according to the report. They are now and in the future. They hit farmers and big cities. Some places will have too much water, some not enough, including drinking water.

Other risks mentioned in the report involve the price and availability of food, and to a lesser and more qualified extent some diseases, financial costs and even world peace.

“Things are worse than we had predicted” in 2007, when the group of scientists last issued this type of report, said report co-author Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University in Bangladesh.

“We are going to see more and more impacts, faster and sooner than we had anticipated.”

The problems have gotten so bad that the panel had to add a new and dangerous level of risks. In 2007, the biggest risk level in one key summary graphic was “high” and coloured blazing red. The latest report adds a new level, “very high,” and colours it deep purple.

You might as well call it a “horrible” risk level, said report co-author Maarten van Aalst, a top official at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

“The horrible is something quite likely, and we won’t be able to do anything about it,” he said.

The report predicts that the highest level of risk would first hit plants and animals, both on land and the acidifying oceans.

Climate change will worsen problems that society already has, such as poverty, sickness, violence and refugees, according to the report. And on the other end, it will act as a brake slowing down the benefits of a modernising society, such as regular economic growth and more efficient crop production, it says.

“In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans,” the report says.

And if society doesn’t change, the future looks even worse, it says: “Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts.”

While the problems from global warming will hit everyone in some way, the magnitude of the harm won’t be equal, coming down harder on people who can least afford it, the report says. It will increase the gaps between the rich and poor, healthy and sick, young and old, and men and women, van Aalst said.

But the report’s authors say this is not a modern day version of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Much of what they warn of are more nuanced troubles that grow by degrees and worsen other societal ills.

The report also concedes that there are uncertainties in understanding and predicting future climate risks.

The report, the fifth on warming’s impacts, includes risks to the ecosystems of the Earth, including a thawing Arctic, but it is far more oriented to what it means to people than past versions.

The report also notes that one major area of risk is that with increased warming, incredibly dramatic but ultra-rare single major climate events, sometimes called tipping points, become more possible with huge consequences for the globe. These are events like the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which would take more than 1,000 years.

“I can’t think of a better word for what it means to society than the word ‘risk’,” said Virginia Burkett of the US Geological Survey, one of the study’s main authors. She calls global warming “maybe one of the greatest known risks we face.”

Global warming is triggered by heat-trapping gases, such as carbon dioxide, that stay in the atmosphere for a century. Much of the gases still in the air and trapping heat came from the United States and other industrial nations. China is now by far the No 1 carbon dioxide polluter, followed by the United States and India.

Unlike in past reports, where the scientists tried to limit examples of extremes to disasters that computer simulations can attribute partly to man-made warming, this version broadens what it looks at because it includes the larger issues of risk and vulnerability, van Aalst said.

Freaky storms like 2013′s Typhoon Haiyan, 2012′s Superstorm Sandy and 2008′s ultra-deadly Cyclone Nargis may not have been caused by warming, but their fatal storm surges were augmented by climate change’s ever rising seas, he said.

And in the cases of the big storms like Haiyan, Sandy and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the poor were the most vulnerable, Oppenheimer and van Aalst said. The report talks about climate change helping create new pockets of poverty and “hotspots of hunger” even in richer countries, increasing inequality between rich and poor.

“Rich people benefit from using all these fossil fuels,” University of Sussex economist Richard Tol said. “Poorer people lose out.”

Huq said he had hope because richer nations and people are being hit more, and “when it hits the rich, then it’s a problem” and people start acting on it.

Part of the report talks about what can be done: reducing carbon pollution and adapting to and preparing for changing climates with smarter development.

The report echoes an earlier UN climate science panel that said if greenhouse gases continue to rise, the world is looking at another about 3.5 or 4 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100 instead of the international goal of not allowing temperatures to rise more than 1.2C.

The difference between those two outcomes, Princeton’s Oppenheimer said, “is the difference between driving on an icy road at 50mph (48kmh) versus 90 mph (144kmh). It’s risky at 30, but deadly at 90.”

Tol, who is in the minority of experts here, had his name removed from the summary because he found it “too alarmist,” harping too much on risk.

There is still time to adapt to some of the coming changes and reduce heat-trapping emissions, so it’s not all bad, said study co-author Patricia Romero-Lankao of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.

“We have a closing window of opportunity,” she said. “We do have choices. We need to act now.”.



38) Women, children vulnerable

Dawn Gibson
Monday, March 31, 2014

WOMEN and children are always particularly vulnerable when dealing with climate change or other pressing issues.

These were the sentiments of US Ambassador Frankie Reed at the launch of the US Government’s $US24million ($F44m) grant to Pacific Island countries to battle climate change impact.

When asked about the importance of this fund to women and children in Pacific Island societies, Ambassador Reed said she saw it as an opportunity for organisations that represented women and children to come forward and apply for funding.

“When I’m travelling also I try and pay particular attention to (women and children) because I think oftentimes, populations of women and children are somewhat overlooked and as a woman, it’s probably easier for me to pick up on that at times,” Ambassador Reed said in an interview.

“When I look at a guest list and there are no women on it, I tend to question it more and so I think in looking at applications, it’s an opportunity for women and those on behalf of children to speak up.

“If you are overlooked and people give you a chance to apply for something, I think you should move forward and identify why your application is exceptional.”

The US Government provided the $44m grant to 12 Pacific Island countries in the hope that it would help mitigate climate change impacts.Fijitimes


39) New Zealand triumph in Hong Kong

By Online Editor
10:40 am GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Hong Kong

New Zealand beat England 26-7 to lift the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, round seven of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

The win, inspired by captain DJ Forbes, puts them back on top of the Series standings, seven ahead of South Africa who won the Plate with Fiji a further 17 points behind having finished third as the defending champions in So Kon Po.

“It is a great feeling,” said an elated Gordon Tietjen.

“My captain lead so well from the front, he was simply amazing. And also the other players linked in with him, we played a good final.

“That puts us back on top now, it’s topsy-turvy now which means we need to start well in Scotland, but this will certainly help in going towards winning that title.”

Injury-hit SA win Plate

South Africa narrowly held on to beat Wales 19-14 in the final of the Plate to collect 13 valuable Series points thanks to two tries from Jamba Ulengo.

“It was important for us to win that,” said head coach Neil Powell, who lost captain Kyle Brown to injury on day one.

“We knew when we lost to England in the quarter final we needed to win the Plate to get as many points on the Series log.”

Earlier they proved too strong for the USA 24-19 in the first Plate semi final.

Turnbull and Johnstone braces in Bowl final

Andrew Turnbull and James Johnstone scored two tries each in the final of the Bowl as Scotland beat France 31-5.

“Obviously the Samoa game sticks out as a bit of a sore point yesterday but to beat three quality eams today and win the Bowl is great,” said captain Colin Gregor.

“Can’t wait to get home now and for the next round of the Series in Glasgow. It is aways a great tournament and hopefully we’ll be able to give the fans something to cheer about.”

Earlier Scotland proved too strong for Argentina winning 24-12 while Virimi Vakatawa and Renaud Delmas both scored twice in Les Bleus’ win over Samoa.

Injera fires Kenya to the Shield

Collins Injera moved into third in the all-time leading try scorers on day three as Kenya beat Portugal 17-10 to lift the Shield thanks to the Kenyan’s fourth and fifth tries of the weekend.

“We started on the wrong foot and ended up in the wrong place to where we are supposed to be,” said captain Andrew Amonde. “But a positive finish is something we can build on.” .

40) No firepower
By Online Editor
10:35 am GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Fiji

Vodafone Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan says lethargic play resulted in the poor performance of the national side in the final day of the Hong Kong 7s tournament at the Hong Kong Stadium yesterday.

Fiji lost in the Cup semi-final to England 7-17 last night.

Earlier the side struggled to beat United States in the quarter-final 17-5.

Ryan said they lacked the firepower that put the team in good shape after the pool matches.

Fiji defeated Wales 42-7, Sri Lanka 56-0 and Kenya 43-5 in the pool competition.

Ryan said the priority now was to finish on the best possible place in the HSBC Sevens World Series.

“We definitely were a little bit tired there in that game, didn’t get enough go from the start and they got a good lead and it was tough in the end,” Ryan said after the England game.

In the semi-final loss, total ball given away by Fiji was 11 compared to five of England and the side lost two turnovers.

The Osea Kolinisau-skippered side also dominated the error count on two and also conceded six penalties to only one for the English.

England won 10 set piece ball to only two for Fiji and completed 41 passes in the disappointing loss.

Fiji’s strike rate was 41 per cent compared to less than five in the pool game.

“We going to get back at series point. I get them to freshen up a little bit because we certainly looked a little bit lethargic,” Ryan said.

“Fair play to England, they are a full-time professional side and their set piece was good against us.

“They moved us around, I thought we were just a little bit quiet on the field and that’s something I have talked about for two or three weeks really.

“I told them we need to talk a little bit more and that can get us out in lot of problems but still overall we had a terrific few weeks.

“We have only lost one out of the last 14 or 15 games and hope we can finish on a high.’

The team will regroup when they return home this week and plan for the last two tournaments of the 2014 HSBC Sevens World Series in London and Scotland.


41) West Coast Eagles hand Melbourne Demons 93-point AFL thrashing at MCG

Updated 30 March 2014, 18:37 AEST

The Melbourne Demons have slumped to a 93-point loss to the West Coast Eagles at the MCG.

West Coast has laid bare the huge task facing Melbourne coach Paul Roos in the AFL with a 93-point Demons demolition.


View full stats sheet

A knee injury to star defender Shannon Hurn was the only lowlight for the Eagles in the 18.15 (123) to 4.6 (30) thrashing on Sunday at the MCG.

Luke Shuey and Nic Naitanui starred in the midfield and Josh Kennedy kicked four goals.

It is the biggest loss Roos has endured as a senior coach, beating the previous-worst margin of 73 when he was at Sydney.

By contrast, the Eagles were ruthless a week after also easily beating the Western Bulldogs by 65 points.

Hurn was subbed out in the second term after suffering the injury in the first few minutes of the match.

The Eagles took control from the start and kicked four goals in 13 minutes, putting the Demons out of the contest.

West Coast bullied Melbourne at the clearances, winning them 13-3 in the first quarter.

When the Eagles were not surging forward, Melbourne was compounding its own misery by turning the ball over.

Five of the first eight Eagles goals were direct results of the Demons coughing up possession.

Melbourne kicked one behind in the first term as West Coast took a 40-point lead.

The Demons did not kick their first goal until seven minutes into the second term, through Shannon Byrnes.

He also kicked Melbourne’s second goal at 23 minutes into the third.

While it was a poor day for most Melbourne players, co-captain Nathan Jones again stood out with a gutsy performance in the midfield.

Jones, who has won the last two club best-and-fairest awards, was relentless and finished with a game-high 34 possessions.


42) Geelong Cats beat Brisbane Lions by 25 points in AFL clash at the Gabba

Updated 30 March 2014, 17:30 AEST

The Brisbane Lions have little to show for another brave AFL effort as they suffered a 25-point loss to Geelong.

Geelong erased memories of last year’s astounding Gabba capitulation by overcoming the Lions by 25 points in the Brisbane wet on Sunday.


View full stats sheet

The Cats produced a near-dominant second half to score their second straight win of the AFL season – 13.15 (93) to 10.8 (68) – in slippery conditions.

Geelong squandered a 53-point lead in their last visit to the Gabba but they were not going to let go of this encounter after gaining control with a momentum-turning three-goal blitz just before half-time.

Steve Johnson finished with a game-high 37 possessions and skipper Joel Selwood had 26 with 13 clearances, while All-Australian defender Andrew Mackie also shone in his 200th match.

The only concern for the Cats was an ankle injury to Corey Enright who was subbed out of the clash midway through the third term when the visitors built up a five-goal lead.

A crowd of 20,933 would still have been mostly impressed by Brisbane’s effort as Dayne Zorko was a stand-out and rising star Sam Mayes finished with four goals.

The Lions, who took the contest to Hawthorn for three quarters in Justin Leppitsch’s coaching debut last week, scrapped hard from the outset as the Queensland drizzle made for a scrappy first half.

While the home side failed to register a major in the opening quarter, it was Brisbane who steadied best in the second with Dayne Zorko producing the best skills in the slippery conditions.

But their 10-point lead quickly turned to an eight-point deficit at half-time as Taylor Hunt, Tom Hawkins and Travis Varcoe all goaled in a bare minute of play.

The Cats carried the momentum through the third term as they showed their superior experience and class to build up a 30-point lead when Selwood punished a soft Jack Redden free kick.

With sub Rohan Bewick providing a spark, Brisbane re-entered the contest at the last change but when Geelong went coast-to-coast – for their sub, George Horlin-Smith, to snap truly – after Brown missed a set shot, the result was virtually sealed.


43) Canberra Raiders beat South Sydney Rabbitohs 30-18 in NRL clash at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium

Updated 30 March 2014, 16:23 AEST

The Canberra Raiders continued the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ slow start to the season with a 30-18 away win.

South Sydney’s dismal start to the NRL season has continued with Canberra easing to a comfortable 30-18 win at Sydney’s Olympic stadium on Sunday.


View full stats sheet

The Raiders were full value for their win with Brisbane-bound full-back Anthony Milford in outstanding form as the Rabbitohs slumped to three successive defeats for the first time since Michael Maguire took over as coach in 2012.

A brace of tries from Reece Robinson and efforts from giant prop Dane Tilse and Milford gave the Raiders a 22-0 lead at half-time – the most points given up in a first-half by Souths since 2011.

In addition to some poor handling and a litany of errors, Maguire will be deeply concerned at the manner of the loss with his players second-best throughout to a Raiders side who looked more committed from the opening kick-off.

Dropped passes from Lote Tuqiri and Adam Reynolds both led to tries for the visitors, with Milford a constant menace from full-back and Terry Campese impressing at five-eighth for Ricky Stuart’s side.

Souths badly missed injured hooker Issac Luke and with the New Zealand international set for a long spell on the sidelines, Maguire must find a way of picking up his side ahead of next Saturday’s clash with St George Illawarra at the SCG.

The second half started positively for the Rabbitohs when Dylan Walker and George Burgess scored in quick succession to reduce the deficit and there were hopes of a fightback when Nathan Merritt looked to have scored a historic try.

However, an offside call by the video referee against Sam Burgess denied Merritt the chance to finally break Benny Wareing’s try-scoring record of 144 that has been held since 1933.

That setback appeared to knock the stuffing from the hosts and Jack Wighton iced the victory when he latched onto a Terry Campese kick and ran underneath the posts.

Jarrod Croker then kicking the extras, before adding a penalty from close range.

Souths did have the final say when Chris McQueen scored on the siren, but it merely papered over the cracks on a disappointing afternoon for the home side.


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 )