December 30, 2018

Three men rape a 13-year-old girl in Central Province in Solomon Islands

Three men rape a 13-year-old girl in Central Province in Solomon Islands


Solomon Islands Police at Tulagi in Central Province are investigating an allegation of rape of a 13-year-old girl at Ghole Village in Central Province on the 20 December 2018.

Supervising Provincial Police Commander (PPC) Central Province, Inspector Hugo Maelasi says, “On 24 December 2018, Tulagi Police attended to the report of the rape incident which occurred on 20 December 2018 at around 1pm in afternoon.”

PPC Maelasi says, “It was alleged that on that day victim was playing with other village children at the beach while it was raining. The victim left the playing ground and run to the village rest house to have shelter awaiting the rain to stop. The victim sitting at the Veranda not knowing three suspects all from the same village came towards victims back and pulled her both hands, shut her mouth and drag her into a room.”

Mr Maelasi says, “From there they took out her clothes and forced her to have sex. The trio allegedly have sexual intercourse with her one by one. Victim struggled but cannot make any effort to escape.”

Inspector Maelasi says, “Tulagi Police are working on an operation plan to arrest the three suspects upon advice from the Police investigation team and we will deal with the matter and prosecute them.”

He says “I would like to advice my good people of Central Province to have some respect to our young girls. Our young girls play very important roles in our communities. They are our future leaders, they are also one of the instrumental aspect in life in which we must have respect for them as a law abiding people.”

“The community leaders and parents must advice our young people to stay calm from such activity. Rape is a serious offence which anyone can serve life imprisonment for it. On this note I want to appeal to our good community leaders of Ghole Village to work with the police to capture this suspects and bring them before justice,” says PPC Maelasi.

 - Police Media
Cape Town race row erupts after ‘black visitors cleared from beach’

Cape Town race row erupts after ‘black visitors cleared from beach’


CAPE TOWN: Protesters have taken to one of Cape Town’s most picturesque beaches after private security guards were accused of ordering black visitors to leave.
The guards, hired by local residents, allegedly cleared the Clifton 4th beach of tourists last Sunday evening.
Demonstrators said black beachgoers were unfairly targeted, but the firm denied closing the beach and said it only acted to protect residents from crime.
Beaches and other public areas were segregated during the apartheid era.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said that the security firm “had no authority to ask anyone to leave Clifton beach”.
“We will not allow any private organisations to limit access to our public spaces,” he said.
Deputy police minister Bongani Mkongi vowed to “go hard on the security firm”.
“This is a property of the state, property of the people and therefore we don’t need security firms here,” he said.
Mayor Plato said that the guards had “asked people of all races to leave” and had not targeted black people specifically.
Demonstrators, who converged on the beach on Friday evening, disputed this assertion.
“These private security guards… are actually briefed to not allow black people who appear to look like they are from the townships on to the beach,” local activist Chumani Maxwele said.
Mr Maxwele, who instigated a social media protest under the hashtag #ReclaimClifton, oversaw the slaughter of a sheep in a ritual that protesters said would cleanse the beach of racism.
A small number of animal rights activists protested against the act.
Alwyn Landman, chief executive of the PPA security firm, whose job he said was to protect residents from criminal activity, denied that the firm had closed the beach at all.
He said police had cleared the area after a crime had been committed.
However, the police said they had not received any reports of criminal activity.

– BBC

December 28, 2018

A monumental year ahead, says Bougainville President Momis

A monumental year ahead, says Bougainville President Momis

ABG President Momis : Photo : New Dawn FM

The ABG President Chief DR.JOHN MOMIS last week spoke a little about the future of Bougainville.
In his address to the ABG Parliament said that 2019 will be a monumental year because it will be the year that Bougainvilleans will finally get to express their view about their future political status in the referendum.
It will be the year that Bougainvilleans pride can shine through and where they can demonstrate to the world that we are mature and democratic people where the ballot box has replaced the barrel of a gun and where the will of the people prevails.
President Momis said that as the referendum approaches we must do more.
First we must continue in our efforts to reconcile the wounds of the past and once for all dispose of weapons.
He said that we must continue to speak with one voice, and we must advance the interests of the most vulnerable in our communities.  New Dawn FM
Papua New Guinean man killed in car crash in Australia

Papua New Guinean man killed in car crash in Australia


A Papua New Guinean man has died in Perth, Western Australia after his vehicle ran off the road and crashed into a tree near the Tallathalla road.

The deceased, identified as Londari Nanga of Kopen village, Wabag, Enga Province, was driving his black Holden Commodore accompanied by three other Papua New Guineans on the South Western Highway last Friday when the car left the road and hit the tree.

The three passengers who survived the accident received medical treatment while Nanga died at the scene.

According to the press release sent by the family, they are in shock and described his death as a black Christmas for the family.

Elder brother Philip Nanga said that the family in Port Moresby and Enga are mourning the loss after they learnt of his death through social media.

Philip said they are looking for ways to repatriate Londari to Papua New Guinea, however the cost for the exercise will be very high.

The family is appealing to friends and colleagues in Australia, Papua New Guinea and all five MPs from Enga Province to help repatriate Londari to PNG.

Londari left PNG in 2015 for a seasonal fruit picking job in Australia and while there, he met his fate.

The Australian Federal Police are conducting the investigation into his death and are keeping in touch with parents and relatives of Londari in Papua New Guinea.

Mourning house is at Topos Guest House (family residence), Baruni, Nautana – Port Moresby/NCD. For assistance and contribution contact Philip Nanga on (+675) 70289118, Jessy Karato on (+675) 76020612, Kaltex Kingi on (+675) 73326141 and Ps Peter Nanga on (+675) 71163613. Post courier/ONEPNG
BSP to install ATM at Mendi General Hospital

BSP to install ATM at Mendi General Hospital


Bank South Pacific in Mendi plans to install an automated teller machine (ATM) at the Provincial Hospital in Southern Highlands following a request from hospital staff.
Provincial Health Authority cooperate services director Ben Walom said it would greatly help hospital staff who spent a lot of time joining the queue at the ATM in town.
The provincial health authority has 783 staff in the province, including the 383 at the hospital.
“The 383 are stationed at the hospital to serve patients,” Walom said.
“But on many occasions, they travel to town and join long queues for hours.
“The lives of the patients are important and they should not be left unattended to.”
Walom said the ATM could also be used by patients and visitors.
Mendi BSP branch manager Philip Solala said he would do his best to have the ATM installed at the hospital.
“I understand the hardship staff and patients go through to access the ATM at Mendi town,” he said.
“ It will soon be installed.
“The bank’s community projects are undertaken nationwide, focused on education, health, sports, environment and other community initiatives.” The National/ONEPNG
North Korea admits farming failures amid food shortage

North Korea admits farming failures amid food shortage

SEOUL: North Korea has acknowledged “drawbacks” in its agricultural sector this year, echoing UN reports of declining crop yields in a country that remains heavily reliant on food imports and aid.
Agricultural production is chronically poor in the North, which has periodically been hit by famine, with hundreds of thousands dying – some estimates say millions – in the mid-1990s.
Premier of the government cabinet, Pak Pong Ju, referred to “drawbacks made by some farms and units in the past” at a national meeting of farming officials that took place in Pyongyang this week, state media said yesterday.
“He said that they failed to conduct seed production and management in a responsible way and also fell short of doing proper strain distribution,” Pak was quoted as saying by the KCNA news agency in an English-language report.
He “underscored the need to attain the goal of grain production” set out in a five-year development plan that wraps up in 2020.
The North has been less hesitant in highlighting shortcomings and policy failures through its state media since leader Kim Jong Un succeeded his late father Kim Jong Il in 2011.
The young, Swiss-educated leader has occasionally been reported rebuking officials for failing to satisfactorily carry out tasks.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said this month that the isolated, nuclear-armed state would need to import 641,000 tonnes of food in the coming year. The figure is up from 456,000 tonnes this year, when it bought 390,000 tonnes and received 66,000 tonnes in food aid.
There was a widespread lack of access to food in the North, it said.
North Korea was one of 40 countries – 31 of them in Africa – identified by the FAO as in need of external assistance for food.
UN agencies estimate that 10.3 million people in the North need humanitarian assistance.
But donor funding has dried up in the face of political tensions over its weapons programmes, with critics saying the provision of aid encourages Pyongyang to prioritise its military ambitions over adequately providing for its people.
David Beasley, the head of the UN’s World Food Programme, said in May that there was undoubtedly a hunger problem in North Korea but it was not on the scale of the 1990s famine. – CNA
ExxonMobil invests K2.3m to rebuild health centres in Papua New Guinea

ExxonMobil invests K2.3m to rebuild health centres in Papua New Guinea



ExxonMobil PNG is investing K2.3 million to rebuild and equip three health centres in the PNG LNG project areas in Hela.
The operator of the PNG LNG project said in a statement that this was part of its on-going support to invest in infrastructure improvements and support earthquake-affected communities.
It said restoration of local health facilities had gained momentum in recent weeks with work on three sub-health centres underway.
“The Mananda and Para sub health centres are managed by the Evangelical Church of PNG (ECPNG) while the Juni sub-health centre is staffed and operated by National Department of Health through the Hela health authority,” ExxonMobil said.
“An assessment conducted by Hela provincial health authority and ECPNG identified the critical needs for health care facilities in the province following the earthquake.
“The existing Mananda and Para sub-health centres are currently being repaired and an additional staff house is being built for the Para sub-health centre.
“At Juni, a new sub-health centre encompassing five wards is being built on the site of the old clinic.
“Located within the Komo-Magarima district, it will service a population of 5000 people.
“The Juni sub-health centre is a level 2 health facility per the PNG national health services standard, but was unable to meet the health service delivery requirement with the old building and equipment.
“With the new building design, it will expand its services to provide ante-natal and post-natal care, inpatients’ wards, emergency and dispensary rooms, a drug storeroom, health promotions, utility and procedure rooms, volunteer counselling and testing of HIV/AIDS, with modern sanitation and shower facilities and hot water system.
“Local tradesmen were contracted to repair and rebuild the local health centres, ensuring the infrastructure improvements and earthquake restoration work also generated income for local families.”
ExxonMobil PNG executive director of production, Dinesh Sivasamboo, said there was still much work to be done for communities to recover.
He said the company was pleased to continue support to its neighbours most impacted by the earthquake in Hela.
“It is vital that basic health services are restored in the communities,” Sivasamboo said.
“Healthy populations mean people participate more actively in the social and economic growth of their communities.”
ExxonMobil PNG, in partnership with other organisations, is also continuing to provide support for the restoration of education services, community food gardens and assisting the Government to build roads and bridges for Hela and Southern Highlands, provinces that were destroyed during the disaster.
Drunk drivers to pay for damage to Port Moresby city properties

Drunk drivers to pay for damage to Port Moresby city properties

IN 2019, the National Capital District Commission will start charging drivers who drink and drive and destroy light poles, flower beds and other public landscapes and amenities.

National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop said this after another accident on the new Independence Boulevard in Waigani was reported.

“We have started seizing vehicles and tracking them down with help of CCTV. We are going to extend the CCTV capacity so we can catch more,” he said.

“In the new year Magisterial Service will allocate to us a full time magistrate to deal with all offences and regulations we are responsible for as a municipal government so we hope to be more effect, this includes litter, graffiti, betelnut selling and chewing in public places without authority, keeping houses in unhygienic condition, breach or physical planning and building board laws etc.

“We plan to also build a bigger holding cell to deal with all these offenders. In 2019 onwards we plan to strengthen our enforcement capacity more to deal with such people who destroy street lights and planter boxes or landscaping and trees/flowers to these other breaches of regulations and laws.”

Mr Parkop said that for damages to light poles and plants and planter boxes/landscape it would be cost of the damages and repair.

“For damages to the light police and planter boxes, those who destroy the light poles and flowers and trees planted as part of beautifying the city will pay for the cost of reinstalling the light poles and replanting the trees and flowers.”

For the others the fines are already defined by the regulations like betelnut laws passed by NCDC and Parliament recently, Mr Parkop said.

“This means, the importation, distribution and sale of spray paint in cans or containers of any form or anyone who defaces or writes anything using any modes in public place is prohibited.

“This imposes a penalty of K10,000 or three years imprisonment,” he said.

“Failure to comply will see an imposition of penalties from a fine of K10,000 to a three years imprisonment for betelnut selling.”

Mr Parkop said that for tobacco in any form there will be no selling buying or smoking of brus, cigarettes in public places and would also see a penalty of K10,000 and three years imprisonment.

“Tobaccos products in any form will not be allowed to be sold in any city markets including public places in NCD,” he said.”It has been hard to enforce because we don’t have cooperation from police prosecution and also Magisterial Services due to overload or work by magistrate. “We are solving this now.”

December 27, 2018

Solomon Islands MEHRD brushes aside reports on sales of Scholarships

Solomon Islands MEHRD brushes aside reports on sales of Scholarships

REPORTS claiming certain officials within the Solomon Islands Ministry of Educational and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) are selling government funded scholarships to students are “all fabrication”.

That’s according to the Solomon Islands National Training Unit (NTU) director Clement Tito.

Mr Tito said students claiming to be paying for scholarships from NTU officials should not be running to the media with such serious allegations.

 “If they have evidence, they should come to my office and report that directly to us,” Mr Tito said.

“It’s a fabricated story and the media should not rush into publishing serious allegations,” he added.

“You should verify the story with us first.

“They should provide the receipt of received for my officers so that we can investigate and deal with them.”

Weeks ago, a number of students alleged that the NTU office is selling scholarship spaces to those students vying for the 2019 scholarship. Solomon Star/ ONEPNG

Chinese province to give furniture to schools in Papua New Guinea

Chinese province to give furniture to schools in Papua New Guinea

Secondary and high schools in Eastern Highlands will receive chairs and tables donated by the Guangdong province of China next year.
This was announced during the Guangdong photo exhibition at the new Malaria Centre at Hohola in Port Moresby last Tuesday.
Eastern Highlands provincial advisory secretary, John Sari, arrived from Goroka on behalf of Governor Peter Numu.
“We, the people of Eastern Highlands, send our warm thanks and appreciation to the people of Guangdong province in China,” he said
“I was privileged to visit the Guangdong province.
“It has so many beautiful cities.
“One thing I admire is the One Belt One Road policy – which has changed many countries in the Pacific.”
Sari said China’s generosity to the people of Papua New Guinea augured well for relationships between the two countries.
Vice-chairman of the people’s political consultative conference and chairman of Guangdong provincial committee of China, Huang Wu, arrived with six members from Guangdong to host the ceremony.
“Guangdong is one of the first and fastest developing cities out of 30 cities in China and one of the economic hubs of the country,” he said.
“Economic development, culture of Guangdong, splendid scenery and maritime Silk Road are four parts of the Guangdong photo exhibited today to showcase its enormous achievements after 40 years.”
Wu said Guangdong was willing to strengthen cooperation with PNG to promote miscellaneous and beneficial cultural exchanges with mutual understanding and friendships.
“Through this photo exhibition, we hope people of PNG can know more about Guangdong and choose to visit the city,” he said. The National/ONEPNG
ABG President Momiis applauds peace efforts on Bougainville

ABG President Momiis applauds peace efforts on Bougainville

ABG President Chief DR.JOHN MOMIS says that there has been a positive progress in the overall peace effort in the region.

He made these comments during the ABG Parliament session last week.
President MOMIS said that so much has taken place in regard to peace efforts and he thanked the people for their commitments to the process.
He said a lot of peace and reconciliations and weapons disposal events were taking place in every part of the region from South, Central and North Bougainville.

President Momis said that this signifies the people’s desire to see lasting peace in Bougainville.
Some of the progress he mentioned regards to high profile reconciliation cases between warring parties and families who lost relatives.
He said that the recent peace developments indicated a positive sign towards conducting a free and fair Referendum.

So far four constituencies have declared themselves as Weapons free and Referendum ready and they are HAGOGOHE and Atolls in North Bougainville,
BABA and BOLAVE in South Bougainville.
28 more constituencies will declare by the end of this year.
The people of MAHARI are having their reconciliation tomorrow.
Miriku urges people of Kereaka on  Bougainville to continue the fight

Miriku urges people of Kereaka on Bougainville to continue the fight


The former ABG Speaker, ANDREW MIRIKI yesterday thanked the people of KEREAKA for honouring the Bougainville Peace Agreement and laying down their weapons.
Speaking at the reconciliation ceremony in KURAIO,MR. MIRIKI said that he was with the Bougainville leaders during the crisis and again during the negotiation days and was happy that KEREAKA has shown their commitment for total peace on Bougainville.
MR. MIRIKI said that what the leaders have been fighting for will definitely become a reality if the people continue to surrender weapons and reconcile with his other.
He said that the final journey does not need weapons of destruction but tough negotiations with the National Government.
The former speaker stayed on to show some historical films to the people of Kereaka last night.

New Dawn FM / ONEPNG

December 25, 2018

Trump’s New Year’s Gift To Putin, Rouhani, And Erdogan

Trump’s New Year’s Gift To Putin, Rouhani, And Erdogan

By Dr. Alon Ben-Meir

Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria is extremely reckless and is bound to backfire in more than one way. To make such a decision, which has major implications that directly and adversely affect our allies in and outside the region, through a simple tweet and against the advice of his senior advisors is nothing short of outrageous. This is the most valuable New Year’s gift that Trump could possibly give Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and Turkey. What on earth did he base his decision on, as from every angle we examine it there seems to be absolutely no good that could possibly come out of it.

In fact, our forces should not only remain in Syria but be further augmented to secure our as well as our allies’ short- and long-term national interests throughout the region. The reasons for staying and even further boosting US forces in Syria are manifold.

The pull out of US forces at a time when Iran is in the process of establishing several permanent military bases in Syria, loaded with medium and long-range missiles that can reach any part of Israel, is a recipe for war between Israel and Iran. The American withdrawal would motivate Iran to further destabilize the region, support extremist groups, especially Hezbollah, and accelerate its ballistic missiles program. More importantly, it will allow Iran to secure a contiguous landmass from the Gulf to the Mediterranean.

Every military observer strongly suggests that the continued American military presence in Syria would force Tehran to think twice before it further entrenches itself in the country, fearing American retaliation that Iran cannot take lightly.

For decades, our allies in the region (the Gulf states, Jordan, and Israel) have and continue to depend to various degrees on the US’ protection of their national security. The US military presence in Syria is central and without it, Russia, Iran, and Turkey would further destabilize the region and force America’s allies to suffer the consequences from the vacuum that we leave behind, which our adversaries will be quick to fill.

Furthermore, Trump’s claim that ISIS has been defeated and that our mission is accomplished is nothing but a bald-faced lie. ISIS is still very much alive and the US’ military presence in Syria has both practical and symbolic implications that cannot be ignored. It is estimated that between 15-20,000 fighters remain in the region, and scores of sleeper cells exist throughout the Middle East and Europe. But sadly, given Trump’s domestic troubles, he is desperate for a win, however presumptuous and uncanny, just before the end of the year. Only a sick person, such as this president, will sell his country down the river to satisfy his inflated ego.

More troubling than anything else, Trump shamelessly betrayed one of our closest allies in the fight against ISIS—the Syrian Kurds (YPG). By his unconscionable decision, he left their fate to the butcher of Ankara—Erdogan—who is determined to battle the Syrian Kurds into submission while aiming to establish a permanent presence in the country.

Nothing will deter the main antagonistic players in Syria—the Assad regime, Russia, Iran, and Turkey—other than a robust American military presence. For these countries, the mere American presence sends a clear message that the US intends to play a weighty role in the search for a solution to the civil war in Syria that will protects its own national interests and those of its allies.

America’s military absence is a factor, and no one who knows the dynamic of the conflict, the power plays, and the continuing volatility of the region can claim otherwise. Even a cursory review of the conflicts currently raging in the Middle East suggests that the US’ stature is diminishing, and we are much worse off today than we were in 2003.

The absence of American military muscle in Syria would further marginalize the US while allowing Russia, Iran, and Turkey to disregard the US without suffering any consequences and give Russia an entirely free hand, making it the ultimate arbiter in the country.

History is instructive, and the US, regardless of its global geostrategic national interests, cannot involve itself in every conflict. That said, the US must not be paralyzed by past misguided policies. But if we must withdraw our forces from any country, after 17 years it should be Afghanistan, where we are fighting a simply unwinnable war, no matter how much money and manpower we continue to dedicate to the war effort against the Taliban.

The US cannot impact the development of events in Syria without a credible and strong military backing to deter any adversary from acting with impunity in any way deemed inconsistent with the US’ and our allies’ strategic interests.

Trump’s haphazard and thoughtless decision to withdraw forces from Syria points only to his abdication of the US’ moral responsibility, not to speak of its global leadership, which has been dangerously waning under his disastrous policies.

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for
Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and
Middle Eastern studies.
alon@alonben-meir.com                                                    Web: www.alonben-meir.com

PNG Deputy Chief Justice ends tribal fight

PNG Deputy Chief Justice ends tribal fight

Papua New Guinea's Deputy Chief Justice has reportedly ended a long-running tribal fight in Enga Province.

According to media reports  Ambeng Kandakasi went to Liop with provincial police commander Joseph Tondop and a contingent of soldiers and police.

The judge used his courtroom authority to not only stop a raging gun battle that morning, but was able to order two warring factions from the Walin tribe to lay down their arms and make peace.

There was fierce fighting last week which left many dead and properties damaged.

All this stopped abruptly when Justice Kandakasi, Chief Superintendent Tondop and a contingent from the Defence Force walked across the battlefield.

The judge, who hails from Laiagam, ordered a peace talk, and told leaders from both sides to hug each other and shake hands to stop the fighting.

Mr Tondop described the act as a miracle.

"It doesn't happen this way in the Hghlands. Normally, it takes an extended period of time to make peace after some form of appeasement like killing a pig. The Deputy Chief Justice definitely commands a lot of respect from his people," he said.

Radio New Zealand/ ONE PNG

December 24, 2018

Three men apprehended in Lae

Three men apprehended in Lae

armed men arrested in Lae

Three armed men were apprehended by Lae police over the weekend.  The  SRU 101 night shift members were on routine patrol early this morning (4am) when they came across three young men acting suspiciously along Casowary Road.

They were searched and found to have in their possession house breaking implements as well as a homemade gun loaded with a 5.56 calibre bullet.

The suspects from East Sepik, Butibam village Lae and Finchaffen, Morobe respectively.

They have been formally arrested and charged.

Casowary Road has had its fair share of Break and Enter stealing in recent times, where criminals Cross over from the Bumbu River.

One of the suspects resides at Banana Block while the other two claim to live at Butibam.
Top Fiji sevens player charged with rape

Top Fiji sevens player charged with rape

Fiji rugby sevens veteran, Amenoni Nasilasila, has been charged with rape over a weekend incident involving a 24 year old woman.

Nasilasila, who is 26 years old, was remanded in custody after appearing in the Sigatoka Magistrates Court today.

He is said to have handed himself into police after a complaint was lodged against him.

Police say the alleged incident is said to have occurred in Olosara, Sigatoka.

The matter has been adjourned until December 31.

 Source: RNZ Pacific
Fears of new Indonesia tsunami as Anak Krakatau volcano seethes

Fears of new Indonesia tsunami as Anak Krakatau volcano seethes

Coastal residents near Indonesia's Anak Krakatau volcano have been warned to keep away from beaches amid fears it could trigger a new tsunami.

On Saturday, giant waves crashed into coastal towns on the islands of Sumatra and Java, killing at least 222 people and injuring 843.

It is thought that volcanic activity set off undersea landslides which in turn generated the killer waves.

Anak Krakatau was erupting again on Sunday, spewing ash and smoke.

Video shot from a charter plane captured the magnitude of the event in the Sunda Strait, between Sumatra and Java.

President Joko Widodo has expressed his sorrow for the victims and urged people to be patient.

Rescue efforts are being hampered by blocked roads but heavy lifting equipment is being transported to badly hit areas to help search for victims.

   

Source: BBC
Samoa PM dismisses nepotism claims over his son's appointment to Govt Ministry

Samoa PM dismisses nepotism claims over his son's appointment to Govt Ministry

Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi has refuted claims of nepotism related to the appointment of his son, Oscar Malielegaoi to the Ministry of Finance.

Critics have labelled the appointment of Oscar as Chief Executive of the Ministry as one example of corruption in government and nepotism.

However, PM Tuilaepa said this is furthest from the truth.

Addressing the misinformation, Prime Minister said the truth is, the appointee is the victim of misinformation with the critics not considering the fact that the new CEO of Finance has the qualifications which include a Master’s degree, vast experience in the public and government finance sector, a member of the Certified Accountants faculty and has international experience as a former staff with the Asian Development Bank.

“The truth of the matter is he was deemed qualified by the selection panel after satisfying the two essential ingredients for CEO appointments which are your academic qualifications and experience.
“There was no sinister plot surrounding the appointment as the position was publicly advertised for any person to apply.
“It’s unfortunate that he was the only applicant but the same can be said for other CEO and senior government posts which only attracted one applicant.”

He added that insinuations accusing him of allegedly intervening to influence the outcome of the selection process is an outrageous lie because under no circumstance was he involved.
“Even when it was tabled before Cabinet, I distant myself due to the glaring conflict of interest,” said the Prime Minister noting that this is not the first time that a high ranking government official is left in the same predicament as he is.

“The policy is to consider the merits and if he or she is qualified than why should a son or daughter who has earned it be penalise because his or her mother or father holds a high ranking post.”

On the political arena, the Prime Minister said that he had expected the social media’s ghost critics to use the appointment as a political football to spread lies and misinformation.

“I know their target is my administration and my leadership in their ongoing campaign to woo the voters,” said Tuilaepa.
“If anything, (Oscar) is convicted for being a qualified profession because he is my son.
“However the burden of proof is on his shoulders to prove his keep. Just because he is my son does not mean that he will be getting any preferential treatment because he will be accorded the same privileges like any other CEO.
“Should he fail to deliver or under any circumstance violate his contractual obligations to government, I will be the first to let him go.”

The Prime Minister has also responded to the same critics in Samoan during his Taimi ma le Palemia weekly television program with TV1. 

Source: Press Release

December 21, 2018

Fiji Parliament Speaker dies

Fiji Parliament Speaker dies

The Fiji Parliament  Dr Jiko Luveni, has died, Fiji Sun reports. 

Dr Luveni, 72, is believed to have died this morning. The cause of death has not been released yet, however, it is understood that she died after a short- illness.

Dr Luveni was a trailblazer in advocating women’s interests and participation in national affairs.

She was the first woman to be the Speaker of Parliament.

Dr Luveni was a dentist by profession before she entered politics.

She was the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation before her appointment as Speaker. Prior to this, she was the Minister for Women in the interim Bainimarama Government.

News & Photo : Fiji Sun
 Vanuatu PM defeats another no confidence motion

Vanuatu PM defeats another no confidence motion

Vanuatu's prime minister Charlot Salwai has defeated a motion of no confidence in his leadership.

Today's parliamentary motion, defeated 36 votes to 13, was the second PM Salwai faced this month.

Earlier, the opposition leader Ishmael Kalsakau cited reasons for the motion, which mainly related to what he described as an irresponsible 2019 appropriation bill.

The speaker of parliament, Esmon Saimon, expressed disapproval that parliament tabled 25 bills over the last two sessions, but succeeded in passing only three.

He described obstruction of the legislative agenda as a waste of public money.

However, legislation passed this month by the government changes rules on how such motions are advanced.

These rules now require that all signers of a motion must sign all at once, in the Speaker's office, and in his presence.

This is designed to prevent more frivolous motions signed secretly or using outdated signatures.

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC

December 20, 2018

Bougainville Government pleads with PNG National Airports Corporation

Bougainville Government pleads with PNG National Airports Corporation

The Bougainville Government has asked the National Airports Corporation for time to address law and order issues that could lead to the indefinite closure of Buka Airport.

Bougainville Chief Secretary Joseph Nobetau was served the seven-day notice last Friday over issues relating to airport security, and law and order, including thefts airport fencing materials and an unwillingness by former landowners to allow the fencing to proceed.

Nobetau said that it was in the people’s interest not to close the airport tomorrow as planned and he had appealed to the landowners and stakeholders to adhere to meetings called forthwith.

Last night, a meeting attended by Bougainville vice-president Raymond Masono, Minister for Police Willie Masiu, Minister for Peace Albert Punhau, Minister for Finance, Minister for Public Service Robert Hamal Sawa, member for Tsitalato Fidelis Semoso and the chairman of North Veterans Peter Barik who resolved the issues of car hijacking and law and order at the airport.

The NAC had told Nobetau in its letter last week that the lifting of the impending closure would depend on the Bougainville Government resolving the law and order issues with the former landowners.

North Veterans head Damien Kora said last night they had addressed these issues and agreed that there would be no more protests to the National Government. He also said that they had cleared the service providers’ issues would pave way for law and order to be addressed amicably.

There were plans to lock Bougainville President John Momis, Vice President Raymond Masono, Chief Secretary Joseph Nebetau and two other officers at midnight last night – but the plans were later aborted following the “satisfactory meeting” between the veterans and the Bougainville Government leadership.

A team had been set up to address also the issues highlighted by National Airports Corporation and had been in constant communication with the NAC headquarters.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
PNG Attorney General upset over chief secretary interference

PNG Attorney General upset over chief secretary interference

Papua New Guinea Attorney General and Justice Minister Davis Steven is disappointed with Chief secretary Isaac Lupari for blocking the gazettal of an acting appointment he recently made regarding the position of solicitor-general.

Steven said Lupari and other public servants should refrain from interfering with the Government’s appointment process.

“My appeal to Mr Lupari is to stop interfering in the work of Government and the appointment process as some of us are here to serve the government of the day, and have no interest in anything (else),” Steven said.

Steven had sacked acting Solicitor-General Faith Barton early this month, and appointed Tanovasi Tauvasa to the position. But Lupari instructed the Government Printer in a letter not to facilitate the gazettal of the acting appointment.

Steven said only Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had the powers to block such appointments.

“Public servants have no powers to stop the process as the only person to give orders is the prime minister. And I have sought clearance from him,” Steven said.

“There should be nobody (else) to stop the Government Printer from gazetting it as the chief secretary did.”

In response, Lupari told The National that the matter was going to be addressed today by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

It is understood that Lupari acts only on the advice of the prime minister’s office.

Steven said he had sacked Barton for failing to defend the State against a recent K180 million lawsuit which was awarded to the Gobe landowners in Gulf and Southern Highlands.

Barton later took the matter to court seeking a judicial review on her sacking. She also sought orders from the court to restrain Steven from exercising his powers to make the appointment.

But the court rejected her application.

Lupari’s letter to the Government Printer was produced in court.

Steven said he was “sick and tired” of public servants blocking ministerial decisions.

“I don’t have any interest in it. But I want people to do their jobs,” he said.

“This (also) happened to the (appointment of the) secretary of the department. He had to go through the same kind of blockage from public servants. It took six month for the appointment of a secretary to be made.”

He said the solicitor-general’s position would be advertised and it was up to Barton whether to apply.

Meanwhile, the primary function of the public solicitor to provide legal services to the public will be extended to also include helping aggrieved landowners of resource development.

Attorney-General and Justice Minister Davis Steven said this was going to be announced Friday because it was right to assist poor people who could not afford the high legal fees when pursuing cases relating to land and resources.

Steven said the Public Solicitor provided legal services to people facing criminal charges. That will now include resource owners.

He said the directive would cover urban development cases such as the Motu-Koitabu landowners.

The first client the office will represent are the Vaala landowners in the Collingwood Bay timber case.

Motu-Koitabu landowners have also shown interest in acquiring the service of the public solicitor on the land-grabbing and illegal-migrant cases in the National Capital District.

Steven said the move was meant to help as many landowners as possible who could not afford the services of private law firms.

He aims to see the Government’s legal entities perform their duties and provide the best services to the State and the public.

“We need to improve our services and reach out to the public,” he said.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS/ONEPNG
 Fiji election petition case: Court to deliver ruling on oral evidence

Fiji election petition case: Court to deliver ruling on oral evidence

Fiji's Court of Disputed Returns comprising Justice Anjala Wati  and Justice Kamal Kumar will deliver a ruling this afternoon regarding the petitioners’ application to have oral evidence heard.

This is in the case of SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka and National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad who have filed an election petition against the 2018 General Elections results.

The Court will also be fixing the date of the hearing.

Filimoni Vosarogo who is representing Mr Prasad and Mr Rabuka with Jon Apted and Simione Valenitabua confirmed to the Court that they have received the answers to the petition and affidavits in reply from the respondents.

The respondents in the matter are the 27 FijiFirst Party Parliamentarians, Former FijiFirst MP Faiyaz Koya and the Supervisor of Elections.

Vosarogo said they would like to call oral evidence of eight witnesses and asked the court’s direction on whether they have permission to call them.

Devanesh Sharma who is representing the 27 respondents, the Attorney-General and the Former FijiFirst MP Faiyaz Koya opposed the application made by Vosarogo.

Solicitor-General Sharvada Sharma who is appearing on behalf of the Supervisor of Elections highlighted that the court has 11 days to decide on the matter and give a ruling on three petitions.

He added that they also oppose oral evidence.

Nilesh Prasad who is representing the Electoral Commission said that the application to call oral evidence must be declined.

He adds that the flood gate of hearing oral evidence must be closed as the other petitioners in the two other election petitions before the Court may make similar applications.


SOURCE:FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

December 17, 2018

$3m package for Samoa Pacific Games from official sponsor Digicel

$3m package for Samoa Pacific Games from official sponsor Digicel

Digicel Samoa were announced as the official sponsor of the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games at their head office in Apia.

The official sponsorship package is valued at $3 million Tala (US$1.1 million), entailing both cash and broadcasting and communication services.

The announcement was made by the Games organising committee chairman, Minister Loau Keneti Sio and CEO Falefata Hele Matatia, along with Digicel Samoa CEO Farid Mohammed and chairman Pepe Christian Fruean.

Falefata said this was a big milestone leading up to Christmas.

“It means we can start looking to next year and all our other preparations.

“Getting most of the rest of our sponsorship deals locked in by the end of the year, making sure our venues are still on track which they are, and finalising the accommodation.

“It’s been a long time with the negotiations, making sure we ticked all our boxes.”

Mohammed joked that Falefata and his team had been keeping him up late at night getting the deal over the line.

“In any sponsorship negotiation there’s a lot that needs to be covered in terms of what we bring to the table, and what benefits we’ll get back from it,” he said.

“We were also in the process of a lot of network upgrades and stuff, so that took a lot of my personal time away from building what we need to for the Games, in terms of the digital experience.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be able to close the deal this side of Christmas, so we can all focus on the activation and execution of the sponsorship.”

Falefata said things would now start to open up in terms of preparations now with more funding locked in.

Earlier in the week he told the Observer they have had to be frugal with their spending.

“Hence why we have a lot of volunteers on board,” he said previously.

“We’ve asked some of our donor partners to help with our personnel,” he said.

SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS
PNG Watchdog keeps close eye on APEC assets

PNG Watchdog keeps close eye on APEC assets

The leadership watchdog, Ombudsman Commission, has given the government until tomorrow to account for and lock up APEC assets and not dispose them without approval.

These assets include the Maseratis and Bentleys, buses and other assets acquired by the State for use during APEC 2018 which culminated in the Leaders’ Summit last month. Chief Ombudsman Michael Dick, Ombudsman Richard Pagen and Ombudsman Kevin Kepore recently put out a statement which they had served on the government with direction notices to all relevant agencies.

The Ombudsman Commission confirmed last Friday that the government had asked for an extension of time which expires tomorrow, December 18.

Chief Secretary to Government Isaac Lupari said the government wanted more time to finalise the APEC inventory which they would present to the Ombudsman Commission.

He also said that the Cabinet also needed to make a decision on which assets to give to the churches, schools and provinces, among others, before a final list would be given to the Ombudsman Commission.

Last week, the government also advertised through the Central Supplies and Tenders Board for all APEC assets to be returned. A list of inventories is currently being finalized according to Lupari.

Last month, on November 2, the Ombudsman Commission issued a direction under section 27(4) of the Constitution to protect all assets that the government had acquired for the hosting of the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in PNG.

The direction was issued on Monday, November 19, and was served to executives, including Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, APEC 2018 PNG Coordination Authority chief executive Chris Hawkins, Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari, Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan, also in his capacity as acting chairman of the Central Supply and Tenders Board. Dick and Pagen said that the purpose of the constitutional direction was to ensure that before these assets were dealt with, all relevant laws, policies and guidelines for dealing with these assets were complied with. They said requirements under the Public Finance (Management) Act 1995 and the Public Finance (Management) Act 2016 must be complied with unless the commission advised otherwise.

The Government agreed to that effect and would be addressing this when the inventory was undertaken. Lupari told the Post-Courier last Friday that the Central Supplies and Tenders Board would advertise the assets for disposal only after Cabinet made its decision on which items to dispose off.

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan has confirmed that all APEC assets bound for tender will be put on public offer starting this week.

Dr Ngangan made these remarks last Friday during a media event to officially close government accounts for the year.

The Secretary for Finance said that the disposal of APEC assets was indeed a matter of grave importance and that there was much public interest in how these assets would be handled.

Dr Ngangan said that as the chairman of Central Supply and Tenders Board, he would ensure all APEC acquired assets were first fully indentified and accounted for before beginning the public tendering process.

He admitted that advertisements and other moves were being made to herald the pending public offering of said assets but that these processes were now being finalised with advertisements for bids expected to be published in the newspapers this week.

“Assets donated by donors are a different subject altogether. Most donors have indicated that they do not want their donated assets to be sold so we shall identify and list all these assets and have the list brought before Cabinet to decide how to disburse these items,” said Dr Ngangan.

Minister for Finance James Marape who was also present, said that he was happy with the way the ministry had conducted itself this year even with the heavy-handed APEC meet and was certain that all APEC assets would be accounted for and made available for public bidding by this week.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

Solomon Islands MP Manetoali charged on the eve of 10th parliament’s dissolution

Solomon Islands MP Manetoali charged on the eve of 10th parliament’s dissolution

Gao Bugotu MP Samuel Manetoali’s bid for a fourth term in parliament suffered a huge blow last Friday after Police arrested and charged him with one count of conversion.

Manetoali, who has served his constituency for the last three consecutive terms, and is currently the Minister for Forestry and Research, is accused of converting SBD$100,000 (US$12,468) of constituency funds to pay for a Christmas party he hosted in 2014.

He has appeared in the Magistrate’s Court but was released on a $5,000 (US$621.00) cash bail with strict conditions.

His surety also signed a principal bail of $5,000.

It’s understood police investigated the alleged conversion after Manetoali’s Constituency Development Officer (CDO) reported the matter.

Police alleged that around mid-December 2014, the newly elected DCC Government made a Cabinet decision to advance a grant of $100,000 to each of the 50 constituencies.

It was alleged that on 24 December, the amount of $100,000 was paid to Gao/Bugotu Constituency through SIG ANZ cheque and was processed by the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD).

It was further alleged that Manetoali signed out the cheque at MRD on 24 December 2014 and handed it to his CDO at that time.

His CDO cashed the cheque and handed $100,000 to the accused who then on 25 December 2014, allegedly spent the money for a Christmas party which was held at his then Lengakiki residence.

Public Prosecutor Jasper Anisi told the court on Friday police investigations into the matter has been completed.

Amos Ngaingeri of L & L Lawyers, who represents Manetoali, said if that is the case then his client will be ready to take his plea on Monday.

Chief Magistrate Emma Garo ordered for disclosures to be provided to the defence counsel by Monday next week, and adjourned the case to December 28.

Assistant Commissioner (AC) Crime and Intelligence, Ian Vaevaso said Manetoali’s arrest is a result of hard investigative work which has been ongoing for a long time.”

“I would like to thank my officers for their hard work, and the Office of the Director Public Prosecution for offering legal advice to my investigators,” AC Vaevaso said.

Garo also ordered Manetoali to surrender his ordinary passport to the court.

Other bail conditions are: he is not to travel outside of the country without the court’s permission, he is to report to China Town Police Post twice a week commencing December 17 and he is not to interfere with five of Crown’s witnesses whom their names were provided to the court.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS
Solomon Islands Parliament dissolves

Solomon Islands Parliament dissolves

Solomon Islands tenth Parliament has dissolved as of 12am midnight early this morning following its final sitting last night.

This means most of the Members of Parliament (MP) are now ordinary members of the public while those in the Government are in the caretaker position for next few months till the next government comes into power next year.

More than 30 MPs spoke as part of their contribution to the Sine Die Motion which was tabled last week by Prime Minister Rick Hou.

Some of the issues raised during the debate was on the country’s unity, political stability, decentralisation of development, extension of constituency boundaries, how to govern the Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF), support for Taiwan, women’s issue and many issues.

The motion took three days to debate which finally concluded at around 10pm last night.

Speaking to wind down the motion Hou thanked all his hardworking Ministers, MPs from both sides of the house, Opposition Leader, Independent Group, Governor General, Speaker and Chief Justice.

He further acknowledged development partners for their support over the past four years, Permanent Secretaries, Commissioner of Police for playing their role, Premiers, Provincial Members, Churches, his staff at the Prime Minister’s Office, youths, women and children.

He further thanked the MPs for their contributions to all the debates.

He said the ten Parliament has been very productive with the passing of 42 Bills by Parliament.

Speaker of Parliament Ajilon Nasiu in his final remarks thanked all the MPs for their attendance and presence in all the sittings.

He thanked them for having the trust and confidence to be in charge of the Parliament.

He said a lot of 189 sitting days were accomplished in the tenth parliament.

Nasiu also raised the issue of lack of quorum in parliament which he said affects parliament sitting. He added this issue needs improvement when the next Parliament takes over.

He also thanked his staff for supporting the tenth parliament and for their role to ensure 156 papers were tabled in Parliament.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

December 11, 2018

United States seeks increase in its tuna catch limit

United States seeks increase in its tuna catch limit

By Bernadette H. Carreon in Waikiki, Hawaii

The United States is seeking a higher catch limit for bigeye tuna by its Hawaii-based longline fishing fleet at the annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) taking place in Honolulu this week.

The move comes as Pacific Island nations through their two main inter-governmental fishing agencies have made it clear they are not willing to increase the total bigeye catch in Pacific waters.

In its proposal to the 27-member rule-setting body the United States highlights the significant levels of monitoring and control it maintains in the fishery, outperforming other members of the Commission.

Washington points out that while the large longline fleets maintained by Japan, Korea and Taiwan have failed to meet the Commission’s minimum requirement of placing independent fisheries observers on 5 per cent of their vessels the Hawaii-based US fleet has consistently outperformed minimum requirements.

Figures included in the proposal show the US fleet has achieved observer coverage of about 20 per cent in its deep-set fishery and 100% in its shallow-set fishery.

With ‘essentially no at-sea transshipments’ taking place in the fishery the US argues it has been contributing highly certain catch data and other fisheries information, and making important contribution.

The US proposes that as an incentive for Commission members to provide better quality catch data catch limits should be increased by 1 per cent on 2018 levels for every 1 per cent of observer coverage achieved over the 5 per cent minimum and that catch limits should be increased by 10 per cent on 2018 levels for every member that achieves 100 per cent transshipment free fishing.

The US proposal admits that under current conditions the its fleets would be the only ones eligible to receive an increase in their catch limits.

It comes as the Scieince Committee of the WCPFC confirms advice that bigeye tuna is not overfished or experiencing overfishing.

However, Pacific nations do not want to see an increase in the catch of bigeye.

The CEO of the eight-nation Parties to the Nauru Agreement group Ludwig Kumoru said although the US fishing industry is laudable for its efforts to put in measures to improve monitoring and control of their fishing vessels, the number of observers “directly relate to how much fish should I take from the ocean.”
Although he doesn't agree with the proposal, Kumoru said it will be up to the Commission members to decide on the matter.

I think we should concentrate on bringing in conservation measures that actually support sustainable fishing.” Kumoru said.

The director General of the 17-nation Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen said that although the science says that bigeye tuna looks to be in healthier state than previously thought, they have advised the Commission to maintain current fishing limits and take a precautionary approach.

Dr Tupou-Roosen stressed that the FFA wants to see a strong tropical tuna measure from this week’s Commission meeting which include a healthy bigeye tuna population.

“I mentioned earlier priorities of FFA members going into this meeting and that is to maintain the strength of the tropical tuna measure and not to weaken the existing provisions,” Dr. Roosen said.

She also commended United States continued cooperation with the Commission’s rules.

“So we are confident that we will reach a successful resolution of the ongoing issue with the US,” she said.

For the environmental groups PEW and WWF see the US proposal as an “interesting idea” especially in the context of it being an incentive to fishing nations to improve monitoring control and observer coverage, the commission should still prioritize the population of the bigeye.

“We are fully in support of improving observership coverage, we also think that transhipment should be banned unless best practices are in place to ensure itsverifiable and legal. And we see this incentive system as an interesting idea, however thecommission needs to be careful that the overall catch of big-eye does not increase past the scientific advice,” Dave Gershman, Pew Charitable Trust Global Tuna Conservation Officer.

“If you increase the catch of big-eye through one proposal, you need to kind of reign it in in a different way. If they can structure it in a way where it doesnt leadto an increase in big-eye catch then that would be the way to go but at this point, not sure about that.

Bubba Cook, WWF Western Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager said the US proposal sends a strong statement that if we have greater observer coverage and we’re able to get better refined data on these stocks, we may actually beable to catch more than what we’re catching right now.”

WCPFC chairperson Rhea Moss-Christian said the US approach is a “relatively new one,” she cannot determine yet how the commission members will respond to the proposal.

SOURCE: PACIFIC NOTE/PACNEWS
K4 million Cheque for upgrading of Bulolo Township Road

K4 million Cheque for upgrading of Bulolo Township Road

Minister for Forest Douglas Tomuriesa has presented a K4 million cheque to Member for Bulolo Sam Basil towards the maintenance of the Bulolo Township Road at a press conference today at the PNG Forest Authority Headquarter.

Mr. Tomuriesa says the K4.7 million cheque will go towards the Kaia Works Civil Construction Company to build roads in Bulolo, Morobe Province.

He says the presentation of the K4.7 million cheque was the first of its kind in the history of PNG Forest since Forest came to be an Authority in the country.

He also says it is a program that has never been done with forest and he is happy to have the Minister Sam Basil presented at the conference today.

Also present at the Press Conference today was Central Governor Robert Agarobe and the Acting Managing Director for PNG Forest Authority Mrs. Magdalene Maihuwa.

December 10, 2018

Samoa govt says no to sex education

Samoa govt says no to sex education

Samoa's Minister of Education, Loau Keneti Sio, has poured cold water on a call for the introduction of se.x education in secondary schools.

Loau told the Samoa Observer the idea was absurd and se.x education should be an issue addressed in families not in the classroom.

Earlier the president of the Samoa Aids Foundation, Leniu Asaua Fa'asino said there was a need for Samoa to incorporate sex education into its schools to help raise awareness about how to protect against HIV/AIDS.

The foundation had been working with other health organisations to put together a proposal for the Ministry of Education, Leniu said.

But Loau is adamant that as long as he is minister, he will not entertain the idea.

He said it was not the ministry's responsibility to educate children about se.x and that it was the sole responsibility of parents. ..RNZ
Nauru and Tonga airlines discuss joint venture

Nauru and Tonga airlines discuss joint venture

The Tongan prime minister has hosted a delegation from Nauru Airlines to discuss the possibility of a service between Tonga and Brisbane.Akilisi Pohiva met with the Nauru Airlines chairman Trevor Jensen and the managing director of Real Tonga, Tevita Palu, about a potential partnership.

Mr Pohiva said representatives of the Tongan community in Brisbane had informed him that none of the regional carriers were interested in providing a direct service but that Nauru Airlines had indicated they could partner with Real Tonga and the government.

Mr Jensen said after a number of meetings in Tonga, the airline liked what it had seen and was keen to pursue the matter further.

Mr Palu said there were still a lot of areas to be discussed and numbers to be crunched but he was in total support of the joint venture.

Nauru Airlines is wholly owned by the Government of Nauru and currently flies to Brisbane, Nadi, Tarawa, Majuro, Pohnpei and Guam.

It owns a five Boeing 737-300 aircraft.

There are approximately 6000 Tongans living in Brisbane and up to 600 Tongans travel annually to agricultural areas in Queensland under the Seasonal Workers Program.  RNZI
Jarryd Hayne will plead not guilty to aggravated assault, lawyer says

Jarryd Hayne will plead not guilty to aggravated assault, lawyer says

The lawyer for rugby league star Jarryd Hayne has told a Sydney court his client is innocent and will be pleading not guilty to a sexual assault charge.

The 30-year-old is accused of the aggravated sexual assault of a woman at a home in the NSW Hunter region on September 30 — the night of the NRL grand final.

Mr Hayne's lawyer spoke to media outside the court.

"Mr Hayne maintains he is innocent, a plea of not guilty will be entered," he said.

"He'd like at this time to thanks those who have offered him support, in particular his mother and father."

Mr Hayne sat in the front row of the public gallery at Burwood Local Court while his matter was heard.

He is accused of biting the woman, who he met on social media, during the alleged sexual assault.

The woman claims she first reported the alleged incident to the NRL, which subsequently referred the matter to police.

There were chaotic scenes as Mr Hayne left court.

He climbed into the back seat of an SUV, which drove off without his manager Wayne Beavis, who had to run after the vehicle.

Mr Hayne began his career with the Parramatta Eels in 2006, but left the club to play professionally in America's NFL.

After one season with the San Francisco 49ers, Mr Hayne returned to the NRL after a failed attempt to join Fiji's Rugby Sevens team at the Rio Olympics.

His contract with the Paramatta Eels ended on October 31 and he has not been signed by any club.

Mr Hayne's bail will continue and he is due to appear in court next February.

According to court documents, his bail conditions include reporting to police three times a week and surrendering his passport.

Mr Hayne is prohibited from entering international airports or the Newcastle local government area, and must not contact the woman or any witnesses.



Source:  RNZ
K1.5m for public servants’ housing in PNG

K1.5m for public servants’ housing in PNG

The Public Solicitor’s Office has made K1.5 million available for its staff’s accommodation.

The recently appointed Public Solicitor, Leslie Benjamin Mamu, presented a cheque to the YFIG Group of Companies on December 6th at the YFIG head office inside Kennedy Estate at Eight-Mile, Port Moresby.

The cheque was for the Institutional Housing Project, which will see the building of five houses in the Kennedy Estate compound.

This is the first of many to come.

The Public Solicitor plans to provide housing for all his lawyers and staff to ensure that accreditation is given to his office for the work that his subordinates do for the country and its citizens.

In their appreciation for the Public Solicitor’s decision to elect them as the housing and construction company, YFIG Group of Companies will give free water tanks and furniture to go with the houses that were purchased.

The Public Solicitor stated that the government and heads of public offices cannot expect a high prospective of productivity from their employees – public servants – while ignoring their welfare.

Mamu stated that one such important aspect of “welfare” is housing.

The Public Solicitor further extended a solemn invitation and appeal to the Government to look at such large massive projects such as the kind provided by YFIG Group of Companies and Kennedy Estate when considering housing for public servants.

Mamu respectfully stated that housing allowance for public servants is unrealistic. He mentioned that public offices and the government cannot continue to come up with more rules and expectations for public servants to get more productivity whilst ignoring the important aspect welfare.

He thanked the Department of National Planning for allowing his office to make this housing project concept a reality.

(Public Solicitor Leslie Benjamin Mamu during the presentation of the cheque). Press Release
PNG Court strikes out 27 charges of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering against Paul Paraka

PNG Court strikes out 27 charges of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering against Paul Paraka

All 27 charges of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering against embattled lawyer Paul Paraka have been dropped.
Senior committal court magistrate Mekeo Gauli ruled yesterday that the criminal charges laid against Mr Paraka, principal of Paraka Lawyers, by the fraud squad (formerly known as the taskforce sweep team) was an abuse of the court processes.
Paraka’s legal battle spanned more than five years on charges relating to payments made to his law firm for legal services rendered to the PNG government between 2007 and 2013.
Mr Gauli said that the 27 charges (17 counts of conspiracy to defraud, five counts of stealing under false pretense and five counts of money laundering) were laid against Mr Paraka on July 31, 2014, by the same taskforce sweep team which was abolished by the police commissioner through the operation of NEC Decision No. 191 of 2014, only one month prior.
This meant that the taskforce sweep team had no jurisdiction to lay the charges at the material time, which rendered the act an abuse of the formal court processes.
Mr Gauli said also that the question of legality of the payments had already been cleared about three weeks before the charges were laid.
“In The National newspapers, dated July 8, 2014, the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the Attorney-General Mr Ano Pala published that Paraka Lawyers was legally paid,” said Mr Gauli.
“Even the office of the Secretary and Attorney-General made legal clearance of the payments made to Paraka Lawyers. Accordingly, I grant the defendant Paul Paraka’s application to strike out the charges for being an abuse of process,” he said.
A relieved Paul Paraka said in a statement yesterday that he was glad that his persecution at the hands of his rivals was finally over. And he vowed that he would be pursuing further litigation against individuals who were responsible for what he called “unlawful actions”.
He said that he would be seeking that these individuals be jailed for up to 10 years each under specific provisions of the Constitution (section 23) and the Criminal Code (section 619) for various criminal offences.
Mr Paraka had also called on the Police Commissioner to refer all files back to the Department of Justice and Attorney-General to be dealt with administratively as well as to effect the advice of the former attorney-general (dated July 6, 2014) to cease all unnecessary criminal investigations against him.

​Post COurier/Pacnews/PNgfacts
Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Games - Moving Forward

Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Games - Moving Forward

From December 6th to 7th, members of the Government of Solomon Islands, the Honiara City Council, the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands (NOCSI) and the Pacific Games Council (PGC) participated in the inaugural meeting of the Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Games National Hosting Authority (NHA), in Honiara.

The NHA was established under the Pacific Games 2023 Act 2017 which was legislated in February 2017, and activated on 26 October 2018.  The National Hosting Authority is the Authority that will oversee the delivery of the Games, the venues and all services including Sport Development leading up to the Pacific Games in July 2023. The Pacific Games 2023 Act 2017, mandated the oversight and support required by the Government of Solomon Islands to deliver the Games.

The NHA received reports on progress to date, funding requirements, and key decisions that are required to be made in the next year.  The overall facilities plan was developed by the PG2023 Preparatory Task Force was reviewed, and all members agreed that the plan that was developed by the Task Force is a feasible /logical and financially responsible plan.  The NHA congratulated the Task Force led by National Sports Council Chairman Gabriel Suri and his task force member’s team of the work. The NHA also recognized the work of the Cabinet Sub-Committee, that was led by the Chairman, Hon. Steve Abana upon appointment by the Honorable Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela.  The NHA will now take over all planning efforts of the Games as these other two Cabinet Set up bodies have now completed their tasks and submitted their reports to NHA.

The NHA Chairman, Dr Jimmi Rogers stated that with 2019 now just on the doorstep, the time has come to ramp up Games planning efforts.  Good progress has been made with acquiring land and donor support for the various projects, and now the mechanisms to start designs, finalize funding agreements are needed to be put in place in the first quarter of 2019. 

NOCSI provided details of plans to work with the National Sports Federations and the National Sports Council to develop a High Performance centre to ensure that in the lead up to the 2023 Games that Solomon Island athletes /coaches get the best training and competition experience so as to deliver a “best ever” medal haul for our country in 2023.

PGC President Vidhya Lakhan expressed his pleasure and comfort in the planning efforts to date, and commended the Government of Solomon Islands and the Hon Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela on their support.  He noted that while the Games are some four and half years away, that time can quickly erode if there is no constant and consistent pressure brought to bear in the planning efforts.

The NHA will meet on a monthly basis to ensure that the Government and PGC have a clear understanding of the challenges and efforts needed to ensure the planning stays on track.

Earlier in the week a representative of the NHA provided an update on the Games to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and outlined some of the business opportunities that will arise out of hosting these Games.  The presentation was well received and many companies expressed interest in how to get involved early on.

In the meantime, NOCSI is progressing with plans to take a very large team to compete in the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, and to signal to the rest of the Pacific nations, that come 2023 that there will be few medals available for other nations to take home from Solomon Islands, as Team Solomon will be Going for Gold!!!.

SOURCE: SOL23 PACIFIC GAMES SECRETARIAT/PACNEWS
Fiji crowned champions at HSBC Cape Town Sevens

Fiji crowned champions at HSBC Cape Town Sevens

A pair of tries from Kalione Nasoko and Vilimoni Botitu helped Fiji beat USA 29-15 in the Cup final in Cape Town and secure their first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series victory in South Africa since 2009.

It was Fiji's first final since 2009 and completed a fantastic weekend — in which they remained unbeaten — by defeating the United States.

Nasoko opened the scoring with a solo run after some excellent Fiji defending, before they were handed two gift tries. First Botitu got between a Madison Hughes pass and was free to run from deep in his own half, and then Perry Baker fumbled a one-handed play for Sevuloni Mocenacagi to capitalise.

Botitu — who won HSBC Player of the Final — exploited a gap after half time and despite Ben Pinkelman’s two tries, Fiji were too far clear. Nasoko’s line break allowed his second and Carlin Isles capped the final with a brilliant run to the corner, but USA finished second for the second consecutive event.

Fiji head coach Gareth Baber: “It’s been a long time coming, for the Fijians to win in Cape Town. We were disappointed last week that we didn’t manage to perform to the level that we’ve done this week.

"It makes me most proud that these players have done everything for their families back home and the country of Fiji. It’s great. Fijian fans are everywhere in the world, wherever we travel, and we say a big thank you to all those who make a big effort to come and support us.”

SOUTH AFRICA EARN BRONZE

There was a repeat of the final match on day one in Cape Town as the hosts South Africa got one back over New Zealand with a 10-5 win to claim third place. It was a breathless affair once again as New Zealand took an early lead through Sione Molia after a one-two with Etene Nanai-Seturo. South Africa pulled level when Werner Kok went on a blistering diagonal run to find the corner, before taking the lead in the second half. After a number of phases were brilliantly broken down by the All Blacks Sevens’ defence, Selvyn Davids played a step and go before offloading to Dewald Human to touch down the winning try.

In a physically brutal semi-final, Fiji had to come from behind to beat South Africa after Siviwe Soyizwapi’s early try. Botitu brought Fiji back level and Waisea Nacuqu took full advantage of a Kok missed tackle to give them the lead. Rosko Specman pierced the defence to put pressure back on Fiji but the eventual winners snatched it late through Alosio Naduva, who broke down the left to touch down with two seconds remaining.

The USA had produced arguably the performance of the weekend to sweep aside New Zealand and reach the final. After the All Blacks Sevens defeated Australia in the quarter-finals, they were put to the test immediately by a USA side who came flying out of the blocks. Stephen Tomasin shrugged off tacklers down the left to open the scoring, Martin Iosefo forced the ball over with New Zealand trying to hold up Danny Barrett, before Barrett barely seemed to feel a tackle from Vilimoni Koroi on his way to putting USA 19-0 up at the break. That try won Barrett the UL Mark of Excellence Award. Perry Baker added to the All Blacks’ misery with Carlin Isles ensuring his side would not be caught. Andrew Knewstubb and debutant Taylor Haugh added consolation tries but the Cape Town holders crashed out.

South Africa came through a difficult quarter-final against Scotland, with an early score by Justin Geduld cancelled out by Sam Pecqueur after Siviwe Soyizwapi was shown a yellow card. They played the second day without captain Philip Snyman and Muller du Plessis, who were ruled out with shoulder and lower back injuries, respectively. Specman put the Blitzboks back ahead and Pecqueur’s second wasn’t enough when Kok broke through.

Fiji demolished Spain in their quarter-final, putting eight tries past them on their way to a 46-7 victory. Waisea Nacuqu opened the scoring inside the first minute, but Meli Derenalagi’s yellow card for a high tackle allowed Spain to take the lead through Francisco Hernandez. But Kalione Nasoko, Jerry Tuwai, and Sevuloni Mocenacagi put Fiji 17 points clear at half time. Nasoko doubled up after the break, as did Alosio Naduva, to secure the win.

Amanaki Nicole scored a hat-trick as New Zealand overcame Australia 26-17 in their quarter-final. He cut back inside from the right after Nanai-Seturo got them going, before coming back inside twice more either side of half time to make it a treble.

In the last Cup quarter-final, England went down to eventual runners-up USA. They led inside 19 seconds through Alex Davis but were soon pegged back by Madison Hughes. Dan Bibby’s try put England back ahead on the stroke of half time but a pair of second half tries from Danny Barrett saw USA home.

ENGLAND END FIFTH

England took fifth in Cape Town after their play-off final win against Spain, who themselves recorded their best-ever finish in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Charlton Kerr got his first try of the weekend to open the scoring after a nice offload from Tom Mitchell, before Phil Burgess spotted a huge gap in the defence and was left with a simple run at the posts. England led by 14 at half time but Spain recovered after the break, Dan Norton’s touch beyond the try line stopping them from getting on the board. Pol Pla eventually gave Spain hope with a run around the outside, but they couldn’t mount the comeback they needed.

England had survived a series of comebacks by Australia in the fifth-place semi-final. Tries from Will Muir and Tom Mitchell were countered by the Australian speedster Maurice Longbottom, who put his side 14-12 up. But Tom Bowen restored England’s lead before Muir impressively shook off Longbottom’s tackle to put them ten points clear. Tom Connor scored a late try but there wasn’t enough time for Australia to recover.

Meanwhile Spain had to fight hard to reach the play-off, losing Tobias Sainz-Trapaga to injury in a gritty 12-7 win over Scotland. Their defence was sublime throughout, with the only blemish a pair of missed tackles in the first half that allowed Sam Pecqueur to pounce. But Pla had already put his side ahead and Javier De Juan’s try just before half time was all they needed.

ARGENTINA TAKE CHALLENGE TROPHY

Argentina left Cape Town with the Challenge Trophy after beating Samoa 38-14 in the final. They took the lead early in the first half through Lautaro Bazan Velez and Franco Sabato, before Alamanda Motuga’s double levelled things up. Conrado Roura restored the lead before half time and Argentina ran riot in the second half, scoring three more tries. Ignacio Mendy touched down in the corner, Gaston Revol recovered well after a slip and Sabato got his second — his seventh of the weekend — to seal victory.

Argentina had to come from behind to beat Canada, with tries from Matt Mullins and Connor Braid putting the South American outfit 14-5 behind at the break. But Canada played much of the second half with six men after receiving two separate yellow cards, and Argentina made the most of their advantage. Lautaro Bazan Velez brought them back into the contest, Santiago Mare’s dummy allowed them to take the lead, and Franco Sabato ensured they’d reach the final.

The semi-finals saw a brilliant performance from Danny Tusitala as Samoa beat France 31-7. He set up their fourth try, spinning around the defence before a superb one-two with Alatasi Tupou, who finished the move. Tusitala got a score of his own to complete the victory with a lovely sidestep out of the France defence.....

SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS

December 8, 2018

2019 PNG Education Calendar and Holidays  announced

2019 PNG Education Calendar and Holidays announced

PNG Education Department Secretary Dr. Uke Kombra has announced the 2019 term and holiday dates for parents and guardians to prepare in advance for their children’s education.

Dr. Kombra said that the early announcement of the term dates is to ensure that the parents and guardians and also interested individuals, Government Departments, business houses, churches, and Non-Government Organisations that also depend on the education calendar to plan their events and activities can have access to these dates earlier.

The term and holiday dates are as follows:




Teachers will officially resume duties on Monday, January 21, 2019 and students will resume classes a week later on Monday,January, 28, 2019. Term one (1) will have 11 teaching weeks, Term two (2)will have 10 weeks , Term three (3), 10 weeks and Term four (4), 11 weeks.

The term breaks will see students having one week break in Term one, two weeks in term two and a week in Term three before the academic year ends on Friday, December 13, 2019.

 Meanwhile, the National Examination dates areas follows:



The Department has chosen the theme for 2019 as “Christian and Values Education for a Better Future”.

The theme was chosen to give prominence to the newly introduced Citizenship and Christian Values Education (CCVE)curriculum which has been made a compulsory subject from 2019 on wards.

With the inclusion of the CCVE subject as a compulsory subject in our schools we should be able to address the issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV), sorcery-related accusations and violence and many other law and order and behavioural issues affecting our children in such especially school fights.

The 2019 Education Calendar is being printed and will be distributed to the provincial education offices before the end of the year. It will also be uploaded on the Department’s website for the public to access. The website address is www.education.gov.pg.
Bougainville’s tinderbox threatens to reignite

Bougainville’s tinderbox threatens to reignite

By Alan Boyd

Foreign mining companies are jostling for exploration rights on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville ahead of a crucial independence vote next year that some fear could revive tensions that sparked a civil war that killed 20,000 in the 1980’s.

The island will need mining royalties to maintain a viable economy if the referendum backs independence, but unresolved issues over the Panguna copper mine are still a sensitive point with traditional landowners. Villagers shut the pit down in 1989, triggering the previous lethal conflict.

The referendum is the culmination of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, which formally ended the decade-long bloody civil war. It will take place as the US and Australia aim to work closely with Papua New Guinea to develop its Lombrum Naval Base to counterbalance China’s growing maritime influence in the region.

In January, the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) said that an indefinite moratorium had been imposed on work at Panguna, which was the world’s biggest open-cut copper mine when it was being operated by Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), a unit of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto.

Rio exited in 2016, transferring its 53.8% shareholding to the ABG and the Papua New Guinea government, but there has been speculation the mine could reopen. Papua New Guinea’s government gave its shareholding to traditional landowners in the Panguna area.

If we went ahead now, you could be causing a total explosion of the situation again,” ABG president John Momis said after the moratorium was declared.

“As far as the people are concerned and as the government, we cannot allow foreign companies to be causing division and using a very emotional situation [on] the ground to cause another war.”

In 1972, there were suggestions of colonialism and commercial exploitation over a decision to grant a mining license to Rio Tinto after minimal consultation with local villagers. Bougainville was then being ruled by Australia under a United Nations mandate that ended with Papua New Guinea’s achievement of independence in 1974.

The Panguna mine effectively underwrote that process: at one point copper from the mine was contributing 45% of Papua New Guinea’s annual export earnings and generating more than US$740 million from tax income and dividends.

But little of this money reached tribal groups; instead, they complained that trailings from the mine were killing their fish and poisoning farmland. In 1989, the Nasioi people broke into the site and shut the mine down.

When Papua New Guinea sent riot police and troops to the island, villagers formed the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, a rag-tag separatist group that plunged the region into a decade-long civil war that left most of its infrastructure in ruins.

A fragile peace was achieved in the late 1990s under monitoring groups led by Australia and New Zealand, but the wounds remain raw. Several tribes maintain “no-go” areas to keep foreign firms out, and the remnants of the BRA, known as the Me’ekamui group, only disarmed this October.

Bougainville, which has closer ethnic links to the Solomon Islands than Papua New Guinea, was granted a limited form of autonomy under a formal 2001 peace treaty. The referendum, tentatively scheduled for June 15 next year, will decide whether the island should become completely independent.

However, it will not happen unless the ANG can find some way to bridge the gap between developers and traditional landowners who fear a repeat of the Panguna fallout.

Rio Tinto left behind an environmental mess of sludge and rusting equipment that some analysts estimate could cost US$1 billion to put right. The firm contends that it has already complied with regulatory requirements.

Momis knows that without mining, Bougainville will stay part of Papua New Guinea, as the island managed to cover only 14% of its total expenditure of US$50 million last year from domestic sources — mostly sales of farm products. It is expected to need a budget three times bigger if it votes for independence.

SOURCE: ASIA TIMES