To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Welcome to the TARD Homepage...{Sore lea tale oe uri fula lamu mai la biu ne'e TARD}...TARD is To'abaita's rural voice on the web

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Japan to build $19 million complex at USP Laucala campus

The University of the South Pacific today witnessed another milestone with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Japanese Government and the Fiji Government for the construction of an Information and Communications centre at the University.

The construction of the centre, to be funded by the Japanese Government at a cost of FJ$29 million [US$19.5 million], is expected to commence soon.

The project will involve the construction of three buildings with facilities consisting of computer laboratories, conference rooms and a multi-purpose lecture theatre with specialized equipments.

It is envisaged that the establishment of the ICT centre at the University will ensure the South Pacific regions enhanced participation in the global information society.

Japanese Ambassador to Fiji, Masashi Namekawa said the contribution from the people of Japan to the University will be an added milestone achievement for students and academics in the region.

Japan’s assistance follows a request from the Fiji government in 1999 before a survey was conducted by a Japanese study team in 2003, 2005 and 2006.

The signing was done between Fiji’s interim Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Ambassador Namekawa in Suva today.

Also present at the signing was the Acting Vice Chancellor of USP, Doctor Esther Williams


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Solomon Islands' International Gideon Omokirio joins Oceania Contingent in Noumea

FIFA Beach Soccer international and Solomon Islands football hero Gideon Omokirio has been invited to participate at the Christian Karembeu Jubilee match at Stade Numa Daly, Noumea, New Caledonia on Saturday 31 May 2008.

Christian Karembeu played for France at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and for Real Madrid winning the UEFA Champions League in 2000. Karembeu has been a firm supporter of Oceania football since retiring in 2005.

Gideon Omokirio played at two FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups and in the recent OFC O-League Final for club champion side KOSSA FC. Omokirio played at the XIII South Pacific Games – Samoa 2007 and has over 30 caps for his country.

“I am delighted to have Oceania players involved in my jubilee match. I played for France and won many medals and I am proud of the team and what we achieved together.

But I am also Oceanian, born in the South Pacific, and it is logical for me to acknowledge this part of my heritage.

I am very pleased to have Oceania players included in the festivities,” Karembeu told

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter will attend the match and hold a post-match press conference following the OFC Extraordinary Congress on Sunday June 1 2008.

It is a rare opportunity for a player from Solomon Islands to be involved in a match alongside some of football’s greatest players of all time including Zinedine Zidane and Christian Karembeu.

The Karembeu XI will play the France ’98 XI to celebrate the career of the Lifou-born player.

The OFC U-12 Festival of Football has undergone a name change and this year’s edition will take place in Noumea as a backdrop to the Jubilee match.

The Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) has sent two teams to New Caledonia to compete at this event with the winning team travelling to Lyon, France, for the Danone Nations Cup 2008.

One News Television will broadcast coverage of the match around the region - details to be advised.

Source: Oceaniafootball

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

USP appoints Professor Chandra as new Vice-Chancellor

Hon. Fiame N. Mata’afa on behalf of the USP Council to formally announce the appointment of Professor Rajesh Chandra to the position of Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific.

Prior to becoming the Foundation Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji, Professor Chandra served USP for close to 30 years, where he held a number senior positions including Acting Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Director of Planning and Development.

Over those years, he also made significant contributions to the international academic community. Professor Chandra was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Universities’ Study Abroad Consortium (CUSAC) from 1999-2003 and he was also a member of the Technical Advisory Committee exploring the feasibility of a Virtual University for Commonwealth Small States. Within the Pacific region, Professor Chandra was part of the Pacific delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development and he has attended the Pacific Island Leaders’ Meeting, the Commonwealth Education Ministers Meeting, the Forum Economic Ministers meeting, the Pacific Islands Forum and the General Meeting of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

In this our 40th year, Professor Chandra becomes the first USP graduate to be appointed Vice-Chancellor. In noting his contributions and achievements and in making this appointment, the USP Council is confident that Professor Chandra will provide bold leadership and drive decisive change in dealing with the suite of long-standing issues that need to be addressed.

On behalf of the USP Council, I am pleased that Professor Chandra has accepted the appointment and I look forward to working with him in the coming years to take the University through the many challenges that lie ahead. Professor Chandra’s appointment is for six years and he is expected to take up the position in early August 2008.


Solomons Forestry Agency Accused of Corruption

Logging companies in the Solomon Islands have been accused of robbing the government, the country, and resource owners of millions of dollars over the past twenty years by manipulating the country's determined price system for the export of round logs.

A logger, who chose to remain anonymous, says that he totally supports the recent upward review by the Government of the determined export price for round logs, describing it as "still very unfair on the country and the resource owners."

In response to the threat by the logging companies to withhold their log exports as a way to put pressure on the government to reconsider its decision, the logger said the Government must immediately investigate the administration of log exports by the Forestry Department up until now.

"If the Government carries out a surprise audit of the way the Forestry Department has been administering log exports, the Government would find massive corruption of the export system initiated by logging companies in the last twenty years," the logger said.

He stated that the corruption involved both corrupting the Forestry Department and deliberate manipulation of the system, enabling loggers to avoid paying for the right level of export duties.

The logger claims that logging companies have been entering lower export price for higher grade logs and bribing forestry officers with money and beer to accept their log export entries, depriving the country of millions of dollars.

"Another method which loggers have been using was to designate some of their log consignments under the category of 'mixed species' which attracts a determined export price of only $68 US dollar per cubic meter, when in fact the consignment would consist mostly of high grade species which should attract duties as high as $87.50 to $98.50 per cubic meter in most cases," the logger said.

"The difference in dollar terms per cubic meter may only be from $25 to $30 US dollars per cubic meter, but when you consider the thousands of volumes of round logs logging companies export every year, this can amount to millions of dollars loss to the country and it people every year."

The logger calls on the Government to hold mass meetings with landowners and explain to them that what the Government is doing by revising export prices as it would show to them that it would be good for them and the country.

He further claims that all the logging companies in the country have been committing serious breaches of standard logging agreements with landowners designed by the Government and for which the Commissioner of Forests is the legal custodian.

Source: www.pidp.eastwestcenter

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pacific's top police officers train in Tonga

Police commanders and assistant commanders from the Pacific including Solomon Islands are currently being trained for the top job in a Pacific Regional Policing Training course that opened in Nuku'alofa on Monday.

The two weeks training jointly funded by the Australian and New Zealand Government was opened by Tonga's Minister of Police Hon Siaosi 'Aho, who told participants that the course held for the first time in Tonga, is important because it will deal with the issue of corruption.

The training will deal with the issue of corruption when covering Ethics and Integrity in Policing. It will also cover other issues such as Strategic Planning, Policy Development and Managing Budgets.

Bob Shaw, the Police Strategy Adviser of the Pacific Regional Policing Initiative PRPI who is conducting the training said this is the Executive Development level training aimed at preparing future police leaders.

The participants are all senior police officers from the Pacific nations of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Nauru and Tonga, and they will be prepared to go from middle management level to executive level.

Participants will be issued a Certificate at the completion of the course by end of next week.

Source: Matangi Tonga

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to undertake study on Pacific single market and economy

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat has been mandated to carry out a study on the idea of a Pacific Single Market and Economy (PSME).

Pacific ACP Trade Ministers approved the proposed study when they endorsed its Terms of Reference at their meeting in Nadi, last month.

“The creation of a PSME is seen as a potentially important strategic response of the Pacific to overcome the issues of market smallness and isolation that have – amongst other things – been the primary determinants for the loss of private capital in the petroleum sector in recent years,” says Feleti Teo, Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Mr Teo explains: “The study aims to identify lessons from the experiences of other regions with respects to the creation of single markets and economies, and, by investigating costs, benefits and architecture, determine the appropriateness of such an undertaking as a long-term strategic option for the Pacific.”

“While thus far the main rationale for this work has been to seek a response to the recent crisis in the petroleum market in the Pacific, it is proposed that the study would look into other sectors including pharmaceuticals as well as part of a phased movement towards the single market and economy generally.”

“It is an ambitious proposal and it touches on a number of sensitive and complex issues, however, the experiences of other regions indicate that progress can be made in small incremental steps that build trust in the legal framework and strength in the institutions charged with managing the change,” says Mr Teo

A single market and economy would see the phased creation of a single economic space in the Pacific islands region whereby the countries of the region would move to eliminate all barriers to trade in goods and services and is consistent with the vision of leaders in the Pacific Plan.

Mr Teo said: “The proposal would certainly be a logical extension of both PACER and PICTA and membership would ultimately depend on which Forum members saw this as being consistent with their own national objectives.”

The Pacific Plan endorsed by Forum Leaders in 2005 is to “create stronger and deeper links between sovereign countries of the region and identify the sectors where the region could gain the most from sharing resources of governance and aligning policies”.

The proposed Pacific Single Market and Economy is one of the initiatives to implement the Leaders’ vision of more regional cooperation and integration.

Source: PIFS

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Australia increases help towards rural development efforts in Solomon Islands

Australia has increased its bilateral development assistance to Solomon Islands to $260 million to help bring development to rural people.

The increase is part of the Australian Government's 2008-09 Budget announced on 13 May.

Australia's High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Peter Hooton, says the increase in Australia's development assistance to Solomon Islands includes additional funding of 65 million dollars announced by Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, during his visit to Honiara in March this year.

Mr Hooton says the additional funding will help the Solomon Islands Government achieve its rural development priorities including better roads, clean water and electricity, and contribute to the growth and development of community forestry.

He says Australia will also continue to focus on improving health service delivery.

Australia's development assistance to Solomon Islands comes through its bilateral program and through its contributions to RAMSI.

Source: SIBC

Solomon Islands join other Pacific nations for new fisheries management measures

Environmentalists have hailed a decision by eight Pacific nations to block tuna fishing in pockets of international waters in the region.

A meeting in Palau of 17 Pacific nations, with the Forum Fisheries Agency, noted the plan to stop boats from fishing for tuna in two large areas of international waters.

The areas of water, one north of Papua New Guinea and the other further east, are identified as having been plundered by tuna fisherman acting beyond the restrictions of nearby countries.

The Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, and Tuvalu agreed on new measures to protect these areas.

There’ll be a catch retention scheme, no fishing with fish aggregating devices, as well as moves towards 100 percent observation on purse seine vessels.

The countries have also decided not to license vessels that fish in exclusive economic zones for operating in the high seas.

These measures, designed to ensure the sustainability of yellow fin and blue eye will come into effect from June 15.

Greenpeace oceans campaigner Jason Collins has called it an historic moment in fisheries management in the region.

But he says Australia needs to take more of a leadership role in ensuring that these international waters are closed to fishing.

Source: RNZI

Koloale FC reigns supreme in Super 8 Challenge final after beating Uncles 2-1

The finals of the Super 8 Challenge ended Tuesday night as Uncles and Koloale battled for first place. It was initially a fiery contest until tired legs and ill-discipline turned it into a lethargic game that fizzled out as the game progressed. However, at the end of the day Koloale reigned supreme as it capitalized on defensive errors and a short-handed Uncles team to win 2-1 in extra time.

Earlier in the day both Makuru and Marist ran rampant scoring 9 goals in total and Makuru consolidating the third position with a 6-3 demolition of a young but inexperienced Marist side lacking the services of Benjamin Mela, Abraham Iniga and Jack Samani. Alick Maemae returned to the Makuru line-up and scored within 7 minutes to start the goal scoring spree. Marist was still in the game until veterens Batram Suri, Maemae and Lui ensured that Makuru had a four goal cushion in the second half. Marist scored a consolation goal to finish the game 6-3.

Uncles vs Koloale
The finals was a well contested game. Koloale was resolute in defense and clearly dominated possession. Uncles for all its flair and energy could not create clear chances for its lethal combination of Judd Molea and Junior Billy to score. It was Koloale who broke the deadlock in the first half when Richard Anisua pounced on a rebound to score the easiest of goals. It was perfect timing and with the Uncles defense in disarray. To compound their misery, Uncles captain George Kwanae's crude tackle early in the second half earned himself an early shower. A revamped defense was immediately put in place as Tas was brought in and Bata Furai was shifted to anchor the defense. It worked well as Uncles was able to hold off the pacy Lency Saeni and Oscar Sara at bay. In what seemed like a cruel twist of fate, second half substitute Brian Feni earned Uncles a penalty in injury time when Koloale appeared certain to win 1-0. Judd Molea's well taken penalty beat Ramoni and the scores were level.

In injury time, the pace slowed but still both sides persisted. Another crunching tackle and red card for Bata late in injury time was perhaps the final straw. The Uncles defense crumbled and Koloale with a two men advantage, the Uncle's defense was a gaping hole. A well constructed build up saw Lency Saeni unmarked outside the penalty area. He was quick to launch a perfect lob over the oncoming keeper and sealed the win for Koloale.

It was a disappointing game for Uncles but they need to work on discipline and composure. Their midfield was not functioning as it should and so Molea and Billy were starved off possession. Congratulations to Koloale, they maintained control and created more scoring opportunities and shots on goal. The Uncles FC chant was silent and many disappointed Uncles fans will point to the red cards as the ultimate let down.

National Club Championships (NCC) updates

It is reported that Honiara has been awarded 4 slots in the championships with an additional reserved spot for Kossa. Requests by Malaita, Guadalcanal and Western Provinces were denied on the basis that extra teams from provinces will dilute the competition. The NCC should have 10 or 12 spots available and with only 5 provinces confirmed, it may be reasonable to conclude that the 5 teams from Honiara will make up the numbers for the competition.

Source: A Simple Game blog

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Australian proposed Pacific Islands guest worker scheme receive mix reactions

A former Australian union boss is warning of a backlash in the community if unskilled guest workers are allowed into Australia.

The immigration minister, Chris Evans, says allowing in unskilled temporary workers to help manage Australia's labour shortage is up for debate.

It could be a modelled on a similar scheme operating in New Zealand, and could attract workers from the Pacific.

New South Wales Senator-elect Doug Cameron, a former national secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union, says Australia should not have a two-tiered immigration system.

He says experiences overseas shows guest workers push down wages and conditions for all workers.

"I don't think this can simply be an economic analysis, this has to deal with the social consequences of what you do as well," he said.

"Overseas - in the UK, the US, Europe and in Asia - problems with migration schemes are there and we just can't sweep it under the carpet."

But the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Paul Howes, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program the union has given its in-principle support.

"We'll support a program, as long as it ensures that Pacific islanders working in Australia will not earn one dollar less that an Australian worker doing the same work would earn," he said.

"And secondly, there are enough safeguards and measures put in place to ensure there isn't any exploitation of Pacific Islanders working in Australia."

The opposition leader, Brendon Nelson, says he does not support a proposed unskilled guest worker scheme.

Source: Radio Australia

Uncles to face Koloale in Solomon's Super 8 soccer championship final

The Super 8 Championship started with a bang and last night, football fans were not disappointed as Honiara was treated to another scintillating display of football.

It was semi-finals night with Makuru taking on Koloale and Uncles against Marist. Two former O-League representatives against the rough, young and rugged outfits of Koloale and Uncles. It was the Uncles fans who turned out in numbers, trumpets, a chant and all.

The atmosphere was slightly dampened when the first semi-finals between Makuru and Kola'ale went into extra time, both teams locked at 2 all and eventually to the spot kicks. To add to the fanfare, the floodlights suddenly went off and the whole stadium was cast into darkness. The fans never seemed to let the mood die as flashlights went on, mobiles started ringing, cameras flashing and a fervent "power, we want power" chant broke the silence.

Makuru vs Koloale
Makuru went into the breather with a goal advantage. Veteren Batram Suri scoring from a free-kick. Koloale returned in the second half determined to get a goal and were rewarded with a penalty when John Iani was cited by the referee for handball in the area. Richard Anisua drew the teams level with a well taken penalty. Makuru appeared all out of sorts as it tried to regain its advantage only to fall behind when it failed to clear and Henry Koto laid off a brilliant header to Oscar Sara who made no mistake from a tight position. Then the hunting fray began, Makuru for an equaliser, Koloale falling back on defense and countering. Time and time again, Makuru persisted and finally found an equaliser in injury time when a perfect cross found George Lui in the area. His window of opportunity closed fast so he passed off to Reginald Afia who made no mistake from close range. In extra time, both teams missed opportunities that would have won the game, none more so then Paul Kakai and George Lui who both misfired in front of goal.

By the time Makuru's Nelson Sale stumbled and missed his penalty, Makuru knew they were losing their grip on a trip to the final. And as Shadrack Ramoni had done all afternoon, his brilliant save from a Ben Kunua penalty sealed Makuru's fate.

Uncles vs Marist
This was the game, fans had flocked to watch. After waiting for 3 hours, the first half was a disappointment as nerves were unsettled and tempers flared. A quick succession of cautions from referee Andrew Moli was enough to quell the situation and Marist were quickest to settle in. Daring runs by Michael Misitana and the constant threat from Joachim Rande was always problematic for George Kwanae and Eddie Ngaitini. George was especially guilty, giving away easy balls and missing crucial challenges. The first half ended goalless.

Much of the same pace and style of football was shown early in the second half. Uncles were desperately losing control in the midfield and Judd Molea's attempts were always met with a flurry of desperate attacks. Junior Billy had the best chance early on in the half as he collected a through pass and misfired over the cross bar. It would appear as the game would be headed to extra time when Michael Misitana was crudely brought down in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. Misitana stood up to take the spot kick but a well-timed save by the keeper kept the game safe for Uncles.

The real drama began in extra time when Uncles midfielder Michael was brought down in the area. Judd Molea coolly slot the penalty past Fred Hale and Uncles were suddenly brought to life. Brian Feni entered in place of injured Temoa and immediately changed the pace of the game. Uncles began a series of onslaught which finally saw them dominate the game. With the ever present Iannie and his silky moves, Uncles were always threatening. Within a span of 5 minutes left in extra time, Uncles went 3-0 ahead. Both goals were results of brilliant work and classic Uncles football. Shot passes, straight running and well taken shots from Gibson Daudau & Loea Aaron sealed the victory for Uncles FC.

Source: A simple game blog

Monday, May 19, 2008

Solomon's Bilikiki boys draw Italy, Portugal and El Salvador in Beach Soccer World Cup

Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Beach Soccer champions Solomon Islands Bilikiki will face Portugal, Italy and El Salvador at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup – Marseille 2008 after the draw was made in Benidorm, Spain, earlier today.

Solomon Islands will take on Portugal again in a repeat of their meeting at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup – Rio de Janeiro 2006 in which the “Bilikiki Boys” were soundly beaten 2-14.

Portugal eventually finished in fourth place after Solomon Islands were eliminated at the first stage on goal difference.

Italy will provide a new test for the “Bilikiki Boys”.

Italy makes regular appearances at FIFA events in this form of football but has yet to dominate beach in the same way it does in eleven-a-side football.

Its finals records in this tournament is similar to Solomon Islands with one victory in its last six matches at FIFA event level.

The Italians have been eliminated at the first round stage in the last two FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups and did not qualify for the event in 2005.

El Salvador qualified from CONCACAF in second place to Mexico – a team Solomon Islands lost to 3-6 at last year’s FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

It will be El Salvador’s first appearance at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

Solomon Islands “Bilikiki Boys” will be making their third consecutive appearance at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup – Marseille 2008 kicks off on 17 July 2008 and concludes on 27 July 2008.

Source: OFC

SI opposition leader says government is for the people

Solomon Islands Opposition Leader Manasseh Sogavare says the national government is the institution that exists for the people.

The government, as was with previous governments, has been submitted with demands from the Guadalcanal, Malaita and Choiseul Provinces.

Other issues that are before Cabinet are the compensation demands of licensed gun owners and rehabilitation packages for former militants.

Speaking in response to the question if the government is directly responsible for demands it is facing from provinces and individual groups, the Opposition Leader says demands and issues are raised to the government to address, whether or not they are involved or responsible.

Mr Sogavare says the only authority that anyone can raise any issue with is the government.

He says although some demands and issues raised may seem unreasonable for the government to address, he encourages the government to maintain a continuous dialogue with the concerned provinces and parties.

"I would encourage the government to continue to talk to them, in fact I made that point on the floor of parliament and advise the government do not stop talking. Call these people who put those demands up and continue to talk to them. Stay in dialogue. Then they will see that yes, the government is serious about looking at this issue".

Source: SIBC

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sikua says his government will introduce free formal education up to form 3

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Derek Sikua has told people of his North-East Guadalcanal Constituency that his Government will introduce nine years of free basic formal education in 2009.

The Government Communications Unit quotes Dr Sikua as saying that the nine-year free basic formal education period will start at class one and will end at form three.

Prime Minister Sikua says the new education policy will emphasis the importance his government attaches to ensuring an educated society in Solomon Islands, adding it wants as many young Solomon Islanders as possible to have access to basic education.

He says giving free education will cost the state purse millions of dollars, but he will be seeking financial assistance towards the new education policy from Solomon Islands donor partners.

Dr Sikua says the government will be putting together a package for financial assistance to cover the free education policy to the Solomon Islands Government and Aid Donors Meeting in June.

He says a number of donors are expected to respond positively to the request for financing the free education policy.

The NZAID and the European Union have been financing the primary and secondary education sectors.

Source: SIBC

Taiwan supports Mt Horeb secondary school extension plans

The Taiwanese embassy in Solomon Islands has donated SB$3,000 for the extensions of the Mt. Horeb School secondary department, a 1,000 gallon water tank and few boxes of crayon.

"As you know, education is a prerequisite for any country's national economic development. Educational environment also plays a significant role in cultivating students' good characters," the Taiwanese Ambassador H.E. George Chan said at Wednesday's handover ceremony.

The donation follows a request to the Embassy by the Chairman and founder of the school, John Maetia.

"Our Embassy responded positively without any hesitation and is honoured in giving the 1,000 gallon tank to the Horeb School in the presence of students, teachers and parents," H.E. Chan said.

The ceremony was informed that the donation is part of the Taiwanese Embassy's "Education is the One-hundred Year Strategy of a Nation."

"I promise that Taiwan will continue to assist in the education sector of Solomon Islands for many years to come," said H.E. Chan.

Source: Solomon Times

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Solomons Central Bank predicts positive growth for 2008

Governor of the Central Bank of Solomon Islands Rick Hou has said the country expects another positive outcome for 2008.

Mr Hou said based on the growth trend in recent years, and economic developments in the first four months of this year.

Launching the Bank's 2007 Annual Report today, Mr Hou said while no growth is anticipated in the forestry sector, he is confident that given the prevailing commodities boom, agricultural activities, particularly in palm oil products, will increase significantly.

He said in its 2008 Monetary Policy Stance, the Central Bank foreshadowed monetary developments would slow down but not subdued.

Mr Hou said the Bank will remain vigilant to developments in the main economic indicators outlined in the 2008 Monetary Policy Stance.

He said the bank will take appropriate action should the movements in any of these key economic indicators be inconsistent with the policy objectives.

Mr Hou said he is confident that the domestic banking system is capable of providing the catalyst for further private sector expansion and another positive year.

He said private sector credit expansion is therefore expected to continue on the back of a strong growth in domestic demand.

Source: SIBC

Solomons government to meet compensation claims from gun owners

The Solomon Islands government says it will decide on compensation claims by legal firearms owners who surrendered weapons during the disarmament campaign in 2003.

When the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) intervened after years of armed social unrest, the ruling government then ordered a nationwide disarmament of both legal and illegal firearms holders.

The Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua has confirmed receiving a cabinet paper on the issue from the Minister of Police and National Security, Samuel Manetoali and acknowledged the long delay in addressing it.

The prime Minister said the government has delayed endorsement of the submission.

Dr Sikua says he has referred the paper back to the concerned ministry to be reviewed as some important aspects of the issue have not been included.

He said an example is that the names of gun owners have not been identified in the submission.

Dr Sikua said claims made by some former licensed gun owners are becoming excessive.

Source: RNZI

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Solomon Islands opposition leader calls for RAMSI exit plan

The Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, Manasseh Sogavare has called on the Government and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands to draw up an exit plan for the Australian-led mission.

Mr Sogavare makes the call following Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua’s statements on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he would like to see RAMSI continue its operation in Solomon Islands for the next ten years.

The Leader of Opposition says the exit plan should be based on an independent assessment on what RAMSI has done and still needs to do and whether it is preparing Solomon Islanders to take on the role it plays after its departure.

He says it would be irresponsible of the Government to keep RAMSI in the country unnecessarily just to please Australia and its national strategic interests.

Mr Sogavare says the Australian government's policy of empowering the Pacific Islands forum leaders to decide whether RAMSI should withdraw or set up a permanent military and police presence in Solomon Islands after completing the task it was requested to do is in the best interest of Australia.

He says the policy undermines the sovereignty of Solomon Islands.

Mr Sogavare says in order for the government to make an informed decision on the future of RAMSI, it needed to understand the broader military agenda of Australia and its allies in the world.

Source: SIBC

Pacific youths to lead Commonwealth Youth Caucus

Two young people from the Pacific have just been chosen by their peers to lead the Pan-Commonwealth Youth Caucus for the next four years.

This will put them at the forefront of international discussions on youth issues.

Australian Matthew Albert, 27, and Tongan Ebonie Fifita, 23, were confirmed as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively of the Pan-Commonwealth Youth Caucus, P-C-Y-C.

The Youth Caucus is made up of youth representatives from the Commonwealth Youth Programme C-Y-P Regional Youth Caucuses.

The Caucus advises international Commonwealth leaders, include prime ministers and youth ministers, on youth issues and priorities and advocate for youth empowerment through their participation in decision-making.

The leadership of Youth Caucus is rotated every four years between the four Commonwealth regions – Asia, Africa, Caribbean and the South Pacific.

Source: SIBC

Australian government to support Pacific countries with land administration program

The Australian government will spend A$54million over four years on what it calls the “Pacific Land Program”—an effort to “protect customary land rights, promote economic and social development, and reduce the potential for instability through land-related conflict in the Pacific.”

In the new Federal Budget, the Australian government has said A$6.5million will be allocated in 2008/09, to “support partner government-led improvements in land administration. Australian funding will help address the challenges to land use and ownership from urbanization. Clarification of land title is a key prerequisite for private investment. Funding will also improve the skills of professionals and semi-professionals in areas such as planning, surveying and valuing.”

The partnership will provide a new framework for Australia and the Pacific island nations to commit jointly to achieving improved development outcomes, on the basis of mutual respect and mutual responsibility,” the government says in a statement.

Australia will also invest A$127million over four years, with A$5.5million in 2008-09, to improve basic infrastructure services in the Pacific—including transport, sanitation, waste management, energy and communications.

The so-called Pacific Public Sector Capacity project will also see Australia allocate A$107million over four years, with A$6million in 2008-09, to strengthen public sector administration in the Pacific including management and policy reform.

Source: Pacific Magazine

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

PINA head dismisses MASI call to shift the regional media centre from Fiji to Solomon Islands

The Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) says it won’t run away from threats to media freedom in Fiji.

The head the Media Association of Solomon Islands, or MASI, John Lamani, reportedly told World Press Freedom Day celebrations in Honiara that regional media organisations must be moved away from Fiji.

But the head of PINA, Joseph Ealedona, says it is vital that the organisation stays in Fiji to continue to have dialogue with the military regime.

“You have to justify where is freedom of media, what is freedom of media, and for us, PINA, right now, freedom of media is definitely being threatened in Fiji. So therefore we must stay there, we won’t be seen to be running away from where the threats are coming from.”

Joseph Ealedona says so far, neither PINA, nor Pacnews have felt any intimidation from Fiji’s regime.

Source: RNZI

ADB predicts many people in Pacific region will be hit hard by high food prices

The Asian Development Bank predicts many people in the Pacific region will be hugely hit in their pockets by a surge in world food prices this year.

It says Pacific countries already feel the rise in oil prices, but food will also become a lot more expensive, which will push another five percent of people into poverty.

A bank’s economist, Craig Sugden, says the price for rice and wheat could increase by one hundred percent.

“There’s a waive of high prices coming through the region. There’s a short period in which the region can prepare for these prices, but even so, there’s going to be a major shock to the region over the year.”

Craig Sugden says governments need to re-prioritise their budgets, invest more in rural development and encourage farmers to grow more staple food.

Source: RNZI

Monday, May 12, 2008

Solomon Islands and seven Pacific countries race against time to claim extra ocean space

With only one year remaining to the May 2009 deadline, Solomon Islands and seven other pacific island countries are beginning to feel the pressure to complete their submissions to the United Nations to claim extra ocean space.

Solomon Islands along with Fiji, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga and Papua New Guinea have a credible claim to more than 1.5 million square kilometers of additional space beyond their current 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

This is being made possible under article 76 of the International Law of the Sea.

A week long workshop on the preparation on the country’s submission on Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) starts today until Friday (16th of May) at the Southern Cross Hotel in Suva, Fiji.

The workshop is coordinated by the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and Geoscience Australia (GA) and the UNEP Shelf Programme.

SOPAC, GA and UNEP will help these countries to complete the activities required to delineate the outer limits of their continental shelf.

These countries are currently faced with the costly and complex work of data identification, collection, analysis and submission preparation. Due to limited technical and financial capacity they may not be able to complete the submission process without considerable external support, both technical and financial.

Scientific studies have revealed the access to extended continental shelf could mean more access to mineral rich resources previously outside our EEZ.

It’s the first time the pacific region is combining their efforts in its bid to extend their exclusive economic zones.

SOPAC Director Cristelle Pratt, said countries are committed to working together to improve lives in the Pacific.

“Securing greater maritime sovereignty can provide increased revenue for Pacific States and deliver significant economic and social benefits from access to ocean resources that occur on the seabed and within the subsoil.

Pratt says that assessments have identified strong grounds for these Pacific countries to extend sovereignty over their continental shelves.

“These Pacific Island Countries recognise that determining the boundaries of their Exclusive Economic Zone beyond 200 nautical miles is critical to securing exclusive ocean development of potentially rich non-living resources, such as oil, gas, gold and silver, as well as living organisms that live on and beneath the seabed,” Ms Pratt said.

Submissions to claim an extended continental shelf must be based upon sound technical data and meet requirements prescribed within Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), to secure an extended Continental Shelf beyond the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
Representatives from Foreign Affairs from the seven countries completed another workshop last week on the use of Japanese Software “CMDeterminer” and “Ocean Access” to help access and claim their Extended Continental Shelf. They are also present until the end of this week to discuss the issue.

Both workshops are vital opportunities to continue to assist Pacific Nations with ECS potential to develop and submit their respective extension claims before the impending deadline of May 2009.

SOPAC is a Pacific regional organisation committed to working with countries to strengthen disaster risk management, enhance access to freshwater, energy, information technology and communications and improve resource assessment and management of ocean and island resources.

Source: SOPAC

Solomon Islander to participate in United States crises planning programme

A Solomon Islander will participate in the United States International Visitor Program.

Program Officer with the National Disaster Management Office, Julian Maka'a, left the country on Saturday to participate in the "Planning for Crises: Disasters and Pandemics."
Julian Maka'a, Program Officer with the National Disaster Management Office, receives his travel package from United States Ambassador Leslie V. Rowe(pic: Solomon Times)

Over the next three weeks, Mr. Maka'a will travel to the following cities in the United States: Washington, DC; Atlanta, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; San Francisco, California; Honolulu, Hawaii.

This project will familiarize participants with U.S. emergency systems that forecast and respond to natural disasters, U.S. methods of disaster relief, emergency management, and humanitarian assistance.

Participants will also be introduced to the organizations, both public and private, that respond to global and local crises.

The group will explore the following goals in greater detail while participating in the program:
- To examine U.S. emergency systems that forecast, prepare for and respond to natural and human induced disasters;
- To demonstrate the benefits of cooperation among governments and private organizations in the event of crisis;
- To discuss U.S. participation in international natural disaster relief, regional crises, health emergencies, and refugee situations; and
- To promote better understanding and closer collaboration between international and U.S. disaster and crisis management officials at federal, state and local levels

The United States Embassy is proud to have nominated Mr. Maka'a for this project.

The Office of International Visitors manages and funds the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Launched in 1940, the IVLP seeks to build mutual understanding between the United States and other nations through carefully designed professional visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders.

Each year over 4,500 IVLP participants from all over the world are selected by U.S. embassies to travel to the U.S. to meet and confer with their professional counterparts.

Source: Solomon Times

Kossa's world club championship hopes dashed with Waitakere's 5-0 hiding

Waitakere United will once again represent Oceania at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan after beating Kossa FC 5-0 in the second leg of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) O-League final yesterday at Trusts Stadium in Henderson.

Waitakere turned around a 3-1 deficit from the first leg in Honiara to win the final 6-3 on aggregate and can now look forward to another lucrative pay day and chance to rub shoulders with the world’s elite.

A powerful shower prior to kick off didn’t deter the 3,000 fans who packed the grandstand at Douglas Field though looked to have an effect on Kossa with players losing their footing on the slippery surface on a number of occasions.

After losing the first leg in Honiara Waitakere knew that a good start was imperative and they got just that when Benjamin Totori fired home a left footed drive into the Kossa net in the 8th minute.

Waitakere dominated the early stages of the match with Jason Hayne, Danijel Koprivcic and Benjamin Totori all testing the Kossa goalkeeper.

But it was the set plays where Waitakere looked the most dangerous and in the 25th minute Chris Bale rewarded a series of dangerous crosses when he got the last touch from a Neil Sykes corner to make it 2-0.

Kossa looked the livelier side at the beginning of the second half and their individual flair was evident even on the wet slippery surface.

They nearly silenced the Auckland faithful in the 68th minute when Paul Wale created some room for himself in the Waitakere box before firing a half volley into the top corner, only for Richard Gillespie to make a great sprawling save and maintain his sides lead on the away goals rule.

Waitakere made it 3-0 from another set play in the 72nd minute when Allen Pearce headed home a Neil Sykes corner. The goal looked to suck some life out of Kossa and they were made to pay again five minutes later when Pearce added his second with a well timed volley.

Jake Butler completed the rout with a low side footed drive from outside the box in the 85th minute and sent the Waitakere players and fans into celebration mode.

Kossa can look back on an inspirational O-League journey which has exceeded expectations and has provided invaluable experience for the many young members of the squad.

Kossa coach Jacob Moli was disappointed with the result but proud of his team for the journey they have taken him on.

“We knew they were going to be very dangerous from set pieces and that proved to be a big problem for us.”

“Now we have to re-group and focus on our domestic competition. To our fans I would like to thank you for all your support, it was a great ride for Solomon Island football.”

Source: OFC

Friday, May 09, 2008

Kossa FC arrives in New Zealand amidst cold weather ahead of its O-League return leg with Waitakere

Track suits and warm clothes may not be enough as Solomon Islands football champion side KOSSA FC try to acclimatise to the cold weather for their game against Waitakere United this Sunday in Auckland.

KOSSA have a two goal advantage going into the final leg of the O-League competition after stunning the defending champions 3-1 in Honiara.

However, temperatures reached 35 degrees at the Lawson Stadium with the more than 20thousand crowd adding more heat.

But coach Jacob Moli says keeping the players warm is priority.

“We’ve told the boys to get warmed up properly we have to put on a lot of clothing and even put on track suits to get the boys started, we’re lucky enough to get the tracksuits ready for us so we see how it goes this morning because it’s been raining last night, but we just have to go out there and do our training.”

The winner of this final will represent Oceania at the World Club Cup in Japan later this year as well as picking up over 500-thousand US dollars.

In an effort to overwhelm an expected strong turn-out of Solomon Islanders and Papua New Guineans residing in New Zealand on Sunday, Waitakere is offering it's members free entry to the ground.

Source: RNZI

Australian journalists touring Solomon Islands in joint effort to promote tourism

By Joy Basi

The promotion of tourism in Solomon Islands has been given a huge boost with ten Australian journalists, from various magazines, visiting the country to write about the various attractions.

The ten journalists will visit various provinces whilst in the Solomon Islands to capture the entirety of what the Solomon Islands has to offer.

General Manager of SkyAirWorld, Wilson Ne'e, said that the trip was facilitated by SkyAirWorld together with the national carrier, the Solomon Airlines.

"Their task is to identify areas in the provinces that have strong potential for tourism...they will then further promote it in Australia," said Mr. Ne'e. Mr Ne'e said that the ten writers are now currently in the Western Province and are schedule to return to Australia this Friday.

The government recently announced that tourism will be part of its long term strategic plan to diversify the countries economic base. With the logging industry predicted to slow down, as a result of decreased commercially valuable forests, the government is investing millions in the tourism sector.

Source: Solomon Times

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Malaita rural people increasingly join the ANZ rural Banking scheme

THE ANZ Bank’s rural banking scheme is now benefiting many rural people in Malaita Province, says the bank’s Malaita Branch Manager Paul Wakiorahu.

Mr Wakiorahu said since the launching of the scheme last year many people have joined. “Almost entire population of villages and areas around the province are now part of the scheme,” he said.

And he said many more are showing interest to joining the bank’s rural banking scheme. “Our rural banking scheme now stretches from Auki to West Are’are,” Mr Wakiorahu said.

In the eastern region, he said the scheme has reached Kwai. “Only transport link is a problem facing the province,” Mr Wakiorahu said. “Once proper road system is in place the bank’s service will cover the whole province.”

The rural banking scheme is a new initiative embarked by ANZ Bank to service the rural communities.

Source: Solomonstar

Three Taiwan Minister resign over embezzlement

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 7, 2008) – Three Taiwanese ministers have denied any criminal wrongdoing after quitting their posts over the loss of millions of dollars in an international embezzlement scandal.

The resignations come in the final weeks of Chen Shui bian's government, with the three ministers resigning in connection with a US$32 million chequebook diplomacy scandal.

They were said to be involved in a botched attempt to bribe Papua New Guinea to open diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

But two businessmen, who acted as secret middlemen, are accused of pocketing the money.

The vice premier Chiou I-jen, the foreign minister, James Huang, and the vice defence minister, Ko Chen-heng, have all stepped down after their homes and offices were raided.

They have all denied taking the money.

Source: Pacific Islands Report

Ministry ready to receive application for Funding

The Ministry of Rural Development has announced it is ready to receive project applications for funds allocated under a 50-million dollar Rural Livelihood project.

Minister, Fred Fono says the project is funded by the government and each constituency is allocated one-million dollars.

He says 50-thousand dollars is the minimum amount any one community would apply for.

He however says the ministry will not be giving out application forms to interested communities like other projects where people normally fill out forms which they collect from the ministries.

Mr Fono says people are expected to submit their applications to the ministry in the form of a project proposal.

He says over the years, government has placed a lot of emphasis on small micro projects which were not successful.

He says the Rural Livelihood project is for government to support bigger projects in the rural areas which will impact on rural livelihood.

Mr Fono says communities will need to identify priority projects with the help of their member of parliament who is required to endorse the project application.

He however says once approved, funds will be paid directly to the supplier and members of parliament should help meet the cost of shipping and freight.

Source: SIBC

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Honiara City Council turns down 'car washing' proposal by unemployed youth group

The Honiara City Council has refused a proposal by a group of unemployed youths to provide a car washing service at the Kola Ridge cemetery.

A Paul Ramo from Mbokonavera Two had written to the Council on behalf of the group of 10 youths, asking the council to allow the group to continue with this business activity.

Ramo says the youths from Mbokonavera Two and Koahill were involved in social problems such as marijuana and kwaso, but since they took part in car washing they no longer involve with such problems.

But the Council refused the application saying it received a letters from members of the public who oppose the car washing activity at the cemetery.

It says people who go to the cemetery to bury their dead are not happy with the amount of activity around the area as a result of the car washing operation.

The Council says the amount of water flowing down the road is likely to cause unwanted drains and affect the condition of the road.

It says vehicles which park at the area to receive the service could be in the way of moving traffic which could cause road accidents.

The Council advised Mr Ramo and his youths to obtain a proper business licence, acquire a piece of land and build a proper drainage system for the business to operate.

Source: SIBC

Government Identifies Three Key Sectors to Take Over From Logging

Government identifies three key sectors to take over from logging. Tourism, Fisheries and Agriculture sectors have been identified by the CNURA government to take over from logging.

Acting Finance Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo made the announcement in a press conference with local media last week.

"It is so important to prepare ourselves structurally, with the sector that will be able to take over the burden of generating economic benefits to the country that is currently being done by the logging sector."

Mr. Lilo said the CNURA government has taken a step further and has approved the allocation of 5 percent from the debt servicing revenue account to the three key sectors.

"The three key sectors the cabinet has identified is tourism, Fisheries and Agriculture, and the financing will start this year."

Mr. Lilo said the government feels that the three sectors are the potential sectors for Solomon Islands.

"If we properly plan and develop the resources that we have, we will be able to guarantee a good flow of income and economic growth for the country."

He revealed that the 5 percent is around $40 - 50 million dollars and that money will prepare the three key sectors to fill in the gap left by logging sector.

Mr. Lilo said currently 15 percent of total government revenue is placed into the debt servicing account.

"Now that we have been able to reduce our debt obligation to about 57 percent of our total GDP, we feel that we are now in a comfortable situation, to use some of the revenue allocation over to other essential sectors."


Greg Urwin resigns as the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General

The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Greg Urwin has formally tendered his resignation to the chair of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Reliable diplomatic sources have confirmed to PACNEWS that Mr Urwin’s resignation letter was received by the office of the Prime Minister of Tonga, the chair of the Forum Monday.

A senior government official told Pacnews that a formal announcement on the resignation would have to be made by the chair of the Forum, Dr Feleti Sevele.

Mr Urwin, who is completing his second term in office, is believed to have been forced to take this decision on medical grounds.

His second three year term in office is to be completed at the end of 2009.

The position will not be advertised publicly but will be made via a circular sent to all member governments to nominate a candidate.

A replacement for Mr Urwin is likely to be on the agenda of the annual summit of Pacific Leaders in Niue in August.

PACNEWS was reliably told that Mr Urwin who went to Australia for a routine medical check in December has been advised by doctors not to continue in office.

Source: SIBC

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Stephen Panga voted in as the new premier for Guadalcanal Province

By Joy Basi

Guadalcanal Province has a new Premier. Mover of the motion against the former premier, Stephen Panga was declared winner after a 12-9 vote in his favour.

Ousted premier, Joash Salani described the moment as "a true show of democracy in having a new leader and also part of the democratic system".

Speaking after the win, newly voted premier for Guadalcanal Province, Mr. Panga stated that what has been experienced in their province was a "political impasse".

"This political impasse must however not be entertained on Guadalcanal, leaders should have an understanding of their roles and be concerned for their people and not their benefits," Hon. Panga said.

He said that his government will establish a close work relationship and dialogue with the Sikua government.

"My government sees the bottom up approach as a vehicle that will carry Guadalcanal forward, provided we have adequate support," he said.

The official swearing in for the new premier will be held tomorrow at the Government House.

Source: Solomon Times

Taiwan vice premier steps down over Pacific scandal

Taiwan’s vice-premier has quit the ruling Democratic Progressive Party taking responsibility for an embarrassing diplomatic scandal involving the alleged embezzlement of US$30 million.

The cash was for Papua New Guinea in a bid to gain support for Taiwan’s international recognition over China.

Authorities in Taiwan allege it was taken by businessmen instead.

Mr Chiou I-jen says he deeply regrets the Taiwan-Papua New Guinea diplomatic scandal and is fully cooperating with the judiciary.

The scandal surfaced last week when Singapore’s high court approved Taiwan’s request to freeze the joint bank account of two businessmen who were to serve as intermediaries to help Taipei forge ties with Papua New Guinea.

The two, a Taiwan citizen and a Singaporean, were recommended by Chiou, to the foreign minister in 2006.

Source: PI Report

Solomon Islanders urged to grow local food as imported food price rises

The Honiara Custom Garden Association is advising people to grow local food in order to ease the burden of high inflation on goods sold in shops.

Jack Kalisto from the association says growing local food is something that Solomon Islanders have been doing for many years.

He says imported food like rice is a foreign food that's been introduced to the country not long ago.

Mr Kalisto rules out fears that the country is facing a food crisis because of the high price of rice.

He urges people to grow more local crops because it is sustainable and cheaper, just like people in the villages who rely on local food crops all their life.

Mr Kalisto says people in town can make use of any little space around their homes to grow vegetables and cabbages.

He says the Custom Garden Association can teach people skills on how to do organic farming.

Source: SIBC

Monday, May 05, 2008

Solomon Islands government delegation attend the Economic Partnership Agreement held in PNG

Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade William Haomae last week led a high level government delegation to a seminar on the Economic Partnership Agreement E-P-A.

The seminar was jointly attended by a European Commission delegation and Pacific ACP Trade Ministers and other top officials held in Madang, Papua New Guinea from April 28 to 29.

The Government Communications Unit reports the European Commission invited Pacific A-C-P Trade Ministers, National Authorizing Officers, Senior Government Officials, selected Civil Society Organizations and Private Sector Institutions to the EPA Seminar.

Amongst others, the participants discussed the progress of the Economic Partnership Agreement and the free trade agreement currently being negotiated by European Union and PACP States.

The Seminar provided an opportunity for the E-C delegation and participants to exchange views on issues that delayed the signing of the Agreement at the end of December 2007 and how the Pacific region will benefit from this undertaking.

Minister Haomae was accompanied by Minister for National Planning and Aid Coordination, Steve Abana,Foreign Secretary Barnabas Anga, Solomon Islands High Commissioner to PNG Bernard Bata’anisia, and Daniel Hetherington, Trade Analyst of Foreign Affairs.

Solomon Islands’ Civil Society Organizations and Private Sector Institutions were represented at the meeting by Leliana Firisua of the Small and Medium Enterprises Corporation.

Source: SIBC

Friday, May 02, 2008

PNG Sorcerers burnt alive

Two women accused of sorcery were tortured and burnt to death yesterday morning at Waninga village outside Mt Hagen, Western Highlands province.

Twenty-eight-year-old Thres Hari, from Simbu province who is married with four children, and Pald Pungal, in her 60s, from Nebilyer in Western Highlands who is a grandmother, were accused of using sorcery to kill a young man, Sent Pungal, 28, from the Kungnunga tribe.

The women were forced out of their homes at around 6am yesterday and tied with ropes. Relatives then started inflicting pain on them using sharp objects. They were later dragged bleeding back into their homes, locked in and had fire set to their homes, killing them.

The women were targeted after villagers received news that the young man, who had been admitted to the Mt Hagen General Hospital with an illness, had died. Villagers believed the women, using their magical powers, had removed the heart of the deceased, causing him great pain and eventual death.

They alleged that the women killed him because he refused to give them money to buy food and clothes. All the deceased are related through marriage. The women’s remains including their intestines, limbs and skulls were visible among the charred remains of the burning house when The National visited and took photographs yesterday morning (The National decided not the publish the pictures because they will offend readers).

Sent Pungal is a PMV driver and was hospitalised last Friday after he started experiencing pains all over his body.


Fiji Times Publisher Deported

Fiji Times publisher Evan Hannah was escorted from his home this evening, and taken to Nadi International Airport to be deported out of the country.

Fiji Television showed footage of Hannah driven out of Suva in darkness as reporters and cameramen from FijiTV and the Fiji Times followed.

Fiji Times editor-in-chief Netani Rika said he is unaware of where the three Immigration officers and policeman are taking Hannah.

"It’s a disturbing event," he said. "We had just heard the interim Prime Minister assure the nation of media freedom two days before Media Freedom Day (on May 3)."

Fiji Sun publisher Australian Russel Hunter was deported by the authorities in February this year.

Source: Fijilive

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Wife of a top Australian official serving under RAMSI found guilty on drug possesion

An Australian woman pleaded guilty of possessing a prohibited substance in Magistrate Court yesterday.

Louise Pamela Kelly, 48 wife of a top Australian official serving under RAMSI, admitted the offence when she appeared before Magistrate William Seneka.

Ms Kelly, who was accompanied by her husband Bruce Kelly, will be sentence at 10 am today.

Mr Kelly works for GRM, the Ausaid contracted company managing RAMSI’s law and Justice Sector. He was a team leader.

The Court heard Ms Kelly, who was not working, was out at the Central Market on 15 April 2008 to shop for fruits and vegetables when someone offered her marijuana.

Public prosecutor Paul Kausimae Jnr told the court that, police officers patrolling the market were alerted of the suspicious activity and arrested Ms Kelly.

She was taken to the market Police Post and briefly questioned. Police also searched her bag and found 15 rolls with 80 grams of marijuana wrapped in red plastic, he said.

Defence lawyer Andrew Radclyffe, in mitigation, told the court his client was shopping at the market for fruits and vegetables when someone offered her the drug.

This offence was committed in a spur of a moment. It was out of character. Ms Kelly was not a drug user, Mr Radclyffe said.

He apologized to the court on behalf of his client and asked the magistrate to consider her guilty plea.

Mrs Kelly has already suffered a great degree of shame as a result of this offence. She had let a number of people down. Mr Radclyffe said.

She has no record of previous convictions either in Solomon Islands, Australia or elsewhere, he said.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of $500 fine or six months imprisonment.

Source: Pipolfirst

Climate Change Linked to Global Food Shortage

The Secretary General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, Sir John Kaputin, has joined world leaders in pleading for an urgent action to address the growing global food shortage crisis.

Speaking at ACP Preparatory Meeting of the First Southern Regional Meeting of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, this week, in Windhoek, Namibia, Sir John admitted that the food shortage problem has hit hard on ACP states.

He said many ACP States at present are coming to terms with high prices of gas and basic food items.

Sir John said: "Action is now needed, and we should turn the tide so that we can provide food at all times to our people." He believes that the food shortage crisis is directly linked to climate change.

Sir John said that there are many consequences of climate change and the depletion of water, food and energy resources.

"We often hear that these problems require global solutions. That means that all countries should unite to alleviate or minimize dire consequences," he said.

The Secretary General strongly believes that ACP-EU partnership provides the scope to deal effectively with this concern.

The current food shortage, especially rice, has led to food riots around the globe.

Source: Solomontimes

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