Headlines

Steven Kari wins gold in Glasgow

Posted by Niugini Nius | July 29, 2014 | Posted in ,

Papua New Guinea weightlifter Steven Kari has won the gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The Commonwealth Championships and Pacific Games champion, lifted 149kg in the snatch and 200kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 349kg in the men's 94kg division.

Australia's Simplice Ribouem finished with the same combined lift but was awarded the silver medal because of his heavier body-weight.

Samoa's Sanele Mao was ninth with a total lift of 305kg.

It's the third weightlifting medal for the Pacific on day six in Glasgow, after Samoa's Mary Opeloge and Apolonia Vaivai from Fiji won silver and bronze in the women's 75kg class.

RNZI

Marape goes to high court to prevent arrest

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in , ,

FINANCE Minister and Tari-Pori MP James Marape yesterday applied in the Supreme Court seeking court order to temporarily stop police from arresting him in connection with the controversial K71.8 million paid to a law firm for legal service rendered to the state.

In his submission in that application, Mr Marape’s lawyer, Robert Leo, said the contempt charge against Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki by other police officers is the proof of police persisting the arrest of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Mr Marape has been implicated along with Mr O’Neill and former Treasurer Don Polye and others in connection with the K71.8 million legal bills paid by the State to the law firm.

Mr Leo submitted that although his client had not been served with any bench warrant or warrant of arrest, as opposed to Prime Minister, his application for interim injunction is to maintain the status quo of the proceedings related to the controversial legal bill paid to the law firm and peace and good order in the community.

Mr Marape is seeking interim injunction to stop police from arresting him pending a Supreme Court appeal and substantive proceedings on taxation he has instituted before the National Court at Waigani.

A Supreme Court appeal was in relation to Justice Ere Kariko’s decision that left the case in the hands of the Police Commissioner to execute or not the warrant of arrest on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

A taxation proceedings commenced by Mr Marape himself is before Justice Catherine Davani in the National Court.

In that proceeding, the court is to hear and determine whether the legal bills were itemised with costs and taxed accordingly to work done by a law firm implicated to establish the legality of the bills paid.

On Mr Marape’s application for interim injunction to stop police from making arrest on him, all lawyers for the concerned parties involved in the proceeding namely Ms Tiffany Twivey for Prime Minister, Mr Martin Kombri for Paul Paraka Lawyers, Mr Sam Bonner for Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki and Mr Ralph Saulep for Attorney-General Ano Pala, consented to Mr Marape’s application.
 
PNG Today / Post Courier

PNG assists Smaller Island States

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in , ,

PNG Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Rimbink Pato, says the Government has approved over 300 million Kina for setting up and running of a Smaller Island State office in Port Moresby.
Mr Pato revealed this at the 45th Pacific Islands Forum in Palau when addressing le
aders of the Smaller Island States.
He says an initial 10 million Kina for building the office while the 300 million Kina will be for the long term running of the office.
Minister Pato says the move is to put the new framework for Pacific regionalism and integration into action.
He says the establishment of the office will enable smaller island states to have a presence in PNG as well as to take advantage of the emerging economic and trade opportunities to be brought about by the LNG project
The Government will consider the SIS office as a diplomatic compound, housing diplomatic representatives of the SIS.

Fiji still waiting for Solomon Islands to resolve airline disupute

Posted by Niugini Nius | July 28, 2014 | Posted in

The Fijian Government is still waiting for contact from the Solomon Island’s Government to resolve the airline dispute between the two countries so that the normal flight schedule can resume between Nadi and Honiara.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Civil Aviation, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said that Fiji’s position has remained consistent and that responsibility for the dispute rested with the Solomons Government.
“After the Solomons Government banned two successive Fiji Airways flights from Nadi to Honiara in breach of our Air Services Agreement, the decision was made to suspend all Solomon Airlines flights until the matter is resolved,” he said.
The Minister explained that the suspension includes selling seats on airlines designated by Solomon Islands as code share partners. “We regret the inconvenience to the travelling public but this action was triggered by Solomon Islands and the responsibility lies with Honiara to make the first move,” he said.
The Minister reiterated that Fiji is willing to hold discussions to break the impasse, but he made Fiji’s conditions very clear. “The Solomons Government needs to lift their flight ban to allow the normal flight schedule to resume and the two airlines to return to the negotiating table,” he said.

Pacific pays homage to the victims of Air Algeria crash

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in

The flag of the Pacific Community (SPC) flew at half-mast today, next to the French flag, in a show of solidarity with the homage payed by France to the 118 people, of which 54 French nationals, who perished in the crash of Air Algeria flight AH5017 in Mali.

Hosted on French soil in Noumea, New Caledonia, since 1949, the Pacific Community, its Secretariat and staff share the sorrow of the French Nation and the families and friends of the victims. SPC is deeply saddened by this accident, the third in a tragic series over the past two weeks, and wishes to express its most sincere condolences to all those affected and to France, a founding member of the Organisation.

Task Force Sweep permanently stayed

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in , ,


The National Court yesterday issued a permanent stay order stopping the National Executive Council’s (NEC) decision to disband the Investigation Task Force Sweep (ITFS).

This effectively means that ITFS will continue on its investigation work pending the determination of the substantive hearing of the application.

ITFS chairman Sam Koim filed the application in court to review two NEC decisions. The first was on the disbanding of Task Force Sweep and the second was on the establishment of an Interim Office of Anti-Corruption (IOAC) to replace Task Force Sweep.

He named Prime Minister Peter O’Neill as first defendant, NEC as second defendant, Attorney General Ano Pala as third defendant and the State as forth defendant in the proceedings.

Mr Koim also sought a stay of the decisions pending the substantive hearing of the application.

The court issued an interim stay in favour of Mr Koim at the initial hearing and after considering submissions from all parties, granted a permanent stay.

The arguments by the defendants in opposing the application for stay was rejected after the court found that the arguments did not respond to the submissions by the plaintiff on the issue of stay but on the issue of competency of the application.

Presiding judge Justice Les Gavara-Nanu, in a 30-page ruling, found that the application by the plaintiff raised serious arguable cases to be tried and the permanent stay was necessary to maintain the status quo.

The judge found amongst others that the abolishment of ITFS was done with immediate effect which could subsequently cause hardship, inconvenience and prejudice to the plaintiff more than the defendants.

The judge stated in his ruling that the members of the ITFS, which comprised of experts within various government agencies had charged and prosecuted many high profile cases, some of which have resulted in conviction and offenders jailed, while other cases were still pending.

"Many have been charged with stealing millions of kina. Paul Paraka alone has been charged with stealing K71 million from the State.

"This and other cases for Paul Paraka’s accomplices are still pending prosecution," Justice Gavara-Nanu said in his ruling.

He also found that the decision to abolish ITFS would have adverse effect on the hard work and resource ITFS had put in to investigate and prosecuted corruption cases. "It is clear that the State will be the one to suffer irreparable damage if ITFS files are lost, damaged or tampered with," the judge said.

"All the hard work that ITFS has put into those cases and time and money spent to do such work will be a total waste and the people accused of committing serious crimes will not be brought to justice. No amount of damage would be sufficient remedy."

The judge ruled that the NEC decisions numbered 191 and 196 of 2014, which were made on June 18 and 24, in which NEC decided to abolish ITFS and for ITFS to transfer all its working files to the IOAC to be headed by former Judge, Graham Ellis be permanently stayed until the said decisions are heard and fully determined by the court.
PNG Today / Post Courier

Academics leaving universities for higher paying public sector, study

Posted by Niugini Nius | | Posted in

An Australian academic is calling on the government to help Papua New Guinean universities retain academics, who are leaving in droves for the public sector.
Australian National University Professor Stephen Howes says PNG's universities offer mediocre pay compared to government departments and state-owned enterprises, causing academics to leave and costing the university program quality and diversity.
He says it would be in the Australian government's interest to help remedy the situation.
"I would certainly call on the Australian government to step in and just fund a couple of lectureship positions and advertise them in PNG but also in Australia, just as a short term measure to get more people in there," he told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program.
"I think if you can get a circuit breaker once you get more faculty you'll be able to teach more students, you'll also be able to make the job more attractive to candidates further down the road."
A study by ANU and the University of Papua New Guinea has found high numbers of academics leaving universities for the public sector, particularly in the economics field.
UPNG has the only economics department in the country. The number of full-time lecturers over the past few years has ranged between two and zero.
Professor Howes says the exodus of academics could cause serious brain drain in certain fields.
"It's become a bit of a vicious cycle where if you don't have lecturers you can't train many students and you can't mentor them to come forward, and if you don't have many lecturers you don't have an attractive or vibrant work environment," he said.
"At some point you have to address the pay issue as well but if you could just get a few more staff in you'll break the vicious cycle and be able to make a real difference."
The study found that PNG academics are not underpaid, but at a middle range by international standards, but the economic boom in PNG is causing public sector salaries to soar, drawing experts away from lower-paying university jobs.
"It's gotten worse with the economic boom because that's meant that these other entities that have more autonomy have been able to increase their salaries and attract workers away," Professor Howes said.
"If you look at it relative to their other opportunities then you can see why a number of academics have left."

Source: ABC Radio Australia

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