YWAM Medical Ships acknowledged by the Queen for service to PNG

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Mr Ken Mulligan, Managing Director of YWAM Medical Ships, and Dr Daryl Holmes, Managing Director of 1300SMILES, have been recognised by the Queen in Papua New Guinea’s 2017 Queens Birthday Honours List.

Mr Mulligan and Dr Holmes have both been awarded with an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). The award has been granted in recognition of their leadership and personal commitment to the work that YWAM Medical Ships is doing in collaboration with national and provincial health authorities in remote areas of the Southern region and Morobe Province.

The announcement of the award follows the completion of the MV YWAM PNG’s, most recent deployment to Papua New Guinea. Over 290,000 healthcare and training services were delivered, including direct care to over 29,000 patients in hundreds of remote villages.

PNG Patron for YWAM Medical Ships, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, said that he was delighted that both Mr Mulligan and Dr Holmes had been publicly acknowledged for their service in Papua New Guinea.

“This esteemed award is another wonderful achievement that helps affirm and strengthen YWAM’s commitment to PNG.

“YWAM Medical Ships continues to be an organisation that I’m very proud to be a part of. I congratulate Ken and Daryl on their visionary leadership and the many lives that have been touched because of their commitment,” said Sir Rabbie.

Dr Daryl Holmes has supported YWAM Medical Ships since they began their operations in 2010. Dr Holmes’ support has included volunteering as a dentist on YWAM’s medical ships on an annual basis, promoting volunteering opportunities to 1300SMILES’ staff and dentists, and connecting YWAM with major dental companies – including Henry Schein Halas, who recently donated four brand new dental chairs for the MV YWAM PNG’s dental clinic.

YWAM Medical Ships Managing Director, Mr Ken Mulligan, said that he was humbled and privileged to receive an OBE.

“We receive this wonderful honour on behalf of so many people who have worked tirelessly and voluntarily for the people of Papua New Guinea.

“What a wonderful time to receive this honour as we celebrate the completion of another successful outreach. We are continually grateful to the PNG National Government, provincial government departments, and the many businesses and individuals who have helped touch thousands of lives in remote areas of Papua New Guinea,” said Mr Mulligan.

The MV YWAM PNG is currently docked in Townsville where the vessel will undergo further renovations and routine maintenance before she returns to PNG in October for another 8-month deployment to the Southern region and Morobe Province.

Supporters of YWAM Medical Ships work in PNG include, PNG National Government, Puma Energy, Australian Aid, Henry Schein Cares, InterOil, Steamships Trading Company, Network Communications, Gulf, Western, Central, Oro, Milne Bay and Morobe Provincial Governments, PNG Ports Corporation, Sohe District Development Authority, Kiriwina-Goodenough District Development Authority, 1300SMILES, Honeycombes Property Development Group, Parkside Group, Manolos Aviation, Haymans, Townsville City Council, Ela Motors, Port of Townsville, Lions Recycle for Sight, Luminell, Northern Management Group, Mitsubishi Electric, Coutts Redington, Medical Dental Solutions, Pro-Ma Systems, Pacific Marine Group, Lancini Property & Development, Universal Cranes, Rotarians Against Malaria, Townsville Bulletin, Alcon, Mun Global, Sentry Medical, Hu-Friedy, Climatrol Air Conditioning, Alphapharm, BuzzOff, NQ Cowboys, Wilson Ryan Grose Lawyers, PwC, Trukai, Gearbox Solutions, FileMaker and AkzoNobel.

PNG's Western Pacific University to enroll over 6000 students

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Papua New Guinea's new Western Pacific University will enroll well over 6000 students soon.  Prime Minister,  Peter O’Neill said the Western Pacific University will make a massive difference for families, who will no longer have to send their children away for university.
“This university will take the burden of concern away from parents that comes from having their sons and daughters studying away from home.
"Very importantly this university will be a tertiary institution of global standard that will educate many of the best and brightest of the Nation’s future.
“The Western Pacific University will enrol 6,000 students and bring in lecturers and academics from Papua New Guinea and around the Pacific.”
In addition to accommodation facilities on the 19 hectares site, other amenities including the library, lecture buildings and recreation facilities.
Western Pacific University will become Papua New Guinea’s 5th State-owned university and the 7th in the country.
The newly appointed Higher Secretary for Education, Fr. Jan Czuba, who has been the force behind the Divine Word University in Madang, has been tasked to manage the construction and establishment of the University.

Photo: Former Member for Ialibu-Pangia, Roy Yaki; Chinese Embassy Counsellor, Liu Linlin; China’s Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Xue Bing; and, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, breaking ground on the Western Pacific University campus site.

Albert out, Boas in for PNG Hunters

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Papua New Guinea Hunters vice-captain Wellington Albert will miss this weekend's Round 16 Intrust Super Cup match against the Northern Pride in Cairns after being suspended for one match by the Queensland Rugby League judiciary.

Albert was cited for dangerous contact during Saturday's 14-10 home defeat against the Tweed Heads Seagulls in Port Moresby.

He's been replaced in the starting line-up by 20 year old front-rower Muka Peter Kulu, who made his debut off the bench at the weekend.

But in a big boost to the competition leaders, captain Ase Boas is back in the five eighth role after missing the Seagulls match through injury.

Hunter coach Michael Marum said Boas has come through two training sessions now and is looking good.

PNG have impressed on the road this season, winning six of their seven matches away from home, but Marum said Cairns is a place they've struggled, having not won at Barlow Park for four years.

The Hunters Team
1. Stargroth Amean 2. Bland Abavu 3. Israel Eliab 4. Adex Wera 5. Wawa Paul 6. Ase Boas (c) 7. Watson Boas 8. Muka Peter Kalu 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Esau Siune 11. Nixon Putt 12. Rahdly Brawa 13. Stanton Albert 14. Silas Gahuna 15. Willie Minoga 16. Lawrence Tu'u 17. Brandy Peter 18. Karo Kauna Jr. 19. Butler Morris

Coach: Michael Marum


Papua New Guinea set for costly, unpredictable poll

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By Jonathan Pryke

Papua New Guinea is about to start its ninth general election, with voting taking place between June 24 and July 8, followed by counting over subsequent weeks. The coalition government led by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill enters the election under siege, facing battles on political, legal and economic fronts.

From the outside, O'Neill looks to be in a strong position. His government holds a significant majority in parliament, and the opposition is fractured. However, alliances in Papua New Guinea are often unstable, and the result of the election is far from certain.

O'Neill, then treasurer, wrested power in 2011 from long-serving Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, widely known as Papua New Guinea's “Grand Chief.” The country was starting the construction of its largest natural resource project, a US$19 billion liquefied natural gas project that was expected to transform the nation's economy.

Anticipating overflowing coffers, the government made bold expenditure commitments, including free education, free healthcare and a massive decentralization program. The expected windfall from the project even emboldened the prime minister to make a dubious deal to acquire a stake in Papua New Guinea's largest company, Oil Search, an oil and gas explorer that has a stake in the LNG project.

The government also committed to hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' summit in November 2018. The summit, which will attract thousands of delegates and journalists, will be the largest conference gathering ever held in Papua New Guinea.

O'Neill thought he could have it all, and had commodity prices remained at historic highs he might well have been right. Instead, the resources-dependent economy was hit hard by the collapse of global commodity prices at the end of 2014.

The dramatic fall, combined with record deficit spending, has left the government in an untenable fiscal situation, worsened by an overvalued exchange rate -- a result of central bank policy propping up the domestic currency -- that is choking private sector investment.

Government revenues per capita have collapsed to 2004 levels after adjusting for inflation and population growth, and are expected to remain low for the foreseeable future. The government has responded by slashing its budget, but has protected major expenditure items, resulting in deep cuts to essential services.

It is easy to see how all of this could have worked out better for the government. The economy was hit by the global downturn at the worst possible time, only two years into the government's five-year term. But the government has not done itself many favors in the sluggish way it has responded to its sudden reversal of fortune. Whatever advances the government has made during its five-year tenure have been outweighed by unforeseen and unnecessary backward steps.

Other cracks have formed around O'Neill. Numerous allegations of corruption came to a head last year with student protests that ended in violent clashes with police. Corruption has become a lightning rod for broader frustration about the country's problems, which goes far beyond the actions of the prime minister. But the allegations have distracted him from the task of managing Papua New Guinea's weakened economic position, especially as the election approached.

All elections are local

Papua New Guinea elections are a vibrant and colorful display of democracy. This year 3,332 candidates are competing for 111 electoral seats to represent the population of almost 8 million. The diversity of Papua New Guinea's communities, and the remoteness of many parts of the country, make the two-week election a logistical marvel given the wide differences between highland, island and urban areas.

The process is also extremely expensive -- on a per capita basis, Papua New Guinea's 2012 election was the world's most costly. Money politics is also prevalent throughout the country, with candidates amassing large war chests (and often large debts) to distribute in return for votes.

The stakes have also been raised by the decentralization initiative, which has given sitting lawmakers much more discretionary funding through the national budget, which they are able to disperse in their electoral areas. However, high levels of pre-election spending witnessed in 2012 have not recurred, reflecting the state of the economy.

Chronically underfunded, the National Electoral Commission has struggled to update the electoral roll. Funding budgeted for security and management of the poll has also been cut by the government. All these factors have combined to make the vote more unpredictable than ever.

Because of the extreme localism of politics in Papua New Guinea the election should be seen as 111 separate polls, in which services and infrastructure within constituencies attract more interest than the antics of political leaders in Port Moresby or national-level policies.

In this local battle, sitting members have traditionally had little advantage, with elections routinely ousting half of the country's MPs. This localism and high turnover results in multi-party coalition governments, formed through opportunism rather than unified policy platforms.

The tenuous nature of O'Neill's outgoing coalition leaves him vulnerable. The 18-member opposition, made up of three major parties, and led by O'Neill's one-time treasurer Don Polye, may not seem threatening in the face of 93 pro-government MPs. But alliances are shaky, and Polye has maintained a strong and consistent message against O'Neill.

Equally likely could be a move against O'Neill from within the governing alliance. O'Neill's treasurer Patrick Pruaitch was recently sacked after publicly criticizing the government's economic management, in what could be a pitch for the top job.

Former prime minister and noted reformer Mekere Morauta is re-entering the political fray, and others are waiting to see which leader can provide them the greatest opportunity. In "the land of the unpredictable," as Papua New Guinea is often called, people make bets on elections at their own risk.

With the election upon him, O'Neill's leadership has not met the lofty expectations set by many when he became prime minister. As the face of a new generation of leaders, O'Neill had a solid track record as treasurer, condemning corruption and pushing for more funding for rural areas and free health and education.

His response to considerable adversity has disappointed many. But it is not clear who could have done better. Perhaps an answer will emerge in the coming months.

Jonathan Pryke is a Research Fellow of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program in Sydney, Australia.


Vanuatu Presidential Election on 03 July

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The election of the new President of Vanuatu will be held on 03 July , 2017 to replace late President Baldwin Lonsdale who died suddenly in the early hours of Saturday, June 17, at the Vila Central Hospital in Port Vila.

The writ for the election of the next Head of State to the Electoral Commission to organise and hold the election was signed by the Chief Justice, Vincent Lunabek, on Monday, June 19.

It was made public through Radio Vanuatu and other media sources an hour after the plane that took the President’s body left Port Vila for his home-Province of Torba in northern Vanuatu for burial.

The writ commanded the Electoral Office to make all necessary arrangements for the holding of such election in accordance to the law and directed that the poll be taken on the 3rd day of July, 2017 in the National Parliament at Port Vila, Efate.

In accordance with the issuance of the writ, the Electoral Commission subsequently issued a Notice for the election of the new President of Vanuatu.

“Following the sudden passing of His Excellency the late Father Baldwin Jackson Lonsdale, President of the Republic of Vanuatu, and following the vacancy in the Office of the President, the Chief Justice, Vincent Lunabek, pursuant to Section 1 and 2 of the Election of the President Act (CAP. 104) has issued a writ for the election of the President on the 19th of June, 2017.

“The date for the election of the President is Monday, the 3rd of July, 2017,” said the notice.

“Nominations for Presidential Candidates pursuant to Form B (section 3) may be lodged with the Town Clerks of Municipalities or with the Secretary Generals of Local Government Councils or with the Principal Electoral Officer at the Electoral Office in Port Vila by 4.30pm on Wednesday, the 28th of June, 2017.

“The election of the President shall convene on the 3rd of July 2017 at 9.00am at the Parliament House in Port Vila.”

The notice was made in Port Vila on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 and signed by the Electoral Commission members – Martin J. Tete – Chairman, Linnes M. Tarianga – Member and Pastor Shem Temar – Member.

The Electoral College that will vote a new President is made up of the 52 Members of Parliament, the Presidents of the Local Government Councils of the six provinces and mayors of the three municipalities of the country.


NSW Blues dominate, QLD Maroons win

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SYDNEY: The four playmaking stars who have punctuated a decade of dominance for Queensland reunited at ANZ Stadium to somehow conjure a remarkable, come-from-behind 18-16 win to square the Origin series.
The ageing Maroons and their dynasty looked shot to bits when the Blues raced out to a 16-6 lead with two quick tries midway through the first half but their new-look forward pack found a way to match it with their power-packed opponents right throughout a tense second 40 in which the Blues were held scoreless.
Queensland found one try to make things tense and then, right near the death, a second try with Johnathan Thurston’s ice-cold sideline conversion stealing the lead against the odds with three minutes to play.
The Blues monstered their opponents in the 20 minutes before halftime but looked frantic and nervous in their scoreless second 40 as they could feel the breath on their necks of their long-time tormenters coming for them.
The ageless Billy Slater was in everything in his first Origin for two years, defusing everything at the back, scheming in attack, lurking around the ruck, supporting every play.
Thurston proved he had what the Maroons were missing in Game I; despite looking hampered by a shoulder injury for much of the game he was the perfect foil for Cooper Cronk who was himself far improved from Game I.
The Blues now face the unenviable task of heading up to Suncorp for a Game III decider in hostile territory against a Queensland side with their tails up and ready to send Johnathan Thurston into representative retirement with one last win.
The Blues failed to capitalise on their early dominance and their game management in the second half was found wanting with too many rushed or frantic plays.
Of everyone it was their most experienced player in Jarryd Hayne who came up with the most questionable options in that period but the halves too, despite offering plenty in attack – especially in the first half – who needed to command the ball and get the team to the right parts of the field to shut the game down.
The start of the contest was more stop-start than the previous, frantic Game One opener with debutant Valentine Holmes knocking on from his very first touch in Origin and James Maloney gifting two silly penalties in the opening 10 minutes to put the Blues under pressure.
The second of those proved expensive with a left-side shift allowing Darius Boyd in the centre position to pop the perfect pass out to Holmes, who capitalised on opposite man Blake Ferguson coming in to tiptoe down the touchline.
The bunker couldn’t find conclusive evidence of Holmes’s foot scraping the chalk and the try was awarded.
Right after both coaches interchanged their respective pairs of starting front rowers, Maloney shot past Tim Glasby who was fresh on the field and from open space fired a pass out to Brett Morris to put the Blues up 10-6.
The Maroons launched a final assault on the Blues’ line in the shadows of half time and turned down a free two points from a penalty with 30 second to go in a desperate search for a vital try.
They could have, and possibly should have scored on two separate occasions in those 30 seconds but a pair of momentous try-savers – the first from Trbojevic on Cronk next to the posts, the second from Dugan on Morgan out wide – preserved the 10-point lead heading into the break.
The game-breaking play came in the 77th minute; NSW couldn’t hang on to Cronk’s cross-field bomb and handed the Maroons a scrum from 10 metres out. A shift left was unsuccessful but a shift right saw Slater’s pace and his deft pass onto Morgan (at centre for Chambers) who flicked the perfect offload back in for Gagai to level the scores.
Thurston’s sideline conversion was never doing anything other than curling back between the sticks to claim a remarkable lead and send his teammates into raptures.
The job wasn’t finished as NSW claimed the ball from a short restart but the Queensland defence held firm to send the series to a decider. – NRL.com  NRL Photo

PNG Teachers Colleges not heavily funded : Kondra

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Teacher colleges and technical institutions in the country are not funded heavily by the National Government.
Education Secretary Doctor Uke Kombra told NBC News that most students at these institutions are self funded.
“Most of the students at colleges, they are either sponsored by the Government under HECAS but that could be maybe like 10 percent or five percent
. Majority of the students are self sponsored either from their own personal pockets or the local members have sponsored them or provincial governments have sponsored them.
If those sponsors have not paid the fees up, then they could be in that situation because they don't receive TFF.
All the teachers colleges, technical colleges they are self sustaining institutions, they sustain themselves mainly from student fees.
But officially I have not received any information,” Dr Kombra said.
He was responding to questions about the possible closure of Gaulim Teachers College in East New Britain, due to lack of funding.
NBC News

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