Pruaitch dismayed by O'Neill Govt's move to block PNG Opposition Radio Talk-back program

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Papua New Guinea Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch said today he is dismayed to learn that the O’Neill Government has effectively censored the PNG media and threatened one of the pillars of democracy in this country.

Mr Pruaitch said two prominent Opposition leaders, East Sepik Governor Allan Bird and Madang MP Bryan Kramer, had been scheduled to discuss the scandal surrounding the import of 40 Maserati cars from Italy on FM100.

Reports coming in from Port Moresby, Lae and various parts of Morobe Province indicate these broadcasts were blocked by the O’Neill Government in an unprecedented action.
Mr Pruaitch said: “It has long been acknowledged that freedom of the press in PNG is a key pillar of the nation’s democratic institutions, acting as a safety valve on many issues of public interest.

“Freedom of the press and the role of the media has helped PNG retain its reputation ‘as one of the persevering democracies in the developing world,’ as one political scientist put it.

“From this perspective this is a sad day today for all Papua New Guineans. It says a lot that no one is surprised by this development because the O’Neill Government is the first PNG Government on record that has set out to manipulate the mass media in the past few years.”

Mr Pruaitch said he was adding his voice to the call to all Papua New Guineans, in the public and private sector, to stand up and say, ‘enough is enough’, and demand an end to waste and corruption by supporting the nationwide strike on Thursday and Friday initiated by colleagues in the Opposition.

This government is the recipient of more revenue than any government in the nation’s history, but it is constantly broke and unable to keep up with budgeted payments for education and health and causing numerous offices to be locked out of their premises for failure to pay rent.

“These are problems that have never been encountered on this scale in the past,” he said, adding: “The O’Neill Government has no trouble paying for luxury cars, without going through normal government tender processes.”
Statement / PNG Today

Over 30,000 Students sit for Grade 12 Exams

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Over 30-thousand grade twelve students across the country are currently sitting the 2018 National Examinations.

Students from 170 secondary and national high schools, started yesterday with the Maths Paper 1 and History Exams.

NBC News visited the Gordons Secondary school in Port Moresby where students sat for the Physics and accounting papers today, and spoke with the principal George Kenega.

Principal George Kenega said the school has two hundred and eighty one students currently in grade 12.

He said they anticipate a good outcome from the exams, in order to maintain their position as one of the top performing schools in the country.

The students will sit their Economics, Biology and Business Studies papers on Wednesday.

On Thursday they do the Language and Literature and Chemistry. The Information Communication and Technology and Math Paper 2 will be sat for on Friday.

Meantime, Education Secretary Doctor Uke Kombra has urged all schools and students to be fair and not cheat in the exams.

He said the penalty for cheating or assisting to cheat in the National Examination is Non Certification.

Kombra is now calling on all eexternal invigilators, School heads and inspectors to report all observed malpractices to the Measurement Services Division of the Department for analysis and action. NBC News

PNG Facebook MPs cannot call for Nationwide Strike

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Papua New Guinea Opposition Facebook MPs can not call a strike as an Elected Leaders - Floor of Parliament is the right place to debate with Govt

A nation wide strike is not the way to mislead people into disrepute on the 11th hour of the APEC. Every elected leaders and responsible Papua New Guineans will do everything at this time to ensure that the APEC is delivered without any domestic political fuse to dispute what is wrong and right. We have committed too much to the APEC and this is not an event that one politician in this great country to politicise.

Political leaders have parliamentary avenues to exercise democratic rights on behalf of the people. The public servants and the business community are supporting the APEC and remaining committed until the APEC is delivered. We request every responsible politicians to be one in supporting this historical world meeting event in PNG and postpone all other interests after APEC. These kind of concerns can be expressed after the APEC not now because international media can portray security issues when we are couple of weeks away from the arrival of the APEC World Leaders in PNG.

Ilegal strikes motivated by poltical jealous and hatrate. As long as it is always for politcs there is nothing good for the country. We have done lots of strikes and protests in the past but what have we achieved. Only loss of lives, disruption of schools and student education, stop business and chaos. Politicians fight for their own political agenda using students, activists, public servants on Facebook is illegal and out of political sights. It wont change anything. Only when piliticians change for the good of PNG will see change.

We will not be moved by Kramer or Juffa or Bird. They emotionalise issues but never provide anything concrete and long term solution. You are not different to Don Polye, Ben Micah and many other politcians who thought they could easily oust a sitting Prime Minister by strikes and protests. You have worked so hard to bring Peter O'Neill and PNC done during the 2017 elections but he is back in power by the mandate of the people to serve the people of PNG. Stop cooking up lies. When you say you want to do for the future of the children by organising a violence and protest, can't you see what Peter O'Neill and his government is doing for the Children over the last 7 years with free education. The statistics proof that they are many children in the class room than ever before. Of course they are issues and challanges but it is a reality that there is no fact in the world where everything happens to you liking. Garry Juffa, Kramer and Bird are operating in this mindset where they think they have some quick fix solution to PNG issues.

We can not be mislead by this fallasy and fantasy. We need real leaders with balls to make tough deacisions necessary to change the cause of our children future. Not short cuts like them. The O’Neill government has already set the pace for change. They need to remain focus and genuine to reap the frutis of the policy and legislative refroms they have started. There is no other way to move forward. People must be supported and enaged to productive endveours and meaningful activtiies to proudly drive their own destiny and future of our country.

Calls for nationwide strike after PNG government buys 40 Maseratis for Apec

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Papua New Guinean opposition MPs have called for a nationwide strike this week amid growing anger at the government’s decision to buy 40 Maseratis for its APEC forum next month.

The PNG government – which as well as hosting Apec is also dealing with a devastating earthquake recovery, a nationwide medication shortage, a polio outbreak and worsening TB rates in addition to generally high rates of poverty – last week imported 40 of the luxury vehicles via charter plane from Italy.

In defence of the purchase of millions of dollars worth of cars, members of government including the prime minister, Peter O’Neill, claimed it would cost the government nothing and the cars would all be sold on to the “private sector” in a public tender after the APEC leaders’ meeting next month.

Observers were doubtful of the ability of the government to sell 40 Maseratis – which had never been seen in PNG before – for the same price at which they were bought, and in a city with record high rates of carjackings. Four-wheel drives are a more common vehicle in PNG, where the roads outside of cities like Port Moresby and Lae are often otherwise impassable.

The opposition MPs Bryan Kramer, Garry Juffa, Allan Bird and Sir Mekere Morauta have called for a two-day strike this week. “People are right to be disgusted by the information that is now coming to light, and they are fully entitled to express their opposition to this blatant fraud,” said Morauta, who also called for an independent inquiry into the purchase and the involvement of the O’Neill government and APEC authority.

He pointed to other controversial APEC-related spending, which he said had all proceeded “at the expense of the health system, the education system, rural infrastructure, law and order, government finances and the economy, and employment”. “Why are we importing luxury cars for Mr O’Neill and his wantoks [extended family] to ride around in when children are dying of polio, tuberculosis and other preventable diseases?” he said.

Last week, PNG’s minister for APEC, Justin Tkatchenko, said the cars were “selling like hotcakes” and the government’s costs would be “totally reimbursed”.

O’Neill reacted to criticism of the decision to buy the Maseratis, saying all APEC hosts provided appropriate cars for leaders and it would not have been appropriate to use Land Cruisers, reported the news website Loop PNG.

Jonathan Pryke, the director of the Lowy Institute’s Pacific islands programme, told the Guardian the issue was “frustrating” and “tin-eared”, given the difficulty the PNG government had in paying for fundamental services like health and education.

“Peter O’Neill was saying this is not going to be Apec of largesse, it’s going to be a Pacific-style APEC, it’s going to be modest,” Pryke said. “If it’s going to be modest, why don’t you have a fleet of Land Cruisers? Land Cruisers are the status symbol in PNG as it is and they could easily be recycled into the PNG economy. Maseratis cannot be recycled into the PNG economy. Who would even service them?” he said.

“They’re convinced they’re going to make a profit off it, I don’t know how the hell they’re convinced of that.”

Pryke said spending on APEC was already a “lightning rod” for anger among Papua New Guineans. After paying government debt and government wages, there is often very little left over for health, education and other services for the citizens of the country.

“Service delivery is low in that pecking order and often the government just literally runs out of cash before it gets to that point. That’s why you hear all these stories about they don’t have paracetamol at the general hospital, clinics are running out of supplies,” said Pryke.


PNG Tourism industry caught offguard by cancellation of visa on arrival

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The suspension of visa on arrival will have devastating effect on the struggling tourism industry especially in the peak tourism season in PNG.

But late Monday, Tourism Promotion Authority chief executive officer Jerry Agus said he would meet with Chief Migration Officer Solomon Kantha today to find a way forward in ensuring PNG continues to facilitate for genuine bona fide tourists.

“The temporary suspension for a period of almost a month will definitely affect our tourists because they buy their tickets six months in advance to get special fares, so because of this suspension it will definitely affect our tourists, especially bona fide tourists coming from long haul markets like United States, Europe and Australia.”

Agus said the industry members have expressed concerns that this will send a wrong signal to the tourism industry but these issues would be ironed out today.

“Immigration has agreed that this decision will affected the industry but we will come with a way forward for TPA and Immigration to closely work together to make sure these tourists will continue to come especially the ones that are already paid for accommodation, tickets so that no hassles are created and we will fine tune how we will facilitate for them,” Agus said

Kantha in response reassured the industry that Immigration and Citizenship Authority would provide all the necessary assistance and support to ensure pre-arranged trips by tour organisers and tourists are not severely affected

Sir Peter Barter in an exchange of correspondence between the PNG Dive Association’s Max Benjamin and Chief Migration Officer Kantha said the effect will go beyond the dive sector, it will affect most hotels throughout PNG who also struggling due to the effect APEC is having in deterring tourists.

“Most tourists secure their visa after they have purchase their tours from international and local tour operators, they then pay a deposit and final payment just a week or so before they travel. At this time they would request their tourist visa, and many assume that tourist visas will be issued on arrival.”

“When they cannot get a visa, the operators then have to apologise and refund on FOREX which again is another challenge that is certain to cause problems.” Sir Peter said

“Tourism in PNG is not only Port Moresby, it affects all of PNG and to introduce such a policy at short notice is bound to cause problems for operators in selling PNG as a destination, in short it is totally irresponsible and unacceptable to the industry, to make matters worse, no advance notice was given to the industry who in turn need to convey this ill-conceived policy to operators, airlines and intending visitors.”

Benjamin of the PNG Dive Association said this will need a fast solution to the problem as the existing process for visa application will not work in time.

“The majority of November clients are from all over Europe and North America. The existing 6-week turn around for tourist visas at Brussels and Washington Embassies is insufficient,” he said.


PNG visa on arrival suspended for one month ahead of APEC

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The Papua New Guinea government has suspended all visa on arrival for one month as security measures leading up to the APEC leaders’ week next month.

The PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority announced the temporary suspension of visa on arrival as part of enhanced border security measures in the lead-up to the APEC Leaders’ Summit.

The suspension will be in effect from October 30 to December 1.

Chief migration officer Solomon Kantha said the announcement regarding VoA was a continuation of Immigration and Citizenship Authority’s (ICA) activity to prepare for APEC Leaders’ Summit and a necessary step to ensure the highest levels of security was maintained....


Japan raises concerns over Pacific Island debt to China

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Japan's foreign minister raised concerns Monday about the high levels of debt accrued by some Pacific Island nations and said his country wants to help resolve the problem.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono made the comments while visiting New Zealand, where he met with his counterpart Winston Peters.

Some observers have become alarmed at the growth in Chinese lending in the Pacific and worry that small countries such as Tonga and Vanuatu are becoming beholden to China because of their high debt levels.

Kono didn't mention China specifically in his comments. But he said the Pacific region was important in a strategic sense to both Japan and New Zealand.

Peters said New Zealand was also concerned about the loans and the ability of small island nations to repay them.

“We're looking very seriously at that, saying 'What does it mean for us when those nations may forfeit the very asset value that they've sought to develop, and have it owned by some other country?” he said.

Peters said neither Japan nor New Zealand had gone so far as to offer to repay the loans directly.

“We understand the problem,” Peters added. “We've got our eyes wide open.”

Kono's visit to New Zealand was the first by a Japanese foreign minister in five years. It marks a warming relationship between the two nations over the past year since Jacinda Ardern became New Zealand's prime minister.

Kono thanked New Zealand for deciding last month to deploy a maritime patrol plane to Japan as part of an effort to enforce U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

Australia, Canada and the United States are also helping Japan monitor offshore ship-to-ship transfers of oil allegedly involving North Korean ships, which would violate U.N. sanctions imposed over the North's nuclear and missile programmes.

“Regarding the situation in North Korea, we reaffirm our cooperation to achieve a complete, verifiable and irreversible disposal of all the weapons of mass destruction and the ballistic missiles of all ranges,” Kono said through an interpreter.

Kono said he was concerned about the developing trade war between the United States and China, and hoped the issues could be resolved through the World Trade Organisation.

Kono met with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne last week before traveling to New Zealand.


PNG International Nene McDonald joins the Cowboys

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Papua New Guinea International, Nene Macdonald will join the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys on a three-year deal beginning in the 2019 season.

The 24-year-old arrives at the club on the back of a stellar season for the St George Illawarra Dragons, which saw him score 10 tries in 23 games.

After debuting for the Sydney Roosters in 2014, Macdonald has played 91 NRL games across six seasons for the Roosters, Gold Coast Titans and Dragons, scoring 31 tries.

A product of Cairns, Macdonald was originally contracted to the Dragons for the 2019 season, but the club agreed to release the winger to allow him to return closer to family.

Macdonald has also played Nine Tests for Papua New Guinea after making his international debut as a 19-year-old in 2013.

Cowboys head coach Paul Green said the club was excited to bring a prodigious North Queensland-bred talent home.

“He’s a North Queensland kid and we like North Queenslanders representing this region,” Green said.

“Nene is going to offer plenty of depth to our backline and had a fantastic year for the Dragons.

“I know him on a personal level after coaching him in the under 20s at the Roosters and am confident he will be a good cultural fit for our club as well.”

Cowboys Director of Football Peter Parr said recruiting outside backs for 2019 was a major focus for the club after the departure of a number of long-tenured players in those positions.

“He’s a very talented athlete and with the retirement of Antonio Winterstein we were keen to add to our outside backs and in particular the wing position,” Parr said.

“Nene fits the criteria we were looking for and he indicated to us that he had a desire to return home to North Queensland, so we made some inquiries with the Dragons and they have been very cooperative in helping us bring him back to North Queensland.”

Cabrini medical team visits Madang

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Immediately upon arrival the Cabrini team they were welcomed by Professor Jerzy Kuzma from DWU and Modilon Hospital and were accommodated at the Madang Resort. The following day they were taken on a cruise of the Madang Harbourcourtesy of Sir Peter Barter.

The former Cabrini team leader, Dr John Griffiths visited PNG first in 1998, since then has been 17 times with the orthopedic mission working initially in Wewak and now in Madang.

Team leader Fr Adrian Trivett is on his second visit and the main purpose is to provide the support in development of orthopedic services in Madang. When Dr Trivett was asked – What is the motivation behind your coming here? – he stated laconically: “we come to help, to teach and to work”. Cabrini Hospital is committed to take an active part in the development of orthopedic and medical services along the Pacific region.

There is a long-lasting and close relation between Cabrini and Modilon Hospital that has resulted in has substantial advance of orthopedic services in Madang as well as other successful developmental programs.

Among these support projects, apart from the annual visits, Cabrini Hospital have supported the development of a new orthopedic ward at Modilon General Hospital, significant donation of orthopedic instruments, arthroscopy set and implants valued over K500,000, architectural and engineering design of the new operating theatre now in full operation and organizing histopathology examination critical for adequate cancer treatment.

In addition to the above, Cabrini have funded the extension of the dental section and renovations of administration building and hospital lecture room.

This time the team consists of two orthopedic surgeons Dr. Trivett and Dr Dalalana, anesthesiologists Dr Andeana and scrub nurse Sr. Thompson. They have worked for one week since their arrival on Oct 6 during which time they have consulted 38 patients and operated on 24 patients. Apart from saving many orthopedic patients from disability, by operating together with local surgeons they are passing skills and expertise on local doctors building in this way our capacity to upgrade orthopedic services in the country.

Professor Jerzy Kuzma, from DWU and Modilon Hospital thanked Cabrini and the visiting orthopedic team for their friendship and commitment to the development of orthopedic services in the country.

New Satellite System to increase internet connectivity in PNG

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PNG’s new satellite internet system, which will increase PNG’s internet capacity by approximately 30 percent, was officially opened on October 11.

The critical investment by Australia saw its Foreign Affairs Minister, Marise Payne, join PNG’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Rimbink Pato, yesterday for the event.

Payne said the new system will benefit Papua New Guineans by reducing barriers to learning, improving private sector capacity and fostering job creation in the long term.

“In the near term, the project will boost connectivity for APEC meetings in Port Moresby in November,” she stated.

“This investment is an important component of Australia’s broader internet connectivity support that includes the Coral Sea Cable System, which will connect Port Moresby and Sydney by a new fibre optic cable scheduled for delivery by late 2019.

“Australia and Papua New Guinea have committed to working closely together to support the development of PNG’s information and communications technology sector over the next 15 to 20 years.”

(Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Marise Payne, right, watching a young Manus dancer in action)

Read more on  PNG Technology site : PNG eHow


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