Digicel opens new store in Downtown Port Moresby

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Digicel has opened its new look store in Down town Port Moresby with a great new set-up aimed at providing to customers the ultimate experience as they deserve to be in control of their experience with reliable technology, the best range of devices and a superior network. The new store located inside the Down Town Plaza have available a range of mobile phones and mobile phone accessories, Digicel TV Play boxes, top up and much more.

Digicel PNG Senior Vice President & Chief Sales Officer, Lorna McPherson said., “This store is about customer experience we have phones on display at our stores where customers can see,touch and get a feel of what they want and what suits their budget’.
Digicel’s hot new Christmas smartphone offers are also available in the newly opened shop. The smartphone offers include, the DTOK 4G LTE and Wowi 4G LTE smartphone each selling at only K199 and come with unlimited data to use for 3 days. Customers also have the option of buying the Wowi 3G Smartphone for only K155 and get instant free 1 gigabytes of data to use over 3 days. Plus, with every purchase of any of these 3 smartphones, customers get a chance to win a daily cash prize of K1,000 and go into the draw to win the grand prize of K50, 000.

Digicel is commited to bringing its products, services and offers closer to its customers and the new Digicel store is located at one of the busiest areas in Port Moresby. It is expected that the shop will service up to 150 walk in customers every day. There are five Digicel stores in NCD alone and a total of 11 nationwide.

TIPNG Internship for Law Students resumes

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Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) is giving three Law students from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) the opportunity to gain valuable work experience through its Legal Internship Programme (LIP).

Final year students Hezron Wangi Jr and Salome Bamler, and third year student Eroni Lili will be working in the areas of Policy Research and Legal Advocacy, through the Advocacy and Legal Advice Center (ALAC). They began their 13 week internship this week and will continue until February next year.

The LIP aims to give the students a broader understanding of issues of national concern through conducting interviews for witnesses and victims of corruption and giving them legal advice, doing media briefs and participating in TIPNG community outreach programs. The internship also equips the students with the knowledge and tools to fight corruption and contributes positively to their career development.

The three interns will be assisting citizens who report cases of corruption to TIPNG’s free legal service the (ALAC). The ALAC is confidential and accessible by calling the toll-free hotline 180 6000 or walking in to the TIPNG Office at Lokua Avenue, Boroko.

“This partnership between TIPNG and the UPNG School of Law is beneficial for both organisations and will broaden the understanding of students on issues of access to Justice encountered by ordinary Papua New Guineans taking the courageous decision to oppose corruption”, said Chairman of TIPNG Lawrence Stephens.
“The LIP has been a success with previous interns contributing to key advocacy decisions by TIPNG, and guiding corruption complainants on avenues to report corruption and stop impunity in our country” Mr. Stephens stated.

This the second batch of interns to go through the TIPNG LIP. The first internship lasted for eight weeks, and the success of the programme has led to it being increased to 13 weeks for the second intake. In addition to assisting victims and

First floating hotel arrives in PNG for APEC

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The first of the three cruise liners for APEC arrived in Port Moresby on Saturday morning.

The Pacific Jewel will be stationed at the old cargo wharf and will be used as a floating hotel for more than 2000 journalists from the 21 economies and delegates.

The second cruise liner Pacific Explorer will arrive at 8.30am tomorrow, while the third liner Sea Princess will arrive on Wednesday morning.

Minister for APEC Justin Tkatchenko and CEO of the APEC Authority Chris Hawkins took a tour of the ship and were both impressed. Tkatchenko had earlier said the Pacific Explorer would host the CEO Summit. He said the company responsible for the charter of these ships Carnival Australia, has established a strong relationship with the government.

He said according to the company, this is the second occasion where their vessels have been chartered to support hosting arrangements for major international conferences.

“We look forward to all world leaders coming and we will ensure the leaders live in comfort and have a traditional and cultural experience while they stay in Port Moresby during this time.”

From their moorings within the APEC security zones, the ships will provide accommodation for APEC attendees. The Sea Princess will be docked at Motukea and the Pacific Explorer will be at T-Wharf in downtown Port Moresby.


US Vice-President Mike Pence to throw down the gauntlet to China during PNG visit

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US Vice-President Mike Pence will continue the Trump administration's assault on China's “authoritarianism and aggression”, using a speech in Australia's backyard to business chiefs to outline the US's rival vision for the Indo-Pacific that extols the superiority of private investment over state-controlled funding to build regional infrastructure.

With Donald Trump opting to skip the East Asia and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summits this week, Pence and the President's hardline national security adviser John Bolton will travel to Singapore and Papua New Guinea to push back against Beijing's attempt to assert its influence on both economic and security fronts.

Pence will also hold a series of bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other key regional leaders, but the centrepiece of his trip is a speech at the APEC chief executive forum on Saturday morning in Port Moresby. Pence will deliver his speech just minutes after Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the forum, which Morrison will also address.

US officials said the speech would “connect” to one Pence delivered in early October accusing China of stealing US intellectual property, suppressing human rights and meddling in US elections – an address analysts said marked the start of a cold war between Washington DC and Beijing.

With tensions already high between the US and China over trade, the two countries are locked in a race for regional influence in Asia and the Pacific. Pence will seek to counter China's Belt and Road Initiative with the promise of US assistance for infrastructure development.

It is expected Pence will flesh out details of a new trilateral partnership with Australia and Japan, to support infrastructure development, with several projects identified.

Amid concerns over Trump’s isolationist “America first” rhetoric, Pence will stress how a private-sector driven approach can bring prosperity to both the Indo-Pacific as well as the US. 

He will also emphasise the importance of sovereignty for the countries in the region, including a transparent and corruption-free civil society, free and open internet and freedom of navigation rights for shipping and aircraft – a direct shot at China for trying to coerce less powerful nations.

In his speech and throughout their visit, Pence and Bolton will also hammer China over its militarisation of the South China Sea, the importance of keeping up economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to denuclearise and the ongoing fight to counter terrorism.

Pence will “deliver the message that authoritarianism, aggression, and the disregard for other nations' sovereignty by any nation in the Indo-Pacific will not be tolerated by the United States”, his spokeswoman said.

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post published on the weekend, Pence wrote that “Businesses, not bureaucrats, will drive our efforts, because governments and state-owned enterprises are incapable of building lasting prosperity.

“The United States will work with like-minded nations – from India to the Pacific islands – to advance our shared interests. Together, we will stand up to anyone who threatens our interests and our values. The United States seeks collaboration, not control.” 

Pence's trip to the region will be a prelude to a crucial meeting between Trump and Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina later this month, talks that could pave the way for peace or an escalation in the trade war between the US and China.

The Vice-President will base himself in Cairns during APEC, flying to Port Moresby each day for events. He will arrive on Friday and meet Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will use APEC as a chance to meet many Pacific Island nation leaders, hard on the heels of announcing a pivot in foreign policy last week to put greater emphasis on the region, including making US$3 billion available in loans and export grants.

He will host them for a barbecue at the Australian High Commissioner's house on Sunday evening, although Xi is also planning his own reception for them.

Australia's aims at APEC will be to emphasise the virtues of open trade and investment. Key policy themes will include digital trade and economic integration. However climate change – an issue of existential importance to Pacific islands – risks being marginalised in light of the US's well-documented opposition to the Paris emissions reduction pact. 

With bothTrump and Russian President Vladimir Putin skipping APEC,  Xi will be the most notable world leader at the summit.


PNG East New Britain tourism talk with Poreni Umau

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The tasty, organic taro got my Milne Bay teeth working in overdrive, as kulau juice from Ulaveo, along the Tokua corridor, set in to join the midday menu I enjoyed under the October heat along Kaivovo Street, overlooking the golf course at Ralum.

The Baining taro was well prepared by Mr Mondo and the team at Kokopo’s newest locally owned eatery. Mondo Cafeteria right in the heart of Kokopo market. You can say it was a Simbu special.

Up ahead, along the road, under a shade tree, an old papa lay snoring in slumber. Caressed by the afternoon breeze sweeping across the St George Channel with tales from the Bismarck Sea. A few metres away, an upcoming Kokopo’s young golfer was lining up for a stroke on the neatly kept Ralum green.

The scene set my Milne Bay mind to Tiger Woods, a man known in the world golfing arena. My dream of making it into the PGA was shot-lived when I dug up a good chunk of innocent soil at this very green some ‘I can’t remember how many days ago’ in a school fundraiser game. I substituted the golf club for a bottle of the internationally awarded gold medal SP beer. Something I am very good at any watering hole than a golf hole. Passing lovebirds, headed for Gazelle International Hotel up the road, chuckled at the sleepy papa and my mind clicked back to reality, ending my five minutes golf dream. Noah Omi, my good old cheerful Gaidi merona came by in his usual chirpy mood. ‘Hey, Samatex’, he called out, smiling with bright red painted lips. The result of a dose of betelnut (areca nut), mustard and lime and protected in dark sunnies, giving him that future elderly version of Chinese actor, Jet Li.

Noah and family live out at Karavia village, along the Kokopo-Rabaul road. Sheltered by the famous Blanche Bay, that feeds the Simpson Harbour and blends into the St George Channel and deltas into the Bismarck Sea. Their home is host of the Japanese Underground Hospital. Just a kilometre of power walk from where I live.

During the New Guinea Campaign of the Pacific War from January 1942 to August 1945, the Underground Hospital served injured Japanese soldiers. It had chambers that included ammunition storage, mess, wards for the injured and storage for food rations. There are 14 entrances and has stairways chiselled out to indicate the ground floor, first and second floor. Above the hospital is a look out for incoming enemy ship, a tunnel dug to about 15 metres to the edge of the hill, giving a sweeping view of the bay and further to the Duke of York island group.

The place was also a campsite for prisoners of war. Most of them of Chinese origin. There is a guillotine also, where prisoners of war were beheaded if they did not follow instructions. A Chinese War Cemetery is also built in the area to honour those that perished. The area has many others including the Yamamoto Bunker in Rabaul, Submarine Base on the North Coast of Rabaul, the Tavurvur volcano and hot spring are some of the popular tourist sites in East New Britain that people in the province, outside and overseas visit when in East New Britain.

The East New Britain Tourism Authority encourages locals in the four districts of Pomio, Gazelle, Rabaul and Kokopo to visit the office and register their interest if there are certain places in their villages that have tourism potential. Apart from war relics, there are natural scenery, including sandy beaches, waterfalls, lookouts that provide postcard views, snorkel and picnic areas. Birdwatching and diving are others on the list. Even traditional activities, festivals and unique dances very different from the rest of PNG, traditional cooking or just culture are others draw interests from outsiders. Soft adventure including kayaking, hiking and trekking are some of the activities that also do lure visitors.

Even the unique traditional way of life and doing things also gives opportunity to outsiders to learn and experience our way of life. For many it is the experience. Trying something new. Alternatively, being to a place where they have not been or their friends have not seen. They want to be the first to see, do and partake in the activities on offer.

While the demand for new products is increasing, this offers the chance to those in East New Britain to jump on the bandwagon and be part of the fast growing industry. People must make it their priority to visit the office or contact us on enbtouriminfo@enbtourism.org,pg or pumau@enbtourism.org.pg or call us on 982 5360 to seek advice and direction.

Remember, we will never know what you have until you tell us and invite us to your local setting. There are also tourism officers in the districts under the Commerce Division, called District Business Development Officers, who you can approach and seek advice.

Tourism is everyone’s business. It’s either you tap into it or it taps you goodbye. East New Britain, this is your time. Get up and take up this opportunity. The National Government has declared East New Britain and the Milne Bay as tourism hubs and for those in the land of many volcanoes, this is your time.

Fraud detectives arrest former PNG Registrar of Companies

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Detectives from the PNG National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate have reported the arrest of the former Registrar of Companies and chairman of Securities Commission.

In a statement, Fraud Director Matthew Damaru said detectives arrested and charged Alex Tongayu, aged 40, on November 8th, 2018, with one count of forgery and one count of uttering.

Detectives claimed that Tongayu, who is from Walumi village, Hela Province, had forged the signature of the then Minister for Trade and Commerce, Richard Maru, on National Gazette number G441.

Tongayu allegedly appointed himself as duly appointed by the National Government as the Registrar of Companies and Chairman of Securities Commission.

“On June 7th, 2017, after the National Gazette was printed, Alex Tongayu produced the gazette to the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) and was installed as the Registrar of Companies and the chairman of the Securities Commission,” stated Damaru.

“When he committed the offences, he was acting in the position.

“Then Minister for Commerce and Trade, Mr Richard Maru, denied appointing Tongayu to the position and made a public advertisement in the Post-Courier stating that Alex Tongayu had appointed himself and referred the matter to police for investigation.

“The National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, after receiving the complaint from Mr Maru, conducted an investigation into the allegation.

“The managing director of the IPA also made a complaint to the NFACD on the same matter.

“Tongayu was invited to the NFACD office at Konedobu where he was interviewed.

After the interview and completion of arrest procedures, he was taken to Boroko Police Station where he was placed in the cells.

“He will appear before the Waigani District Committal Court next week to answer to his charges.”


US Coast Guard provides APEC Security

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The US Coast Guard is assisting the Joint Security Task Force provide in-shallow water maritime security just around the APEC haus and the three cruise ships in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Up to ninety five (95)United States Coast Guard personnel based out of Port Security 305, Virginia Coast have been in Port Moresby for over a week providing maritime security service, during the APEC 2018 Leaders Week and Summit.

The US Coast Guard unit PSU 3.0.5 Commanding Officer Michael McCarthy said they will be partnering with Australia, New Zealand and the PNG Water Police to monitor the restricted areas.

Commander McCarthy revealed that about 100 personnel will be providing the security equipped with 8 transportable port security boats.

He said the transportable port security boats are just under 10 meters long and they will be working in between the maritime restricted areas which have been established by the PNG Joint Security Task Force.

Meanwhile, he said so far interaction with locals around the coasts outside of Port Moresby City areas have been positive.

“We’ve had some fisherman out at sea, but we have spoken to them and passed on some fliers and it’s been a very friendly exchange,” said Commander McCarthy. PNGFM/PNG Today

My Phone Friend Raped me

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A 21 year old girl from Jiwaka Province was raped last Saturday night at Sogeri by someone whom she described as her former phone friend. This report was confirmed by Hohola Police Station Commander Mr Ben Kua.

Station Commander, Mr Ben Kua said, the Survivor who does not want to be named managed to escape early Sunday morning and laid compaints with the Hohola Police station.

Station Commander, Mr Ben Kua said the perpetrator was someone the victim knew; he was her phone friend and lived in Port Moresby whilst she was in Jiwaka early this year. The perpetrator promised her a good life and bought her plane ticket to Port Moresby.

The promise of a good life was only for a week, before he dumped her with his relatives at Burns Peak, Hohola and disappeared for a period of time. Sadly it was not long before she got kicked out of the house where she was living.

With no knowledge of the whole city, no knowledge of where she can find any relatives, she was lost as to how she will live and survive in the city.

“She was finding ways to go back home to Jiwaka, so she came to us to seek assistance,” said Mr Kua.

“We searched for any possible family members here but to no avail.”

Mr Kua said, “She does not have any family here to actually get them to contact families back in Jiwaka”.

Sadly the victim had to take shelter with a family from Southern Highlands who were generous enough to offer her a space in their family home.

Upon hearing that his phone friend was no longer living with his family, he came to Hohola Burns Peak to look for her. When he found her, he convinced her that he had come to take her to go and live with him.

They left on Saturday 03rd November for Sogeri.  Little did she know of what might happen during that night.

“The victim was raped three (3) times in the night by the perpetrator”, Mr Kua said.

“It was a good thing she managed to escape early Sunday morning, and wasted no time but came in to put a report of what had happened,”he said.

“We did a request for a medical report and we are currently writing a crime report”, Mr Kua said.

Mr Kua further explained that as soon as the medical report comes in, the suspect will be arrested. Currently the suspect is residing a tBurns Peak at Hohola.

It is sad to see that despite numerous efforts by Human Rights Defenders, Non –Government Organisation, Police and Family Sexual Violence Unit to fight against all forms of sexual violence, it is still increasing in the country. Sadly many rape victims or survivors suffer at the hands of those they know, trust and depend on.

November 9, 2018
Delilah PORAIKALI (UPNG Trainee student)/ PNGFM News

APEC 2018; History in the making for PNG

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Commentary by David Lepi

In a few days’ time Papua New Guinea will host the biggest international event ever. Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation is the most influential economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region. With 21-member economies it accounts for nearly 50% of the world trade and about 60% of world GDP. In total APEC houses 2.8 billion people or about 40% of the world’s population.

Established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific economies APEC aims to facilitate economic growth and prosperity in the region. Over the years it has developed various meetings including Economic Leaders Meeting and Ministerial Meeting. Ministers, delegates and technical experts gather together on different occasions trying to find consensus and doing business.

With time APEC has become a dynamic engine of economic growth. Real GDP in the region has increased from US16 trillion dollars in 1989 to US20 trillion dollars in 2015. Economic and financial co-operations aside APEC member economies have increasively working closely on issues like climate change, anti-terrorism, health and energy as well as communication in cultural sectors.

Winning the right to host the APEC Leaders’ Summit was a major achievement for PNG and the government is confident to a host successful event.

Naysayers are already cynical of the cost of the event which is at the tune of US200 million dollars but is expected to be earned back in subsequent investment many times over. And most importantly Papua New Guinea is not bearing the cost alone. Other countries are subsiding the cost, particularly, China and Australia. China built one of the APEC convention centers, road maintenance and re-sealing and a boulevard. Through assistance in kind providing people, security and training Australia is paying in between a quarter and third of the total APEC costs. And New Zealand too is sending hundreds of people to help protocol training.

APEC is becoming an opportunity for rival powers to get close to PNG and an example of the wider regions bigger countries trying to buy influence with smaller island nations in the pacific. PNG is very strategic given geographical proximity to Australia and New Zealand and its confluence towards South East Asia. China sees this strategic importance for its geo-politics and as one Chinese emissary once said, PNG is the gateway to the pacific.

Chinese President Xi Ping will be among the thousands of visiting delegations and world dignitaries with the notable omission of President Trump and Russia’s Putin. As far as geo-politics is concerned China already has the leverage to exert its position as the dominant leader in the region and extend its sphere of influence.

As time is ticking down to days and hours Papua New Guinea is expected to gain so much and will be remembered in the region as an APEC Leaders Summit hosting nation. And history will remember this government and its unprecedented achievement for a very long time.

Scott Morrison to reveal $3bn in Pacific funding to counter Chinese influence

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Scott Morrison will unveil a $2bn (US$1.46 million) infrastructure financing facility for the Pacific as part of new measures designed to project Australia as the region’s principal security and development partner at a time of rising Chinese influence.

Morrison will use a speech delivered at the Lavarack Barracks at Townsville on Thursday to flag the new program of loans and grants for infrastructure development in Pacific countries and Timor Leste, and the prime minister is also expected to commit an extra $1bn (US$727,000) for Efic, Australia’s export financing agency.

The injection of funding for Efic is intended for what Morrison characterises as “a new more flexible infrastructure financing power to support investments in the region which have a broad national benefit for Australia”.

The new infrastructure financing facility will prioritise investments in essential infrastructure like telecommunications, energy, transport, water, and Morrison will say the program “will stretch our aid dollars further”.

The speech provides no details about how the new measures will be funded.

As well as the proposed infrastructure rollout, which follows Morrison’s decision this week to rebuke the Victorian government for signing up to China’s Belt and Road initiative, Thursday’s speech will flag soft power initiatives, like getting more Australian content on Pacific television, and opening diplomatic missions in Palau, the Marshall Islands, French Polynesia, Niue and the Cook Islands.

It will also propose security commitments, like a Australian defence force mobile training team for the Pacific, more navy deployments, annual meetings between defence, police and border security comanders, and creating a Pacific faculty at the Australian Institute of Police Management.

Thursday’s commitments come ahead of Morrison’s participation in his first summit season as prime minister. He will attend the East Asia Summit and the Apec summit in Papua New Guinea next week.

Ahead of APEC, Morrison and his PNG counterpart, Peter O’Neill, signed off on a joint naval base to be located on Manus Island. The joint facility, agreed last week, crowds out an aspiration by Beijing to develop the port. The cost of the project is not yet clear.

Australia has been executing a strategic pivot to the Pacific both under Malcolm Turnbull and Morrison to try and hold out a soft power offensive by China in the region, executed predominately through loans and infrastructure projects delivered to the island nations.

China’s expansion in the region has coincided with the Coalition’s decision to cut Australia’s foreign aid budget, which foreign policy experts say has worked against Australia’s interests in the Pacific particularly in a time of uncertainty about America’s ongoing commitment to the region.

Australia stepped in recently to fund a new underwater internet cable for the Solomon Islands to lock the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei out of any deal, and the new fund will give the government firepower to counter similar overtures from Beijing.

Morrison is expected to say on Thursday that Australia’s national security and that of the Pacific are intertwined, and it is time to pursue a new chapter in regional relations.

“My government is returning the Pacific to where it should be – front and centre of Australia’s strategic outlook, foreign policy and personal connections, including at the highest levels of government.”

“This is our patch. This is where we have special responsibilities. We always have, and always will. We have their back, they have ours. We are more than partners by choice. We are connected as members of a Pacific family.”

The prime minister has been campaigning in marginal seats in Queensland this week, and he will characterise the state critical to the Coalition’s election fortunes as “our gateway to the Pacific”.

According to extracts of his speech, Morrison will say he wanted to outline the Pacific reboot at the Lavarack Barracks in the marginal Labor-held seat of Herbert, because servicemen and women were charged with putting the plan into action.

“Australia has an abiding interest in a southwest Pacific that is secure strategically, stable economically and sovereign politically,” he will say. “This is not just our region, or our neighbourhood. It’s our home.

“It’s where Australia can make the biggest difference in world affairs. A strong, stable region keeps all of us more secure and enables our economies to grow.”

Morrison will say while Australia has natural advantages as a security and development partner because of history, proximity and shared values, Australia cannot take its influence in the southwest Pacific for granted, “and too often we have”.



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