Television Access to Rural Areas Vital for Information and Awareness. BASIL

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Press Statement

Deputy Opposition Leader and Member for Bulolo Sam Basil said that information, news and awareness on government programs, general events and news is vital for development of the country. Also, it is important for the education of our children and assists in their world views and perspective that will shape the future of the country.

On behalf of the people of Bulolo, surrounding districts and Morobe Province, I thank EMTV for presentation of EMTV decoders that will enable the people to have access to real events with pictures to complement the print and radio media as well as social media, which people pay to subscribe to access.

Being here today to receive the EMTV Decoders shows the commitment my District has to telecommunication in ensuring dissemination of information, issues, and current affairs in Papua New Guinea, the region and the world to my people of Bulolo District.

Upon the announcement of EMTV to change its decoders that will enhance the signal quality for its viewers, we (Bulolo District) acted responsibly and paid for the decoders as the district cannot wait to be left in the dark. We have to flow and run with the changes in order to keep our people on par with Port Moresby and Lae residents.

Mr Basil said currently we have Transmission setup in Mumeng LLG, Buang LLG, Bulolo & Wau Township for wireless transmission whilst Baiune and Leklu Villages are on Cable network. Garaina station and Watut will have their transmission piggy backed on the current VSAT systems and will be installed soon.

Information, news and awareness comes with a cost and and maintenance and license fees, which is unaffordable to our ordinary people. Before I provide details of costs, I would like to call upon the Government through the Minister for Communications, Hon. Jimmy Miringtoro to start looking at options to make EMTV and Kundu 2 and other television services more affordable to the bulk of the rural populace.

This can be done by subsidising cost to engage the transmission of Kundu 2 and EMTV onto a better satellite systems. Satellites that transmit BBC World news, ABC, Lotus Macau, MTV plus others on a Free to Air (FTA) programs that are informative and educational to our people.

Anybody can set up their system in their backyard for at least under K1000.00. However, the current cost associated in establishing EMTV and Kundu 2 is astronomical and not affordable for ordinary Papuan New Guineans.

Kundu 2 costs about K70, 000.00 for initial installation and then there is monthly rental charges on the VSAT system. If my district wants to have Kundu 2 signal retransmitted on a 100 Watt VHF Transmitter to give wireless access to my people, the cost is expected to be K150,000.00 plus. There is also a NICTA charge yearly for the use of Kundu 2 VHF frequency.

On the other hand, EMTV cost about K25,000.00 for the installation of a cable network setup for a village but would at least cost almost K300,000.00 plus to retransmit on a 200 Watt VHF Transmitter for wireless access. There is also a NICTA charge of K26, 000.00 which the district pays yearly for the retransmission of signals using EMTV VHF frequency. If the District does not receives its DSIP funds on timely manner, the people will suffer as service providers must be paid. Otherwise, the people will be forced to contribute, which is a huge administrative burden covering wide area.

EMTV has coverage in almost all centres of Papua New Guinea and that must be encouraged to continue. Kundu 2 is struggling to reach to the rural populace and therefore I take this time to once again call on the Minister for Communication and his department to seriously assist in all ways possible to help Kundu 2 extend its coverage to the entire country and make it affordability for both services (Kundu 2 & EMTV) cheaper for ordinary Papua New Guineans.

My people have access to radio and program content must have development aspects and national content and patriotism. Whilst print media takes time to reach our people, this are a must for the people. My JDBPPC is looking at engaging with print media to have once a week newspaper delivered to all the councilors and LLG office so that the people have access to radio, television and print media. What is not captured in the television can be accessed from radio or newspaper or vice versa.

In conclusion, news, information, awareness and entertainment is vital for our children's education as well as the people to use it for their betterment and the progress of the country.

Sam Basil, MP 
Deputy Opposition Leader 
Member for Bulolo

Kua says PNG needs to give death penalty a go

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Papua New Guinea's Justice Minister Kerenga Kua that says the government can always readjust its position on the death penalty if it doesn't prove to be effective, Radio New Zealand reports. 
Kerenga Kua says the execution of thirteen people currently on death row will happen after an appropriate method of execution has been found and a facility built later this year.
Mr Kua says there has been vocal opposition to the plans from human rights groups, but nothing else has helped address the country's high rates of violence.
"As I have always said, nothing is cast in concrete and we can always adjust our position down the track after we see how effective or ineffective this process is. But we've got to be given the opportunity to try it out."
Kerenga Kua says the thirteen people currently sitting on death row have committed horrendous crimes.
They include one who slaughtered his family in a premeditated attack. RNZI

PNG Barramundis lose to Scotland

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PNG Barramundis in action. Photo. PNGEDGE
The PNG Hebou Barramundis have suffered another blow of defeat today against Scotland losing by 52 runs at the 50 Overs World Cup Qualifiers Super Sixes playoffs underway in New Zealand.

Barramundis chances of qualifying for the World Cup could be on the edge after losing their two games against United Arab Emirates and Scotland in the Super Sixes playoffs.

Scotland won the toss earlier and elected to bat scoring 288 runs all out after 50 overs, setting a target of 289 runs for PNG to chase.

PNG bowlers Raymond Haoda, Norman Vanua, Willie Gavera and Mahuru Dai took out two wickets each. Norman Vanua was the most expensive bowler with 62 runs of his nine overs bowled. PL Mommsen scored the highest for Scotland making 94 runs and belting ten 4s.   

At a run rate of 5.76 runs per over, Scotland made 200 runs after 36.2 overs while PNG made 200 runs after 40.6 overs at a run rate of 5.22 runs per over.

In the PNG Innings, Lega Siaka was the first to go scoring only 13 runs of 10 balls. Highest scorers opening batsman Vani Morea made 57 and bowler Mahuru Dai made 50 runs.

Barras bottom order batsmen suffered scoring only single figures which resulted in PNG all out after just 45.1 overs. PNG will play their final ‘must win’ game against Hong Kong on Jan 30 at Bert Sutcliffe Oval.



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PNG Parliament . Photo: pngparliament.gov.pg
The National Executive Council has recently endorsed a proposed Juvenile Justice bill to be introduced in Parliament this year. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said Cabinet approved an Act titled Juvenile Justice Bill 2014 for introduction in the next Parliament sitting.

Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said Papua New Guinea does not have a comprehensive juvenile justice system.
“The current Juvenile Courts Act 1991 has major challenges in the area of juvenile reforms, including inadequate reflection of concepts and innovations such as diversion and restorative justice. It also lacks a statement of general principles.

“The National Law & Justice sector policy approved by NEC in August 2001, highlights restorative justice as the foundation for PNG’s future law and justice programs. Juvenile Justice was identified as a priority area for reform,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the aim of the proposed bill is to build on the Juvenile Courts Act 1991 by establishing a system of remedies, protection and cautions including restorative justice for dealing with juvenile offenders.

“More importantly, it will establish preventive measures to rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders into the community and facilitate timely steps to protect the rights of children and guide them to become better citizens,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.

The proposed bill promotes:

- Diversions and mediation, drawn from traditional Melanesian and restorative justice values as an alternative to imprisonment;

- Rehabilitation;

- Fast-track police processing of juvenile cases and the reduction of unnecessary pre-trial detention;

- The prevention of the abuse of juveniles within the criminal justice system;

- Separate and upgrade Correctional Services and Police lock-up facilities for juveniles;

- Increased monitoring of juvenile conditions within Police lock-ups and CS facilities through inspections by Juvenile Court Magistrates; and

- Training of Juvenile police officers and voluntary Juvenile Court officers.

Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said the proposed bill and the related consequential amendment bills to the Lukautim Pikinini (Child) Act 2009, Criminal Code Act 1974, Correctional Services Act 1995 and Village Courts Act 1989 are needed in order to address the special needs for children who come into conflict with the law.

PNG Today / PNC

PNG Government dismisses rumours of Police Commissioner's sacking

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PNG Police Commisioner. Toami Kulunga 
According to Media statement from the PM's office posted on People's National Congress Facebook pages, Police Commisioners, Toami Kulunga has not been sacked as circulated in the social media.

The statement says 'there is NO truth in the social media about the Police Commissioner being sacked. Its important that people understand that there are lots of rumours, stories and lies within the social media channels / networks. Its important that if you are reading social media, that you seek official statements not just comments from individuals. Many of the comments within this space are not confirmed are only speculation or wishful thinking to create doubt in peoples minds'.

The Government is in full support of the Police Commissioner, and have total confidence in him. The Police Commissioner is a career officer and has dedicated his life to law and order, and has done an exceptional job. The Police Commissioner will see out the full term of his contract within the PNG Police Force.


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PNG Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil.
The Deputy Opposition Leader is concerned that politics in Papua New Guinea is focused on the Members of Parliament whilst the core element of our Westminster system is given little notice let alone it's accountability and visibility in the public sphere.

Mr Basil said the PNC Party as a leading political party owes an explanation to the public regarding the conduct of it's Political Leaders and Party Executives.

Recently PNC Party politicians and executives have been named in corruption issues and civil cases that leaves a lot of questions about the party's credibility to govern this nation.

In other democracies such incidences would require explanations on its election issues and policies and even automatically trigger the accused to relinquish their positions to allow investigations to be carried out to clear their names before assuming office or their resignation if found to compromise the party or investigations confirms the allegations.

He said the is urgency for constitutional bodies tasked with supervision or enforcement of various code of conduct and ethics needed to be strengthened by the watchdogs, anti-corruption agencies and responsible officers such as Registrar of Political Parties and Candidates and the Chief Ombudsman over political parties and it's executives.

The PNC led government has announced major policies which will see billions of Kina appropriated or announced to be spent on those unprecedented policies but the question of credibility remains on those politician and the executives of PNC Party, the very people who will handle the implementation of those projects.

Every thinking Papua New Guineans should be asking if this country is in the safe hands and people associated with PNC Party should be trusted to have the keys to the lives of the 7.5 million people of PNG?

The magnitude of the risks that PNC Party has created for Papua New Guineans for far is so great and is adding daily.

He said the silence of the constitutional bodies is so deafening. These bodies should not wait until damage is done to prosecute the offense. It is about stating the facts and to guide the leadership of the country. These institutions are established to counsel and direct leaders and should the leaders persist, formal investigations are carried out to prosecute the breach.

He said it is time to revisit the political party system, parliamentary practice and process as well as the Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates as well as Leadership Code.

Electronic Billboards for Lae City

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Lae MP Loujaya Kouza
Lae city will soon have electronic billboards  to provide vital information to the people in the city. Member for Lae and Minister for Youth , Religion and Community Development Loujaya Kouza presented a cheque of  K130,000 to a local company Ad Effect Limited to erect electronic Billboards in three locations in th city.

 Minister Loujaya said the billbards will  co-inside with the next PNG Games in November of, where scores and game results will be displayed on the boards.

Mr Charles Jons in receiving the cheque thanked the member for Lae, and said they are committed to bringing their service to Lae city.

The Minister during the Cheque presenting also said that, there were many good things happening in Lae city that people are not aware of and this is one way to assist people to know what we are going to be doing in bringing a new face lift to Lae city.

Kouza is very adamant in bringing the much needed change. Despite the negative publicity of Lae in recent months, Minister Kouza, has begun making many new changes in Lae city as well as around Morobe.

Kouza has also embarked on a Solor power project, where  Solor lights will be put around Lae city to brighten the streets at night saving electrical expenses. Already work is on its way on this project.

Bieber behind bars: Foul-mouthed pop star faces prison

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Bieber behind bars. Photo. Getty Images
POP star Justin Bieber may have been on his mum's anti-anxiety medication when he was arrested for drag racing, driving under the influence and resisting arrest in Florida.

Bieber was arrested after drag racing on a Miami Beach street in a yellow Lamborghini and failing a sobriety test, before resisting arrest and going on a foul-mouth tirade at police.

The teen star admitted to cops that he was under the influence of marijuana, alcohol and prescription medication, police said.

The singer reportedly told police he was on anti-anxiety medication, but says he doesn't know which one because he just takes whatever his mum gives him, police sources told TMZ. The comments could land Bieber in more hot water, if he is found to be taking his mother's medication, believed to be Xanax, without a prescription.

After posting $US2500 ($2800) bail, Bieber left prison this morning, hopping up on the roof of a waiting SUV and waving to his devoted "Beliebers".

When pulled over in the early hours of the morning, the belligerent pop star repeatedly asked cops "what the f*** are you doing?" and "why did you stop me?", and resisted arrest when the officers tried to pat him down, the Miami police report says.

Police say they clocked Bieber, 19, going 55-60mp/h (88-97km/h) in a 30mp/h (48km/h) zone and pulled him over.

"I immediately smelled an odour of alcohol eminating from the driver's breath and bloodshot eyes. The driver had slow deliberate movements" and look of stupor on his face, the police report states.

Bieber repeatedly berated cops, asking "Why the f*** are you doing this?" and "What the f*** did I do? Why did you stop me?"

When cops attempted to pat him down, an angry Bieber ranted "I ain't got no f***king weapons. Why do you have to search me? What the f*** is this about?", the arresting officer writes. The pop star was arrested after repeatedly refusing to put his hands on his vehicle, and for swatting away a police officer who grabbed him.

Cops also discovered he had an expired Georgia driver's licence. TMZ reports Bieber told police he was on anxiety medication, which he says he got from his mum.

On the way to the police station, the singer told cops he had been coming home from a studio recording session.

Police also released Bieber's mug shot, showing the singer grinning into the camera while wearing an orange prison jumpsuit.

Miami Dade-Police spokesman Sgt. Bobby Hernandez said officers spotted a red Ferrari and Bieber's yellow Lamborghini drag racing at 4.09am local time Thursday (8.09pm AEDT).

Cops pulled over Bieber, who failed a field sobriety test at the scene. He was arrested and taken to the Miami Beach police station for a Breathalyser test and processing. A van believed to be transporting Bieber has arrived at Miami-Dade County jail. The van, with blacked-out windows, was trailed by squad cars.

Two other vehicles had been used to block off an area so Bieber could drag race, cops said.

The Ferrari was being driven by R&B singer Khalil, who was also arrested, reports TMZ. Bieber also had a passenger in his car, model Chantel Jeffries.

An email seeking comment from Bieber's publicist Melissa Victor was not immediately returned.

The street where police say Bieber was racing is a palm-tree-lined residential area lined with apartment buildings, a high school and a youth centre. It's a short drive from trendy South Beach, where celebrities are known to let loose. George Avilas, who lives nearby said he didn't hear anything, but was not surprised to hear that people might be drag-racing.

"There's so much partying in Miami Beach, it's been known to happen,'' he said. "It's 4 o'clock in the morning, everybody is just getting out of the bars.''

The Canadian singer faces a maximum of six months in jail if found guilty. Under Florida law, people under the age of 21 are considered driving under the influence if they have a blood-alcohol content of .02 per cent or more - a level Bieber could reach with one drink. For a first DUI, there is no minimum sentence and a maximum of six months, a fine of $US250 to $US500, and 50 hours of community service. For anyone under 21, there is an automatic six-month license suspension.

The arrest follows reports that Bieber dropped $75,000 in just a few hours in a Miami strip club.

The superstar headed to strip club King of Diamonds on Monday night, which was celebrating Martin Luther King Day and rapper Lil Scrappy's 30th birthday.

A rep for the club told TMZ that Justin, "got $75k in 1 dollar bills and went wild."

The club, located in Miami Gardens, throws a series of wild themed nights including "Rodeo Wednesdays" and "Monday Night Fight Night".

Bieber had earlier jetted into Miami from a ski trip in Colorado, and was earlier seen dropping into hot Miami Beach club Mansion.

Bieber's arrival in Florida earlier this week also is under investigation. Authorities in the suburban Miami city of Opa-locka are investigating whether the singer was given a police escort when he landed Monday at the Opa-locka Executive Airport.

"The escort was unauthorised by police administration,'' said Assistant City Manager David Chiverton.

At least two marked police cars provided Bieber with an escort from the airport, but it was not clear where they went, Mr Chiverton said. Police escorts from the airport are not uncommon, but they must follow procedure because they involve city vehicles, he said.

PNG Today/Yahoo/Post Courier

Lae city on fire

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THE Brian Bell shop in Lae was gutted by fire last night. The cause of the fire was not known. It comes on the back of another fire that gutted properties of two business houses about a fortnight ago.
Meanwhile  bystanders and others who have went to witnessed the fire alleged police involvement in the massive looting of electronic and hardware goods from the buildings.

Millions of kina worth of goods including gensets, PA systems, refrigerators, stereos, television sets and hardware goods including roofing irons were looted from the buildings including some fully loaded 40ft containers outside.

Many said instead of keeping looters away from the scene, a police Task Force unit was reportedly parked next to the looters’ access and was loaded to the brim with goods seized from the opportunists. 

Frustrated and angered residents said many people have been severely manhandled and threatened by certain police officers using high powered rifles and got away with away with most of the goodies.

This newsroom also identified a lot of police vehicles fully loaded with goods and driven around the city last night but the question on where the goods are now being kept and for what purposes remains to be answered by Lae Metropolitan Superintendent Commander Ivan Lakatani.

PNG Population Boom

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Port Moresby population is also increasing
Papua New Guinea’s population stands at around 7.8 million.

The Census 2011 figures, finally released yesterday after a three-year delay, puts the total population figure at 7.3 million, but with the annual growth rate of 3.1 percent, it was assumed that the real figure would stand at approximately 7.8 million, said Planning Minister Charles Abel after releasing the figures yesterday.

Mr Abel said in year 2000 the population was 5.2 million and in 2011, as released by the National Statistical office yesterday, it stands at 7.3 million.

"These final census figures have been long in coming, these census figures are supposed to be produced every 10 years, in the last 38 years, governments have managed to have three census and this is the fourth one," Mr Abel said. That translates to an annual population growth rate of 3.1 percent.

This meant that since 2011, with the growth rate of 3 percent, PNG would have approximately 7.8 million people.

PNG Rugby League star Wellington Albert could play first Grade in the NRL

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Penrith bound Albert Wellington 
EMERGING Papua New Guinea rugby league star Wellington Albert can be called up to play in NRL club Penrith Panthers’ top grade this year.
Albert’s two-year contract links him to the Panthers’ Holden Cup team for 2014 but the Southern Highlander can be thrust into the world’s toughest competition sooner if coach Ivan Cleary believes he can make the gigantic step up earlier.
PNG Rugby Football League CEO Brad Tassell, well-versed with the contractual details of Albert’s engagement, made this clarification yesterday.
“He (Albert) has every chance (of playing top grade),” Tassell said.
However, Albert’s development would be gradual as with most NRL clubs – where they kept youngsters in the Holden Cup and other “nurseries” before ushering them to top grade football when they were ready for the step up in class.
Tassell declined to disclose monetary details of Albert’s contract – that it was a confidential matter between the player and Panthers, but his earnings could increase if he gets a call-up to play top grade football. 
Albert boards a plane for Australia today to honor his two-year contract which guarantees him a spot in Penrith’s 25-member squad in 2015.
Tassell explained that Albert had signed an attractive contract because of the great consultations between all who were involved.
He made particular mention of player agent Steve Deacon, a “must have” person in such negotiations as they were well-versed with dealing with NRL clubs. 
“Players must have a player agent…they protect players’ interest,” Tassell said.
“Wellington is a perfect example. We placed him with a reliable player manager who advised him, his family and us through the entire process.
“We then advised him on what we believed was best for his career and when he secured his contract the PNGRFL then applied for his visa to enable him to take up his contract.” 
Tassell said they could do that for other PNG players if they approached him. 
He said PNGRFL now had a structure in place to deal with processing of visas.
 “We have worked very closely with Australian Immigration and understand thoroughly what is required depending upon the situation of our players and this comes from experience and consultation.
“I have read with interest various media reports on players having trouble obtaining visas.
“However if they contact the PNGRFL in the first instance and notify us then we can advise them on the correct procedures required and assist in that process.”
Tassell said there was another PNG player, whom he declined to name, who was being considered for an NRL contract.

PNG Today/The National

Parkop considers plastic ban in Port Moresby

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NCDC to ban Plastic in Port Moresby
The National Capital District is considering a ban on certain plastics in Port Moresby.

Governor Powes Parkop has announced his administration is working on cleaning up the capital and then improving people's lifestyles.

Mr. Parkop says Port Moresby has a big problem with people littering plastic bottles, bags and coverings.

"People just dispose it out of their car windows and you know, when they go to have lunch or just anytime they just throw it out of the window or leave it in public places and it clogs over drains and the waterways, and then it goes down to the shores at the sea. 

"It also contributes to environmental problems, and affect the marine life as well," Governor Parkop said.

Solomon Islands Teachers threaten to boycott

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Samson Faisi. Photo Souce: Solomon Star
Members of Solomon Islands National Teachers Association (SINTA) in Honiara have threatened to boycott the start of 2014 academic year next week, Solomon Star reports. 

SINTA industrial relations officer Samson Faisi said if council fails to listen to teachers’ call for the removal of Don Houkura, they will likely to boycott classes next week.

Faisi said Honiara teachers attending a meeting on Monday had called for the removal of former HCC education Chief Education Officer and now HCC education director Don Houkura from office.

 “In our meeting, all the teachers openly spoke their minds that they do not like Houkura to be in office,” Faisi said.

Faisi said SINTA will draft a letter to request the attendance of Mayor and Clerk for a meeting tomorrow to explain to teachers on what grounds and reasons council wants to keep Don Houkura.

He said teachers want this issue settled so that they can concentrate and prepare for the start of 2014 academic year.

“Whilst teachers respect the decision of the ministry of education to terminate Houkura, they see no reason why council still want to hold on to Houkura. Why don’t council respect the ministry’s decision as the mother body?” the teachers questioned.

Faisi said for this reason the Honiara teachers said they will not listen to Houkura since he is not answerable to the mother ministry.

Adding, teachers do not want to see the presence of Houkura in the HCC’s education office since HCC has already appointed a new CEO who is answerable to them.

He said teachers cannot tolerate Houkura’s presence and call on HCC to relocate Houkura to another office and not in the CEO’s office.

Honiara teachers further demand HCC to meet their housing allowances and clearly explain the process in which the 2014 teachers’ postings were done,” Faisi said.

Faisi said SINTA will as of tomorrow welcome teachers’ signatures for a petition to remove Don Houkura.

“If HCC fail to accept the petition, teachers will boycott classes as of next week as the second step to take,” Faisi said.

Meanwhile Faisi said SINTA will consult with the ministry of education to de-register HCC education authority for going on its own way to create a director’s post within its education structure which has never been authorised and approved by the mother ministry.

“What HCC education authority has done does not go in line with the ministry’s structure therefore should be deregistered for its action,” Faisi added.

Stressing SINTA will be writing to the ministry to deregister HCC education authority as their third step.

The call for Houkura’s removal came following allegations that he,

Terminating teachers without any good reasons;

Failing to comply with Solomon Islands teachers hand book when making decisions;

Failure to carry out inspection on teachers;

Allegations which Houkura dismissed, saying they were based on personal grudges against him.

Meanwhile city Clerk Charles Kelly said he welcomes the concerns of SINTA, however stressed that SINTA need to know that council is a separate body that has its own internal affairs.

Kelly said if SINTA is very concerned, then they need to discuss such issues internally with council’s education committee since it is the council’s legal body to deal with education matters of council.

The city clerk has given the green light to meet with SINTA tomorrow as planned. However stressed that council’s education standing committee will have a meeting today to discuss education matters and SINTA should come forward with their concerns before the committee.

Solomon Star


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A notice has been served to all logging operators in the Gulf province to suspend operations in light of the expiry of the Amended Permit 2-16 of 2008 which they operate under..

The Gulf Provincial Government and the Forestry Resource Owners in the province announced the suspension of the logging operations which became effective as of Monday this week.

In making the announcement, Gulf Governor Havila Kavo says logging has been in the Province for over 20 years but to date, no tangible development has taken place.

He points out that since the permit lapsed 7 months ago, PNGFA has failed in it's duties to ensure all stakeholders seek a review. 

The resource owners, meantime, have come up with five resolutions, including immediate suspension of logging operations, a review must take place at the project site, PNGFA must fund the review, all project development benefits must be transferred to the provincial government and all timber and logging operations in the province subjected to review.

Governor Kavo says Frontier Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of R-H owes the province over 16-million kina for the registration of vehicles used in the logging camps. 

He says the company has been given 21-days to pay up or all vehicles will be grounded.

Attempts to seek comments from PNGFA were unsuccessful.


PNG Government bans Visas on arrival for Australian citizens

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PNG PM Peter O'neill. Photo: Getty Images
Papua New Guinea government has banned the issuing of Visas on arrival for Australian citizens.  Prime  Minister Peter O’Neill confirmed  that Cabinet made a decision last week to ban visas on arrival for Australians except for those travelling by boat to ports like Kokopo and Tabubil.

The ban, expected to come into force after Mr O’Neill signs off on it, will mean Australian passport holders will need to apply from home before visiting their closest neighbour.

"There is no discrimination whatsoever. All Australian’s travelling to PNG have to get a visa before arrival, except for those Australians who are travelling by boat to ports like Kokopo or Tabubil who will get a visa on arrival because of the difficulties in obtaining them beforehand," Mr O’Neill said.

"But this is all across the world, not only Australia. We have similar arrangements with other countries and we will make sure similar arrangements are in place for other world partners. It is the same arrangement….it’s called reciprocal rights."

Mr O’Neill in an interview yesterday said there was no discrimination whatsoever intended.

In recent days stories have circulated on PNG social media that the National Executive Council has approved the ban when it met last week.

The Tourism Promotion Authority was unaware of the change in the rules until contacted by AAP on Monday.

Tourism Promotion Authority spokesman Colin Taimbari  then sought confirmation from the department of immigration.

"They said the withdrawal of the visa for Australians will come into effect when the Prime Minister signs it," he said. "It will not be in effect until it is signed."

Traditionally a 60-day tourism visa can be issued upon arrival in Port Moresby.

When asked if a ban on visa on arrivals will be a blow for PNG’s struggling tourism industry, Mr Taimbari said "definitely", but declined to comment further.

PNG already has visa-on-arrival bans for all African countries, all Middle Eastern countries and all Caribbean island states.

It also bans visas on arrival for Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian and Russian nationals, among others.

In November 2013 it was reported Mr O’Neill threatened to withdraw visa-on-arrival arrangements with Australia unless Australia reciprocated.

"This visa on arrival business for all Australians will be withdrawn by the following year if we don’t get a similar arrangement with them," Mr O’Neill told the ABC.
ABC/Post Courier

Fiji PM to launch political party in March after quitting military post

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Fiji PM Commodore Frank Bainiamarama. Getty Image
The Fiji prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainiamarama, is reported to be launching his political party on March the 1st to contest the election he has promised for September.
The date has been reported by the Fiji Sun website, which says the regime leader will quit as military commander at the end of next month.
Last week, Fiji media reported to would quit his military role in March.
There is no indication what the party will be called.
Last year, Commodore Bainimarama signalled he would stand for office, saying he expected to win the election.
In December 2006, his coup ousted Laisenia Qarase as prime minister and Commodore Bainimarama installed Jona Senilagakali as head of government.
A month later he took over the prime minister's job after the Great Council of Chiefs refused to confirm as the president and re-instated Ratu Josefa Iloilo as head of state.


Case withdrawn, costs against Namah

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PNG Opposition Leader Belden Namah: Getty Images

 The controversial proceedings to be heard today in the court at Waigani were withdrawn by Counsel for Hon Belden Namah, Alois Jerewai, in lieu of new proceedings that had been filed by him on behalf of Namah last Friday, that included the four members of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

Although Jerewai wanted to carry the costs across to the new proceedings, lawyer Tiffany Twivey – Nonggorr, acting for the Prime Minister, argued against, saying that the the proceedings that Namah had initially filed were not “proper” and that Namah should pay costs of all defendants including the four policemen involved.

The sitting judge agreed and all costs were awarded against Namah.

The new matter was adjourned in order for all parties to be served – until then, the content of the filing is not widely known but it is believed to involve the four members of the RPNGC. Hon Don Polye and Hon James Marape were also joined to the proceedings.

In the interim, the court has made an order restraining all parties and police from affecting any arrests concerning the subject matter and all parties have been restrained from taking any steps concerning the subject matter of the new adjourned case, including any steps that would be detrimental to peace and good order.

The matter has been adjourned for three weeks

Source: PNG ECHO

O'neill Government has series problems

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

Mr. Basil
The PNG Opposition has warned that the O’Neill Government has a more serious problem in its hands than it is admitting.

Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil highlighted two issues which he has called on the media to probe and bring the Government to account for; the 2014 budget deficit which he describes as a rushed, template copy of the 2013 budget deficit, and the other is the International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) loan which the Government has to explain how it will repay next Month, March 14.

On the budget 2014 deficit, he says it will be a lot higher than what was announced where the details were not well explained and where the O’Neill Government would not be able to account properly for their financial promises.

He said there had been many a ‘smoke and mirror’ charade by the O’Neill Government with media statements lacking facts. As forewarned, he says, the Government had been unable to pay the District Services Improvement Program  (DSIP) funds on time as required by the Constitution which should tell the people that something is going on that is not transparent or fair for the people.

He says the 2014 budget and a ‘a very suspicious supplementary budget for 2013’ should serve as warnings to PNG citizens about this Government, especially when the budget has not taken into account how the IPIC loan is to be repaid come march, 2014.  He says the PM had already stated that the state would get back the Oil Search shares but there had been no media commentary or proper account of how this was going to happen. "We have seen reports in the media that international banks are bidding for the refinancing but some details have not been given to the public or accounted for in the 2014 Budget or any facts given,’’ said Mr Basil.

"To state the obvious, the O’Neill Government does not have a plan for the return of the Oil Search shares and with time against them, they will complete a transaction that is not beneficial to PNG, or they will do nothing at all.

"The prediction by the Opposition is that the O’Neill Government will say the best outcome was addressed and concluded when there are beneficial alternatives or give the PNG public a mundane excuse as to why the OS shares did not come back to the citizens of PNG; the

O’Neill Government cannot let the latter occur as it is an asset that bears value in terms of income and capital growth to PNG.’’

He said Papua New Guineans needed to know what was happening with the IPIC loan so that if the OS shares were foregone as a State asset under the O’Neill government, then every citizen would know what they were trying to hide and "judge them on the basis of truth rather than the lies that they give us’’.

PNG Today / Post Courier

PNG Hebou Barramundis go down against Netherlands

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in ,

Barras go down to Netherlands. Photo: Getty Images
The PNG Hebou Barramundis were defeated badly by the Netherlands today in the 50 Overs World Cup Qualifiers at Pukekura Park in New Zealand.

Netherlands won the toss earlier and elected to bat first making a total of 4/323 runs after 50 overs with an excellent run rate of 6.46 runs per over. They won by 130 runs after bowling PNG all out for 193 runs in just 37.2 overs.

The Netherlands’ innings saw ES Szwarczynski scoring the highest runs of 129 not out, followed by W Barresit on 69 and PW Borren on 65.

PNG’s best bowler for the innings was Willie Gavera, who took out two wickets, one maiden and 49 runs in his eight overs bowled.

The two other wickets were taken by Pipi Raho and Charles Amini, who bowled 10 overs each. Raymond Haoda was the most expensive bowler with 77 runs of nine overs.

In the PNG innings, wickets fell fast with Lega Siaka first to go after 3.3 overs when the score was 1/17. Assad Vala was out for a duck in just 4.3 overs leaving PNG score of 2/17.

Captain Chris Amini only made nine runs before he was out after 8.4 overs.  After 10 overs PNG was 4/30 following the dismissal of Tony Ura.

With all the top batsmen out, wickets began to fall quickly for the Barras as Vice-Captain Jack Vare held on to keep the runs going.

Vare made the highest runs of 96 of 59 balls where he hit seven 4s and seven big 6s before he was bowled out by MAA Jamil. The Barras had a good run rate of 5.16 runs per over but ran out of wickets in the end.

So far the Barramundis has won two of its four games in Pool A with one more match to go against Namibia on Jan 23 in Tauranga.. PNG Today/ PNG EDGE

Namah stops arrest

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

PNG Opposition Leader Belden Namah stops Arrest.
Opposition Leader Belden Namah has taken out court orders stopping police from arresting him.

Mr. Namah took out the orders this morning from National Court judge Justice Catherine Davani, in an urgent "camera" hearing.

Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga issued directions for Namah's arrest on Saturday, for allegedly threatening him.

Lawyer Alois Jerewai whose representing the Opposition Leader has written to Commissioner Kulunga, telling him to cancel his directions to arrest Mr. Namah.

Copies of the letter made available to the media says in parts, that Mr. Namah poses no threat to Mr. Kulunga, and that his interpretation of an initial letter by Mr. Namah is wrong and his claim is of an unfounded and non-existent threat.

The matter will return to court tomorrow morning at half-past-9.

Mr. Namah's Gordons residence in Port Moresby has been crowded with public since morning giving him support, following news of the Commissioner's direction to arrest him.

Mr. Namah told hundreds who gathered at his house, that his security guards had a heated argument with some police units who had gone there to arrest him earlier. PNG Today/NBC

Mario mesmerizes Port Moresby fans

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in

Mario performed live in Port Moresby. Photo Source: PNGEDGE
Mario has left Port Moresby fans mesmerized after a stunning performance last night at the Cosmopolitan.

The Vision City complex was packed to capacity with many taxis and vehicles congesting traffic along the Waigani drive as early as 7pm yesterday.

The crowd of over a thousand were pre-entertained with local vocals by Alison Joyce belting out R&B hits and popular Animal Audio with their hit Come retire with me that got the crowd on the dance floor.

New York-based DJ Vicious scratched his disks to welcome Mario to a screaming house.

“I never knew Papua New Guinea, but coming here has made me love PNG…PNG I love you,” said Mario on stage before belting out his first hit Crying out for me.

His performance got the crowd going when he invited a group of fans on stage to share Champaign and dance on stage with him.

Mario brought some fans, especially young girls, to tears when he reached out for them to touch his hand during his performance.

But the best was reserved for the last when he sang his popular hit You should let me love you that got everyone singing.

Most fans described the concert as the best they have been to saying their money was worth the concert.

Paula Regione, a fan who caught Mario’s shirt when he took it off and threw it into the crowd, said she won’t be washing the shirt, adding “I will make sure I frame this shirt and have it on my wall.”

Mario departed Port Moresby this morning for New Zealand to continue his Soul Truth tour.


PNG Barramundis into Cup Contention

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in ,

PNG Barramundis. Photo: Getty Images
'Papua New Guinea are poised to take the crown for 2014's most uplifting cricket story if their form continues at the International Cricket Council World Cup qualifying tournament in New Zealand' The New Zeland Herald reports. 

On Monday, PNG chased 250 runs to beat Kenya with eight wickets and 7.1 overs to spare in New Plymouth. On Thursday, they rolled Uganda for 105 and took just 17 overs to win by nine wickets at the same venue. They play the Netherlands today. If PNG make the February 1 final, they're guaranteed a World Cup place. 

Milne Bay islets for sale

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in ,

Milne Bay Islands. Photo credit. Milne Bay Group
RICH businessmen from around the world will be targeted in the sales campaign of the Conflict Islands in Milne Bay. 
As indicated by London-based entrepreneur Ian Gowrie-Smith, the islands were valued at US$25 million (K60.5 million) when he bought them in 2003.
Gowrie-Smith told the Financial Review that he was open to offers and ideas.
He said the Conflict Islands were the only known freehold islands available in Papua New Guinea.
He has developed a resort on the third-largest island, Panasesa, which has a 650m runway – which he said could accommodate most private jets, after a leisurely four-hour flight from Sydney. 
The largest island, Irai, has 7,000m of beachfront land and capacity for a 3,000m jet runway.
Gowrie-Smith said he was just as interested in what buyers intended for the atoll as the prices they were willing to pay.
It is anticipated that if the right joint-venture partner puts a hand up, he would enjoy exploring conservation opportunities. 
Ideally, he hopes to find like-minded investors keen to preserve its diverse ecology while opening up tourism opportunities. 
The 21 pristine islands are located south east of the country at the top of the Coral Sea or at the lower end of the D’Entrecasteaux Straits.
The Conflict Islands were named after their 1886 discovery by naval survey ship The Conflict.
Gowrie-Smith had built a solid rapport with the local government and a proposal was before government for a special economic zone for the broader Milne Bay, which would include tax incentives to encourage investment.
The islands can be owned by non-PNG citizens through company structures and the 21 islands are divided into nine PNG companies.
Owning an island is a popular asset for rich people, either as a private getaway or as a tourism investment. 
They are world renowned for diving and fishing and are one of the world’s most beautiful and unspoiled locations – only four hours from Syd-ney. – Australian Financial Review

Prime Minister O'neill set for historical visit to Bougainville

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

PNG Prime Minister Peter O'neill
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill and a government entourage are all set to visit Central Bougainville, specifically Panguna, in two weeks time.

An advance team is already in Bougainville to prepare for the landmark visit by the Prime Minister.

As part of Peter O’Neill’s country-wide tour, he will visit Buka on January 27, Arawa and Panguna on January 28 and overnight in Buin until January 29 when he returns to Port Moresby.

He will be the first Prime Minister to visit Central and South Bougainville since the peace agreement was signed on August 02, 2002.  He will be only the second Prime Minister to visit Central Bougainville since the Crisis. The first was Bill Skate who arrived in Arawa in 1998 to broker the ceasefire between the PNG government and the rebels.

Sir William’s visit ultimately ended the island’s prolonged bloody war of secession. In 1997, Sir William, of the National Congress Party, was elected prime minister and promised that peace in Bougainville would be his highest priority.

This led to the signing of a ceasefire agreement, the Rotokas Record, and a movement towards peace and autonomy for Bougainville.

As negotiations continued, the national Government was hard hit with a K10 billion environment damage claim and talks of reconciliation between the two escalated but was marred with outstanding issues, including the murder of then North Solomon (now Bougainville) Provincial Government Premier Theodore Miriung and many other issues.

Now after more than 20 years, the next PNC-led Government under the leadership of Peter O’Neill will visit the island.

Yesterday, Central Bougain-ville MP and Communication Minister Miringtoro said the Prime Minister was all set to visit Central Bougainville to meet with families from Boku, Nagovis and Tailings in Panguna.

He said reports of Mr O’Neill being stopped from entering Panguna have been cleared and he is now free to travel to Central and South Bougainville.

Mr Miringtoro, who has been in Bougainville for a month preparing for the visit, said Bougainville is set to receive impact projects worth K500 million this year, which will be drawn down to the districts in accordance with the strict finance and treasury laws.

"The Prime Minster is not coming here to dig gold or with any related motive concerning the Panguna mine," Mr Miringtoro said.

"There are no hidden motives behind the Prime Minister’s visit to Arawa and Panguna. The Prime Minister is doing his routine visit throughout the country and Bougainville is no exception. He has completed his visits in all provinces throughout the country and this time he is coming to Bougainville."

PNG Today/ Post courier 

Namah: I have broken no law

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

The Opposition Leader Belden Namah today stated that he has received information that the Commissioner of Police has issued an Order for his arrest in response to his letter of Friday 17 January 2014 informing the Commissioner that it was his opinion that the Commissioner had perverted the course of justice by suspending the four Police officers who instigated the arrest warrants to be issued by the Court for the arrest of the Prime Minister and the two other senior Ministers. In the letter Mr Namah had requested him to reinstate the Police officers because he considered the Commissioner's action to amount to perversion of the course of justice.

"Now the Commissioner thinks that my request is a threat. Well, in my opinion, it is not a threat and I have committed no offence. The Commissioner should specify which law I am alleged to have broken. I think if he reflects on it he would realise that I have not broken any law", Mr Namah stated.

As a leader and Member of Parliament, I have a right and privilege under section 115(3) of the Constitution to speak out on matters of public importance including the question of non-performance of public duties by persons holding constitutional offices. In this respect all matters that I speak about are privileged pursuant to that section of the Constitution and I cannot be silenced or intimidated as a concerned citizen and elected leader of this nation.

In further developments, I would like to inform this nation that Mr Kulunga has abused his office by directing certain Police officers to obtain a faulty and illegal search warrant directed at BeMobile to provide to the Commissioner records of all my incoming and outgoing telephone calls and messages. This is an attack on my right to privacy and I assure the Commissioner that he will hear from me on this issue.

 PNG Opposition Media Statement


Hon. Belden Norman Namah, MP

Leader of the Opposition

Commissioner Kulunga issues orders for Namah’s immediate arrest over threats

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

Commisioner Kulunga orders Namah's arrest
Commissioner of Police Toami Kulunga today issued orders for Opposition Leader Belden Namah to be arrested for issuing threats. Commissioner Kulunga issued the orders upon close examination of a letter sent by Mr Namah on Friday. Mr Namah wrote that he was aggrieved that Commissioner Kulunga had “taken action to pervert justice” and requested that he reinstate the four policemen suspended over the Paul Paraka case and cause them to be given exclusive use of all police assets to assist them to implement their duties. “Failure to accede to my request will result in me taking unprecedented measure to have you arrested and charged under Section 128 of the Criminal Code…,” Mr Namah wrote. However, Commissioner Kulunga said, “We are fed up with the tantrums of the Opposition Leader who is acting like an impatient, insensitive and thoughtless child. He does not respect the rule of law nor does he respect the systems and processes in place. “Furthermore, this very matter is to be heard by a competent court on Monday and yet he has seen fit to write to me and threaten to arrest me over this matter. The Opposition Leader thinks he can take on the roles and responsibilities of everyone. Here he is a complainant, an investigator, a prosecutor and now he wants to be the judge also. “I will not allow the actions of an impatient, irrational and erratic man to threaten peace and stability within the country. He will be arrested forthwith for threatening,” Mr Kulunga said.

Police Media Release 
Superintendent Dominic D. Kakas 
Director Police Media Unit Royal PNG Constabulary 
(PNG Censorship Board Member) 
Ph: (675) 3226 241 Mobile: 70260831 / 
(71009589 - off) Fax: (675) 3226241 

O'neill: Namah's behavior destructive to the nation

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

PNG Prime Minister. Peter O'neill
'The persistent attack on lawful and due process by PNG Opposition Leader Belden Namah is very destructive to the nation' PNG Prime Minister Peter O'neill warns,.  Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has condemned the opposition leaders conspiracy to overthrow is government.  .

In a media statement, O’Neill said Namah must allow police and other agencies of law to do their job without his constant threat, intimidation and coercion.

“His intimate knowledge of ongoing investigations clearly shows that he is personally involved in them,” said O’Neill. “Task Force Sweep has clearly demonstrated to the Nation that they are conducting their operations in the most professional manner.”

Meanwhile Namah held a media conference yesterday condemning the statement by Task Force Sweep that O’Neill, who is alleged to be involved in the Paraka saga, has been cleared indefinitely, that Task Force Sweep has no authority to clear or exonerate O’Neill, and that there was an indication of bias.


Segeyaro in Queensland Emerging Origin Squad

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in ,

James Segeyaro
Manly Sea Eagles forward Brenton Lawrence and Penrith hooker James Segeyaro have today been added to the QAS Emerging Origin squad.

Their selection completes the 14-man squad, which assembles in Brisbane tomorrow evening under the guidance of QAS Rugby League Head Coach Wayne Bennett.

The players will take part in a series of team building exercises, field sessions and lectures over the weekend.

The QAS Rugby League program has played a vital role in shaping the Maroons’ recent Origin success.

Recent graduates into Mal Meninga’s Origin team include Chris McQueen, Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh Papalii, Matt Gillett, Ben Te’o and Jharal Yow Yeh.

QAS Emerging Origin squad:

Ben BARBA (Brisbane Broncos)
Justin O’NEILL (Melbourne Storm)
Will CHAMBERS (Melbourne Storm)
Dane GAGAI (Newcastle Knights)
Edrick LEE (Canberra Raiders)
Anthony MILFORD (Canberra Raiders)
Martin KENNEDY (Brisbane Broncos)
Jake FRIEND (Sydney Roosters)
Dylan NAPA (Sydney Roosters)
Korbin SIMS (Newcastle Knights)
Aidan GUERRA (Sydney Roosters)
Michael MORGAN (North Queensland Cowboys)
Brenton LAWRENCE (Manly Sea Eagles)
James SEGEYARO (Penrith Panthers)

Source: Queensland Rugby League 

PNG Barramundis secure Second big win over Uganda

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Scotland have each recorded victory on day three of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014 (CWCQ), with PNG’s Charles Amini claiming six wickets to lead his side to its second big win of the tournament.

Amini, who ripped the heart out of the Uganda batting line-up, took career-best figures of six for 19 from his ten overs to help dismiss Uganda for 105 inside 36 overs at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.

After being sent in to bat, Uganda’s Roger Mukasa was the only batsman to make a major contribution, scoring 33 from 39 deliveries.

PNG reached its target for the loss of just one wicket, with Lega Siaka continuing his good form, following up Monday’s century against Kenya with an unbeaten 65 to see PNG reach 107 for one in 17 overs to record its second win of the tournament.

Amini was thrilled with his performance: "I found a really good rhythm and I was landing the ball well."

The leg-spinner said that his team is also performing well: "There’s a great feeling around the team. We’ve only lost three wickets in the tournament so far, and we’ve had two comprehensive victories.

"We’re very confident, and can’t wait to take on Namibia and the Netherlands. But we’re just taking it one game at a time," he said.

Uganda captain Davis Karashani Arinaitwe was dissatisfied with his side’s batting performance, after a promising start by the openers against Netherlands on the first day of the tournament. "It was a very, very, very disappointing result for us today. We need one of our batsmen to get in and stay in, so that the rest of the team can bat around them and build a decent total."

After back to back losses, Arinaitwe said Uganda needs to focus on getting some points on the board. "We still have something to play for in this tournament. We’re not just here to get kicked around."

In the only Group A match of the day, Scotland recorded a comfortable 90-run win over Nepal at Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown in a match delayed by light showers.

Scotland bounced back from its loss to Hong Kong on Monday to post a competitive total of 249 for seven, with the top order contributing runs. Man of the match Freddie Coleman (64 not out from 67 balls) put on a 46-run fifth wicket partnership with Preston Mommsen (35), while lower order batsman Safyaan Sharif struck three boundaries in an unbeaten knock of 25 off 17 balls to add quick runs at the end of the innings.

Sompal Kami was the pick of the Nepal bowlers (three for 35), while Sagar Pun took two for 38.

The Nepal run chase never recovered after opener Pun was dismissed off the first ball. Gyanendra Malla (34) and Sharad Vesawkar (30) were the main contributors with the bat, posting patient totals while wickets fell around them. Nepal’s last three wickets fell for 18 runs in five overs, and the side was dismissed for 159 in 46.1 overs.

Twenty-three year old Coleman was pleased that his team was able to bounce back from its earlier loss to record such a decisive victory. "It was a pretty tough start for us (against Hong Kong) and we were obviously pretty disappointed with that result, but it was important for us today that we came out and got ourselves rolling and got a good win under our belt and we did that so now we are up and running."

Reflecting on his own performance, he said: "It was nice to get some runs and we got off to a good start, but it was quite tricky during the middle overs with the spinners. The pitch has been played on a bit so it is a bit slow which made it difficult to hit the ball into the gaps, but it was nice to kind of hold my patience a little bit and score a few at the end."

Scores in brief:

At Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, North Island

Uganda 105 all out, 35.5 overs (Roger Mukasa 33; Charles Amini 6-19, Mahuru Dai 2-4)

PNG 107 for one, 17 overs (Lega Siaka 65 not out, Assad Vala 37 not out)

Result: PNG won by nine wickets

Man of the Match: Charles Amini (PNG)

At Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown, South Island

Scotland 249 for seven, 50 overs (Freddie Coleman 64 not out, Calum MacLeod 46, Matt Machan 37, Preston Mommsen 35; Sompal Kami 3-35, Sagar Pun 2-38)

Nepal 159 all out, 46.1 overs (Gyanendra Malla 34, Sharad Vesawkar 30; Iain Wardlaw 3-32, Majid Haq 2-24, Rob Taylor 2-27)

Result: Scotland won by 90 runs

Man of the Match: Freddie Coleman (Scotland)

Source: Yahoo.com


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