Somare lodges complaint with Ombudsman Commission for his ousting as Prime Minister in 2011

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Former PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman Commission regarding his ousting as prime minister during the political impasse in 2011.
He named Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio, some Cabinet ministers and public servants at that time, in his complaint on Tuesday. A spokesman for Sir Michael confirmed yesterday that the complaint related to the failure by O’Neill, Sir Michael Ogio, Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah, former Speaker Jeffrey Nape and other mini
sters and MPs to comply with the Supreme Court ruling in 2011 and 2012 for his reinstatement.
Public servants named include former PNG Defence Force Commander Francis Agwi, former Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga, and Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc. 
A spokesman for Sir Michael said the Supreme Court had ruled that he was the rightful prime minister.
“His complaint relates to the failure by the leaders to comply with the two Supreme Court orders of 2011 and 2012,” he said.
“The complaint is not only against politicians, but also heads of government departments who failed to comply with the two Supreme Court orders.”
The spokesman said the Government’s recent announcement of a K2.3 million payment to Sir Michael “confirms that at all material times, Sir Michael was the Prime Minister as per Supreme Court rulings of 2011 and 2012”. 
Meanwhile, a spokesman at the office of Prime Minister O’Neill yesterday said:  “We have heard this reported in the media, so will receive formal correspondence when appropriate.” PNG Today / The National

PNG Economic growth slows down

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Papua New Guinea Economic growth slowed down this year and the Government has been urged to focus on priority areas such as infrastructure, education and health. 
The Bank of PNG in its September monetary policy statement released by Governor Loi Bakani said the Government should ensure the wider population and businesses “take advantage of the infrastructure development to market their products”.
Bakani attributed the decline in growth to the dip in the mining and manufacturing sectors as a result of lower commodity prices.
It also blamed government spending plus the adverse impact of the El Nino conditions.
“With lower international commodity prices including oil and the temporary shutdown of the Ok Tedi Mine, Government revenue is significantly lower than budgeted and will impact on public spending,” Bakani said.
He said the preliminary outcome of the fiscal operations of the Government over the six months to June 2015, showed   an overall deficit of K942 million compared with K563.6 million in the corresponding period in 2014. “This represents 1.8 per cent of the nominal GDP. The Government has announced its plan to introduce a supplementary budget consistent with significant lower revenue in 2015 that would yield a deficit budget,” he said.
“This will assist in reducing financing pressures and interest cost.”
He said to increase revenue and help address the recent low flow of foreign exchange inflows, the Government should consider amending the tax concession policies, including terms of tax holidays given to resource projects.
“This includes reducing concession or allowing companies to pay their tax obligations in foreign currencies before any concession are given in kina.”

PNG to welcome high-level trade and investment mission

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The PNG Government is preparing to welcome a group of business leaders to Port Moresby, for a high-level investment mission on October 5-7.

Organised by DMA (Developing Markets Associates), the visit will include some of the world’s biggest companies.

The visit will also provide a unique opportunity for the PNG government to secure new investments and deepen relationships with the biggest international “blue-chip’’ companies.

The trade mission is a follow up to DMA’s highly successful UK-PNG Trade & Investment Forum, held in London earlier this year, says Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer David Conn.

 In line with the Government agenda for attracting international investors, the mission is designed to allow for substantive and meaningful engagement with the government, for both established international companies and potential new investors.

“Stability, responsible management and growth is what we offer to you” states Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in his recent visit to the UK.

 “Papua New Guinea is open for business and I invite you and your colleagues to join us in maximising these opportunities together,’’ he said.

During the course of the trade mission, DMA (supported by FCO & UKTI) will host meetings with the Prime Minister and his cabinet as well as arrange sector specific roundtables and 1-to-1 meetings to take place in the margins.

On Tuesday the 6th the group will be given different sector briefs , including a country  overview by the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce  followed by a networking luncheon with senior Chamber members (contact frontdesk@pomcci.com if you wish to attend) .

On Wednesday 7th October the delegation has been invited to join Chamber members for a sold out  ANZ Economic Outlook breakfast at the Royal Papua Yacht Club  .

Key sectors such as agriculture, energy, infrastructure and tourism will be represented in what is the first ever UK trade mission to PNG.

For further  information please email james.martin@developingmarkets.com or telephone: 0203 117 2500.

Press Release

Australian Government to construct housing complex for Royal PNG Constabulary

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The Australian Government will construct a new housing complex for the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary at Bumbu Barracks in Lae.
Funded through the Australian aid program and the Papua New Guinea Australia Policing Partnership, the new facility will include the construction of a double story single quarters barracks building that will accommodate 160 male officers and a separate single level dormitory to accommodate 22 female officers.
This initiative will help alleviate the acute accommodation issues facing the Constabulary. Both buildings will have a new kitchen, laundry and bathroom facilities. The complex will also have an independent sewerage capability to ensure it does not adversely impact on existing infrastructure.
Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Rod Hilton joined the Morobe Governor, Honourable Kasiga Kelly Naru and the Commissioner for Police Gari Baki and Assistant Commissioner Allan Scott from the PNG Australia Policing Partnership for the official ground breaking ceremony in Lae on 25 September.
Governor Nauru on behalf of the people of Morobe thanked the Government and people of Australia for their continued support in improving the delivery of vital services in Province with Law and Justice as one of the key priority.
He said the relationship between the PNG and Australia started many years ago and his government is keen to foster and see it flourish.
Speaking on behalf of the Australian Government, Minister Counsellor Hilton said Australia was pleased to be working in partnership to improve the delivery of law and justice in Morobe and in Papua New Guinea.
“Law and order is a shared priority for the Governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia, and one that we are jointly committed to improving. Law and Justice is crucial as it allows for economic and social development. It leads to safer and more secure communities. And a safer, secure community is one that can achieve it aspirations, its goals and its dreams and that is why Australia is happy to support this project,” Mr Hilton said.
The total cost of the project in Lae would PGK6 million and is expected to be completed by November with members of the Constabulary to be able to use the new facility by Christmas.
This new facility is in addition to accommodation for more than 500 police officers being provided by the Australian Government in Port Moresby.

PNG Deputy PM Leo Dion address United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA

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Deputy Prime Minister Chief Leo Dion led a Papua New Guinea delegation on behalf of the Prime Minister and the people of Papua New Guinea to the 70th United Nations General Assembly Session at the United Nations Head quarter in New York, USA.
The PNG delegation comprised of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration and Senior Government Officials from the Department of Prime Minister and NEC, Foreign Affairs, National Planning & Monitoring and officers from PNG’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York and the Embassy in Washington DC.
Chief Dion at the post 2015 Summit addressed the United Nations General Assembly on the 26th of September 2015, where world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to succeed the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by January 2018.
The gist of the Deputy Prime Minister’s statement was on the National Government’s initiatives to promote sustainable development in Papua New Guinea and issues on climate change, water, Health and Sanitation, Vision 2050, Long Term Development Plan and the National Strategy for Responsible Sustainable Development.
Chief Dion said the drive by Papua New Guinea to get international support on climate change also gained prominence when Pope Francis gave his speech on the 25th of September 2015.
“The Pope talked about the same thing that the Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill, CMG, MP has been emphasizing about on, climate change,” he said.
Chief Dion said climate change is a real issue that is affecting thousands of lives in Papua New Guinea and in the pacific region.
“PNG’s contribution at the international level as Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum was our leadership in securing consensus among PIF countries in proposing SDG 14, which is to conserve and use the oceans, seas and marine resources in a sustainable manner.”
Our leadership in proposing goal 14 underscores our commitment to ensure the international community recognizes the importance of protecting our pristine marine environment, “ Chief Dion said.
He said this also underscores the 46th Pacific Islands Forum’s commitment to work together.
Chief Dion went on to pledge Papua New Guinea’s support of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the country’s commitment to achieving better results.

PM O’Neill failing landowners by delaying cancelation of SABLs: Juffa

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PNG Oro Governor Gary Juffa
Illegal logging and deforestation continues in Papua New Guinea (PNG) under the failed Special Agriculture and Business Lease (SABL) concept, while indigenous landowners continue to cry foul on a deaf government.

That’s the reality in PNG, according to Oro Governor, Gary Juffa in an exclusive interview with PACNEWS recently.

Since the tabling of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the SABL in October 2013, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill promised in Parliament that the reports were to be made public, and action would be taken immediately.

Based on the findings and recommendations of the reports, Peter O’Neill himself labeled the SABL scheme as “a total failure to landowners” that involved a lot of illegalities, and later told  Parliament that his government will act on the matter as soon as possible and return land titles to local landowners.

But to date, Governor Juffa says the promises by the Prime Minister are not forthcoming, while many of the cases highlighted in the inquiry reports continue to carry on their illegal operations while landowners remain voiceless.

“As the governor of Oro, I have managed to address illegal SABLs operating, and my office had ensured that land titles were returned to the rightful landowners,” said Juffa.

“A ministerial taskforce committee will be appointed to look into the findings and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry and will report to Parliament,” said O’Neill when presenting the reports in October 2013.

Governor Juffa argues that the status of the ministerial committee is unknown even though public funds were pumped into the committee, and as a result, civil society organizations, landowners, and the public are still questioning the task of the committee.

On the other hand, Alois Jerewai (one of the commissioner who failed to hand in his report to Parliament) gave his reasons for failing to meet the deadline set by the Prime Minister in 2013, adding that the COI was under-funded and it is reflected in the serious qualification to the COI report.

“The Commission of Inquiry into the SABL received only K7 million (US$2.4 million) out of the K15 million (US$5.2 million) that the Prime Minister said it spent on this inquiry…I want to know where the other balance of K8 million (US$2.7) was spent. It certainly was not spent on this COI,” said Jerewai in a media interview in 2014.

The respective inquiry reports compiled by Chief Commissioner, John Numapo, and Commissioner, Nicholas Mirou, found that there was widespread abuse, fraud, lack of coordination between government agencies, failure and incompetence of government officials to ensure compliance, accountability and transparency within the SABL process.

Juffa added that the reports highlighted that throughout the course of the inquiry, serious allegations were leveled against officials and senior government bureaucrats involved in the management of SABL, with bribes and inducements being offered by project developers and representatives of landowner companies to procure SABL titles.

“I don’t understand why the Prime Minister is sleeping on this issue…it maybe that he has some personal interest, or there is fear that logging companies will take the state to court regarding the issue,” said the Governor.

He said there is clear evidence based on the inquiry of undue political pressures being put on government officials by senior Ministers and politicians to fast-track SABL applications and issue titles. Incidences of political interference were numerous and were reported in respective individual SABL reports.

The reports overall findings pointed out that there was corruption and mismanagement, and lack of coordination by key agencies including departments of Lands and Physical Planning, Environment and Conservation, Agriculture and Livestock, Provincial Affairs and Local Level Government, Investment Promotion Authority, PNG Forest Authority, and the Forest Clearance Authority. The reports stated that the entire land management system in PNG is in a mess and recommended that the SABL process should be done away with or a workable policy be formulated on SABL that benefits local landowners.

Juffa says he hopes SABL doesn’t become another issue that the Government sweeps under the carpet.

Vanuatu judge to decide on ‘court abuse claim’

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There is a twist to the court story of the urgent constitutional application initially filed by 4 defendants in the bribery case.

The Vanuatu Supreme Court Judge Daniel Fatiaki will first have to decide if the application was an abuse of the court process before considering the merits of the three elements raised in the application on the infringement of MPs’ constitutional rights. 

The application claimed Section 21 of the Leadership Code Act was in breach of an MP’s constitutional rights. 
Section 21 reads: “A leader must not accept a loan (other than on commercial terms from a recognized lending institution and only if the leader satisfies the lending institution's usual business criteria or in accordance with the customary practice of a particular place for or during a traditional ceremony), advantage or other benefit, whether financial or otherwise, from a person.”
In addition, the government MPs implicated in the bribery case are seeking a court order to declare that their rights were infringed when the preliminary report of the Ombudsman on the bribery case was released to the Public Prosecutor without their prior response.

But the case trialed in the Supreme Court today when Justice Fatiaki began to question the validity of the process of the application. He spoke particularly on the question of whether the application was in essence an abuse of the judicial process because an appeal had already been registered for hearing in November against Justice Mary Sey’s committal ruling to allow the prosecution to apply charges under the Leadership Code against the 15 defendants facing corruption charges.

Presiding Judge Daniel Fatiaki began to question the applicants’ counsel Gordon Avok, who was finding difficulty responding particularly when he was asked to give a “yes or no” answer on whether the current urgent constitutional application could be seen as an abuse of the court process.

The judge says there already was an appeal filed with regard to charges levelled against the defendants under the Leadership Code. He asked Mr Avok to bear in mind that while avenues were provided for such constitutional claim, the same constitution also did not give anyone the right to abuse the court process.
He also led the applicant’s counsel to agree that the issue of infringement of the rights could very well be raised with Justice Sey when making his final submission.

Mr Avok was suggesting that the issue of violation on the rights of MPs could be raised in both the appeal court and the Constitutional Court hearing separately. 

But Justice Fatiaki intervened to point out that there is no such thing as a “Constitutional Court” in Vanuatu as it may have been for South Africa. He said in Vanuatu constitutional cases only go before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, and that if the same issues in the appeal application are again raised in the constitutional case, this could mount to an abuse of the court processes. 

Mr Avok argued that the appeal application was to determine the criminality of the actions allegedly committed by his clients while the constitutional case now in session was for the judge to determine whether the rights of MPs were infringed under provisions of the constitution. 

On the question of MPs’ rights to obtain a loan from any person outside of a legal financial commercial institution, Gordon could not respond clearly. Instead he said MPs should be treated fairly like any ordinary citizen.

The judge asked, “Are you suggesting that the MPs should be treated the same as ordinary citizens?” “Is an orange different from an apple?” 

He said these are both fruits but not the same fruits because an apple cannot be an orange. In comparison, the judge said that the MPs cannot be defined as ordinary citizens because they have made an individual choice to contest and be elected so it is on their own accord to be subject to the laws differently from ordinary citizens.

On the question of infringement of rights of the MPs as provided for under the Constitution, Justice Fatiaki made it clear that the defence counsel could not use one particular section of the Constitution and ignore other sections. For instance, he said the section on constitutional rights, cannot be brought up in isolation to chapter 10 of the Constitution on the Leadership Code which defines who a leader is. 

The applicants also put to the court that the Ombudsman had exercised its role beyond the provisions of the law by writing up a preliminary report on the bribery case and submitting it to the Public Prosecutor without prior response from them. 

They claim that the Leadership Code Act did not require a “Special Preliminary Report” for the Public Prosecutor to use against them.  

In the afternoon’s hearing, Judge Fatiaki accepted a verbal application for the court to deal firstly on the issue of whether or not the urgent constitutional application was an abuse of the court process. He asked the applicants to submit all supporting documents to prove it was not an abuse.
Justice Fatiaki said he raised the issue because he felt that the question of “abuse of the court process” was vital and needed very serious consideration. 
“This will be the first time for the court to make a decision on this issue but not the first time the issue was raised in past court proceedings,” he told the court.
He will also be considering the issue raised by the applicants’ lawyer on whether he had the power to make a ruling on the question of “abuse of the court process”. This means the fate of the urgent constitutional application depends on the answers to the two questions. 
A court ruling on this will be handed down on the 7th of October, the same day when final submissions will be made by defence counsels and prosecution on the main bribery case before the judgment day on 9th of October. 
Meanwhile, three more defendants in the bribery case have joined the first four in the urgent constitutional case on the infringement of the rights of MPs under the Leadership Code Act. 

Legal counsel Robin Kapapa told the court his clients, MP for Malekula - Paul Telukluk, MP for Efate - Steven Kalsakau and MP for Santo - Marcelino Pipite had filed a separate application to join the application. The initial application was filed by legal firm, Justine Ngwele and Associates on behalf of MP for Pentecost, Tony Nari, MP for Tongoa, John Amos, and MPs for Tanna, Sebastien Harry and Thomas Laken filed the constitutional case. Loop Vanautu 

Syria state media praise Putin's UN speech

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Syria's state media on Tuesday praised Vladimir Putin's speech before the U.N. General Assembly in which the Russian leader defended Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Syrian newspapers said the speech drew "clear outlines" for what is needed to "fight terrorism" on a global level.

In his address Monday in New York, Putin urged the world to stick with Assad, saying it was a "huge mistake" not to engage the Syrian military in the fight against the Islamic State group.

The Al-Baath daily of Assad's ruling Baath party said the essence of the Russian plan for combating terrorism is "simple and clear." Al-Baath added that "the Russian step is pivotal in the history of the region and the world to prevent the expansion of devastation."

The daily Al-Thawra said Putin entered the United Nations "from the Syrian gate," adding that "the Russian surgeon came to fix flabbiness in the international legitimacy."

Al-Thawra said Putin struck in his speech at "American charlatanism about fighting terrorism."

U.S. President Barack Obama and Putin held their first formal meeting in more than two years in New York on Monday without reaching a breakthrough on Syria, which has strained their already tense relationship.

The U.S. still insists Syria's future cannot include Assad, while Putin appears keen to bolster the standing of his longtime ally, casting Assad's government as the best defense against Islamic State militants.

Moscow has been ramping up its involvement in Syria in recent weeks by ferrying weapons, troops and supplies to an airport near the Syrian coastal city of Latakia in what the U.S. sees as preparations for setting up an air base there.

In Israel, retired army Col. Jacques Neriah, said Russia has a "moderate presence" in Syria.

"It will help in stabilizing the area, and especially if Russia has the intent to fight the Islamic State together with the United States and the Western coalition," said the former deputy head for assessment of the Israeli army's military intelligence.

Sheikh Naim Kassem, deputy leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group, which has sent fighters to help Assad, said Tuesday that "Russia intervened by its weapons and capabilities because there is someone that stood on his feet," referring to Assad, who is at war with an array of rebel and Islamic militant groups.

Kassem said "the world today admits that a solution in Syria can be only achieved with President Assad."

Syria's civil war has killed more than 250,000 people since March 2011 and wounded more than a million.

Source: AP

PNG National Broadcasting Corporation embarks on new journey

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The National Broadcasting Corporation  embarks on a new journey.
After 43 years, Papua New Guinea's largest public broadcaster unveiled its new logo and modern look as part of its re-branding exercise.
The transformation gives new life to the NBC, making it more responsive to demands by Papua New Guineans to deliver more local content on real issues facing the people and the nation.
Under the re-branding exercise, there is one Radio and Television network -NBC.
The NBC has played an important role over many years, informing and educating people on the road to Independence and to date.
Its iconic Kundu and Bird of Paradise logo is NO more as of today - instead a fresh new look and colors of the Bird.
Minister for Information and Communication, Jimmy Miringtoro, says this is the way forward for NBC to make its own money, as funding have not been forthcoming from governments resulting in deterioration of its infrastructure nationwide.
NBC Board Chairman Timothy Tala says after PNG's 40 years of independence, the time is now right for NBC to move forward to being self sustainable.
The Government Chief Secretary, Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc says the move is bold and relevant to the ever-changing PNG landscape.
Under the re-branding, a new one-hour News, with a new format, new time slot and new team, started at six o'clock tonight.
Its being simulcast on NBC Radio across the nation as well.
Other changes are expected to take place over the coming months.
Meantime, Communications Minister, Jimmy Miringtoro, has raised serious concerns over recent developments in the media industry, saying the National Broadcasting Corporation needs to change in order to remain relevant.
Mr. Miringtoro said this during the launch of the new look NBC in Port Moresby today.
He says the NBC played a pivotal role during pre-and-post independence, and continues to do so today.
But the main stay of the NBC service is content.
And this was highlighted today by Minister Miringtoro, who appealed to NBC content makers to continue to disseminate factual information, that is relevant to PNG and also that promotes unity.
"Iam told, existing and new teams are merging to form a one unified group to take the NBC to the next level of its operation in preparing for digital migration in 2017," Minister Miringtoro said.
NBC's Board Chairman Timothy Tala also commended the NBC Management, under the leadership of Memafu Kapera for taking NBC to a new level

Gulf people present position on Papua LNG project

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The people of Gulf Province today presented their position in regards to the Papua LNG project outlining what they believe is the way forward to develop the Gulf gas reserves to benefit all people in the province, stakeholders and the country as a whole. Gulf Governor Havila Kavo thanked the government for its decision to develop Papua LNG as a standalone project from the PNG LNG project.
"Gulf Province has seen that it is important to prepare its position in the completion of the Papua LNG project in how the Gulf LNG project need to be developed with the world demand for gas supplies."
He said the Gulf Provincial Administration wants to help the government in putting up a concept that is best suited for the country as they did not want to see the opportunity bypass.
"We want to make sure that a policy guideline is put in place that gas can be conserved and sold at a reasonable price at the same time given best returns back to the people and the country as a whole." said Governor Kavo.

Pacific International Hospital celebrates World Heart Day

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To mark the World Heart Day, which falls on the 29 September, leading Organisation like World Health Organisation and World Heart Federation are putting a spotlight on creating Heart Healthy-Environment.
To celebrate this day Pacific International Hospital’s Cardiac Centre led by Medical Director and Chief Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon, Dr O.P Sharma shared the success story of 37year old Clive Pole of Pangi in Southern Highlands Province, a Heart patient who underwent Open Heart Surgery here at PIH just over a week ago and is now living a healthy and normal life.
Pole was diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease, a type of Heart Artery Disease at Port Moresby General Hospital on the 6th of June this year and was referred to PIH.
On the 10th of September Pole went into surgery led by Dr Sharma and his team at the hospital’s new State of the Art cardiac Cath Lab well equipped with world class cardiac surgery operation theatre, the first ever in PNG.
Based on the success rate of Pole’s operation and that of eight other patients six under the ages of 50 years old that were operated on by Dr Sharma, the Pangia man wants to share his story and wants other Papua New Guineans to know that instead of spending money to go overseas for Heart Operations we have specialists and the equipment here to help ease our financial burdens.
Dr Sharma stated that heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death today and it is important that we keep the heart healthy.
“The increase of heart disease in comparatively young age group is due to smoking, unhealthy lifestyle, lack of exercise, uncontrolled blood pressure and diabetes.”
“Anatomically the size of the artery (Blood Vessel) in a PNG citizen is very good compared to similar age counterpart in a developed country. In my last 10 months of practice here at PIH, I have noticed that heart attacks are experienced here almost a decade and a half before when compared to the Western world, especially due to poor lifestyle habits and also as the nature of disease seen here is very aggressive,” says Dr Sharma.
Dr Sharma is a specialised Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon with 22 years of experienced and has treated more than 10, 000. He was based in his home country in India after graduating from Medical School and has moved to PNG 1o months ago to head the PIH Cardiac Centre with the first ever world class cardiac surgery equipments in the country and a team comprising of a resident cardiac surgeon, cardiac anesthetist and cardiac OT and a fully trained Intensive care unit staff to cater to the needs of the people of PNG.

Thurston wins 2015 Dally M Medal

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North Queensland Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston has won the 2015 Dally M Medal, beating the field by a record-breaking margin to claim an unprecedented fourth Dally M medal.

After winning previously in 2005, 2007 and sharing the award last year with Jarryd Hayne, Thurston is the first player to clinch the prestigious award for player of the season four times, going one better than former Knights halfback and rugby league's eighth Immortal Andrew Johns.

Thurston finished the season with a huge 32 Dally M points, a whole 11 points ahead of the trio who finished second – Dally M Hooker of the Year Michael Ennis, Dally M Prop of the Year Aaron Woods and Broncos halfback Ben Hunt.

A humble and emotional Thurston spoke of what his fourth Dally M Medal meant to him in a live cross from Townsville – after earlier winning Dally M Halfback and Captain of the Year (alongside co-captain Matt Scott) as well as the Provan Summons Medal for the second consecutive season.

"I'm a little bit nervous here. I can't explain what it means to be standing here in front of family, friends and teammates especially. But the first people I'd like to thank are the teammates I train with every day and spend most of my time with," Thurston said.

"This award is much theirs as it is mine so special thanks to those boys. The coaching staff that has put the structures in place for us to execute, our medical staff, our fans who travel to watch us play.

"[Wife] Samantha, thank you very much for everything you do for me, I can't thank you enough – you're my rock"

Thurston went on again to highlight the job his teammates have done in providing him the platform to deliver what he has in 2015.

"We play the game for friendships; I get to run around with my best mates week in and week out, when you're playing at Origin level and for your country as well. It's about having fun out there, it's a team game," he said.

"The boys I have around me, they do all the hard work for me, I put the cream on top. It's been a heck of a year, I couldn't be more proud standing up here with my fourth Dally M award."

The season isn't over for Thurston yet though either as he prepares for his third NRL grand final on Sunday at ANZ Stadium against Queensland rivals the Brisbane Broncos.

"It's going to be an enjoyable week, it's why you play football for to be in the big dance and we've given ourselves the opportunity to come up against the form team of the year in the Broncos," Thurston said.

"It's going to be a cracker of a night and we're all looking forward to it. It's going to be fun."

2015 Dally M Award winners

Dally M Player of the Year: Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)

Lock of the Year: Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys)

Second-rower of the Year: Josh Jackson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)

Hooker of the Year: Michael Ennis (Cronulla Sharks)

Prop of the Year: Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers)

Halfback of the Year: Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)

Five-eighth of the Year: Blake Austin (Canberra Raiders)

Centre of the Year: James Roberts (Gold Coast Titans)

Winger of the Year: Semi Radradra (Parramatta Eels)

Fullback of the Year: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters)

Female Player of the Year: Jenni-Sue Hoepper (Queensland/Australia)

Holden Cup Player of the Year: Ashley Taylor (Brisbane Broncos)

Representative Player of the Year: Corey Parker (Queensland/Australia)

Broncos workhorse and NRL Fantasy legend Corey Parker continues to get better with age, taking out the award for the best player in the representative arena.

"I think it's important you have a good mix [of youth and experience], in today's game the young guys let you know if you're getting on, and it gives you that drive," Parker said.

Last appearing in a grand final in 2006, Parker is fully focussed on making the most of the opportunity this season.

"I do have great memories [of 2006]. It's a very special week, only a few get to do it. From my point of view, I want to help our guys – our young players in particular – enjoy the week because it is something very special."

Provan Summons People's Choice Medal: Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)

Thurston collected the Provan Summons Medal for the second consecutive year, and thanked all those rugby league fans who voted him as their favourite player for another season.

"It's an extremely proud moment to receive this award for a second year. This is what we play the game for, the fans."

Ken Stephen Medal: Luke Douglas (Gold Coast Titans)

Titans forward Luke Douglas was recognised for his work in the community with the Ken Stephen Medal, revealing the driving force behind his work off the field.

"I'm passionate about charity work," Douglas said. "My mum was a teacher's aide. She worked with children with disabilities; I suppose it's rubbed off on me. She passed away a few years ago, and I'm trying to continue on her legacy."

Coach of the Year: Wayne Bennett (Brisbane Broncos)

In his first year back at the helm of the club he enjoyed so much success at, Bennett guided the Broncos to another grand final, and the master coach said he could sense something positive was building midway through the season.

"As things unfolded, we got halfway through the season I thought we were a chance of doing something pretty special, and that's the way it's unfolded for us," Bennett said. "The things that won 28 years ago still work today."

Peter Moore Award for Rookie of the Year: Jack Bird (Cronulla Sharks)

The Sharks rookie enjoyed a stellar first season, making his first grade debut from the bench in Round 4 before starting at five-eighth for the remainder of the year.

"It was a good season from the boys, especially from where they came last year," Bird, who moved from the Dragons in the off-season, said. "To finish in the top eight was a remarkable year from us. Paul Gallen and Mick Ennis, they're both good blokes, they try and bash me around at training, but it doesn't really work."

Captain of the Year: Johnathan Thurston/Matt Scott (North Queensland Cowboys)

Top Points-Scorer: Jarrod Croker (Canberra Raiders)

Top Try-Scorer: Semi Radradra (Parramatta Eels)

O'Neill fails in his bid to kick out Somare and Kua from NA

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Commentary by: Bryan Kramer 

The National Alliance Party convened its first formal caucus meeting on Saturday (26/9/15). The meeting was called by four party members led by former Attorney General Kerenga Kua and Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare to discuss the concerns about the state of the economy and whether it was in the Party's best interest to stay in Government going into 2017 National Elections.
Political insiders confirmed that Pruaitch met with Prime Minister Peter O'Neill the day before he agreed to the meeting. It was alleged Prime Minister put to Pruaitch in no uncertain terms if he fails to get NA's house in order they would be sacked from his Government. Senior Ministers close to the Prime Minister were openly boasting on the eve of the meeting Pruaitch would sack both Somare and Kua from NA.
The meeting was convened around mid-day and attended by the full 14 Members of NA. The motion was moved and seconded whether it was in the best interest to stay in Government. Each member then express their view, most opposing it raising fears of losing their Ministry and being in the Opposition would affect their chances of re-election. A vote was called and in the end motion was defeated 10-4. Four in favor of the motion were Grand Chief, Kerenga Kua, Jim Kas (Madang Governor) and Wera Mori (Chuave Open).
My post analysis being it is clear that the Leader of NA Party has close ties to Prime Minister confirmed by the fact in 2008 when he was suspended following his referral to the Leadership Tribunal he handed his Ministry of Finance & Treasury to Peter O'Neill. It is convention that when a Member of Parliament is forced to step down the Ministry is kept within his Party. However due to the close personal friendship between Pruaitch and O'Neill, for the first time in PNG's short political history Pruaitch instead entrusted the country's top ministry with his close friend Peter O'Neill. Even during the impasse when NA was cannibalised and their Party Leader and then Grand Chief Prime Minister position stolen from him by O'Neill, Pruaitch never came out public in the defense of Somare nor criticize O'Neill for it. In short he was caught between a rock and a hard place loyalty to his long time friend or his Party Leader.
The fact four members of NA more notably the Country's Founding Father and three time Prime Minister has supported a motion for NA to leave Government under Peter O'Neill definitely raises eyebrows in political circles. While Prime Minister would have hoped for an outcome resulting in Somare and Kua being kicked out of his Government there was no way other Sepik MP's would be foolish enough to facilitate such a move. It would have been evident to them that while leaving the Government would make their re-election more difficult, kicking out Somare would be political suicide. Furthermore Pruatich real political value lies in his position of being the Leader of the country's second largest political party his best position is for NA to remain intact affording him more political prominence and special attention from the Prime Minister.
Further the sacking of NA from Government would have immediately started the process of a change unraveling of the Governments coalition partners and his own Party.
In my view it wasn't the smartest political move for NA to leave Government, right now the issue isn't the Government but rather the man in charge of it. It is far more difficult to convince your team mates to leave their club (Government) and play against them in the opposition than it is to just lobby to change the captain of the team.
However it was the more noble and sensible position to take but the realty is that Members of Parliament today are no longer as honorable or credible as they were in the time of independence. Ministers of Government are paid K120,000 per annum asking them to risk the comfort of their position that comes with great perks and privileges including the prestige and sacrifice it for the interest of the people and country is no easy task.
The best outcome for the NA party is that it remains intact. Any difference of opinion was put on the floor and each afforded the right to express their view before putting it to a vote. The final result accepted by the members to stay with the Government. Perhaps the result would have been far more different had the motion been the need to change the Prime Minister.
It was interesting to read today's post courier report failed to raise any of the above issues. While some are have dispelled recent rumors take it from me there are certainly interesting times ahead.

Two Senior PNG Police detectives terminated

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Two senior Police Detectives who are at the forefront of investigations against the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has been served their termination notice effective as of today.
“Chief Inspector Timothy Gitua and Assistant Commissioner of Police Thomas Eluh have been unceremoniously terminated in circumstances not isolated to the current cases pending in the court relating to the Arrest Warrant against the Prime Minister and after serving the police force with high distinction for many years.”
“We suspect that this charges or actions that have been taken by the Police Commissioner and his Deputy are not isolated. They are actions in the grand scheme of things that we have been observing over a period of more than one year are things that have been calculated to defeat and frustrate the ongoing cases that we have had against the Prime Minister,” says Chairman of Task Force Sweep Mr Sam Koim in a joint press conference with Mr Eluh and Mr Gitua this afternoon.
He said although they do not question the actions taken by the Commissioner, he believes the timing of their termination reissues serious concerns stating the two officers’ involvement in the criminal and related civil cases against the Prime Minister have led to many unsuccessful attempts made previously to remove the two officers from the case.
Not long ago Lawyers representing the PM & Co filed yet another unsuccessful argument in their attempt to remove Lawyers acting for Messrs Damaru and Mr Gitua which was dismissed by Justice Kirriwom on the 28th of August sitting stating amongst others that Messrs Damaru and Gitua were police men performing their duty in the interest of the country.
Koim said less than three weeks after the decision whilst they have filed court proceedings to challenge the decision we are now facing this scenario were the officers are terminated which has now turned the anti-corruption temperature on.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation in this country were there should be certainty of procedure, process and reasoning in Government decision making but is seriously wanting. And today we are face with this and we are observing and we are seeking legal advice on the course of action taken will take appropriate actions,” says Mr Koim.
Mr Koim reiterated that the circumstances and timing in which this decision was made resulting in the termination of Mr Gitua and Mr Eluh are highly suspicious and questionable. PNG FM/ PNG Today

Papua New Guinea qualifies to co-host 2017 Rugby League World Cup

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Rugby League mad nation, Papua New Guinea will host some rugby league World Cup matches in Port Moresby in September of 2017. The country's  Minister for Sports and National Events Justin Tkatchenko told media that  “We have signed the deal and we are confirmed to host some rugby league matches of the 2017 rugby league World Cup here in Port Moresby,. We have done our part and I have been in talks with various people at the government level and also in touch with the International rugby league federation and I must assure you that we will host some games here at our world class stadiums in Port Moresby".

Port Moresby now has major stadiums including Sir John Guise stadium (Pacific Games Stadium) with capacity of 18 000 seats, National Stadium (formerly PRL) has capacity of 15 000 seats and Sir Hubert Murray Stadium has a capacity of 20 000. 

According to the  Sydney Morning Herald, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill is hopeful to host the Rugby League World Cup in the country and some of the stadiums in Port Moresby will be extended to capacity of 50 000 seats or more. 

"As you can see Papua New Guineans love the game and I hope that the NRL and the other custodians of our game can come up here and expose the game to people a bit more," O'Neill said. "We built it [the stadium] specifically for the [Pacific] Games but also to accommodate rugby league and other sports in the country.

"Hopefully the International Rugby League board will accept our offer," Mr O'Neill said. "Of course Australia and New Zealand are going to host it, but we are part of the Queensland Rugby League [competition] at present, we have developed our local competition and the schoolboys competition, so rugby league has a big future in this country.

 According to the rugby league world cup site, 14 countries will be competing in this world event that will be jointly hosted by Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. 

European Commission welcomes new 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development

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Brussels, 25 September 2015

The 2030 Agenda, a universal framework for all countries to help eradicate poverty and
achieve sustainable development by 2030, includes an ambitious set of 17 Sustainable
Development Goals and will be adopted today at a special UN Summit.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to be adopted today by the United Nations sets out a
global framework to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030, building on the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000. As the first ever global agreement setting a
universal, comprehensive agenda for action, the 2030 Agenda includes an ambitious set of 17
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 associated targets, mobilising all countries and
stakeholders towards their achievement and affecting domestic policies. The 2030 Agenda also includes
the United Nations Addis Ababa Action Agenda adopted in July which sets out the different means
necessary to implement the 2030 Agenda, including domestic resources, private finance and Official
Development Assistance (ODA).
The EU has been a leader in contributing to this process from the start. It is now committed to take
this agenda forward, both inside the EU (such as through forthcoming EU initiatives like, inter alia, the
Circular Economy Strategy which is designed to address more sustainable patterns of production and
consumption) and through the EU's external policies by supporting implementation efforts in other
countries, in particular those most in need.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development and leading the
Commission delegation on behalf of President Juncker, said: "This Agreement is a historic event, and a
significant step forward for global action on sustainable development. I am proud to say that from the
start, the EU has been strongly committed to reaching an ambitious outcome, with a universal agenda
for all countries, rich and poor alike, fully integrating the economic, social and environmental
dimensions of sustainability. The result is a landmark achievement uniting the whole world around
common goals for a more sustainable future. We are determined to implement the 2030 Agenda which
will shape our internal and external policies, ensuring the EU plays its full part".The UN Summit to
adopt the new 2030 Agenda is taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 25-27
September and will be attended by more than 150 Heads of State and Government from all over the
world. The European Commission is represented by First Vice President Frans Timmermans, High
Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Federica
Mogherini and Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica.

On the Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have shown that setting goals can help drive
unprecedented progress across the globe and achieved remarkable results. They have guided EU
development policy for 15 years and the EU has made a major contribution to reaching the goals. The
EU and its Member States are collectively the world’" s largest development donor by far, providing
€58 billion in 2014.
On the new 2030 Agenda
The 2030 Agenda ('Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development) was
informally agreed by consensus at the UN in August this year, and referred to this Summit for formal
adoption by the General Assembly. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda agreed in July also forms an
integral part of the 2030 Agenda by setting out tools, policies and resources that need to be put in
place to ensure that it can be implemented.
The adoption of the 2030 Agenda will mark the culmination of an inclusive three-year process
(previously known as "the post-2015 development agenda") and which was characterised by the
unprecedented participation of civil society and other stakeholders. It follows on from the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs), the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, and the

Former Army Chief speaks to big business on gender equality

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Former Army Chief speaks to big business on gender equality He was the military officer whose impassioned and unequivocal YouTube video speaking  out against sexual harassment in the Australian Army made headlines around the world  in 2013.
And now White Ribbon Ambassador and former Army Chief Lt General David Morrison 
AO (rtd) will bring his views on creating cultural change towards gender issues as  keynote speaker at a ‘Pathways to Parity’ Symposium.
Organisers Kylie Hillard and Emilie Franklin from the Asia Pacific Professionals  Association Ltd (APPA) said the event was aimed at Australian businesses across the  finance, legal, education and resources sector that have operations in Papua New  Guinea (PNG).
“In 2012 the Australian Government announced a $320 million 10 year aid program to  help women in the Pacific increase their economic, educational and social opportunities,”  they said. “In support of this program, we at APPA have partnered with the Papua New Guinea High Commission to bring Australian businesses with PNG interests together to identify how they can support the PNG women in their workforces.”“Like many Pacific nations, PNG is evolving from traditional gender roles to more and more women entering the corporate workforce and earning their own income. This is a 
significant cultural shift and one that needs to be managed sensitively by employers. 
What our Symposium wants to achieve is to identify the gaps in getting PNG women into 
employment – and how they can be supported to stay there.”Ms Hillard and Ms Franklin said the Pathways to Parity Symposium ultimately aimed to influence both Australian and PNG government policies on issues such as education, law reform and approaches to domestic violence.
“The best and brightest minds in business today will be presenting their ideas at the Symposium, and of course we are so thrilled to have Lt General Morrison AO (rtd) as our keynote speaker,” they said. “There is no doubt Lt General Morrison AO (rtd) knows what he is talking about when it comes to creating cultural change and striving towards achieving parity for women.”
“Any business that attends will surely find inspiration from him of how to create a diverse 
workforce – whether it’s in PNG or here in Australia.”The ANZ I Papua New Guinea Gender Parity Symposium will hold panel discussions in Canberra (13 October), Sydney (14 October) and Brisbane (15 October), with Lt General 
David Morrison AO (rtd) to address delegates at dinners in Sydney and Brisbane. Tickets are available to the public for the Pathways to Parity Dinner, for more information visit 
Media enquiries
Kylie Hillard I Director I Asia Pacific Professionals Association Ltd
khillard@apacprof.org | 0402 004 283
Emilie Franklin I Director I Asia Pacific Professionals Association Ltd
efranklin@apacprof.org I 0439 331 079

TV industry in PNG headed for monopoly

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WHEN Digicel PNG entered the television industry in Papua New Guinea last year through its Digicel Play subsidiary many welcomed the idea of a new competitor in the market.
The feeling was that with a new operator the level and quality of programming offered by the local stations would lift – and to a certain degree it has.
EMTV, the country’s leading free-to-air television station took steps to improve the quality and range of its product.
The television station long considered the number one in the country focussed on hiring young and vibrant reporters and presenters and with the skill to deliver the news and other programmes in keeping with current trends.
The development of more locally-oriented programmes was and is a factor in the station being relevant to the general populace.
Digicel confined its operations to the cable TV and satellite market with the acquisition of the two major cable/satellite operators in Hitron and Channel 8.
From there it actively chased customers, as all business enterprises are supposed to do, to get onto its platform though their Play Box, a decoder that would allow the customer to receive Digicel Play programmes.
The only catch was that outside of the initial cost of the hardware (ranging from K150 to K190) the public was now required to pay premiums for daily, weekly and monthly access.
Of course it did not help that most of the programmes offered on Digicel Play were of little importance to the average PNG consumer who watches three things on television:  sport (NRL and State of Origin), news (PNG followed by Australia and then the world) and movies.
Digicel Play did not satisfy any of those areas adequately in its initial offering to the public.
Outside of a small percentage of the people who can and bother to pay for this service, it is highly doubtful this strategy bore the desired fruit in terms of an increase in the numbers of subscribers to the Digicel Play.
If anything, more and more people were turned off by the need to continuously pay for programming and access to channels.
The pay as you watch philosophy is not something one can successfully integrate into a society whose majority live on or below the poverty line.
After it became apparent that they did not have an attractive programming base, the powers that be in the communications multinational PNG office worked at improving its product by including live coverage SP Hunters match in the 2015 season.
That was a master stroke. Rugby league is the national sport for a reason. People watch it and follow it closely, more so than any other sport.
The next step was to acquire the broadcasting rights of the National Rugby League, the most watched sports product in this country. Nothing else comes close.
That was Digicel’s second master stroke. The only problem was they were content to keep it on their TVWAN channel which is part of their pay TV platform thus marginalising a large segment of the public.
If winning the public’s good will is the best way you to their wallets, this was the wrong way to go about it. You cannot take a product that has always been on free-to-air TV and put it out of reach of the majority of the people.
A pay TV operator wins the long term loyalty of its subscribers by giving it a quality product at a reasonable rate and in high definition if possible.
Digicel looked to have missed the boat in this regard in that they had the NRL rights but were happy to squeeze their small customer base which is really restricted to the major cities – Port Moresby and Lae.
The biggest criticism of Digicel’s foray into the television industry is that it almost expected to strong arm the public into getting on its Play Box bandwagon by cleaning up all the best programmes and giving them no choice in the matter.
The only solution was to give the public the best of both worlds. News that Telikom has opted out of the purchase of EMTV because part of its condition was for the station to have NRL coverage is instructional.
Digicel could buy EMTV and have a ready-made free-to-air service on which to offer the NRL and other programmes normally associated with the station.
Monopolies are not preferable most of the time but in a small market such as PNG it could work.
The National/PNG Today

PNG barred from fishing in high seas

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Papua New Guinea boats will no longer be allowed to fish in the high sea areas in Eastern Pacific, Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Mao Zeming says.
He said the boats would not be allowed into areas beyond waters under the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) vessel day scheme.
Zeming explained that the activity in those areas has resulted in increased effort and over supply to Asian canners contributing to depressed fish price, lost revenues from access and domestic catch. “I supported the idea to close all fishing activities in the high seas, including bunkering, which for some serious concerns over IUU (illegal unreported unregulated) and trafficking must come into zone and under PNG control,” he said in a paid advertisement.
Zeming said all state agreements and access agreements should be reviewed to adopt and implement the reforms undertaken under the EU yellow card review to deter and eliminate the potential for IUU fishing practices. To capture increased benefits from fisheries activities and have more control over the resource, Zeming said it was only proper for the resource owners to give access to vessels to catch on their behalf for processing in regional factories.
“For PNG and the Pacific region, maximised benefits can be achieved by jointly controlling the resource and encouraging regional economic integration through cross-border investments, labour mobility and value addition by having regional processing hubs,” he said. The National/ PNG Today

Air-conditioned glass dome to be built over Singapore to keep haze out

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To keep the increasingly bad haze out, the Singapore government has laid out plans to build a giant air-conditioned dome over Singapore, newnation.sg reports.

This measure will also make Singapore a more inclusive place for everyone of every stripe to feel included, after a resounding mandate for the PAP in the recent GE2015.

It will also promote Singapore to the stature of a truly air-conditioned nation.

The dome will not only provide people on the island a general sense of inclusiveness, but it will also keep them enveloped all the time.

Singaporeans interviewed reacted positively as they said a covered dome is the real definition of inclusiveness and a good health measure.

Another local, Wo De Jia, said: “This is dome, truly, where I know I must be.”

University of Goroka has new Vice Chancellor

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The University of Goroka (UOG) recently had its new interim council sworn into office and the council has appointed a new Interim Vice Chancellor as well as an Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor for the University.
According to the Interim Chancellor Professor Joseph Sukwianomb, UOG will resume normal operations tomorrow and a peace ceremony is planned to be staged between the students and the university administration and staff anytime soon.
Mr Sukwianomb also made it known that the new UOG Interim Council and Academic Board have after long considerations retracted its decision of suspending classes for years 1, 2 & 3 students for this academic year but wants the institution to operate as per its normal schooling calendar.
"The Academic Board felt that it was the right thing to do by letting the institution finish off on a proper not through the remainder of this academic year," said Mr Sukwianomb.
Sukwianomb also mentioned that the investigations into the recent unrest is gradually winding down and those found guilty will be held accountable of their actions.

Expo to boost Tourism in PNG

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The two days Tourism Expo is currently happening at the Port Moresby Nature Park with over 30 exhibitors participating in the expo.
Today’s program saw representatives from hotels, guest houses, air line companies and tour companies providing information to the public on the different services they provide in the Tourism Industry .
Marketing Director for PNG Tourism Promotion Authority Mrs Alice Kuaningi says this is an important event for the general public as well as the Tourism Industry to mingle and find out what we all can do to boost the Tourism Industry in PNG.
“Tourists travel to PNG to experience something different from their own country and they are willing to pay for the services provided by the organisations displayed here at Expo.”
“They don’t want to experience the usual, they want to experience our culture and we’ve introduced them to activities that can really allow them to see Papua New Guinea” said Mrs Kuaningi.
She said the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority are looking at promoting activities like kayaking, Tracking, Bird watching, fishing and other activities that relate to PNG context so tourists can really experience our diverse culture & tradition.

PNG Government issues travel ban against Fraud Squad lawyers

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By Bryan Kramer
PNG Chief Migration Officer(CMO) Mataio Rabura has issued a travel ban against National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate Australian based lawyers Greg Egan and Terence Lambert from travelling into PNG.
Mr. Rabura issued the directive on 8th September 2015 to all International Airlines and PNG Provincial Border Posts directing them not to uplift Egan or his junior Counsel Lambert to enter PNG. The notice stated in no circumstances are they permitted to allow Egan and Lambert into PNG and failure to comply with the instructions may result in a penalty fee imposed on the Airline.
Egan an Australian Lawyer has been practicing law in PNG since 1988 he is currently briefed out by Jema Lawyers to act for Director of National Fraud & Anti-corruption Directorate Mathew Damaru and his Deputy Timothy Gitua in a number of National and Supreme Court cases relating to the warrant of arrest against Prime Minister. He also acts for Task Force Sweep Chairman Sam Koim challenging the Prime Minister’s NEC decision to disband the Anti-Corruption Agency back June 2014 which is listed for trial on 29th September 2015.
The decision by CMO to issue a travel ban against Egan comes after the failed bid by the Prime Minister, James Marape and Commissioner of Police seeking orders from the Court to prevent Jema Lawyers and Egan from representing Damaru and Gitua.
Jema Lawyer and Egan were successful in their Supreme Court (SC) application in March 2015 to join Marape's SC Appeal SC87. Marape filed the appeal proceedings challenging an earlier decision of National Court by Judge Kariko who refused Prime Minister and Marape’s application seeking interim stay order preventing members of Police Force from effecting their arrest in relation to the Paraka Lawyers scandal.
Marape and Prime Minister used SC proceedings to obtain an temporary stay order against their arrest pending the determination of the appeal. Damaru and Gitua then joined those proceedings and filed an application seeking orders the Court remove the temporary stay orders preventing them for arresting both Prime Minister and Marape.
Following the decision by SC to allow Damaru and Gitua to join Marape then filed a further appeal seeking to over turn that decision. The appeal was listed for hearing 2nd September 2015, However Commissioner of Police Gary Baki then filed a further application supported by Prime Minster seeking orders to prevent Jema Lawyers and Egan from representing both Damaru and Gitua in the proceedings. The Supreme Court dismissed Baki’s application raising concerns Baki was not coming to court with clean hands and serving the interests of the Prime Minister and Marape instead of the Police.
Following that ruling parties then argued Marape's appeal against the earlier decision allowing Damaru and Gitua to join the proceedings on 2nd September 2015. While the Supreme Court is yet to hand down its ruling the Chief Migration Officer (CMO) has gone ahead and issued a letter on 8th September 2015 preventing Egan and his colleague from traveling to PNG to appear at the proceedings.
Jema Lawyers acting for Egan and Lambert have filed Judicial Review in the National Court requesting the Court to review the decision of the CMO issuing a ban on their travel to enter PNG. They are seeking to invoke the Court's powers to quash (void) CMO’s directive. A Judicial Review is a legal process that is concerned with the decision making process rather than the decision itself.
Jema lawyers are challenging the decision based on the grounds it was done in bad faith to prevent Egan and Lambert from representing the Fraud and Task Force Sweep cases against the Prime Minister. Further the directive failed to comply with Migration Act therefore it is unlawful, void and to no legal force or effect. It is also “Ultra Vires” which is Latin meaning beyond one's legal power or authority, in that CMO exceeded his powers and acted without any lawful authority issuing a ban against both Lawyers.
Further still it’s a denial of natural justice insofar as the CMO failed to inform Egan and Lambert of the decision or afford them the right to be heard or respond.
Lastly based on “Wednesbury principle of Unreasonableness.” A legal principle where a decision is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question to be decided could have arrived at it. The term was derived from 1948 English law case Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd. versus Wednesbury Corporation (1948) where the court gave three conditions on which it would intervene to correct a bad administrative decision, including on grounds of its unreasonableness.
Until the matter is determined at trial which may take several months if not a year Jema Lawyer have filed a motion (application) for an interim stay (temporary stop order) against CMO’s directive so they may continue to attend to several Court matters that are currently in progress.
This is not the first time O’Neill Government has acted in a deliberate and manipulative manner to achieve its own cause. In December 2012 Chief Migration Officer issued a similar directive against PNG’s infamous lawyer Greg Sheppard. When the story broke Prime Minister denied there was any deportation against Mr Shepard. Extracts from National Report include
Prime Minister said he was aware that there was a search warrant and an investigation under way into the management and disbursement of tens of millions of kina in a trust fund held by Sheppard’s Young and Williams Lawyers.
The Prime Minister said Sheppard had a fiduciary duty to reconcile for some K100 million [US$47.9 million] with which he was entrusted.
He said so far no report of any kind had been forthcoming and until that happened, investigations would continue.
In response Sheppard yesterday said: "I know there is no deportation order but they tried to deport me nonetheless."
He produced a copy of a letter purportedly written by Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura on Nov 18, instructing all airlines flying into PNG to ban uplifting into PNG of Greg James Sheppard.
The letter reads in part: "This serves to advise all international operating airlines that Mr. Gregory James Sheppard, an Australian national, is banned from entering PNG and that he is not to be uplifted into the country."
No reason was given for the advice.
Sheppard said that his firm had received K50 million [US$23.9 million] as lawyers for a trust account held under the name Inclusive Education for National Development for Community Trust.
"I couldn’t agree more with him (prime minister). If such a serious step as deportation is intended, the basis of the deportation should be known and stated with certainty. If there is an investigation into my trust account, I should be here in PNG to assist with that investigation and answer any questions that may arise, not deported without due process out of the jurisdiction.
"I do not know of any investigation into my trust account. This trust account, which incidentally is professionally managed by a certified practicing accountant and audited every year under the Lawyers Act, is also audited and cleared by an international auditing firm. I have not received any complaint into my trust account, and the government itself has never made any request for information.
"Until very recently the only correspondence I received concerning this fund was from an adviser named Dominic Diya in the Prime Minister’s Office who demanded large payments to himself from the fund."
He said details of every transaction was available and would be made available when an authorized request was made for it.
It is unclear what came of the investigations into Sheppard’s trust account or why the travel ban against him was lifted. However ironically he now acts for the Prime Minister.
In November 2013 PNG SDP communications officer Mark Davis was deported back to Australia for publishing press statements by Chairman of PNGSDP Sir Mereke Morauta who was critical of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's government decision to expropriate, take ownership over the Ok Tedi gold and copper mine. It was believed the move by O’Neill was to take possession and control of PNGSDP's long term fund (PGK4.1 Billion) parked in an offshore Singapore account. Following the decision Mekere filed proceedings in the Singapore Court to prevent O’Neill getting access to the funds concerned it would be misappropriated or abused. PNGSDP is also fighting to have its shares in Ok Tedi Mining reinstated, and failing that, for compensation to be paid to PNGSDP by the Government. The matter is currently before the Singapore Supreme Court.
Following Mark Davis’s deportation Minister of Foreign Affairs & Immigration Rimbink Pato said that Mr Davis was deported because he had breached the conditions of his work permit and was issuing media statements on behalf of the PNGSDP which it considered to not be acting in the best interests of the country. In other words he was deported for doing his job and being critical the O'Neill's Government efforts to illegally takeover Ok-Tedi Mine.
In May 2015 O’Neill announced a ban against Australians from travelling to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, following Canberra's announcement of plans to open a new diplomatic mission on the island.
On 2nd July 2015 ABC news reported Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop promised that Australia will not be a safe haven for the proceeds of corruption in Papua New Guinea, as police in both countries probe the role of Australian lawyers there.
"We take very seriously allegations that the proceeds of crime in PNG and the proceeds of corruption can be laundered in Australia," she said, noting that intelligence agencies and the anti-money laundering agency, Austrac, were closely involved in monitoring the problem. "We are working closely with PNG to ensure Australia is not a safe haven for the proceeds of corruption," she said.
Several days later on 31st July 2015 O’Neill announced a ban on all foreign advisers working for his government, claiming they make local staff lazy, and they could be spying.
He said "So our government has taken a deliberate decision that by the end of the year, all foreign consultants and advisers, their contracts will end by 31st of December." Mr O'Neill then took aim at one particular group of advisers — the 70-odd Australian Federal Police officers working to improve PNG's law and order situation. "If we need to recruit experts, it will be recruited by PNG government as an employee of the PNG government," he said.
Recently Prime Minister has reacted to reports by former Australian and PNG Treasury official and John Garnaut, Fairfax journalist raising serious concerns about the PNG economy by stating he has asked them to leave.
An important point is that while the Prime Minister has the powers to issue a directive to deport or ban anyone who is critical of his leadership, directives that directly interfere with the administration of justice matters before the Court is contemptuous of charged for defeating justice (criminal offence). It would be disappointing to see another head of the public service department foolishly mislead by Politicians to only end up being convicted of Contempt of Court
To conclude one can only assume desperate times calls for disparate measures.

Pope Francis Wants To Be President Of The World

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WASHINGTON -- He hasn't announced his candidacy.

Indeed, the job he seeks doesn't really exist.

But shrewdly, methodically and with a showman's flair, the soft-spoken, 78-year-old Argentinian Jesuit priest named Jorge Mario Bergoglio -- Pope Francis -- showed Thursday that he is running to become president of the planet.

He did so in a congressional ceremony of secular civic pomp in a massive legislative building that, after all, harks back to ancient Rome.

As devout as he is, and as focused on the faith and practice of the Catholic Church, Francis is also campaigning to lead public, secular, political discourse worldwide. He is arguing that the two realms of faith and politics are one, and that the moral and spiritual teachings of faith should inform and guide political decisions for "our common home."

This is not a new idea, but it seems again a timely one. Francis' own church sorely needs the refreshing input of world opinion. Secular leaders, meanwhile, are reviled and government itself seems to have lost any sense of moral purpose.

With the rope-line skills of Bill Clinton and the stagecraft mastery of Ronald Reagan, Francis is selling himself and his message in Washington like the political master that he is.

In his speech to the U.S. Congress -- the first ever delivered by a pope -- he never directly mentioned abortion. He defended the "family," but didn't specifically define it by gender or sexual preference. He didn't speak of an assault on traditional Catholic or even Judeo-Christian culture.

That is so yesterday.

Instead, Pope Francis gave a 45-minute secular homily to Congress on the need for American lawmakers to honor communal morality drawn from the Catholic social gospel. In U.S. political terms, it was as if this man clad in simple white robes was leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

He beseeched U.S. lawmakers -- and, by extension, government leaders around the world -- to use their temporal power to lift up those in extreme poverty, to fulfill promises of racial equality, to make peace with former ideological enemies, to welcome immigrants with open arms, to end arms sales and to save the ecology of the planet.

Francis singled out for praise and emulation Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. It was a roster of heroes who, taken together, provide a template for government action on behalf of the dispossessed.

His approach draws on his roots. As a youth in Argentina, he had admired Juan Peron, whose brand of paternalistic, personality-cult socialism propelled him to power with increasingly enthusiastic backing of the Catholic Church. Today, Francis skillfully wields social media and his own popularity.

The pope's challenge to Congress was theoretically bipartisan -- indeed, universal -- in nature.

But if conservatives in the House chamber had expected at least a few nods in their direction, they received next to none. Republicans applauded and stood politely when necessary. But it wasn't their context, and, in purely political terms, he isn't their pope. For Southern Republicans, it's hard to imagine a less palatable list of heroes than the ones Francis listed.

The first pope from the Americas arrived in the United States just as its next presidential contest takes center stage, and he plunged right in to the debate, hitting on climate change, immigration and the refugee crisis.

Politically speaking, his "common good" theme has a sound defensive side: Moving the subject away from abortion, sexual orientation and gay marriage could also downplay the church's own controversial record on matters of priestly behavior.

But the new emphasis on economics, race and social justice has another, broader aim: to win new converts in the developing world by offering to lead the armies of the poor and disadvantaged. To put it another way, he's taking the church back to its original base.

Francis knows the demographics: In Latin America, Africa and elsewhere, the Catholic Church is in competition with Islam and Evangelical  Protestantism.

The pope wants to win that battle, and Washington was one more stop on the campaign tour.

Source: huffingtonpost

Obama, China's Xi agree to curb economic cyberspying

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in

Skeptical of Chinese assurances on cyberspying, President Barack Obama laid out a fresh threat of sanctions for economic espionage emanating from China, even as he and President Xi Jinping pledged their countries would not conduct or support such hacking.

This took place on Friday.

"The question now is: Are words followed by action?" Obama said, standing alongside Xi at a White House news conference.

Obama's wariness underscored deep U.S. concerns about what officials say is China's massive cyber campaign to steal trade secrets and intellectual property from American companies. While China has publicly denied being behind such activities, U.S. officials say their counterparts in Beijing have begun to take the matter more seriously, as well as the potential impact on ties with Washington.

"Confrontation and friction are not the right choice for both sides," Xi said, speaking through an interpreter.

The spying tensions cast a shadow over Xi's state visit to Washington, a grand affair complete with a formal welcome ceremony and a black-tie dinner. Obama faced criticism from some Republicans for honoring China with a state visit given the cyber concerns, as well as U.S. worries about Beijing's human rights abuses and assertive posture in territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas.

While the latter issues were discussed during Obama and Xi's lengthy talks, no discernable progress was made.

Xi said the Chinese have "the right to uphold our own sovereignty" in the South China Sea, where Beijing has alarmed its neighbors with a major campaign of artificial island-building. China has reclaimed about 3,000 acres of land in the past year-and-a-half by dredging sand from the ocean bed.

On human rights, long a divisive issue between the U.S. and China, Xi made no commitments, saying only that countries must have the right "to choose their own development independently."

Obama and Xi did herald progress on climate change, one of the few areas of bilateral cooperation that has proceeded smoothly in recent months, largely because Beijing has struggled to contain heavy air, water and soil pollution that has destroyed farmland, sent cancer rates soaring and left its cities cloaked in dense smog.

In conjunction with the state visit, Xi announced a blueprint for a nationwide cap-and-trade system beginning in 2017 that would cover highly polluting sectors ranging from power generation to papermaking. China also said it will commit $3.1 billion to help developing countries reduce carbon emissions.

At the same time, Obama has warned that progress on climate change and other issues could be threatened by China's continued cybertheft of intellectual property.

U.S. officials say that while they regularly hack Chinese networks for espionage purposes, they don't steal corporate secrets and hand them to American companies. Chinese officials traditionally have viewed that distinction as meaningless, saying that national security and economic security are inextricably linked.

Ahead of Xi's visit to Washington, the U.S. administration had been preparing economic sanctions in retaliation for Chinese cybertheft. However, officials decided to hold off on the penalties in hopes that an accord like the one announced Friday could be reached.

Still, Obama said the possibility of sanctions against individuals or entities remains on the table.

"We will apply those, and whatever other tools we have in our tool kit, to go after cybercriminals either retrospectively or prospectively," he said.

The agreement to clamp down on the theft of trade secrets doesn't address the theft of national security information, such as the tens of millions of U.S. federal personnel records that American lawmakers and some U.S. officials have said was engineered by Beijing. Obama has declined to publicly assign blame to China for that breach.

American officials have said the U.S. data was a legitimate intelligence objective — and the type of thing that Washington itself might target in other countries.

U.S. businesses welcomed the cyber agreement, though some were cautious about the prospects of China following through.

"While a diplomatic agreement is an important first step, retailers will measure the success of these efforts by China's actions moving forward," said Nicholas Ahrens, vice president of privacy and cybersecurity for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, a trade group that includes such members as Best Buy, Sears and Wal-Mart.

Jeremie Waterman, executive director for China at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said he hoped the agreement "marks a new chapter" and leads to real progress. Like the president and others, he said the key will be how well the agreement is implemented.

Source:  AP


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