Fees compulsory for Schools to commence

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Schools around the country have commenced, however some schools in the Morobe Province have confirmed that they are yet to receive their Tuition Fee Free Funds (TFF) to commence operations smoothly for the schooling year.
Because of this, concerns have been raised by head teachers of some schools following the warning given by the Secretary for Education Dr. Uke Kombra to stop schools from charging project fees.
Provincial Program Advisor (PPA) for Education in Morobe Mr. Keith Jiram confirmed that the circular from the National Executive Council’s (NEC) decision providing directives to stop schools from imposing project fees was received; however he stated that it is now in question as to when tuition fee free funds will be released to school accounts.
Mr. Jiram stated that principals and head teachers of urban schools have voiced that their schools have not much funds to start this academic year, hence the Provincial Education Board (PEB) has approved for parent support fees to be imposed so as to ensure that schools can still commence whilst awaiting for the TFF funds to be released.
Mr. Jiram said parents are asked to pay 50% of the total PEB approved support fee amount allocated to elementary, primary, secondary and vocational schools as K200, K300, K600 and K500 respectively.
Head teachers from various schools echoed that charging project fees has become rather compulsory if schools wish to continue operating as TFF funds from the government have been delayed in the past which currently remains the case.
“Currently the TFF has not yet come in and we need money to commence operations and imposing project fees will assist us in ordering stationery, paying for electricity and water bills as well as issuing of uniforms and also to complete some of the schools projects” said a head teacher who further added that parents were willing to pay their children’s project fees.
Mr. Jiram further stated that it is unclear when TFF funds will be released hence the support fees will go towards assisting schools until funds from the government come through. PNGFM / PNG  Today

Kabwum MP Bob Dadae elected PNG's new Governor General

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Papua New Guinea Parliament has elected Kabwum Open Member Bob Dadae as   the new Governor General of Papua New Guinea. Mr Dadae won 55 votes over Timothy Bongo's 36 in the final count after the elimination count which saw Commander Ted Diro drop out.

 In the preliminary count, Mr Dadae had 48 votes, Mr Timothy Bonga had 26 and Commander Diro had 20. The Final count declared Bob Dadae 55 votes to  Timothy Bonga 36 rendering the Member for Kabwum Open the new GG of state.

Parliament was reportedly full with all members in house to give their vote. Voting started at 10:30 and the declaration was made at 1:30pm (PNG time).  Incumbant General General. Sir Michael Ogio's term will expire next month.  Post Courier/PNG Today

Journalism growth in Samoa, subject in need of attention

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The rapid growth of journalism skills and technology in Samoa has become the focus of a workshop funded by UNESCO under its International Program for Development of Communication, designed to explore the standard of Samoan journalism.

The workshop is the fourth installment of the grant funded project that aims to be a refresher course for Samoan journalists.

“We feel the growth of journalism in Samoa is changing and what we’re trying to figure is if this development is even applicable to Samoa,” said training instructor Rudy Bartley.

“Video Journalism is becoming a fast growing part of media in the world with journalists being able to work on a high rate, independently by filming, editing, and producing their own work instead of having to rely on many people with different expertise to do one packaged job,” he added.

The focus was to evaluate whether video journalism is possible as the next step for the Samoan media. Editor for TV3 News, Muliaga Mila Maualaivao says such expertise would mean a big step forward for Samoan media.

“When you have someone who is highly skilled as a video journalist, who can film their own stories, edit and produce their own work without the help of a cameraman or video editor, you’re talking about a very expensive person,” he said.

“And that means two things to me. Either you as the owner of a television station has to raise the journalists pay or the journalist may consider going freelancing and doing their own work,” he said.

Muliaga says while that development is a great step to better skilled journalism, it could also mean disaster for some.

“It’s going to affect how the free media will be practiced. If a video journalist decides to go freelancing, then you’ll be looking at more propaganda news than actual hard hitting exposes and it hurts journalism,” he said.

Concerns about how the government may begin to use freelance medium for their use may ultimately affect freedom of press.

“It’s compensation. When you have a skilled journalist who can do all the work themselves, then you have to reward them for saving time and money for the other unnecessary people who could be working but aren’t doing anything at all,” said Bartley.

“Bottom line is if the journalist is that skilled, whether freelancing or employed, it all comes down to ethics,” said Muliaga. LoopSamoa

Ase Boas named PNG Hunters skipper for 2017 season

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ASE Boas is the SP PNG Hunters captain for the 2017 season, the announcement was made during the 2017 launching of the SP PNG Hunters season at the SP Brewery last night.

The Hunters turned up in their 2017 season jersey in front of a host crowd of sponsors and the media for the full team announcement and the naming of the captain and vice captain.

Chairman of the SP PNG Hunters Graham Osborne was given the opportunity to make the announcement of the captain and the vice-captain for the season, with Wellington Albert named as vice captain for this season.

"I didn’t expect to be captain but I am one of the senior players in the team and it is an honor to be captaining the team this year.

"I would like to thank the coach and the Hunters management for having the trust in me and choosing me as captain. I am the captain but all the players are leaders in their own right," Boas said.

Wellington Albert was also surprised by the announcement of his appointment as vice captain.

"I am very surprised by this announcement, because I didn’t get any word from anyone that I would be the vice captain, and I am looking forward to lead the boys this year.

"We have a great team of players with us here and they physically and mentally fit for this season and I am sure we will make an impact in this year’s 2017 Intrust Super Cup season," Albert said.

The SP PNG Hunters have their season opener against the CQ Capras at Browne Park on Saturday March 4, their first home game will be in round two on Sunday, March 12 at 3pm against the East Tigers at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby. Post Courier/PNG Today

VISA free entry to Israel and Papua New Guine commencing in February

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The Papua New Guinea Israel Jewish Council applauds the governments of Israel and Papua New Guinea for finalizing The Agreement between the State of Israel and the Government of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea on Visa Exemption for Holders of Diplomatic, Service/Official and National/Ordinary Passports, commencing 24 January 2017. Under this arrangement, Israeli Nationals will not require visas to enter PNG ports for 60 days and PNG Nationals to enter Israeli Ports up to 90 days.

This Agreement would not have been possible without the special relationship of Prime Ministers O’Neill and Netanyahu and we thank both of them for enacting this important framework.
With Israel’s continuing dominance in education, health, hi tech and agriculture and Papua New Guinea’s extractive wealth and its potential destination for tourism, this arrangement provides a deeper engagement for our people, businesses and governments to exchange, interact and build the unique relationship that commenced days after Papua New Guinea’s independence.

PNGIJC also thanks Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his government for their continuing protection and security of PNG nationals to access sacred sites of the Bible in Israel and more importantly Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Press Release/Photo by : Martin Havae

Bank South Pacific announces increase to Interest Rates on Savings Accounts

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BANK South Pacific (BSP) announced it has increased the deposit interest rates on a number of its Savings Products.
In announcing this, BSP General Manager Retail Paul Thornton said that BSP actively encourages the development of a savings habit through our financial literacy program and we are backing this up with attractive interest rates that reward deposits for their savings.

“We have increased the interest paid on our Kids Account to a range from 1.5% to 2.00% pa. Previously the range was 0.2% to 0.4% pa. We have also increased the interest rates on our Plus Saver account to a maximum of 3.5% pa and have introduced the payment of interest on our Sumatin account where we now pay interest of 1.6%pa.” Mr Thornton added, “These three savings products are also fee free and this together with the increased deposit interest rates are designed to encourage genuine savings by our customers.”
“The interest rate on our Kundu Standard account, a transaction account designed for customer with infrequent transaction volumes, has been increased to 0.25% pa. The Kundu Standard account is a pay-as-you-use account and if a customer doesn’t use the account during the month, no fees are charged,” Mr Thornton said.
Mr Thornton also announced the reduction of the interest rate on BSP’s Unsecured Personal Loan. The new interest rate is 29.9% pa. “The BSP Personal Loan is a 100% unsecured loan product with a maximum loan amount of K50,000. This product is available to customers with regular income”.
Mr Thornton said that in relation to Financial Literacy training, BSP had trained more that 32,000 Papua New Guineans during 2016 with 46% of these being women. “BSP has over 120 trained trainers who deliver Banking Education to Papua New Guineans across the country and our intention is continue this vital service to encourage the presently unbanked to move from the cash economy into the formal financial system. At the same time, BSP has reintroduced School Banking at a number of locations to encourage our young Papua New Guineans to learn the benefits of saving.”

PNG Government Ministers implicated in fraudulent deal

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Ben Micah 
Serious allegations have been raised against two Papua New Guinea Cabinet Ministers for their alleged involvement in a fraudulent deal in acquiring a land for the relocation exercise of the PNG Naval Base at Port Moresby.

The Member for Kavieng Ben Micah raised the allegation in parliament today when asking the prime minister on how he will be dealing with the alleged fraudulent land purchase deal to acquire a land at Manu-manu in Central province from a company, allegedly with links to Kumul Consolidated Holdings Minister William Duma.

Mr. Micah, later in a press conference, said KCH had to pay K46.6 million taken from the Motor Vehicle Insurance Ltd (MVIL) trust to the company for 800 hectares of land for the relocation that the Defence Minster Dr. Fabien Pok was also allegedly involved in.
He said to this date there has not been a land title issued to KCH indicating that the land has been bought off for the relocation of the Base.

“The issue for relocating the Naval Base is just a cover up for certain people the spot light is on them to get money illegally from the government through the Kumul Consolidated Holdings,” Micah said.
Meantime, the Opposition is calling on the prime minister to immediately suspend the two Ministers for their alleged involvement to allow for investigation.

However, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said he is aware of the deal and will set up a commission of inquiry to look into it, but the Opposition is not too confident in the prime minister’s words and as such will be moving to have police investigate the matter and as well as summoning the Ombudsman Commission look into this matter.

Remarkable year for tourism in Fiji

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Tourism Fiji CEO Mathew Stoeckel has heralded the 5 per cent increase in tourist arrivals for 2016 as a direct result of the hard work of tourism stakeholders.

The Fiji Bureau of Statistics earlier this month revealed an increase of 37,485 tourist arrivals for 2016 while 754,835 visitors were recorded in 2015.

"The year 2016 has been another remarkable year for the Fijian tourism industry and the theme — Team Fiji — conceived at the Fiji Tourism Expo in May 2016, was all about working together to have a stronger presence in the global market and this is evident in the result achieved," he said.

"The result is a team effort and we extend our thanks to everyone that has contributed to growing Fiji's presence internationally."

Minister for Tourism Faiyaz Koya said the growth in visitor arrivals was driven by the New Zealand, China and the rest of Asia markets.

He said Government was optimistic 2017 could be another strong year for the tourism industry, propelled by the opening of several new resorts.

These resorts include Marriott Resort at Momi Bay, Six Senses Fiji Vunabaka at Malolo, Kokomo Island Resort in Kadavu, Fiji Hideaway Vuda Beach Resort and Spa and the Pullman Nadi Bay Resort & Spa at Wailoaloa.


Samoa urged to back Israel

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Samoan Parliament has been urged to stand by Israel in the face of growing hostility against God’s people from other countries in the world.

The call comes from the Member of Parliament for Anoama’a East, Alaiasa Sepulona Moananu. He was speaking in Parliament during the Constitutional Amendment Bill (No.2) 2016 tabled by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

The bill aims to insert in the Constitution that Samoa is a Christian nation to declare the dominance of Christianity in Samoa. Alaiasa supports the amendment.

“The God we believe in is the God of the Bible, the God of Israel,” he said.

“I strongly urge our government that whatever happens to Israel, we should always support that government. We have to.

“The God upon whom Samoa is founded is the God of the Bible. If we go back to theology, He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and from them come Jesus Christ whom we believe.”

Alaiasa congratulated Prime Minister Tuilaepa for the amendment, saying it might be brief but is "very meaty."

“This is the first step. The other issues that members of the house are concerned about, we can build on those later.”

He reminded about the book of Deuteronomy 28 where God’s blessings for the nation that trusts him are highlighted.

“There are a lot of wonderful blessings,” he said. “It says you are the head not the tail, you are blessed when you enter and when you leave, your wallet will be blessed.

“But there is the other side of the coin if you neglect God. You are cursed in the city and the country…  that’s what happens to a country who turns its back on God.

“This is why this amendment is very important to me. This is our declaration that there is one God upon whom Samoa is founded.”  

But the Member of Parliament also cautioned Parliament over what he described as a curse.

“There is only one curse I can see and that is also in Deuteronomy,” he said.

“It says you will live with a foreigner but in the end you will borrow from a foreigner.

“The foreigner comes and rules over you. Please consider this, I can see this coming. Foreigners are trying to rule our nation. We are borrowing from them. But I believe that when our ship is redirected to God (through this amendment), the blessings will flow to us again.”

During the second reading on the bill in Parliament, Tuilaepa said the Constitution’s reference to Christianity as it stands is only in the Preamble.

“The discussion of this bill is not new as it was introduced in our last Parliament sitting. And from that discussion, we saw how inadequate the Constitution was at the time. Inadequate in terms of how Samoa as a Christian State is not included in the body of the Constitution.

“Instead it is in the cover and the preamble of the Constitution, not within the body of the Constitution.

“This shows that it is not part of the Constitution. This does not stand in Court as it is not included in the body of the Constitution.”

Tuilaepa said he understood the main reason it wasn’t included in the body of the Constitution then was because there were no religious wars in Samoa when the Constitution was initially written.

But times have changed.

The bill was widely supported.

But the MP for Falealili East, Fuimaono Teo, cautioned Parliament against restricting religious freedom.

“If we are to restrict religions, it means we are limiting a person’s human right as guaranteed in the Constitution to be free to worship whatever he/she chooses to believe,” Fuimaono said.

“I’ve heard different opinions being expressed about the issue. My concern is that not everyone shares the same beliefs in relation to the trinity.

“There are people who believe only in Jesus Christ, and yet it is in the amendment it talks about God and his son.

“There are people who also don’t believe in the trinity, of God the father, the son and holy spirit but they believe in God, as Jesus Christ. As you know, Jehovah’s Witnesses only believe in Jesus Christ, Bahai believe in the glory of God.

“So if we begin to limit the freedom for these different beliefs, their rights will be violated and yet they all believe in the same thing.”

Fuimaono pointed out that there are no frictions in Samoa because of religions.

“There are no wars in Samoa because of religions,” he said.

For the MP, the most important rule in the Bible is about love.  

“If there is love in Parliament, that is the most important thing,” he said.

The bill has been referred to the Standing Orders, Electoral, Petitions and Constitutional Offices Committee.


Intern keen to challenge Vanuatu businesses to become innovative and modern

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When Elsa Malapa left Port Vila in Vanuatu to begin her studies at Ecole de Gestion et de Commerce (EGC) in New Caledonia, she was a little overwhelmed.

“It felt so big, and so fast-paced … I really noticed the difference between my country and New Caledonia, and how advanced New Caledonia is compared to us,” Elsa says.

Fast forward two years, and Elsa has recently arrived in Auckland, to complete an internship at Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF), to get her third and final year of studies underway.

“Auckland is huge and much faster than New Caledonia, so I have to get used to being in a bigger city all over,” the 23-year-old laughs.

Having already completed two internships in New Caledonia, Elsa has clear goals of what she wants to achieve during her two months in New Zealand, interning at PCF.

“I would really like to improve my English business skills; to see how PCF works in the Pacific, but particularly how it interacts with New Caledonia and Vanuatu; and to learn about PCF’s programmes and share them with people in Vanuatu so they can apply to be a part of them, and benefit from them.”

She is also looking forward to experiencing different cultures in Auckland, and to spending time out in nature, she adds.

Elsa, who gets her business-mind from her father Kevin, a bank teller at Bred Bank in Port Vila, and her work ethic from her mother Helene, a primary school teacher, says her dream is to return to Vanuatu at some stage.

“I would like to gain work experience in New Caledonia (in finance) as the job market there is bigger, before returning to Vanuatu where I would like to help improve business and trade there.”

There are not many innovative businesses in Vanuatu, and there is a lack of technology, she adds.

“My goal is to help bring Vanuatu onto a level playing field with other countries in the Pacific, such as New Caledonia … it’s hard to change people’s mind-sets however, as they are used to doing things the traditional way.”

With skills gained through internships and work experience, Elsa plans to help implement new ways of doing business in Vanuatu – to help it become innovative and modern.

Elsa is one of 18 students from EGC who have just arrived in NZ to complete two month internships at various host agencies, wrapping up on March 24, 2017.

Over the past few years, PCF has hosted interns from EGC, to help strengthen ties between NZ and New Caledonian businesses.

Source: PCF

Polye calls on Prime Minister O'Neill to step down over IMF report

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The senior economic ministers in the O’Neill Government should resign immediately to save face after concealing the contents of a recent country report by the International Monetary Fund on PNG’s worsening economic status.
 Opposition Leader Don Polye said this when asked by the media during a press conference to comment on the report concluded in November and given to the Government in December. Mr Polye said the Government’s move to hide the Bank’s report as a desperate move to hide the facts from reality on the economic condition of the country. He said economic Ministers like Treasury Minister Patrick Pruiatch, Finance Minister James Marape, National Planning Minister Charles Abel and the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill should resign immediately in shame. 

He said financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund provide reports and recommendations for a progressive economy recovery package when economic crisis are anticipated. He said the country’s economy has been mismanaged and the country was facing cash crisis as a result of unbudgeted and unwise spending and repayment of excessive loans. 

He said the country does not belong to one person to misuse and mismanage and hide and conceal important independent reports based on the country’s economic performance like the IMF report. Mr Polye said IMF and World Bank provide structural adjustment options to safeguard the country’s economy that has become stale. He said if those reports are not addressed the banks provide loans, so it was important to table such reports. 

“The honest way is to table the report. If the Prime Minister cannot table the report then he should resign for mismanaging the country’s economy. “He is not a fit and proper person to manage the economy even though he is an accountant. He does not have any financial solution to bail the country. He is only good at getting more loans and spending and spending centred in one centre and awarding contracts to a handful of business cronies,” he said. Meanwhile, Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch said the Government will table the report after some issues with the  Treasury Department and the Bank of PNG was resolved. He said records indicate that only two or three countries have hidden IMF and World Bank reports as they go into recession. Post Courier/ PNG Today

Australia commits $US330 million to Pacific tuna surveillance

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RNZ reports the monitoring of tuna fishing vessels operating in the Pacific will receive a significant boost this year through the new Australian Aerial Surveillance Support program.

Just over $US11 million will be provided annually by Australia over the next 30 years to support the Forum Fisheries Agency in its management of the world's largest tuna fishery.

FFA director general James Movick said under the programme his agency will have access to surveillance aircraft pretty much all year round.

"With one or several aircraft that we will be able to utilise around the region," Mr Movick said.

"Additional aerial surveillance will give us much needed additional capability for surveillance of small boat activities like these Vietnamese blue boats. As well as continuing to enhance our tuna surveillance capabilities."

Mr Movick said the groundwork is already underway with the intention of having it up and running by July.
Source: Radio New Zealand

Journalist in PNG urged to be more precise with figures

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Journalists and media houses in the country have been urged to dig deeper into numbers and figures given by the government when talking about the nation's Gross Domestic Product figures amongst others, NBC reports.

Institute of National Affairs Director, Paul Barker, issued this challenge when talking to the media recently.

Mr Barker said journalists must always get independent assessment of what statistics comprise and mean, before reporting it for public consumption.

He said an increase in GDP numbers are just a measure of an economic activity on limited things, and does not necessarily reflect the country's actual wealth distribution.

"So we have a big GDP growth rate, that happens when you start producing and exporting gas, LNG, but of course at this stage we’re not getting any revenue out of that, it’s going to be paying loans by the companies and the government that borrowed for it," Mr Barker said.

"Because you’ve got that economic activity it is recorded in our GDP figures.

"There is no revenue at this stage going into the government to be redistributed, there no jobs after the construction phase, and it’s relatively few but if you look at the figures, 2014 2015, big growth figures but you need to realize what’s behind those figures and the relevance of those figures," he said.

NBC News/ PNG Today

PNG PM O'Neill welcomes Green Climate Fund Opportunities

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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister  Peter O’Neill  , has welcomed the commitment by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to provide finance for addressing the effects of climate change in Papua New Guinea.

In a meeting this week with the GCF Chairman, Mr Ewen McDonald, the Prime Minister highlighted the need for finance and capacity building to enable Papua New Guinea to implement its obligations under the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
“Our nation and the region faces serious threats from extreme weather exacerbated by climate change,” the Prime Minister said.

“Developing countries did not cause climate change, but we all suffer because of climate change.
“It is important that industrialised countries contribute to projects that will help to protect our communities from the affects of climate change.
“The Green Climate Fund provides important opportunities to implement climate change projects that will help our communities.

“As part of this it is essential that funding be streamlined to enable climate change projects to be rolled out around the country.”
The Prime Minister said an important focus for current GCF engagement is to work with Pacific countries to develop project proposals before submitting to the GCF Board for deliberation.
“The process of identifying and developing projects is driven by individual countries and ensures that projects are developed that are specific to the dangers faced by our people.
“Papua New Guineans know what we need in our communities to deal with damage brought about by extreme weather.

“Through the GCF process we have the opportunity to identify and develop these projects.”
Mr O’Neill thanked the Green Climate Fund and the Australian Government for their continued support on dealing with the consequences of climate change as a shared concern.
“Papua New Guinea is a signatory to the commitments arising out of COP 21, in Paris in 2015, and we look forward to receiving capacity building and financial support from GCF to enable effective implementation.”

GCF officials have already conducted a number of workshops for participants from government entities, businesses, NGO’s, foreign donor agencies and other interested individuals.

PM O'Neill directs Electoral Commission to explain decision

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The Electoral Commissioner of Papua New Guinea (PNGEC) has been directed by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill to take a paid advertisement in the papers to explain his decisions regarding the changes to the election.

Among these explanations would be the reason for printing ballot papers in Indonesia and the reduction of the campaign period.

Mr O'Neill reiterated in Parliament last week that the Government does not have any hand in the decisions made by the Electoral Commissioner.

He also confirmed that the Issue of Writs will be on the 20th April.

"We will give every transparency and visibility for everybody and we encourage the electoral commissioner to be transparent and accountable to the people of Papua New Guinea," said O'Neill.


Manus Regional Processing Centre not illegal

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Papua New Guinea Parliament heard last week, the operation of the Manus Regional Processing Centre itself is NOT illegal.

It was the detention of of the person accommodated there that was found to be unconstitutional.

Minster for Foreign Affairs Rimbink Pato provided this response following series of questions raised by Member for Rabaul Dr Allan Marat regarding the current status of the Processing enter after the Supreme Court ruling last year.

Dr Allan Marat wanted to know if the facility is illegal, as it is still continuing operation and as such, it is a direct contempt of the Supreme Court .
The Supreme Court on the 26th of April last year found that the detention of the transferees from Australia at the regional processing center was contrary to their rights and freedom under the PNG constitution including the right of personal liberty to rectify the unconstitutionality of their detention.
Rimbink Pato said the transferees were provided their constitutional rights and freedom by allowing them to leave the processing centre at will and like any other persons to be subject to PNG laws.

Pato further reiterated concerns on the transferees rights and freedom and here is no actual content of the supreme court orders on the matter.
NBC News / PNG Today / Photo - Flickr Creative commons

Polye slams PM O'Neill for overlooking priority areas

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PORT MORESBY: Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his government have overlooked priority areas of development in the country, Opposition Leader Don Polye told Parliament today (Friday).
Mr Polye, who recently drove along the Okuk Highway, said during the Grievance Debate in Parliament that O’Neill and his ministers had lost their bearing on much-needed services across the country.

He made a list of roads which needed immediate attention in the Highlands region and they include Kagamuga to Mt Hagen town (W.H.P), Togoba (W.H.P), Kopena (S.H.P), Jiwaka, Simbu, Eastern Highlands, and even Morobe and Madang highways.

Polye was debating on Works Minister Francis Awesa’s parliamentary audio recording (hanset) in which he made a commitment last year that all these roads, including the four-lane road in Mt Hagen would be fixed starting January 17th, 2017.

“I am not only talking to the minister but the Prime Minister must listen to this as well. 
“He overlooks the most priority areas. I am aggrieved by his conduct. It is a life line of PNG. Prime Minister and his ministers forget this piece of asset. What is more important to them? What is it that is much more important which preoccupies the minds of the Prime Minister and his minsters to continue forgetting about this important asset?” he said angrily.

He said the people knew it very well that the country was undergoing a cash flow problem. 
“You (Prime Minister) cannot build these roads. There is nobody here who is stupid. The country has no money. Just say, Mr Prime Minister; we do not have money so we will shelve the upgrading of these roads. Sorry, we (government) have run the country down. We (government) do not have enough money to do these. The Opposition, you provide some alternative policies and you take over from us. We will do it for you (Prime Minister),” said Polye.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill invites US President Donald Trump to APEC PNG 2018

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The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, has formally invited the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to visit Papua New Guinea for the 26th APEC Leaders’ Summit.

In correspondence with President Trump, O’Neill highlighted the unique nature of the APEC process and its relevance to economic advancement for all Member Economies.

“I invite you to visit Papua New Guinea for the APEC Leaders’ Summit on 17-18 November 2018, and meet with the other 20 APEC Leaders and Pacific Island State Leaders,” Prime Minister O’Neill said.

“APEC is a forum to expand investment, break down unjust bureaucratic regulation to trade, and to confront issues that threaten our shared economic stability and security.”

Having only recently been sworn into office, President Trump is one of the final leaders to be invited to attend the Summit.

“Almost all APEC Leaders have now been invited to attend APEC Papua New Guinea 2018, and responded confirming their attendance,” stated the Prime Minister.

“As a nation, we look forward to receiving leaders, ministers and delegates from Member Economies and advancing the APEC agenda.

“APEC is not just the Leaders’ Summit, but is a year of meetings and workshops that also serve to build capacity in our country.

“During the APEC year in Papua New Guinea, more than 200 meetings will take place covering policy areas, at the technical level, that are vital for regional economic development.

“This includes areas such as agriculture, fisheries, disaster preparedness, healthcare, forestry, science and technology, small business and energy.”

(Picture: CNN)

More than 1.2 Million Papua New Guineans to access internet

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More than 1.2 million people in Papua New Guinea are expected to have access to the internet at the conclusion of the World Bank rural communications project roll-out in August.

The World Bank yesterday gave an overview of the project and its progressive support of the information and communication technology sector in the country.

“The rural communications project will improve access to telecommunications infrastructure and services in rural and remote areas of PNG,” it said.

“The project will provide technical assistance to the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) to address emerging regulatory challenges and to strengthen the competitiveness of the telecommunications market and to the Department of Communication and Information to strengthen ICT policy development.

“It will help establish a universal access and service regime and associated fund to develop regulations and operating procedures.

“Further, the project will finance two UAS demonstration projects using competitively-bid one-time capital subsidies to stimulate extension of ICT services to unserved and under-served areas of the country.”

The World Bank had been actively involved in the sector since 2008, advising governments on telecommunications issues including the liberalisation of the mobile market.

“The ongoing rural communications project has financed the installation of mobile base stations at 59 sites in remote areas,” it said.

“It has contributed to providing basic telecom services to over 500,000 people previously unserved by any form of telecommunications services.

“Coupled with aggressive rollouts by the private sector, telecommunications coverage has increased from 20 percent in 2009 to 90 percent in 2016....read more on >>  PNG Technology News


Influx of new Chinese businesses alarming in Samoa

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The influx of “new Chinese businesses” in Samoa is alarming, Somoa Observer reports.

The point was raised by Member of Parliament for Faleata West, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, who has urged the government to revisit the issue.

He wants the relevant officials to ensure local businesses who are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the new Chinese are given a fair chance.

At the moment, he said Samoans cannot compete with the new Chinese.

A resident of Vaitele, Lealailepule said it is difficult to ignore the fact there are a Chinese businesses springing up in every corner.

He said the same thing is happening across the country – including Savai’i.

“It’s a concern not only in this area (Vaitele) but also Samoa in general,” said Leala.

“The thing is, we want to bring genuine business people. You see, these businesses have both negative and positive impacts.

“Positive in terms of competition and you know when there is competition, the prices drop. And that’s good because the prices will be affordable for our people.”

But Leala said the growing number of new Chinese businesses threaten the livelihood of local businesses.

“The truth is it’s so hard for our people to compete with the Chinese shops,” he said.

“Our people used to own Supermarkets and run their own stores. But it’s so hard for them to compete with these Chinese businesses. As you can see all around Samoa, most of the supermarkets and wholesales are owned by Chinese.

“This is the line of the business they are all getting into. And our local shop owners cannot compete with them.”

Leala said if the Chinese business owners want to bring their businesses to Samoa, they should make sure they offer employment opportunities for local people.

“We should look at that carefully. If they bring in their businesses, then should let our people work there because I’ve seen that for most of them, they bring their businesses here and bring their own workers at the same time.

“But they should allow our people to work there. In this way, our people can have jobs and so we can benefit from it.

“They should take ownership and provide jobs for our people.”

Leala also called on the government to ensure these new businesses follow procedures, pay their taxes and don’t abuse the privileges offered to them.

“The government should also make sure they regulate their businesses well and that they pay taxes.

“Another thing is, they should avoid giving goods to the young kids to sell on the streets. I found out that some of the kids selling things on the streets got their goods from the Chinese business people.

“And we should track down these people and stop this. Like I said before, it’s a concern, and our government should look at this carefully, said Leala.


Rise of sports tourism in Fiji

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in

Sports tourism is fast becoming Fiji's draw card in attracting travellers to our shores, with major resorts taking advantage of the opportunities it presents.

One sport that has not failed to attract visitors to our shores is rugby, particularly the 7s code, which relegated Fiji to prominence when the national side scooped gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Resorts such as the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort in Sigatoka, and Pacific Harbour's Uprising Fiji Resort, have been vocal and strong financial supporters of rugby development in the country over a number of years.

The two resorts have even developed their own seven’s tournaments, annually attracting sports teams from around the country and abroad.

Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort general manager Peter Hopgood and Sigatoka River Safari owner Jay Whyte began the very successful Coral Coast Sevens tournament seven years ago.

The tournament has grown into a multi-national event where teams from New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan have participated against some of the country's prolific local teams.

Speaking at the event launch last week — where Australian Wallabies stars George Gregan, Lote Tuqiri and New Zealand sevens great Karl Tenana were honoured guests — Hopgood said the idea of the Coral Coast Sevens came about when they wanted an event that could attract crowds during the tourism industry's off-season.

"Seven years ago the general managers of Coral Coast resorts at the time, got together with Jay Whyte and decided to put a sevens tournament together because it was our quiet time of the year," he said.

"Let's put a tournament on where we can attract people to Fiji, but more importantly to the Coral Coast.

"It was a big undertaking and we started off slow and it's grown bigger and better every year.

"As hoteliers in the Coral Coast, we attract about 200,000 visitors to our resorts every year and we employ more than 2000 staff and we contribute over $80 million to our tourism industry and local economy.

"Having events such as the Coral Coast Sevens really assisted us during our quiet times."

Pacific Harbour-based Uprising Fiji Resort general manager James Pridgeon agreed that sports tourism had become a strong money earner for local resorts and the tourism industry.

He said the rugby seven's tournaments had become a great marketing opportunity while at the same time fostered local rugby talents.

The resort was behind the Uprising Youth Sevens team during the Sigatoka tournament at Lawaqa Park this year.

"It is our passion and our privilege to be part of the tournament and we see the event has grown quite significantly, especially with the amount of talent we see out on the field, especially from our youths," said Pridgeon.

That's where we want to align ourselves, and with our Uprising Fiji Beach Resort brand.

"And we will continue to follow through with the sports tourism market especially in 2017, and as we move forward these tournaments are great way to put our brand forward and continue to support grassroots rugby.

"The reality now is we are bridging the gap by bringing the events to them and putting them on a main stage, so they can perform in front of their country and in front of potential scouts and selectors.

"This is a perfect opportunity for the younger guys to get their names out and be recognised.


Samoan movie, “One Thousand Ropes” to premiere in Berlin

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in

A Samoan movie will have its world premiere at this year’s Berlin Film Festival next month.

The film, “One Thousand Ropes” is written and directed by Samoan film maker Tusi Tamasese who also directed the critically acclaimed film, “The Orator.”

“One Thousand Ropes” will be shown in the Panorama section of the world famous Berlin Festival along with 50 other films from 43 countries around the world.

The movie was filmed entirely in Wellington New Zealand and features Samoan actors Uelese Petaia, Frankie Adams, Vaele Sima Urale, Ene Petaia, Beulah Koale and Anapela Polata’ivao.

Lead actor Petaia performed in the play “aLofa” that was staged at Lee Auditorium last month.

A press release from the Berlin Film Festival, says that in “One Thousand Ropes,” Samoan director Tusi Tamasese creates mythic images full of tension and concentration to relate the story of Maea, the baker and male midwife with the healing hands whose personal demons play an integral role in his everyday life.”

One Thousand Ropes will be released in Samoa and New Zealand March 23.


Parliament backs Samoa being declared Christian state

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in

Parliament is a step closer to amending the Constitution to define Samoa as a Christian State.

This followed widespread support for the Constitutional Amendment Bill (No.2) 2016 tabled by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi last year.

According to the Constitutional Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2016’s Explanatory Memorandum, the government aims to insert in the Constitution that Samoa is a Christian nation to declare the dominance of Christianity in Samoa.

During the second reading in Parliament this week, Tuilaepa said the Constitution’s reference to Christianity as it stands is only in the Preamble of the Constitution.

“The discussion of this bill is not new as it was introduced in our last Parliament sitting. And from that discussion, we saw how inadequate the Constitution was at the time. Inadequate in terms of how Samoa as a Christian State is not included in the body of the Constitution.

“Instead it is in the cover and the preamble of the Constitution, not within the body of the Constitution.

“This shows that it is not part of the Constitution. This does not stand in Court as it is not included in the body of the Constitution.”

Tuilaepa said he understood the main reason it wasn’t included in the body of the Constitution then was because there were no religious wars in Samoa when the Constitution was initially written. He said that perhaps our ancestors were not thinking about it at the time.

“This means that we have been misled all these years. And every time we say that Samoa is founded on God because it is in within our Constitution, God must’ve had a good laugh and thought that we have been fooling him.

“And it has been more than 50 years since we have been fooling God, because this is not in the body of our Constitution.

“That is exactly why the 47 members of our party (HRPP) have decided to review and amend the Constitution to correct this.

“The main objective of the bill is that Samoa’s religious stance as a Christian nation may be firmly enshrined in the body of the Constitution.”

With the amendment, Tuilaepa said Christianity will no longer be at the Cover or the preamble of the Constitution. Rather it will become an integral part of the body of the Constitution.

“The phrase “Samoa is founded on God” will no longer be used. Instead, under the Constitution, it will be, “Samoa is a Christian nation founded of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Finally, Tuilaepa said that religious wars are a common occurrence throughout the world and it has resulted in some great civil wars within countries.

Therefore, it is the Government’s duty to legislate accordingly, in efforts to avoid religious tensions in the future.


4th Enhanced Political Dialogue between the European Union and Vanuatu

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in

The European Union (EU) and the Republic of Vanuatu held their fourth Political Dialogue in Brussels this week.

The meeting was chaired on Vanuatu's side by the Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai Tabismasmas and on the EU side by the European External Action Service's Asia Pacific Managing Director, Gunnar Wiegand. During his visit, the Prime Minister also met President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Commissioners Miguel Arias Cañete and Neven Mimica on climate change and development matters respectively.

The Political Dialogue meeting provided an opportunity for both sides to review cooperation between the EU and Vanuatu over the last years and to agree on future perspectives for EU-ACP relations after 2020, recognising the need to replace the current Cotonou Agreement with an ambitious successor that would guide relations between the EU and the Pacific over the coming decade.

The new Agreement shall reflect bilateral issues but also the increasing number of regional and global issues that Vanuatu, the EU and the wider Pacific address together, such as security, climate change, disaster risk reduction, and the sustainable management of oceans.

In the context of the Sustainable Development Agenda, Vanuatu presented the latest developments in the field of gender issues and on empowering women through planned constitutional reform. As proponents of regional cooperation, both the EU and Vanuatu agreed to further increase efforts to integrate New Caledonia and French Polynesia in the Pacific Islands Forum and other regional fora.

The dialogue identified a number of areas for follow-up that will boost cooperation between European Union and Vanuatu in the period until the next political dialogue in 2019. Both the European Union and Vanuatu agreed a number of actions to assure the implementation of ongoing and future development programmes, notably in the agricultural sector. Participants also agreed to explore opportunities for Vanuatu offered by the Economic Partnership Agreement in terms of increased trade.

Both sides welcomed their close cooperation in the international fight against Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported fishing and in promoting the sustainable management of marine resources. The EU praised the impressive reform carried out by Vanuatu in its legal framework on fisheries and fleet management which represents a big step towards securing fish stocks for the future generations of the Vanuatu people.

The EU and Vanuatu agreed as well to work together on their common obligations to meet OECD norms and targets in a wider global effort to improve global tax practices. The Parties also discussed the way forward towards a full implementation of the EU-Vanuatu short-term visa waiver agreement. Lastly, both the European Union and Vanuatu recognised the value of continuing the Political Dialogue with a view to also enhancing strategic cooperation in multilateral fora.

The next Dialogue will be held in Port Vila in 2019.

Photo by EU

Tonga Govt to begin E-project aimed at protecting borders

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in

Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni says it’s significant for the Ministry of Revenue and Customs to work collaboratively with related stakeholders to collect information to protect our borders.

He made the statement during Thursday’s program to mark World Customs Day with the theme “Data Analysis for effective border management. “

DPM Sovalevi says we are living in a rapid moving world and globalization and movement of people is a challenge for small island states like Tonga where illegal activities are on the rise.

Radio Tonga reports this is due to lack of capabilities and funding for expertise and sufficient resources.

Government this year will start with its E- project to collect information and share it with related partners with the purpose to protect our nation and borders.

“... Although there are set back, data analysis lack of skill and resources, lack of ideal infrastructure and proper privacy laws,” he said.

 The Government has identified data analysis as strategic objective.

Mr Sovaleni says government is planning to start by building appropriate infrastructure from July of this year they are going to start an e- government project that will undertake some activities including, connecting Ha’apai and Vava’u with fiber optic cable.

“Connecting sides not only in Tongatapu but in Vava’u and Ha’apai using fiber optic cables and this will enable you to share huge amount of data quite easily,” he said.

Minister of Revenue Tevita Lavemaau says a clear example of lack of resources was the Georgians case last year, when it was identified from overseas not in Tonga when they arrived.

“…Its everybody’s obligation to protect our border its not only the Ministry its everybody as a citizen has a role to play. Information system is a tool in management in today’s environment and we have the challenge of having too much information we don’t analyze it, unless we analyze it, it doesn’t become useful for management, “ he said.

CEO of the Ministry said though Tonga does not have the right resources needed for its daily operation but the Ministry has exceeded its financial estimate target this year with TOP$4.1 million.
Source:  Radio Tonga Photo: LoopSamoa

Politicians urged to leave PNG Electoral Commission alone

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

Politicians have been urged to leave the Electoral Commission alone to concentrate on delivering the 2017 national elections.

The Office of the Electoral Commissioner, was responding to damning allegations by the Opposition Leader, accusing Patilias Gamato of rigging the election process by succumbing to directions of the ruling People's National Congress party.

Don Polye had issued a statement accusing Mr Gamato of lying about the cost of printing the ballot papers, saying the Government Printer, Christine Lenturut had quoted the commission K12 million for the printing and not K23 million as claimed by Mr Gamato.
Mr Polye had also said that according to Mrs Lenturut the Government Printing office does have the capacity to deliver the ballot papers as it as always done in the past.

But the Commissioner's office, says Mr. Gamato has already explained why he chose to print the ballot papers in Indonesia and will not comment further.
It says, Mr Gamato will not be drawn into a media circus and will remain silent to concentrate on delivering 2017 National Election.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, also used the Parliament sitting to clear the air about Mr Gamato's decisions and the PNC's alleged involvement.
"The printing is being done overseas because of security measures.
"Some of the printing requirements of the ballot papers cannot be provided by even the Government Printer, and secondly on the pricing.

"The quote that the electoral commissioner has received is well over K20 million plus, and of course the printing in the Indonesia is about K6.5 million.
"As he has gone publicly in the press and media saying that Treid Printing has some relationship to PNC, we have had a caucus meeting and I have asked every member of our party, do they have an association with the company, and not one single association.
"So (Mr speaker) I will get the electoral commissioner to write to the opposition leader directly informing him of the process of the tender he has conducted, and who is the agent of the company here in PNG so that he (Polye) can be satisfied of the process that he (Gamato) has followed.
"But as far as NEC and the government is concern, and as I have indicated on Tuesday, we have no visibility.
"Visibility on the contacts, not only on printing but even security and all the other arrangements that the electoral commissioner does.
"We have no visibility or we have no say in who he appoints."
NBC News/ PNG Today

Government tasked to address influx of illegal foreigners into Papua New Guinea

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

The Member for Nuku wants the Papua New Guinea Government to address what he claims is the illegal invasion of foreigners into the country.

"The Government must establish a national security taskforce to do this job, because it is a serious threat to PNG's national security," Joe Sungi said.
Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister, Rimbink Pato, said he will look into the issue as a matter of national concern.

Northern Governor, Gary Juffa had complained in Parliament of the same in his province, alleging a syndicate involving Asians and officers within the Department of Labour.
“It is not just in Port Moresby, it goes go as far as the provinces and the districts in this country and this is a very serious problem and if we don’t address it will get worse,” he said. NBC/PNG Today Photo: NBC News

Former PNG Hunters player Brandy Peter set to join Souths Logan Magpies

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in ,

Former SP PNG Hunters and PNG LNG Kumuls forward Brandy Peter is set to join the Intrust Super Cup team, Souths Logan Magpies, a feeder club to the Brisbane Broncos.

Brandy flew out of the country yesterday to join the Magpies in the 2017 season.
Since joining the Hunters in 2013, Brandy has been a workaholic and versatile forward, able to break down defences to score.

However,  Hunter Coach Marum had  omitted  Brandy Peter  including other experienced players for this season for various reasons ranging from failing fitness tests to personal commitments. NBC/PNG Today

PNG Gov't must help Entrepreneurs overcome challenges

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in ,

The Papua New Guinea National Government through its SME Policy aims to create more Small to Medium Enterprises in the future, but it will have to do a lot more to assist local entrepreneurs overcome some of the challenges they face.

Ms. Dessie Bopi, who is the Founder and Owner of Book Net Ltd, said in her line of business of writing educational books for kids in elementary schools, her biggest challenge as a writer and entrepreneur is with the cost involved in printing books.

Ms. Bopi, who is also a participant in the current We Create Challenge training workshop in Port Moresby, said the cost of printing is way too high and is something that discourages local writers to write books; however, there should be some measures put in place by the government to support PNG writers when it comes to the cost of printing.
“I think the government should subsidise it and many writers have expressed the same, printing in Papua New Guinea is very expensive so most of them go off shore to print,” she said.

Ms. Bopi who was a secondary school English teacher for over 20 years, has a passion in writing books for kids and ventured into this business after leaving her teaching work. She already has ten books and is currently looking for an affordable place to print her books.
“There should be some special price set aside for people in the business of writing books because they produce reading materials for the reading population and also to educate the young generation,” she added.
Picture: Ms. Bopi at the PNG WECREATE Challenge held at the Laguna Hotel in Port Moresby.

UPNG lecturers threatened to withdraw Services

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in ,

The National Academic Staff Association (NASA) in UPNG will do a voluntary withdrawal of teaching and assessing as of Monday next week.
This will run for 5 days straight in pursuit of the 7.5% pay increment. President of the NASA Mr. Emmanuel Gorea said that this will affect more than 4000 students in UPNG.
Mr. Gorea said that they have waited too long and the next step was to propose 3 propositions to advance the matter further to have their legal entitlements paid.

Gorea said that out of the 3 proposition, they have chosen to voluntarily withdraw from teaching and assessing.
Gorea said that the outcome of the proposition is to see the university settle the 7.5% increase and to get a specific guarantee on when exactly the 7.5% will be settled.

He said that they needed to get over 80% members to sign this agreement that will be circulated.
He also said that they have had meetings with the UPNG management and with the Department of Higher Education but were told that there was no money.

Meanwhile, he added that all other tasks of university work will remain in-tack and staff will be at their place of work to under-take this. PNGFM/ PNG Today

Happy Australia Day to Australians in Papua New Guine

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

The Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill  has extended best wishes to all Australians celebrating their national day on January 26.
PM O’Neill offered special best wishes to Australians who will celebrate their Australia Day amongst friends in Papua New Guinea.
“Happy Australia Day to Australians who are visiting or living in Papua New Guinea,” the Prime Minister said.
“I hope you have the time to relax and share some time with your Papua New Guinean friends.
“We have thousands of Australians who are living in Papua New Guinea, many for several decades who now call our country home, and I am sure many will enjoy a barbecue or watch the cricket on Australia Day.
“There are also thousands of Australian servicemen and women who lost their lives during World War Two fighting on our land, and this shared history further binds our sense for friendship.”
The Prime Minister said Papua New Guinea feels pain and sympathy with Australia when tragic events or disasters occur.
“Papua new Guineans were saddened by the act of senseless violence in Melbourne last week.
“Our people pray for the families of those who were killed and those who were injured, particularly the children.
“Their loss, as well as the spirit of the members of the public who stepped in to assist following the attack, will be remembered by their communities this Australia Day.”
The relationship between Papua New Guinea and Australia continues to grow and we are strengthening our economic and cultural exchange.
“We look forward to increasing our work together and building business ties and creating more jobs in both countries.
“Papua New Guinea also thanks Australia for its ongoing support in crucial development areas that include healthcare and education, as well as ongoing support for APEC in 2018.”

Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion demands Apology from Post Courier for untrue reporting

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Inter Government Relations, Grand Chief Hon. Leo Dion  has demanded the Post-Courier retract a front page story (26/0117) claiming he had changed political parties.

“What an absolute rubbish excuse for journalism on the front page of the Post-Courier today,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
"I am a member of the Peoples National Congress and I will go to the election as a member of the People’s National Congress.

"I have made commitment to the Prime Minister and the Peoples’ National Congress to go to this election as a unified team.
“We have confidence that the people of our nation will look at the achievements of the past five years, and vote to return our Government to continue this job.
“You just have to look at the facts, the PNC-led Government, under Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, has delivered real outcomes for this nation “Peter O’Neill is the only Prime Minister has delivered such a high level over services in healthcare and education, in police reform and infrastructure development to our people.

“The PNC-led Government is a unified team of committed Members of Parliament who are advancing the economy of this nation.
“People can just look around their villages, towns and cities and see the positive change that has taken place.
"The Prime Minister has my undivided loyalty, and support and together with all PNC members, we will present ourselves to the people of this nation for re-election.
Deputy Prime Minister Dion said careless reporting must not be part of election coverage because news organisations have a responsibility to be accurate and show integrity.

“It makes me angry to see such unprofessional journalism, and I demand an apology from the Post-Courier for their misleading coverage.
“As the people of our nation prepare to vote, I call upon all news agencies to be responsible in their reporting and check the facts that they present to the public.
“I call on reporters to not report on rumours, but to be professional journalists.”

Man jailed for hacking into Jennifer Lawrence's online account

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in

A man's been jailed for nine months for hacking into the online accounts of celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence.

Edward Majerczyk, 29, stole private information, including nude videos and photos.

He was accused of organising a phishing scheme that tricked victims into giving him usernames and passwords.

Majerczyk, from Chicago, was ordered to pay one unnamed celebrity £4,900 after their photos were later shared online.

He wasn't charged or accused of selling or posting the material online.

He pleaded guilty last year to one count of unauthorised access to a protected computer to obtain information.

No victims' names were mentioned in the court documents.


Kaspersky security researcher arrested in Russia

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in

A cybersecurity researcher working for anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab in Russia has been arrested.

Ruslan Stoyanov, a member of Kasperksy's investigations team, was arrested in December but news of his apprehension has only just surfaced.

He was arrested as part of an investigation into payments he allegedly received from foreign firms.

At Kaspersky, Mr Stoyanov helped look into hack attacks and breaches at Russian companies.

In a statement, Kaspkersy Lab said the arrest had nothing to do with his work for the security firm.

"Ruslan Stoyanov is under investigation for a period predating his employment at Kaspersky Lab," said the company in a statement. Mr Stoyanov joined Kaspersky in 2012.

It added: "We do not possess details of the investigation."

Prior to working for Kaspersky, Mr Stoyanov was employed at other security firms. From 2000 to 2006 he was a major in the Russian Ministry of Interior's Moscow cybercrime unit.

Information about the reasons for the arrest are scant, but one Russian newspaper linked it to a probe into Sergei Mikhailov - a senior official at Russia's FSB intelligence service.

Forbes reported that Mr Stoyanov has been arrested under Article 275 of Russia's criminal code which lets prosecutors charge people for treason for "providing financial, technical, advisory, or other assistance" to other countries or non-Russian organisations seen as hostile.

BBC News

Ramu NiCo expects production improvement in 2017

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in ,

THE Ramu Nickel/Cobalt project in Madang expects better process stability, productivity and Mixed Hydroxide Product (MHP) quality following huge improvement on technical modification efficiency, technical plan and processes achieved last year.

Following strict requirements from MCC-Group due to high operational costs and low world nickel price resulting in huge financial deficit,RamuNiCo management strived to improve the project production and witnessed a series of technical modification and bottlenecking projects that ultimately overcame process constraints and improved production quality.

President of RamuNiCo Management (MCC) Ltd, GaoYongxue announced this on Tuesday January 24, during the Company 2017 Annual Work Conference via video conferencing, attended by company employees and management from KBK Mine, Basamuk Refinery, Madang Base and Beijing.

“The year 2016 has witnessed a series of technical modification and debottlenecking projects officially launched to overcome process constraints for improved production quality,”
“This has settled the conditions for better process stability, productivity and MHP quality in the future,”Mr.Gao said.
Mr.Gao said technical breakthrough has been made in hydraulic sluicing in KBK Mine that reduced production costs with a stable nickelsupply over 20 ton per day currently.
Modular and precision management skills were applied to nickel grade control in KBKMine forquality slurry supply, assuring for high-load and stableproduction in Basamuk Refinery that has seen ore throughput at Basamuk Refinery exceeding 10,000 ton (dry base) per day, much higher than the design, according to the Company management.

“At Basamuk Refinery, continuous improvements have been done in process parameter control including the thickeners resulting in improved underflow density over 35%, stabalized nickel recovery rate of 95% and minimized acid consumption,”
“Stable operation of thickeners plus adjustment of crystal seed ratio and nickel precipitation rate have contributed to improved MHP quality with a nickel content over 37% and the moisture rate below 62%,”Mr.Gao said.

The Company President said consumption of all raw materials and energy has been decreased while the sulphur melting capacity of the acid system has reached 1,300 ton per day meeting the full day acid demand after more efforts been put into managing process technical indexes.
“The permanent change to crystal seed conversion process has effectively  bottlenecked problems for the downstream process and the production reached above 100% design capacity towards the end of 2016 will be maintained if the trend continuous,”Mr.Gao said.

PM O'Neill denies giving directions to Electoral Commissioner Gamato

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PM O'Neill denies giving directions to Gamato
PM Peter O’Neill has denied giving any directions to the Electoral Commissioner Patilius Gamato in relation to the change of dates for the elections to printing of ballots papers offshore.
PM O’Neill said the Electoral Commission office is an independent constitutional office and its functions and responsibilities are carried out independently.

He maintained that the Commissioner who was appointed on merit by a parliamentary bi-partisan committee, and not a political appointment and does not report to him directly but the cabinet.
He was responding to a series of questions from the Opposition Leader Don Polye in Parliament.
PM O’Neill told the house Electoral Commission’s report will be presented on the floor next week when the cabinet presents it to cabinet.

Meanwhile, PM Peter O’Neill said there are no changes to dates for the issue of writs which is on April 20 and said elections will begin as per the schedule by Electoral Commission.
He was responding to the Opposition leader Don Polye who questioned why all the changes in the dates for elections which was causing confusion among members of parliament and intending candidates.
PM said the dates will remain and if there are changes, he is not aware of any and will ask the Commissioner Patilius Gamato to respond to Mr. Polye and he is not aware of any notice from the EC on the change of dates.


South Bougainville MP acknowledges ABG and PNG Governments

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

The Member for South Bougainville has acknowledged the National and the Autonomous Bougainville Governments, for the initiative to establish the Bougainville Referendum Commission, BRC.

Timothy Masiu said the creation of BRC was agreed upon during the recent Joint Supervisory Body meeting.
Mr Masiu said this is a way forward as Bougainville strives to make the road towards referendum and independence.
The Member for South Bougainville has called on the Development Partners to support the Commission, whilst also calling on the people of Bougainville to respect the office.
Timothy Masiu was speaking during the signing of agreements to establish the Bougainville Referendum Commission yesterday in Port Moresby.
"Without your help we cannot progress," he said.
"This maybe just something that we create and signoff today and then it slips.
"I am calling on all the aid partners, donors friends, to work towards the fulfillment of what is required under the law, so I'm very thankful to be here today.
"And I also call on the people of Bougainville to support this creation we are signing today, to support it in terms of making sure that if the office is set up," Mr Masiu added.
"That the the office would be respected and the officers who are going to be working there will be respected so that they can do their job in partnership with all our friends,” he said.
NBC News - Eric Taman Photo – Paul Fernandez

Direction to Stop Unlawful Collection of School fees by Schools in the PNG Education System

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in ,

NEC and the Education Department  have directed that no school in the national education system that is receiving grants from the national government's Tution Free Education Policy is to collect any form of fees from the parents and guardians. This also applies to agency schools.

There are reports that some schools are collecting fees for projects, uniforms, bond fees, ID Cards etc. This is unlawful and you are directed to immediately cease collection of any form of fees from the parents upon receipt of this direction.  The NEC also warns schools not to withhold any certificates  for failure to pay any form of schools fees.

This instruction is lawful and current and as such all principals and school governing boards must comply accordingly.

Any defiance to comply with this instruction will be result in the principal's immediate suspension. School boards will also be suspended if they do not comply accordingly.

School Inspectors are to monitor and take appropriate actions. NEC is also urging the Provincial Education Board and Provincial Education Advisors to fully support to ensure that the government's policy of Tuition Fee Free Education is implemented.  NEC Media Press

Government Declined Request for Gaming License in Tonga

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in

The Government had declined the second request from a Native American Owned Casino Company – Red Warrior to establish a Gaming system in Tonga.

Minister of Revenue and Customs Hon. Tevita Lavemaau said, Government only approved the proposal for the development project which includes constructing hotels in Tongatapu and Vava’u.

The request for a gaming system was rejected because it is illegal and if approved the current legislation will have to be amended.

He added the location for the construction is yet to be identified in Fua’amotu and they are currently finishing the process and designing the development project.

A news agency in America had published that Red Warrior Entertainment announced a license issues from the Government of Tonga upon approval by Cabinet.

Red Warrior Entertainment is a company specializing in Casino Resort with strategic business efforts in the Caribbean, South Pacific, Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean.
Source: TBC

Mobile phone customers in PNG given flexibility to retain their numbers when switching to other networks

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in

Customers of mobile communication service in Papua New Guinea will be able to retain their mobile numbers when switching to other network operators of their choice.

This will be realised when the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) concludes the process of introducing mobile number portability in the country.

NICTA Chief Executive Officer Charles Punaha said the authority will make its final decision after comments from stakeholders including the mobile operators in the country.

Punaha said a discussion paper on the costs and benefits of implementing the Mobile Number Portability is also being circulated for public comments.

He said the project is looking at making it mandatory for number portability to be introduced.

Number portability basically means that a customer can retain the same number but can switch to another service provider and take his number with him.

The public and mobile network operators have until the 3rd of February to comment....read more on >> PNG Technology News site


Manus Island asylum seeker charged with raping school student at hotel

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in , ,

A 31-year-old man detained at Australia's offshore processing centre on Manus Island has been charged with raping a young woman in the provincial centre of Lorengau, Papua New Guinea police say.

Manus Province commander David Yapu said the accused was alleged to have met his 18-year-old victim in the town, before taking her to the nearby Harbourside hotel and raping her multiple times.

"The victim suffered loss of blood until she managed to escape from the room," Yapu told Fairfax Media. The incident occurred on January 17.

The victim attempted to reach safety at a relative's house but "fainted" at the side of a river until she was rescued by a passers-by, he said. She was then taken to Lorengau General Hospital for treatment.

Yapu said the victim was a ninth-grade school student. She had been discharged from hospital and was receiving counselling so she could return to school, he said.

He said the alleged attacker was a 31-year-old asylum seeker from Sri Lanka. Yapu said the man's asylum application had not yet been determined.

He appeared before court on Monday but the matter was adjourned until Wednesday, when an interpreter could be provided. Yapu said the matter would go before PNG's National Court of Justice and the maximum penalty was life imprisonment.

"It's a very serious crime," he said. "I really felt sorry for the victim."

Asylum seekers at the Manus Island processing centre have been able to visit Lorengau during the day since April, when the PNG Supreme Court ruled their detention was unconstitutional and the centre would have to be closed.

But the subsequent interaction between asylum centres and locals has not been without problems for the community and police.

"We have been warning the refugees to respect the laws of the locals, of Papua New Guinea," Yapu told Fairfax Media.

"You are free to walk around but please make sure that you respect the locals. If you come in conflict with the law, police will not hesitate to deal with you.

"I want the message to be delivered to them. The bulk of them are okay but there are a few [troublemakers]. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse."

According to the most recent statistics published by Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection, there were 871 men detained at the Manus Island facility at the end of November.

Australia struck a deal with the Obama administration to accept an unknown number of refugees from Manus Island and Nauru, but transfers are yet to begin, and there has been speculation the new Trump administration could back away from the agreement.

US officials were reportedly on Manus Island last week and told refugees that interviews would begin in February ahead of their potential resettlement in the US. Turnbull government ministers have remained optimistic the deal will be honoured by Trump

Source:  PACNEWS

Putting Education on the Table

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in ,

Students from Boera Primary School thanked representatives from ExxonMobil
PNG Limited for the school desks donated in December 2016: Photo Supplied . 

Students at schools near the PNG LNG plant will be off to a good start when school starts with 500 school desks and chairs being donated by ExxonMobil PNG, operator of PNG LNG.
The schools include Porebada, Boera, Papa and Lealea Primary Schools and Redscar High School which each received 100 chairs and desks recently.
Students from the five schools will commence their 2017 classes with the benefit of an improved learning environment.

“The future growth of the country lies in providing today’s children with a good education and having well equipped schools helps to provide aconducive learning environment,” said ExxonMobil PNG’s LNG Plant site Superintendent Al Sandoval.
“We hope the new desks will motivate students to study hard this year,” added Mr Sandoval.
“The desks will make the children feel comfortable which will help them learn,” said HeadTeacher for Lealea Primary School MrsRanuLari.
MrsLari added that the school was very grateful for ExxonMobil PNG’s support to help build the quality of education at the school.
“I know the students will feel excited about their new desks and it will motivate them to learn and when the students are excited about learning, I’m much more excited about teaching,” saidMrsLari.
ExxonMobil PNG has been supporting schools in Central and Hela Provinces with desks since construction in its efforts to support the delivery of education in project areas. The desks have been either made or bought locally, ensuring local economic growth is encouraged. ExxonMobil PNG has also funded infrastructure projects such as classrooms and teachers’ houses, refurbishing existing school facilities and providing capacity building programs for teachers.

2017 TFF Funds ready for schools

Posted by PNG Today | | Posted in ,

Minister for Education Nick Kuman said the government is ready to deposit the first batch of  Tuition Fee Free ( TFF)  funds for schools around the country totalling K75m.
He assured schools around the monies will be remitted to school accounts before schools resume classes this year.
Minister Kuman said although the country was faced with cash flow issues, the government was committed to ensuring TFF funds were delivered on time.
Sinesine Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua however blamed the government for causing problems in schools by failing to release funds in a timely manner forcing schools to impose fees on students.


Education Minister Nick Kuman was not happy to hear about schools already charging unnecessary fees at the start of enrollments such as project fees and tuition fees on students.
He said there was no reason for any school in the country to charge extra fees on students when the government was committed in delivering its TFF policy.
He called on head masters, head teachers and school boards and their managements to ensure no fees are imposed on students or serious disciplinary actions will be taken upon them.
He was responding to complaints by Okapa MP Issac Waigavara who raised concerns from parents regarding schools imposing fees and causing confusion. PNGFM


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