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92 posts from August 2019

Australia willing to assist PNG on debt says Pacific minister


FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu - Australia is willing to help Papua New Guinea refinance its national debt, Minister for the Pacific Alex Hawke said on Tuesday, as Canberra moves to counter what it sees as China’s efforts to increase its influence in PNG.

PNG prime minister James Marape’s office said last week that he had asked China to refinance the K27 billion debt. Marape later said the government was talking with a number of parties about its debt, not just China.

Australia and its western allies worry China has been able to use loans to increase its influence in Asia and the Pacific, described by the United States as amounting to “pay-day loan” diplomacy.

Speaking in Tuvalu’s capital on Tuesday ahead of the opening of the annual Pacific Islands Forum, Hawke said Australian lawmakers would soon head to Port Moresby for talks, including on assistance for debt refinancing.

Continue reading "Australia willing to assist PNG on debt says Pacific minister" »

Amelia Earhart: Latest of many searches gets underway

EV Nautilus at Apia  Samoa  5 August Ocean Exploration Trust)
EV Nautilus at Apia Samoa 5 August (Ocean Exploration Trust)

STATEMENT | The Maritime Executive

FORT LAUDERDALE, USA - Famed oceanographer Dr Robert Ballard and the crew of his foundation's research vessel, Nautilus, are in the midst of a search for the long-lost wreck of Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra airplane.

Earhart - the first female pilot to cross the Atlantic on a solo flight - disappeared in July 1937, along with her pilot, Fred Noonan.

They went missing during a flight from Papua New Guinea to Howland Island, a tiny outlying American territory in the Phoenix Islands group.

The flight was one of the last legs of an attempt at the longest distance round-the-world journey to date, an equatorial route of about 29,000 miles in length.

Continue reading "Amelia Earhart: Latest of many searches gets underway" »

Australia to set up new security college as Pacific focus sharpens

LISA MURRAY | Australian Financial Review | Extracts

SYDNEY - The Australian government has announced the next leg of its Pacific step-up ahead of Scott Morrison’s visit to Tuvalu this week, spending $19 million on establishing a new security college to train officials from the region.

The latest security initiative comes as Mr Morrison is set to face strong criticism at the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting this week over Australia’s climate change policies and its support for the Adani coal mine.

The college, being set up in partnership with the Australian National University, is aimed at boosting links between security and police officials across the Pacific amid concern about China’s expanding investment and influence.

Jonathan Pryke, director of the Pacific Islands program at the Lowy Institute, said Mr Morrison would be bracing himself ahead of this week's forum.

Continue reading "Australia to set up new security college as Pacific focus sharpens" »

Climate change isn’t the big Pacific issue; it’s regional cooperation


GOLD COAST, QLD - One part of the answer to the big problems of the Pacific – like climate change, Chinese expansionism or greater prosperity - would be better co-operation between residents of our region.

Anyone like Australia trying to be ‘Big Brother’ will only enhance feelings of subdued resentment.

A better approach is be to have the Pacific Islands Forum consider climate change as part of the whole Pacific picture. ‘Together we stand, divided we fall’ seems to have morphed into ‘divide and conquer’.

While ever climate change is hived off from the other important issues affecting the lives of Pacific peoples, it will always provide leverage against Australia, due to its reserves of energy and export revenues based on extracted resources.

Continue reading "Climate change isn’t the big Pacific issue; it’s regional cooperation" »

A dismal account of life in a remote PNG village

A death in the rain forest coverPHIL FITZPATRICK

A death in the rainforest: how a language and a way of life came to an end in Papua New Guinea by Don Kulick, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2019, ISBN: 9781616209049, hardcover, 275pp, AU$30.03 from Amazon Australia.

TUMBY BAY - What happens when the equally strange worlds of a remote Papua New Guinea village and an anthropological academic are brought together?

The anthropologist is ostensibly recording the reasons for the demise of the isolated language that the villagers once spoke.

Languages, like many things that no longer have a useful purpose, have been disappearing ever since humans occupied the planet. They are matters of regret but hardly earth-shattering. So why is the anthropologist interested?

The usual suspicion that the anthropologist’s motive is to write a book and make a lot of money is not really relevant in this case because the conventional concepts surrounding books, money and profit are not something with which these villagers are overly familiar.

Continue reading "A dismal account of life in a remote PNG village" »

Climate change focus as Morrison attends Pacific Islands Forum

MELISSA CLARKE | Australian Broadcasting Corporation | Extract

SYDNEY - Scott Morrison's pledge to "step up" relations with the Pacific will be put to the test this coming week, with the Prime Minister heading to Tuvalu for talks with Pacific leaders.

The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) leaders meeting begins Monday in the Tuvaluan capital Funafuti, a small atoll 4,000km north-east of Sydney, with Mr Morrison arriving on Wednesday.

Climate change will be the central issue of the week-long meeting, along with economic development, maritime security and marine pollution.

Pacific nations have been increasingly vocal in the lead-up to the meeting in their demands for Australia to take stronger action on climate change.

Continue reading "Climate change focus as Morrison attends Pacific Islands Forum" »

Was UBS loan corrupt? Many questions to be answered: Marape

LISA MURRAY, ANGUS GRIGG & JONATHAN SHAPIRO | Australian Financial Review | Extracts

SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea's new government has appointed a former chief justice and an anti-corruption crusader to lead a three-month inquiry into the UBS loan affair, which is expected to renew focus on the investment bank's role in the controversial deal.

Prime Minister James Marape announced on Friday the inquiry would investigate whether any laws were broken when the Sydney office of UBS lent $1.2 billion to the PNG government in 2014 to buy a 10% stake in ASX-listed Oil Search.

The commission of inquiry will also look into whether there was any corruption or impropriety.

PNG PM James Marape says there are many questions that need to be answered.

Former chief justice Sir Salamo Injia has been appointed commissioner and Sam Koim, who headed the disbanded Taskforce Sweep that looked into allegations of corruption involving former prime minister Peter O'Neill, was announced as counsel assisting.

Continue reading "Was UBS loan corrupt? Many questions to be answered: Marape" »

Meet Bryan Kramer, Papua New Guinea's anti-corruption tsar

Bryan Kramer (2)
Bryan Kramer

KATE LYONS | Guardian Australia

SYDNEY - At the end of May, as Papua New Guinea’s most recent political crisis came to a head, huge numbers of people across the country tuned in to watch Peter O’Neill resign as prime minister and the parliament elect a new leader.

Many were watching an online livestream and as the parliamentary debate continued questions from viewers began rolling in, many of them along the same theme: “Where is BK?”

BK, as Bryan Kramer is sometimes known, has become a star of PNG politics, despite being just a first-term MP for the electorate of Madang, on the north-east coast of the country.

He is an anti-corruption campaigner who was instrumental in bringing to light the UBS scandal that helped to bring down O’Neill’s leadership, and was a key leader in the opposition movement, pushing for O’Neill’s removal.

Continue reading "Meet Bryan Kramer, Papua New Guinea's anti-corruption tsar" »

Esteemed Dr Sam Yockopua will quit if health boss not sacked

Dr Sam Yockopua
Dr Sam Yockopua - despite political and bureaucratic assurances, PNG's hospitals have no medicines and basic equipment

NEWS DESK | FM100 / PNG Today

PORT MORESBY – One of Papua New Guinea’s most senior doctors is ready to resign from his job if the government and health department do not respond to a petition to sack the health secretary.

The chief emergency physician at Port Moresby General Hospital and secretary of the National Doctors Association, Dr Sam Yockopua, said he will be the first doctor to resign.

Dr Yockopua said doctors have had enough of ignorance from the senior executive management in the health department who have failed to address PNG’s deteriorating health system and services.

“I will be the first highly trained medical specialist to resign if they won’t respond to our petition to remove the Health Secretary within a seven days ultimatum starting next Tuesday,” he said.

Dr Yockopua the petition for the immediate removal of the health secretary as well as other senior executive managers in the health sector on Monday at 4:30pm.

Continue reading "Esteemed Dr Sam Yockopua will quit if health boss not sacked" »

In the chasm of change: do its agents often feel alone?

Image - Graham Forster


NORTHUMBRIA - This photograph was taken deep in Papua New Guinea’s interior in 1974 – and it is a metaphor.

I was a bush administrator, a kiap, and I was on patrol.

The image underlines how young I was, and conveys something of my apprehension about the drop below.

But its underlying message is that I was alone, bridging two philosophical fixed points, and so in a cultural no-man’s land.

These contrasting pivots were the chasm that lay between two realities.

The global economic, political, and administrative ideals that my work required me to encourage isolated village people to adopt.

Continue reading "In the chasm of change: do its agents often feel alone?" »

Eight Mile NCD Northeast (Dirty 8)


| An entry in the Crocodile Prize Poetry Award

Tis a dry and dusty world
where no running water flows
Children and dogs
always at play

Among the market tables
where brown grass grows
Young men play cards all day
smoke weed every night
Every weekend, it's a bottle of steam
And everyone dreams
about a life that did not go right

Continue reading "Eight Mile NCD Northeast (Dirty 8)" »

PNG turns to China for help with tuna processing investment

MARK GODFREY | Seafood Source

SAN DIEGO - USA - A Chinese fishing firm is edging towards a deal to allow it access to the waters off Papua New Guinea with six large fishing vessels.

The fleet is set to sail after a team of eight officials from PNG visited the company at its home port in Zhejiang Province.

The officials inspected safety and tracking devices aboard six vessels of the Wenzhou Da Zhou Distant Water Fishing Co.

They were accompanied by company executives and officials from local government in Dontou County, near the city of Wenzhou, a major export-focused manufacturing hub.

Entering PNG would represent the “most cherished wish” of his company, Wenzhou Da Zhou general manager Yang Jin Ying told the press after the inspections.

Continue reading "PNG turns to China for help with tuna processing investment" »

Mobile phones have seen rapid rise in off-grid solar in PNG

LISA CORNISH | Devex | Extract

CANBERRA — The use of off-grid solar products has skyrocketed over the past five years in Papua New Guinea, with 60% of households now using solar lighting — up sharply from just 2% in 2012, according to a new report by the International Finance Corporation.

As a result, PNG now has one of the highest rates of use of off-grid solar lighting in the developing world, according to the report ‘Going the Distance: Off-Grid Lighting Market Dynamics in PNG’.

Part of this is due to the fact that 87% of the population — or 7.2 million people — are not connected to the electricity grid.

But the increased use of mobile technology has also played a major role. The report showed the transition happened at a time when mobile phone penetration was growing rapidly, but the means to charge phones was lagging.

Continue reading "Mobile phones have seen rapid rise in off-grid solar in PNG" »

Caroline Tiriman - the story of the runaway broadcaster

KEVIN McQUILLAN | Business Advantage PNG / Paradise, in-flight magazine of AirNiugini

PORT MORESBY - Caroline Tiriman was just 16 when her father helped her run away from her Rabaul home to Port Moresby, on a path that eventually led her to become one of the most recognised broadcasters in Melanesia.

Every morning at 11am at high school in Rabaul, Tiriman and her eighth-grade classmates would listen to the ABC news and current affairs program Ring for the Record.

“I didn’t know where it was coming from. And so I used to wonder how did these people get into that radio,” she says with a laugh.

The presenter was usually an Australian, but sometimes it was Papua New Guinean Pearson Vetuna, who later became her boss.

Continue reading "Caroline Tiriman - the story of the runaway broadcaster" »

'Don't politicise' planned visit of foreign journalists to W Papua

ROY RATUMAKIN | Tabloid Jubi/Pacific Media Watch | Extract

JAYAPURA - The Indonesian government plans to bring foreign journalists to Papua for 2020 National Press Day, but an independent journalists group has warned against "politicising" the visit.

Lucky Ireeuw, chair of the Jayapura City branch of the Independent Journalist Alliance (AJI), said his group strongly supported the move of the Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Wiranto, to bring the foreign journalists to Papua.

"This is what AJI has been fighting for. We have urged the central government to open as much access as possible to foreign journalists to come and cover Papua without any pressure from various parties.

"However, the arrival of foreign journalists should not be politicised," he told Tabloid Jubi this week.

Continue reading "'Don't politicise' planned visit of foreign journalists to W Papua" »



I face the clock from sunrise to sunset.
I watch the hand grow legs and run away.
It goes around and comes around again,
but it is never the same. Every day
the steps keep reminding me to forget

the poems that I lost staring at walls.
I’m switching between cycles and circles:
three new wings and a foot bound in shackles;
with the other I beg for miracles.
My spirit is free but my shadow falls.

I concentrate pain in a paragraph
and conceal protests in a photograph.
With this passion I cut the curse in half.
The hand watches so it is not enough.

Sir Salamo not the right person to head UBS loan inquiry


KUNDIAWA - Prime Minister James Marape is to be commended for the appointment of a commission of inquiry to investigate the UBS loan affair, however the appointment of former chief justice Sir Salamo Injia to head the inquiry is dubious.

This is already a compromise of the outcome of the inquiry before it has even started and is not a good sign for the Marape government in its announced campaign of fighting corruption.

If Marape is serious about cleaning up PNG and ridding this country of corruption, the multi-billion dollar UBS loan is a classic case to start with.

This is an issue that has brought so much pain and misery to the country and its people.

It is essential for people who want the whole truth that no stone is left unturned in pursuing exactly what happened and who was responsible for it.

Continue reading "Sir Salamo not the right person to head UBS loan inquiry" »

The real people of Papua New Guinea


TUMBY BAY - There are many good people in Papua New Guinea. We often hear their stories on PNG Attitude. They are a welcome respite from all the doom and gloom that otherwise reaches our ears.

Papua New Guinea is a Melanesian society that is founded on the concept of community, as opposed to the concept of the individual, and one shouldn’t be surprised by these stories.

These good people exist in most communities. They are working quietly and without any expectation of reward in all sorts of ways and in a huge variety of different fields.

Teachers work in remote communities without resources and sometimes even without a salary. Aid Post orderlies and health clinic workers toil under similar conditions in many areas.

Sometimes we forget about all these good people and concentrate too much on what we hear is wrong with Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "The real people of Papua New Guinea" »

Papua New Guinea backtracks on China debt refinancing


SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape has backtracked on an announcement saying he had asked China to refinance the country’s $8 billion debt, insisting the statement was released without his knowledge.

A statement from his office on Tuesday said Marape had asked China’s ambassador for help in refinancing the country’s K27 billion public debt during a meeting in Port Moresby.

But on Wednesday afternoon, Marape’s office released a new statement saying it was “false” that he was “going one way to China” to tackle the country’s debt.

He said PNG was primarily discussing trade with China while examining debt options with undisclosed “non-traditional partners.”

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea backtracks on China debt refinancing" »

PNG needs principled leaders to guide us to a better state


SONOMA - Cultivating leaders with moral principles is a societal responsibility to fill the leadership void in every age.

The story of Daniel in the Bible provides a template for how leaders with moral principles can be cultivated, to become a beacon and a moral force in a world washed in moral decay.

Another historic example who fits this mold is Abraham Lincoln who was raised in humble circumstances, developed a passion to learn and taught himself law, philosophy, rhetoric and mathematics.

One of the many books Lincoln devoured was the Bible, and the precepts found in that ancient book transformed and elevated him to become the president of America. His most memorable speech - the Gettysburg address – opens with a quote from Psalm 90.

The lives of these two moral giants show that leaders with principles can be cultivated.

Continue reading "PNG needs principled leaders to guide us to a better state" »

Multibillion debt request to China “took Australia by surprise”

KATE LYONS | The Guardian | Extracts

SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape has dealt a blow to Australian diplomacy by asking China to refinance his country’s debt.

The request marks a “significant shift” in regional politics and PNG’s allegiances, according to Pacific experts.

Australia has traditionally been the largest aid donor and most important ally of PNG, but in recent years ties between China and PNG have strengthened.

PNG’s prime minister, James Marape, visited Australia two weeks ago at the invitation of his counterpart, Scott Morrison, in his first international visit since becoming the Pacific nation’s leader at the end of May.

Continue reading "Multibillion debt request to China “took Australia by surprise”" »

PNG request to China to refinance K27bn debt will rile Oz


PORT MORESBY- Papua New Guinea has asked Beijing to refinance its K27 billion debt, in a request likely to rile Australia and the United States as they try to maintain their influence in the Pacific in the face of a rising China.

Beijing has been strengthening ties with PNG and other Pacific nations by increasing engagement and offering loans for infrastructure, prompting both the US and Australia to launch their own charm offensives in the region to keep traditional allies on side.

Less than two weeks after traveling to Australia on his first trip abroad as leader, PNG prime minister James Marape announced on Tuesday that he had asked China’s ambassador for help in refinancing the country’s K27billion public debt during a meeting in Port Moresby.

“He stated that a formal letter would be forwarded to the ambassador to convey to Beijing on this request,” Marape’s office said in a statement.

Continue reading "PNG request to China to refinance K27bn debt will rile Oz" »

Marape asks China to elevate its trade partnership with PNG

NEWS DESK | PNG Today | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape has requested that China enter a free trade arrangement (FTA) with PNG and Pacific Island countries to boost the economy of the region.

Marape made these request at a meeting with the Chinese ambassador to PNG, Xue Bing, saying he was mindful that a similar arrangement with Australia and New Zealand was under review to ensure it seeks tangible outcomes.

The meeting agenda included PNG refinancing its K27 billion debt with China, the upcoming Third China-Pacific Islands economic cooperation forum to be held in Samoa in October, and forthcoming Pacific Islands Forum meetings to be held in Tuvalu this month.

“I also suggested for Chinese investment in the Agriculture and Fisheries sector, and in particularly establishing down streaming processing plants for products in forestry, fisheries, mining and petroleum, and general food production and supply in PNG,” Marape said.

Bing raised concerns with forum hosted by Tuvalu which has diplomatic relations with Taiwan and urged PNG to support China to allow it to speak at the forum meeting at which China wants to deliver a statement on strengthening relations in the region.

Marape maintains that all nations are sovereign states and that each forum member is entitled to decide on who its external partners are.

He said PNG’s One China Policy has always been the cornerstone of relations with China. Given this and favourable relations with China, PNG will support China on regional issues of mutual importance.

Bing briefed Marape on China’s investments in PNG and said they were much less compared with PNG’s other development partners. China’s two major projects are Ramu Nickel and the Porgera gold mine.

The two men also exchanged views on global food security and discussed entering an agricultural cooperation arrangement to supply PNG organic food and vegetables to the Chinese market and entering an agreement for Chinese Investors to build fisheries processing plants in PNG.

Bing invited Marape to China to “consolidate” agreement on key issues including air services, tourism, mining, petroleum, electricity, roads, ports, education, the Chinese language curriculum to be introduced in schools, and encouraging business investment from China.

Marape said all business investors and other officials traveling to PNG would be facilitated by the PNG Embassy in Beijing so meetings with senior government officials and ministers are properly coordinated.

Further delay to B'ville referendum – now scheduled for November

JOHN MAIR | Reuters | Extract

SYDNEY - An independence referendum for Bougainville has been again delayed by the governments of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea but will be held this year, the referendum commission has said.

Voting in the referendum will now open on 23 November, having been pushed back from a revised date of 17 October.

Under a peace agreement signed after the nine-year civil war with PNG that ended in 1998, Bougainville has until mid-2020 to hold the referendum, which had originally been scheduled for June.

"The referendum will be held this year," Bougainville Referendum Commission chair Bertie Ahern said after the two governments decided on Friday that extra time was needed to create a more credible electoral roll.

"We will use these precious few weeks wisely, and we ask for public support to make this referendum roll as inclusive as possible and one that people can trust," said Ahern, a former prime minister of Ireland.

The conflict between Bougainville's rebel guerrilla army and Papua New Guinea forces left as many as 20,000 dead.

The outcome of the referendum, which analysts expect to support independence, is then subject to ratification by PNG's parliament.

Caution needed in dealing with Australia’s police authorities


TUMBY BAY - I think Papua New Guinea’s police minister Bryan Kramer really needs to be careful.

He says he will reach out to the Australian Federal Police for assistance in restructuring PNG's fraud squad.

While a lot depends on the kind of assistance he is seeking, he should be very wary of inadvertently falling into a trap.

The AFP has close links to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).

All these agencies are secretive and immune from freedom of information requests in Australia.

The ASD’s main function is listening in on communications domestically and in other countries which may be of interest to the Australian government.

Given Australia’s newly discovered interest in the Pacific region it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a request made by Kramer would be seen as an invitation to engage in a little extra-curricular spying.

Australia, after all, has lots of skin in this sort of game. Just ask Timor Leste, where Australian spies laced listening devices in the cabinet room.

It’s also interesting to consider why Kramer thinks the fraud squad needs outside help.

In the recent past the fraud squad has shown itself to have a team of professional and incorruptible officers. Peter O’Neill will vouch for this fact.

The fraud squad will know exactly what needs to be done to make its work easier.

First, quarantining them from political interference.

Secondly, guaranteeing them a decent budget so they have the resources they need to be effective.

Once they’ve got all that it’s just a matter of letting them loose. They know who the crooks are and where they live.

One of the things they don’t need is dragging some AFP characters around with them hindering what they do.

If the AFP is happy to sit in the Airways Hotel propping up the bar and occasionally wandering over to the smorgasbord, well and good.

But if they want to get in the way things won’t work as well as the minister expects.

If the minister insists in getting outside help, he should look elsewhere for the expertise he seeks.

His own backyard might be a good place to start.

Law & order must be nambawan priority of government: Ipatas


WABAG - If there is one thing Enga governor Sir Peter Ipatas wants to see happen in Enga Province, it is to see his people prosper in a peaceful environment.

He would like many tourists to come annually to events like this Friday’s Enga Cultural Show or to major sporting events like the recent rugby match between Easts Tigers and PNG Hunters in the Queensland Intrust Super Cup completion.

The promotion of tourism is now one of the major policies of the Enga Provincial Government and it aims to promote peace in the province and enable the people to tap into the lucrative tourism industry.

Governor Ipatas has personally involved himself in bringing in visitors like birdwatchers and people who wanted to see how traditional salt was made at Mulisos Yokonda Salt ponds near Sirunki.

Continue reading "Law & order must be nambawan priority of government: Ipatas" »

PNG’s writers still await appointment with prime minister


PORT MORESBY – It’s National Book Week this week with the theme, ‘Upgrade your Knowledge (IQ) – Read!’.

Meanwhile, the delivery of the PNG writers’ petition to the Papua New Guinea government is still pending.

“One of the major pillars of building a knowledge society is by reading books, being literate, and having greater access to library and information services, and lifelong learning,” stated director-general of the PNG National Library and Archives, Kaksi Kakaito.

Apart from building knowledge in society, books carry stories of culture and traditions and stories of our people.

Continue reading "PNG’s writers still await appointment with prime minister" »

Oil Search is 'encouraged' as PNG signals support for gas deal


SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea has signalled it will back a previously agreed multibillion dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal involving Australia's Oil Search, although it said that some terms still need negotiating.

The deal, for a project called Papua LNG, was agreed in April. However it was put up for review after the prime minister who signed it was ousted in a parliamentary vote in May, following a political crisis caused by discontent over the distribution of resource riches.

Oil Search CEO Peter Botten said the company was "encouraged" by the PNG petroleum minister's statement.

Papua LNG, which is a joint venture between French oil major Total, Exxon Mobil Corp and Oil Search, is part of a $A19 billion project to develop gas fields off PNG's shores and double the country's exports of LNG.

Continue reading "Oil Search is 'encouraged' as PNG signals support for gas deal" »

Police minister Bryan Kramer will seek assistance from Australia


PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s police minister Bryan Kramer says he will be reaching out to the Australian Federal Police for assistance in restructuring PNG's fraud squad.

The AFP has long historical links with PNG police, and Kramer wants that to extend to the beleaguered police anti-fraud unit.

Kramer says in recent years the fraud squad has been under-resourced and undermined in its ability to probe high-level corruption.

But speaking on FM100 radio, Kramer said the new government of James Marape has fresh resolve to fight corruption.

"My job is to clear the roadblocks so they [the fraud squad] can do their job.

Continue reading "Police minister Bryan Kramer will seek assistance from Australia" »

Pacific leaders want their summit to focus on climate, not China

NEWS DESK | Agence France-Presse

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Pacific island leaders insist climate change, not China, will top the agenda when they meet in Tuvalu this month as western-aligned nations push to curb Beijing's growing influence in the region.

Once regarded as a sleepy backwater of the diplomatic world, the islands are now a hotbed of aid projects and charm offensives as anxiety over China's presence grows.

Australia has labelled its campaign the Pacific Step-Up, New Zealand has the Pacific Reset, and Britain the Pacific Uplift, while the United States, Japan, and France have also intensified their efforts to court the region.

But local leaders attending the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Tuvalu from August 13 to 16 are wary their concerns will be sidelined if they become pawns in a wider power struggle.

Continue reading "Pacific leaders want their summit to focus on climate, not China" »

Economic segregation: let's get rid of racist advertising for a start

Expat neededEMMANUEL NARAKOBI | My Land, My Country

PORT MORESBY - So let me backtrack. Economic segregation has been practiced for a long time in Papua New Guinea.

The so called ‘expat’, as defined legally for the private sector, was someone supposed to train local talent where relevant experience did not exist in an organisation.

But there is no foreign worker license which then perpetuates the ‘expat’ policy and attitudes. In other words we have institutionalised economic segregation.

When the Bougainville copper mine was established, the company did not just set up a mining project.

It set up an entire town with schools, hospitals and leisure facilities. Everyone, both Papua New Guineans and ‘expats’ lived and worked together in Bougainville with their families using the same facilities.

Continue reading "Economic segregation: let's get rid of racist advertising for a start" »

Pacific islanders face daily ‘destructive realities’ of climate change

Dr Jale Samuwai (Wansolwara)
Dr Jale Samuwai (left) - "Pacific Island countries are at the frontline of the impact of climate change" (Wansolwara)

JUNIOR OIOFA | Wansolwara / Pacific Media Watch

SUVA - Climate change is real and many Pacific Island countries are experiencing this “destructive reality”, says climate researcher Dr Jale Samuwai.

Dr Samuwai became the first graduate to be awarded a PhD in climate change at the University of the South Pacific this year and his analysis of an “equitable Green Climate Fund allocation policy” has been published in the latest Pacific Journalism Review.

Speaking at the recent USP graduation ceremony, he said Pacific Island countries were at the frontline of the impact of climate change.

“Many low-lying atolls in the Pacific region like Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu among others are experiencing the same threat of global warming and sea level rise, which is very destructive to their lives,” he said.

Continue reading "Pacific islanders face daily ‘destructive realities’ of climate change" »

Our Today, Their Tomorrow

Their tomorrow (Unicef)JUNIOR GAIRO ENARA

| An entry in the Crocodile Prize Poetry Award

Day by day our lives unfold,
Every minute every hour our story is written, and to them
One day will be told.

The scares and tears of today carve and shape their tomorrow.
Will tomorrow bring him prosperity or poverty?
Will tomorrow bring her joy or will tomorrow bring her sorrow?

Life grins and dances and mocks our faith.
It taunts us with the trials that they are to one day face.

Continue reading "Our Today, Their Tomorrow" »

‘Shocking’ levels of child violence in Pacific, says new report

NEWS DESK | Pacific Media Centre / Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - A report has detailed shocking levels of physical violence and neglect towards millions of Pacific Islands children, sparking calls for better-targeted aid programs from countries like New Zealand and Australia

The report team, from combined aid agencies, investigated child-rearing practices in seven Pacific countries, as well as Timor-Leste.

The report found as many as four million children experience violence at home across the Pacific – a staggering 2.8 million in Papua New Guinea alone.

More than half of all sexual violence referred to medical clinics involves children in PNG, where almost one in three parents report beating children “as hard as they can”.

Continue reading "‘Shocking’ levels of child violence in Pacific, says new report" »

Logging & mining threaten precious Woodlark Islands ecosystems

WoodlarkGIANLUCA CERULLO | Mongabay | Extracts

Link here to the complete and detailed Mongabay article on the pillaging of Woodlark

MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA - A unique island ecosystem and culture lying 270 kilometers off Papua New Guinea is once more in the crosshairs.

Over the past decade, Woodlark Islanders have defended their forests — home to dozens of endemic species found nowhere else on Earth — from a slew of threats from loggers, miners and plantation developers.

Their latest challenge comes from a foreign-owned company, Kulawood Limited, which has applied for a permit to log and clear 30,000 hectares of land. If carried out, this will lead to the destruction of some 40% of the island’s forest.

Continue reading "Logging & mining threaten precious Woodlark Islands ecosystems" »

PNG: Look to agriculture not minerals to strengthen economy

AgricCALUM RUTTER | Public Finance International

LONDON, UK - Papua New Guinea should look to agriculture to strengthen growth as the economy recovers from a series of external shocks, the World Bank has said.

Structural transformation was needed in the country to bring about the inclusive and sustainable development that would enable its economy to become more resilient, the bank suggested in a report.

Real GDP growth in Papua New Guinea dropped gradually from 13.5% in 2014 to -0.5% in 2018.

During this time there was a commodity price shock, a particularly warm El Niño climate cycle and a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that hampered the economy, the World Bank pointed out in the report, released on Friday last week.

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Agriculture in PNG: A significant opportunity & significant peril

AgricMERVYN PIESSE | Global Food and Water Crises Research Program | Future Directions International

NEDLANDS, WA - Papua New Guinea is a predominantly rural society that relies on subsistence agriculture.

Its prime minister, James Marape, has stated that he wants to diversify the economy, away from its dependence on oil and gas and increase the export of agricultural goods.

While agriculture is a significant part of the PNG economy, its agricultural exports are almost entirely limited to coffee, palm oil and copra.

Although it is possible that PNG will be able to expand the supply of those commodities, the development of other food products, such as rice or other cereals, will likely be difficult.

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A Tale Foretold


| An entry in the Crocodile Prize Poetry Award

From generations on was it told
Long before we were conceived
It was written among the stars
Through the galaxies it roamed

It was foretold throughout the ages
Travelling through time and space
We wait, for it to be fulfilled
Till it finally found its place

In our hearts, deep in our souls
In the most awkward of situations
When we've lost all hope in love
When we felt unlovable with our imperfections

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Want to invest in PNG? You'll need a lazy K10 million

James Marape - Papua New Guinea only wants 'serious investors' 


PORT MORESBY - People who intend to set up business in Papua New Guinea must be serious and meet set requirements.

Prime minister James Marape says one of these is that an intending business must open a bank account in PNG with a minimum K10 million deposit.

“Investors must have serious money – a minimum of K10 million to be deposited in a facility with the Central Bank to show you are serious,” said Marape.

The prime minister says he made clear during his recent visit to Australia that this will be PNG’s investment approach.

Marape saids he remains confident in continued reciprocated business investment with Australia.

He thanked the 5,000 plus existing Australian businesses which continue to invest in PNG.

Donors fail to act against Pacific child maltreatment: report

AbuseNATALIE WHITING | Australian Broadcasting Corporation | Extracts

Link here to  the full version of Natalie Whiting’s disturbing story

PORT MORESBY - More than four million children in the Pacific region experience violent discipline at home, according to a report from organisations working on the ground.

"Millions of children experience exceptionally high levels of physical, emotional and sexual violence, as well as neglect," the report said.

But the organisations said despite "clear evidence of the scale and gravity of violence," the Australian government and other key donors have "failed to enact the measures needed to end the scourge".

The report, called ‘Unseen, Unsafe’, claims only $1.1 million, or 0.1% of Australian overseas development assistance in 2017, was directly spent on programs solely targeting violence against children.

"The levels of violence against children across the region are shocking, having a deeply detrimental impact on society. Successive donors and governments have so far failed to address it," the report says.

But the Australian government has defended its spending in the area, saying it has programs which directly and indirectly respond to the problem.

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The Smiles of the Innocents


| An entry in the Crocodile Prize Poetry Award

Through agony and pain from my mother I came into this world.
So soft and fragile with a high-pitched cry brought smiles to those around me
Mother was smiling, grandmother was smiling, and the health workers were smiling, but you were not nearer to smile when I arrive

You smiled at me when I came home, and I smiled back
You touched me.
However, this was not the usual touch a father gives to a daughter
I fell ill on my third month in this world
I was brought to the health centre
My tongue and mouth were dry
I cried without tears
My eyes were sunken
The health worker cannot touch me as it brought unpleasant feeling to my body
My blood vessels were hidden
After sometimes, tubes were attached to my body
Water was given to me and I began to smile
I was OK to go home

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