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Monday, 19 February

23:19

Schram fightback: No presumption of innocence; biased process "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Albert-Schram
Dr Schram - "What just happened to me is a clear breach of due process"

ALBERT SCHRAM

LAE - On 15 February, the Council of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology decided to terminate my services, and gave me and my wife seven days to ship out and leave our residence on campus where we have lived more than six years.

On 19 January I was given a mere seven days to answer the allegations and I managed to hand in my answers, though incomplete, before the deadline.

I returned to campus from an engagement elsewhere with my wife on 23 January and that same day Acting Vice Chancellor Dr Ora Renagi wrote that I should stay away from the office.

I was also denied an extension of time to prepare myself and I was not given access to important files regarding this case in the Registry and Bursary.

Council itself acknowledged that the main ground for dismissal was that I allegedly did not present a certified copy of my original doctoral degree from the European University Institute. Here is a link to this on the Institutes website.

This had been a condition for my contract renewal in 2015. In an email dated 13 January 2015, I had requested the renowned European University Institute, established by an international treaty, to send me two hard copies of these credentials, one to my office in Lae and one to Cairns.

Upon receiving the document in Lae, I handed it to the Registrar. The other original I kept. Why would I do otherwise and self-sabotage? And why was this matter not brought up by the Registrar when later, on 26 August 2016, I submitted myself to the annual performance assessment, which lasted a whole day and was supported by an independent consultant?

I was interrogated by the Council last Thursday without being told I was to receive the decision of the Council, had to answer questions or was allowed to give a presentation. I did not know what was going to happen.

At no stage in this process, which started in October 2017, did Acting Chancellor Jean Kekedo ensu...

22:51

Backlash to Schram dismissal grows as documents emerge "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Schram thesis
The verification of Dr Schram's PhD award is on the internet - one allegation against him is that he has not produced his credentials

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA The dismissal of Dr Albert Schram from his vice-chancellors position at the University of Technology has resulted in a backlash from Papua New Guineans who believe he has been treated unjustly.

And it has also led to the publication of documents that appear to vindicate his argument that the claims against him are exaggerated.

In PNG Attitude on Sunday there were conflicting accounts of the reasons for his termination presented by Dr Schram and the Unitech Council.

A Council meeting last Thursday decided to dismiss the vice-chancellor and gave him just seven days to settle his affairs at the Lae campus.

The controversy has led to a flood of comment to PNG Attitude as readers engage with both sides of the controversy.

Some people have been shocked by the allegations against Dr Schram while others believe he has been subjected to a kangaroo court which has distorted the evidence against him.

One of these is notable Papua New Guinean writer and commentator Martyn Namorong, who has published a copy of Dr Schrams PhD credentials on social media.

The first allegation against the dismissed vice-chancellor was that he had not provided verified academic credentials, so the revelation of the transcript of his credentials from an independent source is a serious blow to the allegations against him.

Despite the defamatory statements made by the Unitech Council against Schram, the evidence supports him, Mr Namorong said. All the Unitech Council had to do was Google the evidence.

The transcript shows that Dr Schram completed a PhD at the European University Institute in Florence,.....

22:47

Four Mining Exploration Licences Issued for Bougainville "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Bougainville is open to any investor who want to come and do business

Post Courier | February 18, 2018

Secretary for Bougainville Mineral and Energy Resources Shadrach Himata says a total of four mining explorations licences have been issued to date.

Mr Himata said companies from Australia, Canada, and the Philippines have taken up interest in the exploration of various areas in Bougainville upon the request of landowner groups.

We have a company from Australia, Canadians interested, and the Filipinos who are interested in exploration, Mr Himata said.

Right now we have issued four exploration licences in the Tore area in North Bougainville and the Central Bougainville is the Isina area.

The Filipino company, SR Metals, are interested in doing exploration in the eastern part of Isina area in Central Bougainville.

He said on the northern part of the Tore...

22:12

Message from Tavolo villagers to Government: We did not sign SABL agreements "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Pepetua Marangona, Tavolo village, Pomio

Source: Scott Waide, My Land, My Country

Tavolo village in Pomio, East New Britain, is a place not many in Waigani know about.

Its tucked away along a patch of sandy beaches in between rocky shorelines that mark the border of East and West New Britain.

The people go on with their lives knowing very well not to expect any help from the National or provincial government. On the maps held by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Tavolo is part of a Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) in the Melkoi Local Level Government area.

Those who are pushing for the SABL to be implemented on Tavolo land, have probably had no contact at all with the people who own 18,000 hectares of land. They dont understand the peoples aspirations and they will probably defend the SABLs as a sound development option needed for the Tavolo people.

The Tavolo community is small. They have a population of 600 men women and children.

The ward councillor, Peter Kikeleng and another senior community member, Pepetua Marangona, asked me to take their message to those who authorised the Melkoi SABL.

The people dont want a 99-year Special Agriculture Business Lease over their land. They dont want the logging and the oil palm that is expected to come with it. They say that if any development is to come, they must remain in control of their land and that they have to receive direct benefits from the project NOT the crumbs.

When the police come, they beat the landowners because we speak out a lot about  land issues, she says in Tok Pisin. What answers does the government have for the shortage of land that we will face?

They have seen the situation in Pomio where large tracts of land have been logged and land taken away from customary landowners through SABLs.   They know about the communities that are being broken by the greed and court battles against each other.

They dont want that....

21:45

Schram wants to continue to make a positive impact in PNG "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"


by ALBERT SCHRAM

On 15 February, the Council of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (PNGUoT) decided to terminate my services, and gave me and my wife 7 days to ship out, and leave our residence on campus, where we have lived more than 6 years.

On 19 January I was given a mere 7 days to answer the allegations, and I managed to hand in my answers though incomplete before the deadline. I returned on campus from an engagement elsewhere with my wife on 23 January, and that same day the Acting Vice Chancellor Dr. Ora Renagi wrote
that I should stay away from the office. I was also denied an extension to prepare myself, and neither was I given access to important files in the Registry and Bursary regarding this case.

Council itself, however, acknowledged that the main ground for dismissal was that allegedly I did not present a certified copy of my original doctoral degree from the European University Institute. Here is a link to my thesis on the Institutes website http://cadmus.eui.eu//handle/1814/5972. This had been a
condition for my contract renewal in 2015. In an email dated 13 January 2015, I requested the renowned European University Institute, established by an international treaty, to send me two hard copies, one to my office in Lae and one to Cairns. Upon receiving the document in Lae, I handed it over to the Registrar. The other original I kept. Why would I do otherwise and self-sabotage
myself? And, why was this matter not brought up by the Registrar when later on 26 August 2016 I submitted myself to the Annual Performance Assessment, which lasted one whole day and was supported by an independent consultant?

I was interrogated by Council on 15 February, but without being told previously whether I was just to receive the decision of the council, had to answer questions or was allowed to give a presentation. I did not know what was going to happen. At no stage in this process, which started in October 2017, did the Acting Chancellor Jean Kekedo ensure I was involved in or consulted over Council proceedings? An investigation was launched, without a Council resolution and without my involvement. As a result, only convenient information was included in the report. Sam Koim reputedly is specialised in
fighting corruption, but he has no experience with the operation of a large organization or the running of a University. This is a clear breach of due process.

When crucial physical evidenc...

20:27

As Indonesia gears up for elections, activists brace for an environmental sell-off "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

JAKARTA Environmental issues in Indonesia will once again be both bargaining chip and valuable stake this year as the country prepares to hold sweeping elections, according to an environmental outlook released last month by the countrys main environmental watchdog, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi). Voters in the worlds third-largest democracy will head to the polls in June to vote for 17 provincial governors, 115 district heads and 39 mayors. Up for grabs: control of natural resource-rich regions, including in Indonesian Borneo, Sumatra and Papua. Elections at the local level in Indonesia have long been marred by corruption: business lobbies bribe their favored candidates with the expectation of a quid pro quo once in office; incumbents engage in pork-barrel programs and blatant vote-buying schemes; and in each region, the promise to permit the plunder of natural resources timber, coal, land, water forms a central part of each candidates platform. In this political year, there will be a great amount of money circulating, says Even Sembiring, the policy assessment manager at Walhi. So we have to remain alert. An illegally logged tree in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Habitat loss played a critical role in reducing rhino populations, but most experts now believe the species low birth rate is a more pressing problem. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Decentralizing corruption A key aspect of Indonesias vibrant, if imperfect, democracy is the decentralization of power from Jakarta to the regions, introduced after the downfall in 1998 of the late dictator

20:00

Unless people show more spirit, is this goodbye PNG, hello Africa? "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Octopus Kracken Teacup pottery sculpture by Face Jug Maker GraftonPHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Everything appears to be going to hell in a teacup. Economy spiralling out of control. Government borrowing money to pay interest on other borrowings. Rock bottom on every economic and social indicator the world compiles.

Massive and uncontrolled exploitation of non-renewable resources by ravenous multinational corporations - the nations future seemingly for sale. Precious millions of kina spent hosting frivolous and irrelevant international conferences and sporting events to boost the ego of the elite.

Major infrastructure falling apart. Hospitals deprived of essential drugs and equipment. Long eradicated diseases re-appearing. Drugs and alcohol laying waste to young people. Schools without books, teachers and classrooms. Public servants without pay. Well educated people without work.

The police and military corrupted. The judiciary compromised. Law and order out of control. Criminal gangs infiltrating government. Gun control non-existent. The fraud directorate denied funds to pursue the corrupt. Fishing and logging inspectors disappearing in the pursuit of their duties. Suppression of the media and attacks on journalists.

Brutal and primitive beliefs in sorcery and cults escalating. Women and girls openly brutalised.

Every facet of public life corrupted beyond reason and imagination. Routine government services and projects exploited by predatory public servants and politicians. Dirty money laundered overseas through property and other assets (with the help of Australian financial institutions), elections rigged to retain power and keep the money flowing to people unworthy of public office.

And it seems nobody cares enough to do anything but talk about it. A cowardly and impotent elite shrugs its shoulders and retreats into its comfortable shells.

Its a big list and it grows worse day by miserable day.

Is this the end of a bold experiment, the end of time for a nation that promised so much but seems to have failed so miserably?

Is this the Africanisation of a Pacific nation, the beginning of dictatorship and totalitarian rule by puppets whose strings are pulled by the savage beasts of greed and oppression?

Cant those with the power...

19:01

Bring forth their downfall "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

David-and-goliath1DOMINICA ARE

We have a just and fair God
Who loves what is right and true
He looks upon us with compassion
He sees how pitiful, restless and helpless we are

The wicked sitting above
ignore the sufferings down below
watch with amusement the relentless dramas
He sits way above them His heart aching
To see the poor crying
To see the just shed blood for justice
To see the faithful plead for mercy
To see the innocent dying

With our hearts full of patience, hope and courage
We continue the fight for justice
incessantly fight for what we believe in
To Him, our pleas dont go unheard
We believe that soon, sadness will turn to joy
That soon the just will trample the wicked
That soon the wicked will pay for their transgressions
We believe that soon their riches will turn to rags

We keep the faith that things will be better
We acclaim His saving justice
Our just God hears His peoples cry
He will come to our aid

No one, oh no one, on this Earth
Is greater than Him
Hes everywhere
He knows everything
The wicked wont escape His wrath

With Him on our side
We shall bring those Goliaths down
They will stagger from their high benches and fall
Oh, how terrible will their downfall be

18:00

Highly recommended: A family cruise to Papua New Guinea "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Arriving-in-papua-new-guinea
Papua New Guinea landfall - Pacific Eden docks at Alotau

DAWN NICHOLSON | P&O Cruise Review

SYDNEY - Our kids have been bugging us for a couple of years now to do a cruise, but it wasnt until we found P&Os Papua New Guinea cruise itineraries that we finally booked one.

The kids had seen cruise ships throughout our travels and were absolutely taken with the on-board activities and luxurious ships.

When I discovered that we could cruise to Papua New Guinea, a country I never thought we would ever visit, I was hooked.

I grew up with an intense interest in other cultures.  I devoured National Geographic magazines, took anthropology classes in university and sought out remote areas on our travels. 

The idea of visiting untouched islands with rich, tribal cultures straight out of those anthropology textbooks was incredibly alluring for me.  Especially since we could do that and experience our first cruise together as a family, making the kids happy too.

PNG is actually quite close to Australia and yet it is only just coming on the scene as a cruise destination. Its beautiful tropical islands with white sand beaches and near pristine underwater world make it an amazing destination.

Add in the opportunity to visit remote islands and learn about the tribal ways of life and you have a really unique holiday.

We have visited over 50 countries on our travels and PNG was absolute magic.  We felt incredibly welcomed by the local population and feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to visit.

One of the things I love about cruising is it allows you to see a wide variety of places on your holiday.  It is so exciting to wake up each morning to a new destination to discover.  You get all the features that you would at a luxurious resort, but every day is a new place.

There are so many fun things for kids to do on cruise ships and our kids loved meeting friends at the Kids Club. We had lots of time together as a family, but we also had some nice qualit...

10:54

Commissioner Gamato announces the 2018 LLG Election Schedule "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has officially announced the program for the 2018 Local-level Government Elections.

Minister for Inter-Government Relations Kevin Isifu has approved the dates for the conduct of the LLG elections on February 7, 2018.

Mr. Gamato outlines the 2018 LLG Elections program as follows:

Issue of Writs & Nominations Open:- Thursday, 26 July, 2018
Close of Nominations:- Wednesday, 1 August, 2018
Start of Polling:- Monday, 20 August, 2018
End of Polling:- Monday, 3 September, 2018
Return of Writs on or before:- Monday, 24 September, 2018

In terms of preparations, he said that PNGEC has already started preparation work for the conduct of the LLG elections.

Commissioner Gamato meantime clarified that confusion surrounding the election of LLG presidents in the 2018 LLG elections.

The National Executive Council in December 2015 had approved by way of a Cabinet decision that Ward Members will elect LLG presidents in their respective legislative assemblies.

That decision still stands. And unless theres a change in the decision, PNGEC will conduct one election for the Ward Members in the 2018 LLG elections using the Limited Preferential Voting (LPV) system.

10:47

PNG Media Workers Association condemns attack on Journalist "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

The Papua New Guinea Media Workers Association (PNGMWA) is extremely disappointed that Mr.Franky Kapin, a Journalist with Post Courier was assaulted by staff from the Office of the Governor of Morobe Province.
PNGMWA is very angry and we call on the Governor of Morobe to immediately sack the person(s) responsible. A high office that requires integrity such as the Office of the Governor of the Province must first learn to respect the people it serves, including Journalists who perform what is essentially a public/community service of disseminating information. Such office must employ people with integrity. NOT PEOPLE who lack understanding of their roles and whose actions are primitive and may bring the high office into disrepute.
Journalists play a vital role in ensuring news and events are reported for public consumption. This role is protected by the Constitution, so as the publics right to information. Media reports are, more often than not, based on the information that is available to the Journalist at that time. If you are aggrieved by a media report, there are proper and established processes to air your grievances, including demanding retraction and/or apology and even restitution through the Courts. Furthermore, you as an aggrieved person have the right to be heard and Journalists are there to facilitate that. In fact this is possibly the most civilized and democratic way the truth can be established.
PNGMWA therefore condemns the action by the staff from the Morobe Governors Office. PNGMWA also commends Mr. Kapin for reporting the matter to the Police. We must work with the relevant authorities, including the Police to put a stop to this kind of behaviour. To this end, we demand that the Police arrest and charge the person(s) responsible. We also demand the Court to ensure the Journalist be appropriately compensated for the physical and mental harm that he has been put through.
PNGMWA also supports the Media Statement by the PNG Media Council.

10:00

My best friend "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

By Samad Abdul Thats such a moment of blessing when you are with your best friend but thats such a horrible moment when friends get separated forever. Being detained without any guilt in Manus prison camp where each day is equal to a month, every month is equal to a year and each year is equal

The post My best friend appeared first on The AIM Network.

07:00

Solomon Islands becomes first Melanesian country to publish public enterprise performance results online "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

In a first for Melanesia, financial results and other key information from Solomon Islands $230 million state-owned enterprise (SOE) portfolio can now be viewed online.

A website launched by the Government of Solomon Islands today provides profiles of each of the countrys eight SOEs featuring their financial performance, board members, and links to relevant legislation, as well as the overall performance of Solomon Islands SOE portfolio. The website, developed with the support of the Asian Development Banks (ADB) Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI), makes this information readily available to the public for the first time.

This initiative is part of an ongoing program to reform Solomon Islands state-owned enterprises portfolio, which has seen it become one of the best performing in the region, said Emma Fan, Regional Director of ADBs Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office. This website demonstrates the Government of Solomon Islands commitment to transparency and accountability, which we are seeing reflected elsewhere in the Pacific as more countries commit to making key information about their public enterprises available online.

Harry Kuma, Permanent Secretary of Finance and Treasury, launched the website, which can be found at http://www.pacificsoedata.org/solomon-islands/

PSDI is assisting three other Pacific countries to establish similar websites and also supported Tonga with the launch of its SOE information portal in April last year.

Solomon Islands has achieved a dramatic improvement in the performance of its SOE portfolio since 2009 and is now the most profitable in the Pacific. Between 2010 and 2014, it produced an average return of assets of 6.7% and an average return on equity of 10%, far higher than neighboring countries.

PSDI is a technical assistance facility undertaken in partnership with the governments of Australia and New Zealand, and ADB. It works with ADB's 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members48 from the region.

SOURCE: ADB/PACNEWS

06:59

PNG name team to defend Commonwealth Rugby League 9s title "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

A 20 man squad for the Commonwealth Rugby League Games has been named following the successful PNG Super 9s tournament held in Goroka over the weekend.

PNGRFL Chairman Sandis Tsaka said the squad will be trimmed down to 15 before the team travels to Brisbane on Thursday.

The 20 man squad is:

1. Jar Hogan - Goroka Lahanis
2. Jordan Karo - Northern Confederate
3. Nicky Haea - Goroka Lahanis
4. Stafford Talita - Hela Wigmen
5. Yabra Kuk - Simbu Warriors
6. Emmanuel Herea - Gulf Isou
7. John Ragi Jnr - Rabaul Gurias
8. Epel Kapinias - Rabaul Gurias
9. Dickson Amba - Rabaul Gurias
10. Raven Johna - Mt Hagen Eagles
11. Ross Ravu - Gulf Isou
12. Paul Nelson - Hela Wigmen
13. Ilias Stanley - Rabaul Guirias
14. Rex Kaupa - Southern Confederate
15. Jordan Millie - Goroka Lahanis
16. Nemiah Joel - Simbu Warriors
17. Norman Braun - Goroka Lahanis
18. Schwazer Kandaki - Simbu Warriors
19. Joshua Jimmy - Simbu Warriors
20. Chris Taria - Southern Confederate
Coach : Colin Geno Gulf Isou
Assistant Coach / Trainer - Glen Nami

PNG will be defending the Gold Medal won at the last Commonwealth Games in 2014 in Glasgow.

06:53

NZ PM to visit Tonga, Samoa, Niue, and the Cook Islands "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"


New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the governments Pacific Mission will take place from 4-9 March and travel to Tonga, Samoa, Niue, and the Cook Islands.


It will be an honour to have the Pacific Mission led by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and is a further sign of the importance New Zealand attaches to our Pacific neighbours, says Peters.

The government carefully considered whether the Pacific Mission would impose a burden on Tonga and Samoa in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Gita.

However the government decided to proceed to allow the delegation to see first-hand the ongoing response. We will also discuss with the governments of Tonga and Samoa, as much as able to be learned at this point, what support is required for long-term recovery, he says.

The Pacific Mission delegation is made up of MPs, Pasifika community leaders, and NGO representatives. The delegation size is smaller this year with the mission changing focus because of Tropical Cyclone Gita.

New Zealands close ties with Samoa and Tonga are built on a deep bilateral partnership, and a shared commitment to Pacific regionalism. Niue and Cook Islands are constitutional partners for New Zealand and we share citizenship as well as a set of mutual obligations and responsibilities, says Peters.

SOURCE: MFAT/PACNEWS

01:42

How SABLs are disrupting communities and creating conflict "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Source: Scott Waide, My Land, My Country

Chief William Ape Hawa is a straight shooter and a wise old fella who presents me with a shell necklace used as the local currency during important ceremonies. He apologizes for not giving me the gift the day before when I arrived at his Tavolo village on the border of East and West New Britain.

When new visitors come, he says in Tok Pisin, We give them a tanget headdress. That tells you that you shouldnt be afraid or shy. It means you are welcome.

Then before you go, we give you the necklace which means, go in peace.

Chief William speaks with a lot of wisdom and understanding spiced with wicked, truthful humor. He talks a bit about life and marriage of the young and then our conversation leads on to the Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABL) issued by the Government.

Tavolo is in the Melkoi LLG area of Pomio District, East New Britain. For the people here, the term Special Agriculture Business Lease triggers a lot of anger.

What kind of laws do we have? says Chief William. They tell us that our land is part of a SABL and we had no part in that decision!

Like many other SABL areas, other people signed on their behalf.

The Tavolo people who number about 600 own 18 thousand hectares of land. They have no intention of giving up the pristine rainforest over to the Malaysian company that intends to log their land and plant oil palm.

But Chief William and his people are under immense pressure to surrender their land.

There is oil palm development in neighbouring West New Britain. In the next local level government area which includes the district headquarters of Palmalmal, large areas of customary land have been logged out. Landownership is now being disputed in court. Much of trouble has come about because of agreements that were hastily signed.

Over the past 20 years, the people of Tavolo developed a conservation area over the 18 thousand hectares of land. The government recognised this. The decision has come with its benefits. Fish numbers have been rep...

01:21

How the elite profit while a nation suffers their incompetence "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Port Moresby, a city where the elite profit while the rest suffer the consequences of their incompetence

Imagine a company that is in debt, heavily in debt and still racking up more losses.

Imagine a company that in 2016 alone lost over K354 million.

Imagine a company where the total liabilities exceed the total assets by more than K218 million.

Imagine that this is a company set up by the government to manage a nations interests in its abundant mineral resources.

Now imagine no more and say hello to Kumul Minerals Holdings Limited, formerly Petromin PNG Holdings Limited.

The two numbers above are from Kumul Minerals Holdings latest Annual Return, which is for the 2016 financial year.

How could a company that,...

00:45

Government nets next to nothing from Tolukuma mine sale "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

The government sold the Tolukuma gold mine to a Singapore company, Asidokona, in 2015, for a reported price of K81.35 million. However, Mine Watch can reveal, the government has only ever received K700,000.

Despite Petromins claims Asidokona would invest heavily in the mine infrastructure, a new road and restart production, the whole deal looked dodgy from the very start.

Then Mining Minister, Byron Chan, described Asidokona as reputable, committed but  Asidokona is not a mining company, it is a front for Singaporean speculator, Philip Soh Sai Kiang     .

In 2016 Mine Watch revealed that Asidokona was trying to offload the mine for US$ 212 million to a Singapore nightclub company, LifeBrandz. That deal fell through.

All the while the government has been trying to convince landowners that mining will soon recommence...

00:02

Eye of Papua shines a light on environmental, indigenous issues in Indonesias last frontier "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Press coverage

Responsible for the article below are author and publication. The
contribution does not necessarily mirror the views of Watch Indonesia!

https://news.mongabay.com/2018/02/eye-of-papua-shines-a-light-on-environmental-indigenous-issues-in-indonesias-last-frontier/

Mongabay Series: Indonesian Forests, 14 February 2018

Eye of Papua shines a light on environmental, indigenous issues in Indonesias last frontier

by Hans Nicholas Jong

For decades the Papua region in Indonesia has remained the countrys least-understood, least-developed and most-impoverished area, amid a lack of transparency fueled by a strong security presence.
Activists hope their new website, Mata Papua, or Eye of Papua, will fill the information void with reports, data and maps about indigenous welfare and the proliferation of mines, logging leases and plantations in one of the worlds last great spans of tropical forest.
Companies, with the encouragement of the government, are fast carving up Papuas land, after having nearly depleted the forests of Sumatra and Indonesian Borneo.

JAKARTA Zely Ariane, an editor at the Tabloid Jubi newspaper in Indonesias easternmost region of Papua, gets frustrated each time an acquaintance travels there and asks to meet up on short notice.

None of them, it seems, realizes just how vast the region is.

My friends always say, Hey, Im in Papua, lets meet up! Zely said in Jakarta recently. But where in Papua, though? If someone was to ask to meet you in Java, theyd surely say where [specifically], no?

The name Papua typically refers to the western half of the island of New Guinea, which is split up into two administrative regions: the provinces of West Papua and Papua. Together, they cover more than 420,000 square kilometers (162,000 square miles) an area the size of California. Crucially, the two provinces account for 35 percent of Indonesias remaining rainforest, spanning 294,000 square kilometers (113,500 square miles).

No one seems to have a good grasp of the geography of Papua, or at least almost no one, Zely said.

This lack of understanding is due in part to the remoteness of the region Indonesias least developed and most impoverished and its harsh mountainous terrain, as well as to the security response to a low-level separatist insurgency simmering since the 1960s. The military and police have for decades maintained a strong presence...

Sunday, 18 February

23:46

Nautilus Minerals working with ghosts "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Nautilus Minerals has been going through a rough time recently, so rough the company is now claiming to be working in partnership with a ghost, a company that no longer exists.

Nautilus Minerals wants to be the first to mine the seabed, but has been on financial life support since last year, unable to raise the $300 million it needs to complete its preparations for mining. In the meantime it is being kept alive only by a series of short-term loans from its major shareholders.

To make matters worse, in November last year, the company supposed to be supplying the mining support vessel, the key piece of infrastructure for a seabed mining operation, cut off funding for the ship build.

With no money and no ship and forced to close its Papua New Guinea offices, perhaps it is no surprise senior staff have started bailing too. First, Chairman Russell Debney, on December 27...

23:30

Sea mining project off Papua New Guinea hits choppy waters "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

The worlds first sea-mining project will go ahead despite unknown environmental and social consequences and uncertain profits.

22:49

Abuses in Foreign Missions "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"


The PM recently instituted an Audit into the operations of one of the Foreign Missions allegedly for disposing of state property without complying with due processes as stipulated under the Financial Management Act (FMA), Public Service Management Act (PSMA) and the Foreign Service Manual of Operations and other related guidelines.

This disposition and the subsequent audit carried out, as they say is Only the tip of the iceberg. Whilst waiting for the outcome of the audit, let us scrutinize some of the conduct of our Foreign Missions and its Officers at Post. The PNG Embassy in Manila Philippines will be in the uppermost list in official corrupt practices, abuse and mismanagement, especially of funds, allocated and funds generated through its Consular Services i.e. visa and Immigration services fees etc.

From the Ambassador down to all staff, each has a fair share of misuse and abuse. The Ambassador and his staff have no regard for the existence of the FMA & PSMA and the need to report to FA on its operations. Because the Ambassador is abusing his official position of trust, all officers want to have a fair share in this malpractice. It is alleged that a former officer of the Embassy has abused more than K500, 000.00 while serving there.

The Officer is alleged to have used the money for his/her over-aged children school fees and another extravagant lifestyle. The officer has since resigned or absconded from duties after returning from Manila. This officer is yet to be arrested and prosecuted, so far nothing has been done about this. Another female officer from the same Embassy has also used more than K100, 000.00 from the Embassy to purchase a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). A case of outright abuse.

When FA knew about this she was given a Letter of Return, however, this officer blackmailed the Foreign Affairs Secretary with her response by giving the notice to expose his alleged abuses of public funds whilst in Manila for personal business. In her letter, she has explicitly detailed all phone records of calls/SMS and directions given by the Secretary.

If she was to come back, the letter would have made headlines in all dailies and electronic media outlets. The letter was ccd (Copies circulated) to Chief Secretary, Ombudsmen Commission, National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate. However, it is doubtful that this letter ever made it past Secretary Foreign Affairs.
...

20:00

Governors drunken staff bash journo in another media assault "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Frankiy KapinKEITH JACKSON

LAE A drunken pack attack on a journalist by six men including a senior adviser to the Morobe governor has drawn widespread condemnation throughout Papua New Guinea.

On Thursday the Post-Couriers Lae-based journalist Frankiy Kapin (pictured) was assaulted by officers of Governor Ginson Saonu, who accused him of writing negative reports.

One of the men was the governors chief of staff, Steven Boting.

Boting and five other assailants punched Kapin, who was on assignment, multiple times. They also issued threats against other journalists in Lae.

Four men including Boting have been arrested and charged with assault and drunk and disorderly behaviour. They are in police custody and will appear in court today.

The Media Council of Papua New Guinea said the root of this latest attack on journalists was primitive, close-minded thinking and a general lack of understanding of the role of the media.

For the officers of a provincial governor to intimidate and assault a single Papua New Guinean journalist on unfounded allegations of bias is a shame to the public office to which they report, the statement said.

The Council called on Governor Saonu to provide an immediate apology and an assurance that such incidents will not be repeated.

The Council also asked police in Lae to ensure justice is swiftly served.

Sources: Media Council and EMTV

19:00

Powerful call to action as Pacific slides into media repression "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

VDP 5000thDAN McGARRY & MARC NEIL-JONES | Editorial | Vanuatu Daily Post

PORT VILA - Its becoming far too common: Journalists and whistle blowers are being singled out and silenced as governments throughout the region allow the Pacific to slide down the slippery slope of repression.

Either we act now to stop it, or we accept that in ten years, the regions media may look a lot more like the Peoples Daily News than the Sydney Morning Herald.

Australia is no exception. Even now, the Coalition government is considering draconian new laws that would outlaw activity that is necessary to the proper functioning of a democracy.

In every country of the world, social media is eroding peoples sense of the truth, and undermining its importance in their daily existence.

In the Pacific islands, the threat is real. Last week, three veteran journalists, all of them with spotless reputations, were detained by police on suspicion of inciting unrest.

They had published the news that a magistrate who ruled against the governments interest in a labour case had been sacked. They were held for hours, and their phones and laptops were seized.

As this editorial is being finalised, Samisoni Pereti, Nitani Rika and Nanise Volau are facing the possibility of charges of incitement to sedition.

This action by police, presumably with the blessing of the Fiji First government, is inexcusable. There is no possible justification for it. It is a direct assault on free speech and the freedom of the media to question the actions of public officials.

The clearly opportunistic prosecution of the publisher and editor of the Fiji Times is a similar travesty. The government is seeking a punishment that is wildly out of proportion with the crime these people are accused of. Clearly, the government wants the Fiji Times shut down because it tells the truth.

We have to ask: Are the days of dictatorship in Fiji truly past?

...

18:00

Poor resources prevent police investigating high level corruption "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Matthew DamaruSTAFF CORRESPONDENT | Radio New Zealand | Edited

PORT MORESBY - The director of the Papua New Guinea police fraud and anti-corruption squad says corruption has grown significantly in recent years.

Chief Superintendent Matthew Damaru  (pictured) said with the growth of PNG's economy, corruption has grown from simple fraud to more elaborate scams.

He said anti-fraud detectives are looking at corruption at the highest level.

However his directorate has been marginalised by funding constraints.

Mr Damaru said 2017 was a good year for the squad with many people arrested and charged, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to jail.

He said he's hoping the same will happen this year.

"If you can do more of those, we can send that deterrent message. Otherwise you know corruption is going to go out of hand.

"The thing I fear is that I don't want the new generation coming up to, when they see corruption, and say 'this is our culture, this is how we live, this is how we do our business'.

That is the last thing we want to see happen," Mr Damaru said.

"We have hundreds of unsolved cases going back years but we don't have the capacity to deal with them.

"The more people we can send to jail the more we can send a message of deterrence. But unfortunately we are unable to always do that because of resource constraints."

He said the problem is getting worse.

"The more economic activity grows, the more money we have, and that creates an incentive for people to want more money for themselves."

15:05

Milne Bay Islands Recovering from King tides now face food shortage "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Disaster authorities in Milne Bay Province are organizing response to assess reports of food shortage situations on islands in the Samarai-Murua District after they were inundated with King Tides earlier this month.
Its been reported at least one man is missing at sea, two houses destroyed and food gardens devastated from the strong winds and tides in early February.
Ware ward disaster official Mark Laveapa tells NBC Milne Bay this week, the destruction was from effects of Tropical Cyclone Fehi that caused a state of emergency in neighboring Pacific Islands and in New Zealand at the start of February.
Ware Island reported 3-men sailing home from neighboring Basilaki Island saw their canoe capsize, two swam to shore the other went missing. He has still not been found.
On Anagusa Island, they report two houses were damaged by strong winds and most of these islands report their gardens have been destroyed by both strong winds and salt water tides.
Laveape says they had been making do with food from the the grounds not affected but that's in short supply now.
Disaster officials confirm they will make their way to the islands as soon as they can, to investigate and assess these reports for proper response.
Meantime, the local Milne Bay Red Cross branch is organizing a collection of help (wheelbarrow push) to go to islanders affected this Saturday, show them your support as best you can.
NBC/ Pics courtesy of Mark Laveape.

13:59

How a Tiny Insect Was Used to Trace the Origins of Human Clothing "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Important clue: The head louse is a bloodsucking insect that lives only on the scalp but the body louse doesnt venture towards the head.

Credit: Head louse under microscope. Credit: Twitter

Humans are the only species that wears clothes. And it is obvious that we are also obsessed with our clothes, with their designing, making and procuring. However, how did it all come about? For example, when did we start wearing clothes?

The trouble with this kind of investigation is the lack of hard evidence. Clothes, unlike bones, do not fossilise and, unlike stone and metal, perish quickly. So except under special environmental conditions in which some palaeo-humans (such as the iceman tzi) have been unearthed, direct evidence of prehistoric clothing has remained scant and the origins of clothes have been lost in the mists of time.

But scientists were able to find a workaround in the form of a small insect.

The pest family

Almost all mammalian and avian species are host to various species of lice. But humans are among the few species that are host to three (or subspecies). The human head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis), the body louse (P. humanus corporis, also considered P. humanus humanus) and the pubic louse (Pthirus pubis) are obligate ectoparasi...

06:29

In our best interests: Unitech council details reasons for Dr Schrams termination & says due process was followed "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Jean KekedoKEITH JACKSON

Download Public Statement by Unitech Council

PORT MORESBY  Jean Kekedo (pictured), the Acting Chancellor of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology, Sunday afternoon issued a statement on behalf of the Unitech Council on the termination of Vice-Chancellor Dr Albert Schram for alleged serious misconduct and breach of his employment contract.

Ms Kekedo said the Council made a unanimous decision last Thursday to terminate Dr Schrams contract with immediate effect, adding that the Council consisted of very learned people of standing in the society hence the decision was made after considering all the materials and following due process.

The statement said that on 19 January 2018, Council made a unanimous decision to charge Dr Schram with 21 allegations. As per the term of his contract of employment, Dr Schram was given seven working days to respond to the allegations. During the term of his suspension, he was allowed to access his office to prepare his reply although his powers as VC were suspended.

Council also suggested to Dr Schram to consider resigning quietly if he considered the allegations serious. He refused to do so. On 30 January 2018, Dr Schram submitted his response to the Council through the Registrar. The materials constituting the allegations and responses were forwarded to a private lawyer for an independent legal advice. The advice was furnished on time. Council reconvened on 15 February 2018 at 9:30am.

At this meeting, the Council reviewed the documents before it for some hours before seeking the advice of the independent lawyer. Dr Schram was then called in to add to his written response and clarify Council members issues.

The Council deliberated for another two hours before resolving to terminate Dr Schrams employment.

The statement (Download Public Statement by Unitech Council) said the main allegations sustained by the Council were:

...

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