Wednesday, September 03, 2014

This is our flag, flag of our land

Happy 39th Birthday, Papua New Guinea, and our torn and tattered flag on Independence Hill - where the flag was first raised -  epitomises our no-care attitude since September 16, 1975, which is why the country has gone backwards big time.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Dramatic Papua New Guinea volcano quietens

Report from Agence France-Presse
Published on 30 Aug 2014

A volcano which has erupted in Papua New Guinea was Saturday spewing fragments from its crater and rumbling loudly, but its activity appeared to be subsiding, a seismologist said.
Mount Tavurvur, which destroyed the town of Rabaul when it erupted simultaneously with nearby Mount Vulcan in 1994, came to life again early Friday, with rocks and ash erupting from its centre.
The eruptions on the remote island of New Britain in eastern PNG thrust plumes of ash into the air, prompting local evacuations and international flights to modify their routes.
"At the moment we are getting only discrete explosions," Jonathan Kuduon, a senior seismologist at the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory, told AFP.
"The activity has subsided," he said, adding that the fragments were reaching less than 200 metres (600 feet) above the crater.
"These small explosions are usually accompanied by noise."
So far there have been no reports of injuries or damage, but the volcano continued to boom and spew lava overnight and parts of Rabaul are blanketed in ash and pumice stone.
Kuduon said Mount Tavurvur remained a concern, saying officials were worried about the amount of ash in parts of Rabaul, but the kind of eruption -- Strombolian (low-level) -- meant it could subside quickly.
"I think from Tavurvur you can expect small eruptions to go on yet. You can still expect eruptions from that volcano but not from Vulcan," he said.
"Looking at past eruptions, I think the eruptions are getting less and less. Which simply means that the volcano is dying out."
The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in the northern Australian city of Darwin said it was keeping a close eye on the situation after Friday's eruption which saw ash reach 60,000 feet (18,000 metres) which is flight level.
"The last two big eruptions at Rabaul, you've had the Tavurvur eruptions first and then one in a fairly close time period you've had Vulcan erupt," official Cyndee Seals told AFP.
But Kuduon said he was not overly concerned about Mount Vulcan erupting.
This crater rumbled to life with Tavurvur in 1994, with the eruptions destroying much of Rabaul, with falling ash causing buildings to collapse. While loss of life was minimal, looters ransacked the evacuated town.
"In 1994 you had eruptions from Vulcan that went (on) for nearly two weeks and then the volcano just shut of," Kuduon said.
The seismologist said the people of Rabaul were now waiting for the eruptions from the 688-metre (2,270-foot) Tavurvur crater to stop completely.
"We need to go back to our normal life. So long as we have eruptions going it will affect our normal life. We only wish that the volcano can go back to sleep now," he said.
PNG sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where high volcanic and seismic activity is the norm.

Photo of Mount Tavurvur in eastern Papua New Guinea erupting

AFP news agency (Agence France-Presse)

Photo taken on August 29, 2014 shows Mount Tavurvur in eastern Papua New Guinea erupting, spewing rocks and ash into the air.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Papua New Guinea takes out the AFL International Cup with a three-point win over Ireland


PNG win AFL International Cup.jpg-large
Photo: PNG's Mosquitos celebrate after winning the AFL International Cup by just three points from Ireland at the MCG (Twitter: @AFLIC14)
Papua New Guinea's national Australian Rules team are the International Cup champions after a three-point win at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The Mosquitos scraped home against a strong Ireland side, reversing the result of the previous grand final in 2011.
Goal-kicking captain, Mick Finn, gave Ireland a strong start, kicking the first two goals of the match.
Ireland stayed in front for three quarters and PNG went into the final quarter three points behind, 3.8 (26) to Ireland's 4.5 (29).
The Mosquitos then hit the lead for the first time through Brendan Beno before Finn responded immediately with his fourth goal.
John Ikupu put PNG in front with four minutes to go and Gideon Simon followed up to put the Mosquitos nine points ahead.
The two late goals were enough and the side lead by John James Lavai took out the championship, 6.9 (45) to 6.6 (42).
The Cup's been held every three years since 2002, bringing together fans of Australian Rules football from some unlikely places.
PNG has been the only team to make all four grand finals and now has won the championship twice.
Teams fronted up from Finland and Sweden, France and Britain, Canada and the US, Ireland, Japan, India, Indonesia, China, Pakistan and South Africa.
There were also teams from Pacific nations PNG, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

Pacific games broadcasters revealed

2015 Pacific Games is pleased to announce two domestic television broadcasters who will provide coverage of the Games.
They are EMTV and Click Pacific Ltd who have signed on as non exclusive domestic right holders for the 2015 Pacific Games.
EMTV will be PNG’s lead broadcaster of the 2015 Pacific Games.
In this capacity they will be working closely with the Host Broadcaster in shared efforts to broadcast up to 24 hours a day coverage of the Pacific Games on free-to-air TV throughout PN, as well as streaming and mobile coverage..
EMTV will be the exclusive broadcaster of the opening and closing ceremonies in PNG.
They will also be streaming coverage through the internet and to mobile applications.
CEO of EMTV and Media Niugini Ltd Bhanu Sud said, EMTV’s mass market television coverage across PNG means that our people will be able to watch and enjoy the performance of team PNG at the Games.
“We are thrilled with the opportunity to bring to our countrywide viewers first class Games coverage, featuring daily highlights and analysis of Team PNG across all sporting disciplines.
" On the 10th of September we will be launching an exciting show called the “Road to Port Moresby 2015 Games, which will feature progressive updates of preparations for the Games”.
Click Pacific Ltd will be the “2015 Pacific Games Channel” and will be broadcasting up to 24 hours a day of Games on pay TV throughout PNG and the Pacific.
Click Pacific, a new television company who will be launching their new service in PNG in October, will offer its subscribers high definition coverage of the Pacific Games, making it the first ever Games offered in HD.
Richard Broadbridge , CEO of Click,  also added, “as a new Pay TV station the opportunity to join in the broadcast of the Games gives our company a great marketing platform. We are very confident that the subscribers who sign up for our service will appreciate the unique coverage and programming that a Pay TV station such as Click will provide”.
CEO of the 2015 Pacific Games Peter Stewart says both companies are investing significant resources into production in order that PNG viewers get maximum coverage of the Pacific Games, and they will be joined by other companies who will broadcast the Games outside of PNG to the rest of the Pacific and to the rest of the world.
“These two companies have demonstrated that there is a huge market and appetite for the Pacific Games in PNG.
Betwe"en them almost 50 hours of Pacific Games coverage will be available every day to viewers. "The people of PNG will be well served by the offerings these companies will provide—the excitement of Port Moresby will be shared across this great country.
“The 2015 Pacific Games is for all of Papua New Guinea and coverage of the Games to as many parts of the country through the engagement of these broadcasters brings the Games right to peoples homes, making the Games truly Papua New Guinean”.
Announcement of the additional rights, including radio coverage is expected to be made in the next few weeks

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Papua New Guinea businesses suffer high costs from crime and violence

A World Bank Group report released on Friday August 15 says that eight in ten businesses in Papua New Guinea suffer substantial losses and security costs as a result of high rates of crime and violence, slowing business expansion and hampering the country’s economic development.
More than 80 percent of 135 companies surveyed said their business decisions are negatively influenced by the country’s law and order situation, with crime significantly increasing the cost of doing business. 
The expense of avoiding criminal damage limits firms’ ability to grow, deters start-ups, and imposes significant long-term social costs on the country.
“Crime in Papua New Guinea constrains businesses and threatens to put the brakes on the economy,” said Carolyn Blacklock, Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea for IFC, the member of the World Bank Group that focuses on private sector development in emerging markets. “Local firms not only struggle to be competitive as they seek to manage crime, but they also pass on these costs to consumers via higher prices, less choice, and the absence of new products and services. This is bad not just for business, but the economy as a whole.”
The World Bank Group report, entitled “The Cost of Crime and Violence to Businesses,” draws on a survey and interviews conducted with the local business community, and is the first study in the country to comprehensively assess the impact of crime and violence on local enterprise.
The report finds that security in particular represents a significant and growing expense for businesses. 84 percent of the country’s firms pay for security hardware, such as installing specialised gates and security alarms, which is 30 percent higher than the average in the East Asia and Pacific region. 
Hiring private security consumes on average five percent of firms’ annual operating costs. 
Companies are also suffering direct losses averaging K89,000 ($33,000) per year from stolen property and about K71,000 ($26,000) annually to petty theft by employees. 38.5 percent of companies reported closing their businesses early each day to avoid becoming victims of crime, resulting in losses of income estimated at an average of K93,000 ($34,000) per year. “Everybody in PNG is losing money and time to crime,” said Alys Willman, World Bank Social Development Specialist and co-author of the report. 
 “While the report assesses direct losses from crime and violence, we can never calculate the investment foregone, the expansions to new products and areas that never happened, the number of businesses that never opened their doors, or the jobs that were never created because the costs of security were too high. These costs are all passed on to consumers – and everybody suffers.”
Businesses are also worried about broader social costs, the report found.  
High levels of crime and violence create fear, which constrains the movements of staff and customers and stigmatizes the young, who are often seen to be perpetrators of violence and crime. 
Domestic violence, in particular, intrudes into the workplace, contributing to absenteeism and affecting morale and productivity of staff. 
Official police data, and data from Government-led victimization surveys, suggests that crime has stabilized in the country over the last decade, though there are significant disparities across regions. There is evidence however that violent crime may be increasing as a proportion of overall crime, especially in recognized ‘hotspots’ such as the Western Highlands, Madang, Lae and the National Capital District. 
In Lae, incidence of violent crime more than doubled in 2010 compared with 2008.
The World Bank report is part of its wider Research and Dialogue Series on the socioeconomic costs and drivers of crime and violence in Papua New Guinea. Carried out at the request of the PNG government, the report draws on an extensive review of existing data, a survey of 135 businesses conducted by the PNG Institute of National Affairs, in-depth interviews with business owners, and consultations with businesses and employees carried out from 2012 to 2014.

Key findings:
  • 67 percent of businesses that took part in the survey said crime was a major constraint on their business, a higher rate than in El Salvador (51 percent), Venezuela (60 percent) and Democratic Republic of Congo (63 percent);
  •  81 percent of businesses reported that their decisions to further invest in or expand their operations were affected by the country’s poor law and order situation; only 3 percent said that their decisions were not affected at all'
  •  84 percent of companies said they pay for security in the form of security personnel or hardware. This is significantly higher than the average of 52 percent for the East Asia and Pacific region/
  •  More than two‐thirds of businesses use private security services, which costs an average of 5 percent of their annual operating costs. About 30 percent of firms said that hiring private security  accounts for at least 10 percent of their annual costs'
  •  Businesses reported losing an average of K89,000 ($33,000) per year to stolen property and K71,000 ($26,000) to petty theft by employees. 38.5 percent reported closing early to avoid victimization, which cost an average of K93,000 ($34,000) per year in lost earnings.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Nigerian disqualified, gold goes to PNG weightlifter Dika Toua

Around The Rings

The Commonwealth Games Federation has determined that Nigerian weightlifter, Chika Amalaha, has committed an anti-doping rule violation and has fully suspended her from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

As a result, Ms Amalaha has been disqualified from her event at the Games, with her result in the Women’s Weightlifting 53 kilogram competition nullified.

Ms Amalaha has returned her gold medal and Glasgow 2014 Quaich.

The ruling follows a hearing before the CGF’s Federation Court, presided by HRH Prince Imran, after the analysis of both A and B samples confirmed the adverse analytical findings of amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide, both prohibited as diuretics and masking agents under class s5 of WADA’s Prohibited List.

Ms Amalaha did not contest the findings at her hearing before the Federation Court in Glasgow today.

The gold medal for the woman’s weightlifting 53-kilogram competition will now be awarded to Dika Toua from Papua New Guinea, with the silver going to Santoshi Matsa of India and the bronze to Swati Singh, also of India.

Toua lifted 193 kilograms in the competition to set a new Commonwealth Games record.

In accordance with the CGF Anti-Doping Standards the documents pertaining to Ms Amalaha have now been referred to the IWF and WADA for their further consideration.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Flowers of the morning

Flowers make me feel good on this beautiful first morning of August. — at Glory Garden Estate, 8-Mile.

On this first morning of August, I notice that the heliconias my late sister Alison gave to me at home at Butibam village in Lae last November, and which were planted by my late mum, are finally flowering. I feel it's a good sign.

Watching pollination taking place I thought I was back in biology classes at high school.


Pacific Island leaders name PNG's Meg Taylor as next Forum chief


Pacific leaders have for the first time chosen a woman to head the region's premier representative group.
Papua New Guinea's Dame Meg Taylor, a senior World Bank official, will become the next Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat.
Dame Meg Taylor DBE is a Papua New Guinean lawyer and diplomat. She received her LL.B degree from Melbourne University, Australia, and her LL.M degree from Harvard University, USA

In nominating her for the role in May, PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said Dame Meg had "a wealth of experience and knowledge that spanned 20 years in active service to the Government of Papua New Guinea".
Dame Meg Taylor was PNG's ambassador to the United States, Mexico and Canada from 1989 to 1994.
Pacific leaders meeting in Palau have also agreed to automatically lift Fiji's suspension from the Forum if the country's elections in September are deemed to be free and fair.
Australia will head the election observer group.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

ATBC Resolution in Support of Biodiversity Education, Research and Conservation in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) forests support a disproportionate amount of species not found elsewhere on the planet. A major challenge to the conservation of Papua New Guinean biodiversity is that it remains largely unexplored and therefore under-studied.
In July 2014, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), the largest organization in the world for the study and conservation of tropical systems, convened in Cairns, Australia. This brought together 589 scientists and conservationists from 55 countries to Australia’s wet tropics, which is essentially, from a biological perspective, an extension of Papua New Guinean forest.
The ATBC congratulates the Government of Papua New Guinea for initiating the establishment of a biologically representative network of Conservation Areas in collaboration with the traditional landowners.  This process is essential for the preservation of Papua New Guinean biodiversity.
We call on the Government of Papua New Guinea to provide new funding initiatives to support the training of the next generation of Papua New Guinean biologists. A better system of funding is also needed if established researchers are to continue exploring the biota. These initiatives are essential for the documentation, understanding and protection of the globally important PNG biodiversity.
Therefore, be it resolved that the ATBC:
  • Urges the Government of Papua New Guinea to strengthen the PNG Research, Science and Technology Secretariat and to establish a competitive funding mechanism for biodiversity research open to all Papua New Guineans from government and non-governmental research organizations.  The selection process should be based on scientific merit;
  • Implores the Government of Papua New Guinea to expand the number of studentships available for postgraduate biology students;
  • Urges the Government of Papua New Guinea to create a network of Conservation Areas by approving pending proposals for the Managalas, Wanang, Torricelli and Sulamesi Conservation Areas, by increasing the number of protected areas and designating, together with the landowners, additional Conservation Areas representing all principal ecosystems in Papua New Guinea.
  • Exhorts the Government of Papua New Guinea to promote the effective management of protected areas and Conservation Areas.
  • Encourages the Government of Papua New Guinea to compensate landowners with royalties for their conservation set-asides and assist them with sustainable development projects.
  • Encourages private enterprise within Papua New Guinea to support the Government in its efforts to promote the study and preservation of the country’s biodiversity.
  • Encourages the PNG government to seek international collaboration with scientists and conservationists to achieve the above mentioned goals.
(Link to PDF)

More charges against PNG lawyer Paul Paraka over government fraud case

Police in Papua New Guinea have charged lawyer Paul Paraka with an additional 32 corruption-related offences, bringing the total alleged fraud to more than $AU100 million.
Police in Papua New Guinea have charged lawyer Paul Paraka with an additional 32 corruption-related offences, bringing the total alleged fraud to more than $AU100 million.
Anti-corruption investigators allege the PNG Government paid millions of dollars to Paul Paraka Lawyers for inflated or invented legal cases.
Mr Paraka was arrested last year over 18 alleged offences and now police have added another 32 charges of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and misappropriation.
The total amount allegedly defrauded by Paul Paraka is around $AU102 million.
The case has embroiled PNG's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, who is alleged to have authorised some of the payments.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Mr O'Neill.
PNG's Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki is refusing to enforce the arrest, sparking multiple legal challenges and a split within the police force

New Britain Palm Oils posts better first half figures

By Neil Hodgson 

Producer happy with pricing levels for rest of 2014

New Britain Palm Oil's dockside processing facility on Regent Road
New Britain Palm Oils (NBPO) has seen revenues and profits rise during its first half period to June 30.
The group, which produces palm oils from sustainable resources and employs about 100 staff at its Regent Road refinery, reported sales of £199.5m, up from £182.2m last year.
Pre-tax profits soared from £8.3m in 2013 to £46.2m this year.
It processed 1.3m tonnes of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) in the period, up from 1.16m, and produced 290,514 tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO), up from 254,633 the year before, as well as 29,339 tonnes of palm kernel oil (PKO), against 25,345 tonnes previously.
The average CPO price per tonne achieved in the six month period was £552.2, up from £525, and the average PKO price per tonne was £784.8, compared with £551.6 last year.
Earlier this month the business revealed that it had renewed several supply deals for its Liverpool refinery, securing contracts for “a number of multi-year supply agreements that together represent approximately 35% of utilisation”.
Chief executive Nick Thompson said: “The group’s operational performance for the first half of 2014 was very strong with record production of FFB and total oils which, together with better extraction rates, higher selling prices achieved and lower costs of production, resulted in a profit before tax of £43.2m, excluding unrealised non-cash foreign exchange gains.”
NBPO sources most of its materials from Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Mr Thompson added: “The lower PNG Kina during the period continued to mitigate some of the cost pressure on our domestic wages and locally consumed services in US Dollar terms.”
He said a decision by the Central Bank of PNG increased the value of the Kina by about 18%, which resulted in net currency gains of £1.8m, compared with losses of £8.4m in the same period last year.
He added: “Palm oil prices during the period have been trading in a broad range between £490.1 and £584.6 per tonne. While the outlook for palm oil demand remains robust, the record supply of alternative vegetable oils has resulted in current prices trading at their lowest levels so far this year.
“It also appears less likely that an “El Niño” event will have a materially negative impact on global palm oil production, as was previously predicted by climate models.
“On a positive note, increasing local consumption in Malaysia and Indonesia and a strengthening of the global economy continue to be supportive for longer term pricing.
“In the context of current prices, we are pleased to have sold or priced forward approximately 81,000 tonnes of CPO for the remainder of 2014 at an average price of £536.2 per tonne.”