Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ABC Radio Australia Asia Pacific News, 14 June 2011

Dead woman found at PNG Acting PM's home

Police in Papua New Guinea are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found at the Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal's home in Port Moresby.

Mr Abal's adopted son is wanted for questioning over the death and police are trying locate him.

Police say Mr Abal personally contacted them when the woman's body was discovered at his Konedobu residence on Monday.

Investigators have not yet released the cause of death, but Police Commissioner Tony Wagambi has told Pacific Beat they cannot rule out the possibility the woman was murdered.

"They're still investigating , the body has been moved to the hospital and our detectives are working to identify a suspect and so forth. No arrest has yet been made" he said.

Mr Abal said his family are being treated as suspects and will cooperate fully with the police investigation.

New Zealand PM to visit earthquake site

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is travelling to Christchurch after the city was rocked by more earthquakes and aftershocks on Monday.

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake and another measuring 5.5, as well as dozens of aftershocks, have left one-quarter of households without power.

Prime Minister John Key told Newsradio the fresh damage means some people might not be able to re-build.

"We've been working for quite some time now since February 22 with our engineers to get a sense of whether all of the sections will be able to be rebuilt," Mr Key said.

"Some of them won't and we're working our way through that process. So this has added to that complexity, and we'll of course now need to go and resurvey other parts where we thought the land may be able to be remediated."


Clean-up crews are beginning the huge task of clearing roads in the eastern suburbs of silt and flooding.

The mayor, Bob Parker, says there has been significant extra destruction to buildings in the city centre.

Engineers are likely to take several days to assess the damage.

News agencies report two people were rescued from a collapsed building in the rolling aftershocks.

The new tremors came as the Prime Minister, John Key, reaffirmed a commitment to rebuild the city, which was extensively damaged in February, when 181 people were killed.

The GeoNet agency published a list of the last 30 earthquakes to hit the Canterbury area around Christchurch, which is on the South Island. They indicate the close spacing of tremors from and including Monday.

$US4 billion for child vaccinations

Countries have pledged an unprecedented $US4 billion dollars to help vaccinate children against preventable diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea.

The Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunisation says this funding milestone will save more than four million lives in the next four years.

Computer billionaire Bill Gates is among the donors.

"We'll be upping our sights on how fast we get these vaccines rolled out now," Mr Gates said.

"We'll be upping our sights on coverage; 80 per cent coverage is not nearly good enough because the kids who dont get the vaccine are the kids who need it the most."

Tonga cuts whale watching licences

Tonga's Ministry of Tourism has issued fewer licences to whale watching operators this year.

Just 12 were issued to operators in Vava'u compared to 18 last year.

The Whale Watching Association is calling for tighter regulations, and some tour operators say they are happy with fewer licences.

Since whaling was banned in 1978 Tonga has become an important whale breeding sanctuary.

The chief executive of the Ministry of Tourism, Sakopo Lolohea, says whale watching generates a lot of money.

Deported Samoans and Tongans struggle to adapt

A recently published United Nations report says overseas Samoans and Tongans who are deported back to their homelands often experience a range of social problems.

The vast majority, forced to return due to criminal convictions abroad, come from the United States, while a small number arrive back from Australia and New Zealand.

Samoa's Attorney General, Ming Leung Wai told Radio Australia there is increasing evidence of people experiencing difficulties adapting.

"When our first bank robbery occured last year, two of the four robbers were deportess," Mr Wai said.

"And so that really highlighted the issue for us again last year."

Small business gets a finance boost in PNG

The Papua New Guinea government was signing an agreement with the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank today that will make it easier for small and medium sized businesses to get access to loans.

Those businesses are seen as risky in PNG.

As a result, only 25 per cent have access to the bank loans they need if they are to take full advantage of the resources boom.

The agreement will set up a risk-share facility which will see the International Finance Corporation guarantee up to 50 per cent of suitable loans taken out though Bank South Pacific.

It will make available up to $61 million in new finance.

The agreement will also result in new training opportunities for small entrepreneurs and help the PNG commerce department to improve its regulation and services for small business.

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