Friday, June 17, 2011

Radio New Zealand International Pacific News, 16 June 2011

500 students displaced by Solomon Islands school arson

The premier of Malaita province in Solomon Islands has strongly condemned an arson attack which has destroyed part of a school.

About 500 students have been affected by the fire that burnt down a two-storey classroom block at Auki Primary School two days ago.

Premier Edwin Suibaea says the provincial government is working on an emergency plan to accommodate the students in make-shift classrooms.

He says donors have already come forward to talk about rebuilding the school, which is a focal point of the community.
“They are very costly and especially at this point in time aid donors are assisting us to rebuild the country so every communities, people, stakeholders, need to work together in the rebuilding of the country.”

 PNG police say they will charge Prime Minister’s son with murder

Papua New Guinea’s police commissioner, Anthony Wagambie, says the acting prime minister’s son, Theo Abal, will be charged with murdering a woman whose body was found at the prime minister’s residence on Monday morning.

In a statement, Mr Wagambie, has dismissed any fear of interference from the prime minister, Sam Abal, saying the police will do their duty without fear or favour.

He says Mr Abal has been very co-operative with police so far.

Mr Wagambie says they’ve completed their interviews and are now waiting for a positive identification of the dead woman before charging Theo Abal.

He says they have an unconfirmed report that she was a 29-year old from Kaita Village in Gulf Province, working as a waitress in Port Moresby.

New Caledonia could be heading for fifth election in three months

The Caledonia Together Party will convene tomorrow to decide if it will pull out of the collegial government and trigger a fifth election in just over three month.

This comes after yesterday’s disagreements over the attribution of portfolios, with the Caledonia Together Party saying the principle of collegiality, as expressed by the French prime minister, has been ignored.

Walter Zweifel reports.
“One of the Caledonia Together leaders, Philippe Dunoyer, says there was no consensus in assigning portfolios after the Congress last week elected Harold Martin as the head of government for the fourth time since March. But a spokesperson for the government, Sonia Backes, says there is no point in holding discussions as there are always additional demands. Amid the continued threat of a resignation by the Caledonia Together side, she says an end to the crisis may only come about once France has changed the electoral law - a move due in about a month.”

Refugee advocate slams Nauru over its push to reopen detention camp

An Australian human rights lawyer has launched a stinging criticism of Nauru’s efforts to make itself more presentable as a site to house asylum seekers.

Nauru earlier this week indicated it was close to ratifying the UN refugee convention.

It has previously pushed for Australia to re-open the refugee detention centre on the island, which processed hundreds of asylum seekers between 2001 and 2008.

Lawyer, Eric Vadarlis, who worked for the refugees on Nauru, says the island’s government is worried about missing out on money.

He says he is suspicious of the timing of the announcement, coinciding with the Australian opposition leader’s recent visit to Nauru and the Gillard government’s negotiations with Malaysia over refugee accommodation.
“I think it’s disgraceful and inhumane. You know this country that’s bankrupt is trying to get into the refugee business. Because that’s really what they are. They’re an accommodation service, or they want to be an accommodation service, for the Australian Government. And the only way they can get in because of the political heat is to join the convention. I mean they’ve got no idea of what it means. How are they going to administer it? I mean the country’s just bankrupt basically, they’ve got no money, nothing.”

Amnesty calls for Jakarta to free protestors arrested over flag raising

Amnesty International says the Indonesian government must stop treating peaceful protestors as criminals.

The human rights organisation wants the immediate release of seven people arrested for their involvement in a peaceful political protest and flag raising in Papua.

It says the case highlights the failure of Indonesian authorities to distinguish between armed groups and peaceful political activists.

The seven have been in custody for six months since taking part in a march against injustice and human rights violations.

The organisation is also calling on the Indonesian authorities to withdraw a 2007 government regulation that bans the display of regional flags which are used by separatist movements.

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