Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Radio New Zealand International Pacific News, 21 June 2011

PNG Supreme Court to hear challenge to Abal and Amet appointment

The Supreme Court challenge mounted over the validity of the appointment of Papua New Guinea’s Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal, the Justice Minister and Attorney General, Sir Arnold Amet, and Paul Tiensten as Acting Governor-General will go to trial.

The Post Courier says this follows after a former acting judge and lawyer Nemo Yalo won the first hurdle in his challenging of their appointments in December last year.

Mr Yalo claimed it was unconstitutional for the Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane to have made these appointments in Kokopo or his village in East New Britain Province while he was effectively on leave of absence or otherwise whilst on leave from duty.

The first, second and third defendants in the matter, Mr Abal, Sir Arnold the National Executive Council, instructed their lawyer not to take any position on the issue while the Speaker, Jeffery Nape, opposed the application.

NZ government seeks legal advice on Fiji’s Mara extradition request

The New Zealand government is seeking legal advice on Fiji’s request for the extradition of former Fiji military officer Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara.

Colonel Mara is now in Australia after fleeing from Fiji where he is accused of sedition and he is also planning a New Zealand trip.

The Manager of the International Criminal Law team at New Zealand’s Ministry of Justice, Bill Peoples, has confirmed the Ministry’s received the extradition request.

He says it’s now checking with government lawyers on whether there is enough evidence in the request and whether it complies with legal process.

New Zealand does not have an extradition treaty with Fiji, but a spokesman for the Ministry says the lack of a treaty is not necessarily an obstacle.

Under New Zealand law extradition can only be considered if a person is committed an offence punishable by 12 months or more in prison but a range of other considerations must also be met.

Penalty for Solomons businesses which don’t pass on effects of currency upgrade

The Solomon Islands finance minister says businesses which fail to pass on the effects of the recent revaluing of the currency will be penalised.

Gordon Darcy Lilo says the five percent rise in the value of the country’s dollar was the result of discussions with the International Monetary Fund and the country’s Central Bank about how to combat inflationary pressures.

Mr Lilo says inflation was forecast to hit five percent by the end of the year but by the end of April it had already reached four precent.

He says people in rural parts of the country have suffered most from the rise in commodity prices and so they stand to benefit most from the dollar’s appreciation.
“Authorities of the government can effectively enforce tools like price control to ensure that business houses must pass on the effects of the price reduction to the people. So we have already tasked the price control office to must do that.”
Gordon Darcy Lilo says the weakness of the US dollar makes it timely to appreciate the Solomon Islands currency.

Vanuatu’s caretaker PM confirms he won’t stand in election

The caretaker leader of Vanuatu’s government has confirmed he won’t be standing for prime minister when parliament sits on Thursday to elect a new administration.

Edward Natapei was installed as caretaker prime minister last week after the chief justice Vincent Lunabek ruled that Sato Kilman’s appointment last December was null and void.

Our correspondent in Vanuatu says the contest for prime minister is now between Serge Vohor and Mr Kilman, who’s due in court later this week on perjury charges initiated by Mr Natapei.

Last month Mr Kilman succeeded in a court action which removed Mr Vohor from office and that suit prompted Mr Natapei to seek legal redress over his earlier loss of the prime ministership.

Col Mara expected to visit Samoa

The former Fiji army colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara is expected to visit Samoa after the prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, issued a statement welcoming him.

In a release, Tuilaepa has congratulated Col Mara for admitting his guilt over his involvement in the 2006 coup and has called for the interim Fiji leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, to do the same.

Col Mara escaped to Tonga and has visited Australia at the start of an international campaign against the Fiji regime and for a return to democracy.

Meawhile, it is not known if he will visit Solomon Islands whose prime minister Danny Philip has denied media reports last week that he declared Col Mara unwelcome.
“No I didn’t say that; I didn’t say he is not allowed to come to Solomon Islands.”
Danny Philip says his government’s policy is to be all-embracing to Fiji.

Leading scientists shocked at state of world oceans

Leading ocean scientists have expressed shock at the state of the world’s seas and fear another significant extinction event could be around the corner.

27 experts from different disciplines have been meeting in the United Kingdom to collate data and discuss changes in the world’s oceans.

One of the experts, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, says many of the measurement stations which are reporting rapidly dropping ocean oxygen levels are in the Pacific.

He says worrying large scale changes are happening which have the hallmarks of some of the previous periods on earth when ecosystems have collapsed.
“If we are on that road, then we need to get off it as soon as possible because that type of scenario is something that once you’ve triggered it there’s no turning back.”
Professor Hoegh-Guldberg says the scientists’ report will be presented to the United Nations.

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