For decades now we have observed the Southern Hemisphere Journalistic Silly Season as starting round Christmas. It generally begins at the height of mid-summer, this coming Sunday, and goes on until everyone is back at work after holidays (March?). Wikipedia offers definitions ranging from "when journalists fill space reporting on frivolous events and activities" to "any slow news period characterized by trivial news or no news." Well, we’re in it.
Radio Vanuatu news headlines this morning … Human rights woman activist in Vanuatu Jenny Ligo says Vanuatu needs to re-consider the policy of ‘teaching Bislama in schools" because children learn it at home … Malampa Province has trained someone to work with the National Disaster Management Office … Centre Scope of the Vanuatu Central Hospital has expanded its business and has a local market house in Anabrou Park.
Daily Post headlines this morning … Coca-Cola looking at copying Vanuatu to put their drink into buy-back bottles like Tusker, and like Coke used to do elsewhere … Nurses and doctors receive more training on Ebola control … Eight from the Ifira kindy will graduate to Year 1 next year … The annual police operation to ensure peace and order over the holiday period – Operation Noelle – begins Friday.
These stories are all important to certain persons, and I do not wish to make any comment, other than it’s a period of trivial news or no news. We’re in the Vanuatu Silly Season.
A brief bulletin to fill-in a few gaps in vanuatudaily reporting this week …
Lopevi volcano has been belching out increasing emissions of gas and smoke, Radio Vanuatu news reports. People from Paama are being advised to stay away and forgo their end-year search for the Lopevi wild yams. The volcano seems to be approaching eruption stage.
Daily Post today reports serious repairs needed at the Parliament complex. Two weeks ago, the ground floor was flooded when water entered, said to be because of inconsistency in the thickness of the foundations causing cracks to appear. Water flooded the archives. When will we learn to adequately maintain our public buildings? Like the houses round Independence Park, the Korman Stadium, and Pompidou? Next on the list, of course, will be the Convention Centre.
Tanna continues to experience a shortage of beef for butchering, and thus the highest prices in Vanuatu. The Livestock Department is seeking new strategies to supply. The VNPF was trying to supply just on a month ago. But there have been delays. (VBTC)
Court sittings have been suspended from 22 December until 23 January, national media have been advised by Chief Justice Lunabek. The court registries will be closed from 23 December until 3 January.
Nagriamel and the PM want investigations into allegations made by the Opposition into the conduct of Youth and Sport Minister Don Ken – serious allegations of corrupt employment of officials. The story has continued Daily in Post. Today the PM’s Office acknowledges the seriousness of the allegations. The PM himself is away.
Fishermen are complaining they are not receiving their duty exemptions on fuel, permitted under the tax exemption rules. (Post)
The extraction of sand from Teouma and Mele Bays will be banned in January Daily Post advises. Considerable erosion has resulted. Contractors are required to find alternative sites.
Yellow bags will again be required for rubbish removal in the capital from Monday, the town hall advises through Daily Post. They will be obtained from the usual sources.
The real achievement of the Peru climate talks
Posted about 3 hours agoMon 15 Dec 2014, 12:15pm
Perhaps the greatest achievement of the climate talks in Peru wasn’t the goals set, but the fact that international talks like these make it increasingly hard for breakaway countries to ignore the issue, writes Christian Downie.
After more than two weeks of negotiations at the United Nations climate talks in Lima, Peru, political leaders finally announced over the weekend that they had reached an agreement. For the first time, all countries, rich and poor, are expected to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing climate change.
The agreement calls on countries to publish their so-called nationally determined contributions to reducing global emissions ideally by March next year, and certainly ahead of the negotiations next December in Paris, where much of the detail is to be finalised.
Much lip service will be paid to the outcome in the coming days, especially the divisions between rich and poor countries, which have plagued the climate negotiations for almost two decades. But the question for many sitting back in their lounge rooms watching the evening news is do these negotiations matter?
At the opening of the negotiations Rajendra Pachauri, the UN’s chief climate scientist, stressed the need for countries to take urgent measures in order to limit the global rise in temperatures to no more than 2°C. That is the point at which the impacts from climate change become unimaginable. If you want to try – just imagine the next bushfire season being worse than the last, until in 30 years from now loss of lives and homes seems an almost annual event.
The UN talks will not stop this from happening. As the US secretary of state, John Kerry, put it: "We are on a course leading to tragedy."
International negotiations alone won’t change the course, but if combined with domestic actions they just might. What countries like the US and China do domestically will have a much greater impact on future reductions in greenhouse gas emissions than any announcement in Lima.
For example, China’s decision last month ahead of the G20 summit to stop its emissions from growing by 2030 could have a significant impact on our chances of keeping temperatures within the so-called 2°C guardrail.
Likewise president Obama’s announcement that the US would emit 26 per cent to 28 per cent less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005 will do the same. Also, the US president’s decision to impose tough new rules on power plants is already having an impact on the US coal sector. For anyone who doubts that this is true, just ask US coal companies and electricity utilities how much harder it is now to secure investors following the announcement.
Every time countries reaffirm their desire to address the problem it tightens the hold on those who want to do nothing.
So it is government domestic actions that matter most. These actions are the only way we can effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But this is the key; international talks like the ones held this week increase the pressure on governments to act. Every time countries around the world reaffirm their desire to address the problem it tightens the hold on those who want to break away and do nothing.
Witness Australia’s decision at the talks to contribute $200 million to the Green Climate Fund, which only one year ago Tony Abbott described as a "Bob Brown bank on an international scale". While the contribution is small compared to other countries, the backflip reflects the mounting international pressure that the Government is facing on climate change.
Although the decisions of countries at a national level to phase out coal, or switch to gas, or invest in solar power, is what will really reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increasingly international gatherings, such as APEC and the G20 last month and the UN this month, are building pressure for domestic action. And every time they do, the harder it will be for governments at home to shirk their responsibility to slash carbon pollution.
If the message from our closest ally wasn’t clear enough in Brisbane at the G20 summit, it just became clearer this week, as John Kerry argued: "If you are a big developed nation and you do not lead, you are part of the problem."
There’s not a lot of hard news around when the ACP is hitting the headlines, and Christmas breaks proceed all around. There was not a lot yesterday either, and thus the delay in sending out a bulletin which now covers two days. And I have no idea how I claimed the last bulletin posted to be 11 February 2014.
However, Vanuatu has been chosen for the ACP presidency, Radio Vanuatu informs us, in the hundredth sitting of the ACP Council of Ministers this week. Vanuatu’s Ambassador Roy Mickey Joy will hold the presidential post in 2015 and Foreign Minister Kilman says it gives Vanuatu a privileged position for defending our exports of kava and copra.
Vanuatu was also reported as the first Melanesian country to sign the EDF National Indicative Programme with the European Union. Minister Kilman signed with European Development Minister Neven Mimica. Minister Mimica told Pacnews that given the importance of the rural economy in Vanuatu, this country’s choice of agriculture is entirely relevant to Vanuatu receiving the envelope for nearly USD 40 million, an increase of 35 percent in this programme. He also congratulated Vanuatu for its adherence to the EU’s policy on illegal, unauthorised and unreported fishing activities and our "constructive approach," without explaining further and more clearly how we have demonstrated a constructive approach.
Foreign Minister Kilman, VBTC News says, needs to resolve the matter of Fiji not having returned to membership of the Pacific Islands Forum. Fiji has said it will not resume membership whilst Australia and New Zealand continue as members. Kilman said everyone must work together.
Daily Post yesterday reported eleven new students to study for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Australia under its Australian Awards Programme. They include both the arts dux of Malapoa in 2013 and and the science dux of the school for the same year.
Post reported Vila North school ground-breaking for a new VT 9.8 million building – a six classroom block.
Post today reports the continuing wrangle in the Police and VMF as regards the positions of power. This goes back to the alleged mutiny of 2012 and much further. Prime Minister Natuman, responsible for the force, points out in a letter to Acting Commissioner Maralau "My Government is working endlessly to make sure the Vanuatu Police Force is united and that the different groupings within the force patiently await a time and date to be set by the government to carry out the exercise of unifying the Vanuatu Police Force again."
Three ni-Vanuatu doctors have launched a private clinic. Child health, internal health and mental health will be dealt with by doctors Rosemary Kaltack, Griffith Harrison and Jimmy Obed, working from rooms in Nambatu. They bring some 35 years of experience to their clinic. (Daily Post)
BJ Skane brings the story behind the new ATR of Air Vanuatu being called the Betty Emma to the pages of Daily Post today. The story goes back to 1960, Paul Burton, Bob Paul, and the beginnings of New Hebrides Airways.
The funeral service of the former Vanuatu Head of State, Jean-Marie Leye Lenalcau Manatawai, was delayed from yesterday until today. Radio Vanuatu this morning reminded listeners of the kidnap of Leye to Malekula whilst in office during a pay dispute of the VMF. PM Natuman recalled to mourners, as people passed the body at the Tut blong Pig at Parliament yesterday, Leye’s ability to use parables, especially that of the banyan tree. Daily Post reports Natuman calling Leye "a man of wisdom and principle" who never talked about people behind their backs but would certainly "convey his honest and best opinions to others." Former Cultural Centre Director Kirk Huffman has also recorded Leye’s ability to use the parable, as does this writer when Leye spoke of the influence of money on politicians as if it would "fall down like the fruit of the namambe." From 1975 to 1977 Jean-Marie Leye was a member of the Representative Assembly of the New Hebrides and from 1980 to 1983 he was a Member of Parliament for the Union of Moderate Parties. In the ‘Seventies he was on the Advisory Council and he also served in the Port Vila Council of Chiefs.
Daily Post today gives us the good news of government intending to acquire the land of the Norsup airfield to enable its continuance for its public purpose of being the principal airport of the island of Malekula and Malampa Province. The lessors will be Chief William David and Collen Taur as trustees for the David Apia family. Other claims would need to be lodged by 5 January and on 7 January there will be a public hearing relating to the land in question.
Radio Vanuatu yesterday reported the new merdeka support groups of West Papua as ULMWP agreeing to apply for Melanesian Spearhead Group membership at the next MSG meeting in June in Honiara. The umbrella group formed on Saturday in Port Vila now brings into reconciliation and collaboration the Federal Republic of West Papua (NRFPB), National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) and the National Parliament of West Papua (NPWP). They are proudly brought together as the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. Remember it: ULMWP.
There is good news for parents of school children this week with 94 student teachers graduating as new curriculum requirements have arrived for schools. Post reports great applause as Jack Matariki, VITE Principal, announced more women graduates than men. Ministerial policy will be looking to have teachers posted to their own provinces.
Post also reports today 425 graduating from the institute of technology, VIT. More than a hundred of them won certificates in the Hospitality and Tourism Leisure Training Center.
There is a lot in the Asian Development Bank’s December issue of the Pacific Economic Monitor. The 2015 Vanuatu Budget represents to them the fourth budget deficit in the past 5 years. However, government disputes this, according to Post.
Vanuatu has achieved a publishing coup with the production of Pacific Island Living – Fiji edition. Editor Tiffany Carroll points out they already have editions for the Solomons, Nauru and Australia as well as, of course, Vanuatu. Publisher Craig Osment: "we’re working with Tourism Fiji and hoping to give Vanuatu terrific exposure over there as well."
The activity of the two volcanoes on Ambrym has gone down. The alert level dropped from 2 to 1 just as the 101st anniversary of Benbow’s major eruption of 1913 arrived. However communities are advised to continue to follow the instructions they have been given by Geo-Hazards Department.
Vanuatu has lost a former head of state, Chief Jean-Marie Leye Lenalgau Manatawae of Aneityum. He died at the age of 82. He was the third President of Vanuatu from March 1994 to March 1999. He died at the age of 82. This morning his body was moved to the National Chiefs’ Nakamal and then Parliament. A funeral service was held at one o’clock at the cathedral and his body was to be flown to Aneityum for burial. Radio Vanuatu gave these details at noon. Flags have been flying at half mast.
Daily Post today has the Land Ombudsman appointed. Emil Mael takes up the position and signed a contract on Monday with the Minister for Justice. Mael is a USP graduate who specializes in custom land issues and already has a large file of cases to study.
Post also tells us the Northern Star has finally been sunk and the Southern Star is to be taken out for its burial at sea this week or next.
There will be a longer bulletin tomorrow carrying important stories missed today.
Jakarta has issued a statement to the Vanuatu Government through the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra saying that Vanuatu’s support of the West Papua Leaders’ Meeting is "serious". In return PM Natuman has said that if Indonesia continues to interfere in Vanuatu’s stand on West Papua, one of the clauses of the Vanuatu-Indonesia Bilateral Agreement will be removed by Vanuatu. "In fact, West Papua is still the colony of the Netherlands, and Netherlands must complete its responsibilities by ensuring that West Papua attains full Independence. Indonesia just invaded West Papua, but West Papua is a colony of the Netherlands," Natuman said. These remarks were given at the reconciliation and agreement signing at the Chiefs’ Nakamal on Saturday and reported by Daily Post today.
Tuesday’s Post also carries a complaint of Chief Masepong of Lelepa concerning Radio Vanuatu frequency unavailability. Lelepa people are unable to obtain Medium Wave transmission and the population is too far from Vila to hear FM. It is the cyclone season and we "cannot listen to the radio concerning any cyclone warning." The same complaint was heard last year in relation to the West Coast of Santo and the Banks and Torres islands. People in those places then listened to Solomon Islands broadcasts to learn of hurricane warnings. Or they climbed mountains and trees to obtain reception of warnings on their mobile phones. VBTC GM Fred Vurobaravu says both MW transmissions (Vila and Santo) are presently ‘down’, awaiting new equipment. He adds that Short Wave is available again after malfunctioning recently. However, with many listeners liking to listen with an earphone these days, this generally means small radios which do not use SW are what most people are buying. This recurring problem – the national broadcaster failing to get to all of the country – must be addressed by the Corporation quickly. Christmas in the Park is fine for Vila residents, but it ought to be planned on a basis of earning enough revenue to keep the station’s signals available to all.
The sea cucumber factory at Lakatoro is breeding madly the baby sea cucumbers which can enable expansion to other islands. The thirty tanks they have built each accommodate a million babies. And they are building more tanks to increase the investment here in Vanuatu, likely delivering babies to other islands. Cash payment is made directly to the farmers of the salt-water product. The first sea trial took place at Moso in 2012 and Efate and Malekula followed. South Pacific Agriculture Group Limited, the Chinese company which has spear-headed the industry, wants to get the harvesting of the preferred varieties of this marine creatures to all provinces, says Daily Post.