Vanuatu daily news digest | 13 December 2012

Vanuatu’s new Ambassador to China, Nguk Yang Dennis Nai, has agreed to comply with President Iolu Abbil’s request that Vanuatu’s embassy in Beijing not sell Vanuatu passports. Radio Vanuatu News reported this yesterday, and Daily Post today quotes Pres. Abbil’s request: “Vanuatu passports are very important documents to any ni-Vanuatu citizen, and that must be respected at all times.” He said he does not want to hear reports that the Vanuatu embassy in China is involved in selling Vanuatu passports.

Radio New Zealand International aired a rather breathless story this morning about how Port Vila ground to a “virtual standstill” for the state funeral of Harry Iauko yesterday. It didn’t, as anyone who was actually in Port Vila could have told RNZI’s reporter. Daily Post’s senior purple prose writer Len Garae was also reported saying that “the streets were packed with people standing quietly to show their last respects”, which is another falsehood. RNZI’s story seems to be predicated on the assumption that the death of a significant public figure automatically elicits reverence from the general public, which, in Iauko’s case, sori blo talem, simply is not true. In death, as in life, Iauko continues to divide opinion.

The Supreme Court recounted the votes for the Santo Rural constituency this morning in the presence of Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek, the Electoral Commission and a lawyer from the State Law Office. The recount is required due to a successful electoral dispute petition in that constituency. No word yet on the result.

A regional meeting to further negotiate the PACER Plus (Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations) trade agreement will take place in Port Vila in April 2013. The PACER PLus agreement seeks to create greater economic intergration between Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Forum nations including Vanuatu. Trade in goods and services, development co-operation, labour and investment will all be discussed.

81 students graduated with diplomas for teaching in primary or secondary education yesterday at the Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education (VITE). This is the first time in the history of VITE the secondary diploma has been awarded, says Daily Post.

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