MERRY CHRISTMAS

Ho ..ho...ho ...a truly warm and hearty Christmas to you & your families. May you have abundant joy, peace, love and .......prosperity for 2011.    


                                                       HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Miss South Pacific - an exotic blend of sophistication and native cultures

    The grace, the beauty, the poise and an exotic blend of sophistication and diverse native cultures of the South Pacific were undeniably obvious at the crowning of Miss South Pacific at the Waigani Indoor stadium in Port Moresby last Saturday. Miss Cook Islands, Joyanna Meyer (above and middle) was the outright winner scoring high marks in the - talent and sarong categories which were conducted at the Lamana on Friday night and in the national dress and the Final interview categories. The mechanical engineering student from Auckland university walked away with the Miss Photogenic, Miss Sarong & Miss Talent in addition to the major award.
·         The event was the first ever for PNG.
·         PNG was privileged to be selected to be the host. The organising committee made up of volunteers were privileged to have been involved and took the event up as a challenge despite the lack of facilities in Port Moresby
·         The Pageant was seen as an opportunity to shine the spotlight on PNG’s assets, vast resources & potential as this country steps onto the threshold of an economic boom.
·         There were many attendees on Saturday who were in fact blown away by the the unique show put on by the contestants. It was their night; it was about them, their resources, their countries & their qualities.
·         If there is anything to take away from the event, it is the lesson that we Papua New Guineans need to step up to equal or better our smaller South Pacific neighbours. We need to be positive about ourselves, our future and take a giant leap in “polishing our acts” with grace and beauty and respect for our fellowmen/women whilst embracing our unique cultures.

The beautiful line-up with the new Miss South Pacific taking centre-stage.                                             
Photos - Rocky Roe

Miss South Pacific Pageant - cast you vote online


To read the profiles of the South Pacific beauties and cast your vote for the Miss South Pacific please go to - www.misssouthpacificpng.com

The crowning ball is on Saturday evening (Nov 27) at the Sir John Guise Stadium and the tickets at K1000.00 pp are going like hot cakes. I have 1 ticket and I'm looking forward to the gala evening which begins at 6.30PM.

2011 Budget - No Super Hospital for PNG


There will be no super hospital established outside Port Moresby and there is no budget allocated for it for 2011.

That was the blazing message from the Finance & Treasury Minister, Mr Peter O'Neill.
I attended the Budget Breakfast organised by the Badili Club and PWC (PriceWaterhouse Coopers) at the Crowne Plaza in Port Moresby yesterday and that was one flashing news that stood out for me.

The minister said the hospital would not go ahead. There is certainly a plan but there is no intention to build it. Instead, Mr O'Neill said money will be spent on much-needed renovations and improvements at the current hospitals such as ANGAU in Lae, Boram in Wewak and the Port Moresby General Hospital in the National Capital.

Hospital upgrading is one of the key priority areas that has been included in the infrastructure budget.

Reserved Seats for Women in Parliament


PNG Women will be watching their MPs cast their vote on 22 seats this session of Parliament.
(Monday, 15 November 2010).

Women around the country will be watching closely this session of parliament for the passage of the bill to enact 22 reserved seats for women by elective process.

Elizabeth Palme Interim provincial council of women’s President of Jiwaka said the focus will be particularly on the Leader of Government Business and Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Paul Tiensten to ensure the proposed Bill is put to a vote.

“Women throughout the country have welcomed the commitment made by Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare to push for the proposed Bill on 22 reserved seats for women during the coming session.

“We know that the proposed Bill is now on the notice paper of parliament business and our eyes are on Mr Tiensten to ensure that the PM’s commitment is put to a vote,” Mrs Palme said.

“While the 2010 Supplementary and 2011 National Budgets will take priority we feel that empowering women in Papua New Guinea is equally important as it is a vote in recognition of women who have not been adequately represented on the floor of Parliament over the last 35 years.

Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Wagambie takes office

Acting Commissioner of Police Anthony Wagambie has reassured the government and people of Papua New Guinea that the Royal Papua New Guinea is stable and united in its mandate to protect and serve.

Mr Wagambie made this statement today when he took office following his appointment by the National Executive Council on Wednesday.

“The Government in its wisdom has appointed me as Acting Commissioner of Police. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and his cabinet for the appointment and give my assurance that I will perform to the best of my ability.

“I also take this opportunity to call upon all commanders to remain focused on their duties and responsibilities. There is no instability of any sort within the organisation and therefore I wish to assure the public that police services will continue as usual.

Medium Term Development Plan roll out in 2011 Budget: PM

Five year development plan to create approximately 315,200 jobs in PNG’s biggest nation building program in its history
 
The Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare said the 2011 budget to be brought down in parliament next week will represent the start of the MTDP (Medium Term Development Plan) for the first five years to 2015. Without pre-empting initiatives to be announced in the budget, I would like to lay out for the nation the overall direction being planned for the economy. Under the MTDP, the government is targeting development expenditure of K36 billion over five years to create an additional 315,200 jobs throughout PNG by 2015.

Sir Michael said the MTDP was also the first five-year stage in the Government’s broader strategy of the 20-year Development Strategy Plan (PNGDSP) and realisation of the Vision 2050 program, which provides the overall direction of PNG’s development initiatives for the next 40 years.
“These programs collectively form the building blocks for economic development and prosperity of our nation for future generations,” Sir Michael said.
“The government has every confidence in the integrity and efficacy of the Medium Term Development Plan and is very excited to be announcing this significant allocation of funds which will directly increase the standard of living of every PNG citizen,” he said.
“Importantly, the plan will aim to achieve an average economic growth of 8.5 per cent a year which will result in a healthy rise in the average GDP per person from K3430 in 2010 to K4638 by 2015,” the Prime Minister said. 

Sri Lankan Cricket Spin legend to tour PNG

World cricket super star spin bowler Muntiah Muralitharan  or "Murali" of Sri Lanka will be one of about 6 overseas Cricket stars to arrive in Port Moresby next month. Chairman of Cricket PNG, Mr Mick Nades and the MD for Pacific MMI, Mr Wayne Dorgan announced that Murali; Brad Hogg (Australia); Craig McDermott (Australia); Adam Hollioake (England); Michael DiVenuto (Australia) and Andy Bichel (Australia) will participate in the "Don't Drink and Drive" event which is co-sponsored by Pacific MMI and the Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited (MVIL).

The event comprises T/20 games featuring the 6 cricket legends placed in local PNG Teams as part of coaching and mentoring of emerging PNG talent to improve their level of play.

On December 1, the players will host a series of school and village-based clinics before taking centre-stage at a fund-raising dinner at the Lamana hotel in Port Moresby.

The CEO of Cricket PNG, Mr Bill Leane expects the "Don't Drink and Drive" matches to be a real crowd-pleasers and added that the event would one of the most stunning sporting moments in Cricket PNG's history.

Oh - What a Game of Cricket!!

Last night's game was the best cricket game I had watched in a long  while. Sri Lanka holding onto the hemlines of an Over with Angelo Mathew coaching number 10 Lasith Malinga into strategic positions so that they could last the entirety of the ODI against Australia.

And boy...did they do that with aplomb!  Malinga, who by the way looks like a Solomon Islander with his blond highlighted afro, reminded me of a child sitting under a large Christmas tree filled with presents. His was the ultimate display of innocence when he hit a 6 and eventually reached half-century. Until then, his highest score had been 16. Malinga would have been over the moon to set such a record in a win against Australia.

Australia was playing on the back of a record ninth-wicket stand between Mathews and Malinga.
Mathews a middle-order player and Malinga an ace bowler, staged one of the greatest comebacks, setting up a one-wicket win with 34 balls left in their opening one-day international in Melbourne last night.

Sri Lanka ran out of luck after 8 wickets went down at 107 runs in reply to Australia's 239 for eight from 50 overs. But the comeback by Mathew and Mlainga was edge-of-the-seat stuff - their 132-run partnership set a world record for the ninth wicket in one-day internationals, beating the mark that had stood for 27 years.

I cannot wait for the second of the ODI to be played tomorrow in Sydney. Australia needs to step up or be left in disarray for their Ashes challenge against England.

BSP Fees "Love Your Bank"

PNG's First ICT & Innovation Expo


Papua New Guinea's first Innovation & ICT Expo will be held at the Hideaway Hotel on the 5th & 6th November. Over 20 corporate organisations have registered to participate. There will be a shuttle bus run between the bus stop next to 4 Mile Traffic Police and Hideaway Hotel over the 2 days providing convenience to those without transport.




Miss South Pacific Pageant


 Below is a letter from the Secretary General of the PNG Red Cross Society
 Dear All,

The Miss South Pacific Pageant (MSPP) is coming to PNG, with our very own Miss Papua New Guinea, Miss Rachel Sapery James, proudly representing PNG at this Pageant. This inaugural event will be held in Port Moresby from the 21st – 27th November 2010.

In our bid to prepare Miss PNG for the MSPP, we invite you to Miss PNG Zumba fitness Party” happening on Saturday 6th November 2010 from 3pm- 4pm at the Sir John Guise Indoor Complex.  This Zumba fitness party will be coordinator by Mila Nash of McNash Fitness and First Aid will be provided by PNG Red Cross First Aid Volunteers.

There will be prizes for the best outfit, best dancer, fittest looking and performing participants so come along and support Miss PNG. The tickets are selling at K20.00 adults and K15.00 for kids below the age of 12 . You can purchase the ticket at the front desk on that day. For more information  you can contact ‘Chrissilla Kabe on 3229175.

Amazing Landscape Photography


Some years ago I had the privilege of travelling through Europe staying in Bed & Breakfast places, meeting interesting people and seeing some breathtaking places. 
  
I remember stopping after dark to find a Bed & Breakfast place on the Isle of Skye on the tip of Scotland after a tiring journey. My beautiful memories of that trip were jogged by this amazing photography in the link below.



Old Issues, New Solutions




As Papua New Guinea enter its 35th year as an independent country, its options—the risks and the opportunities—are looking surprisingly familiar.
It has, of course, as its leader, the most durable, cleverest politician whom the Pacific region has ever produced, in Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare. He has been prime minister for 16 of PNG’s 35 years.
Still, the succession remains uncertain—both the cause of instability within his own ranks and the wider political terrain and a tool through which he subtly maintains power.
Just as so often in PNG’s past, the country is entering an upbeat period on the crucial economic front, with growth expected to reach eight percent this year, well ahead of the rest of the islands region—except Vanuatu—on the back of the launch of the costly construction of ExxonMobil’s A$16.5 billion liquefied natural gas project.

What they are saying about Kumuls

By Wayne Heming, AAP  

They're the Four Nations underdogs, given no chance against rugby league super powers Australia, New Zealand and England. But the always-smiling Kumuls, playing for the first time under Papua New Guinea's very own Wally Lewis - the ageless Stanley Gene - are in Australia to play for far more than glory.
According to rookie coach Gene, the Kumuls are playing for the future youth of a country besieged by serious social issues, tribal killings and crying out for leaders who can force a cultural changes so desperately needed following 35 years of independence.

In a rugged, harsh country of almost 1,000 tribes speaking more than 800 different languages, PNG's government believes these young footballers can deliver hope and change for millions of young people.

October is Cancer Awareness Month so please go check yourself


Last Friday's Breakfast organised by the Women Doctors Association was a great success with overwhelming support from over 300 women. BMI (Body Mass Index), blood pressure levels, blood sugar level, tests and appointments were the order of the day for women who had queued up at the Crowne Plaza since 6AM. The Doctors were running late but this was the first brekkie as such, and they have learnt to do it better next time. The breakfast was intercepted by educational powerpoint presentations and talks by doctors as well as beautiful harmonies from a couple of singers from the SDA church  --- yes, you guessed it ...one of them was a Doctor!

Meanwhile, a great health package is being offered by non-government organisation Marie Stopes PNG. Their clinic is at Boroko on the same road that leads to the betting shop (Horse Racing). This is a golden opportunity for only K3.00.

World's oldest high-altitude settlements 'found in PNG'

SYDNEY — The world's oldest known high-altitude human settlements, dating back up to 49,000 years, have been found sealed in volcanic ash in Papua New Guinea mountains, archaeologists said Friday.

Researchers have unearthed the remains of about six camps, including fragments of stone tools and food, in an area near the town of Kokoda, said an archaeologist on the team, Andrew Fairbairn.
"What we've got there are basically a series of campsites, that's what they look like anyway. The remains of fires, stone tools, that kind of thing, on ridgetops," the University of Queensland academic told AFP.
"It's not like a village or anything like that, they are these campsite areas that have been repeatedly used."

Cancer Awareness, Crown Plaza Friday October 8th 2010

Cancer of the cervix remains the number one killer of women in PNG and the incidence is one of the highest in the world.   
The Women Doctors Association (WDA) will be hosting a breakfast at the Crown Plaza on Friday 8th October to raise awareness on cervical cancer. You are invited to support this cause be way of purchasing a table for 10 women (your friends or staff in your organisation) to attend this breakfast session.   
The cost of a table is K2000 and will include breakfast, an opportunity to have a Well Woman Check and an appointment to have a pap smear done at a participating medical centre. The keynote speaker will be Dr Jacob Morewaya, Head of Pathology Division, Medical school, UPNG. Dr Morewaya is a pathologist specialising in histopathology, the branch of science involved in diagnosing cancers. 

Pay yourself first...

Taken from Money Matters column in Nambawan Super's September edition of TokTok Supa newsletter

" Money experts generally agree that setting a reasonable budget, and sticking to it, can be really helpful in saving money to build long-term financial security. But even with the best intentions, sometimes it can be hard to find enough money left over from our pay after taking out the mortgage or rent, regular living expenses and the unexpected costs that crop up from time to time. Here’s a tried and true method to help you make saving a habit.

Pay yourself first...There is no ‘right’ answer for how much to save. The amount will depend on your personal circumstances. You might decide to choose a percentage of your salary (“I’m going to save 10% of my salary every month.”). Or you could decide on a particular Kina amount (“I’m going to save K100 every month”.) 

Decide how much you want to save from your pay. Often we don’t miss what we don’t have. So if you can set up a direct deposit into your savings account or voluntary super contributions  , or if your employer can make the deposit directly from your pay, it will probably make it easier to maintain a healthy savings habit.

An Engan teacher's struggle to make a difference


“Noah Kason is my name. I have served the Education department as a teacher for 24 years and currently I am the Head Teacher of Malaumanda Community School. Malamaunda is located in the central mountain ranges which divide the two “wan wara” provinces – Enga to the south and East Sepik to the north. The school is located in the gold-rich district of Laigap.

I am assisted by two teachers in the school – Mr Simon Robert is the senior teacher and Mr Peter Kopem is the assistant teacher. We are all from Wapenamanda District, Enga. Our strong ambition is to educate less fortunate young people in this remote part of Papua New Guinea so that they can become teachers and community health workers and can go back and serve their own people”.

Independence Celebrations Oro style



This post is dedicated to Shannon and Melvin who worked so hard to ensure that the Ta'tao'on dance was performed well by their peers from the various parts of Oro province at the Kokofa Cultural event last Friday at Gordons Secondary school in Port Moresby. 







Shannon - all fitted out and ready with his miniature Kundu drum







Shannon and Melvin












The boys of the Oro dance group.














 The girls of the Oro dance group










 Students aged between 16 & 19 years participated in the traditional dance performances and the parents were on hand to dress and decorate them.
 








...and the little ones did not shy away from the action..




This is the dance formation before the Oro provincial group went out first. They were supposed to perform 4th out of about 25 groups but they couldn't wait. 

Yet another logging operation in Oro Province


Dear All,
Note these pictures taken from another full scale logging site in the Oro Province. 
This is happening right under the noses of authorities and yet no one has investigated the legality of this activity. It started off as a restoration exercise after the Cyclone Guba disaster in 2007 which ravaged many coastal villages. A prominent citizen and businessman offered to carry out salvage logging in the area by using portable hand saw mounted on a truck to cut timber to help locals rebuild their houses at Pongani, a village near Oro Bay  that lost 98% of its houses.

Instead, the operation went into selectively logging out Kwila, (merbau or incia). To date no timber has been sawn and given to local villagers but only one single species is being  stock piled and a jetty is being built at Oro Bay to ship out the logs.

The loggers even went into  the Managalas Conservation Area, in the mountainous region behind Oro Bay, which is only months away from being declared. 
Adelbert Gangai

Air Niugini's week

 Last week was certainly Air Niugini's week.As part of its rebranding exercise, the national flag carrier launched a magnificent new range of uniforms. From jackets, pant suits, pleated skirts, scarves, handbags to elegant blouses. I do not know what the concept of the colour scheme is from but it certainly looked like the 'flame of the forest' or orchids on EMTV. The fashion parade was held at Crowne Plaza on a catwalk that was designed like an airport runway.The flight attendants were choreographed professionally to model the uniforms. Esther Sapulai from Manus, the longest serving flight attendant, was a key figure featured at the fashion show.

Happy Independence celebrations !!







We are celebrating our 35th Independence anniversary this week (16th September) and schools in Port Moresby are bracing themselves for various activities including traditional dance performances.

If you aren't doing anything, go to Korobosea International School on Wednesday or the Gordon Secondary school on Friday. There will be traditional dances from all 20 provinces.

You can expect colour, vibrancy and energy from our young ones.

Government to recall Parliament to discuss Women's Seats

                                               By Jonathan Tannos - Post Courier
THE Government may have to move to recall Parliament for a special session before the November 16 Budget session.
Indications at this stage are that it will do so to pass the proposed 22 reserved seats for women candidates and its Supplementary Budget which are top of the priority list at this stage.
The Supplementary Budget Bill will total about K533 million and indications are that its 2011 budget is likely to achieve the K8 billion mark. The proposed K533 million supplementary budget was announced last week in the Highlands and Morobe by Finance and Treasury Minister, Peter O’Neill.

No recall of Parliament for women's Reserved Seats


Source - The National

The government has no plans to recall Parliament early to pass important outstanding legislations such as the bill to appoint women representatives to Parliament.
Planning Minister and leader of government business Mr Paul Tiensten said there was no point in recalling Parliament when there was no guarantee of numbers to support the bill.

"Unless I know that there is support from the Opposition, and I know we have the numbers on the floor, the Government will recall Parliament and introduce the bill.
"We cannot introduce the bill and not have the numbers (to pass it)," he said.

Tiensten suggested, with some sarcasm, that the womenfolk should start lobbying with parliamentarians to get the number for the government to introduce the bill.

This will disappoint many women leaders who had spent a lot of time and resources campaigning throughout the country, listening to people and garnering support for the bill.

Pontoons with logging equipment at Oro Bay


Pictures by Adelbert Gangai


The pictures were taken last Sunday at Oro Bay. A new mystery pontoon with a tug boat has berthed along side the first one. There is no equipment on the new arrival and Mr Gangai says he is still investigating its origin and purpose and will keep us posted. 
 
Gangai say, "As far as the landowners are concerned the project is a no go! The pontoon and its cargo should be confiscated and the Managing Director (named company) arrested for trying the laws of this country. The land titles are cancelled and the FCA is suspended. This foreigner has no respect for our laws. He should be charged by customs and deported.

Anglicare gets top marks

Source - The National

Anglicare StopAIDS has received high praise from the UNAIDS executive director and under general secretary to the United Nations (UN) Mr Michael Sidibe during his visit to the Centre last week.

Mr Sidibe said; "Life demonstrates that when a woman is in charge of an organisation, you are making a difference".

He commended Anglicare's director Dominica Bessie Abo for providing all the necessary services for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) and the less fortunate with life skills, care and counselling and treatment.

"You are recreating life and restoring dignity for people, which are a blessing from God; " Sidibe said.

He was taken on a tour around the centre's various facilities including the new STI (sexually transmitted infections) clinic.

The new building is named "Begabari" which means place of peace in my language. (Begabari is in fact the name of my village and has been taken to be used in the city's Anglicare village at Waigani by the Anglican Church).


Barge sits idle at Oro Bay

By John Pangkatana - Post Courier

The barge, Cathy 15, seized by PNG Customs officials in Oro Bay last week will not move until Customs and National Forestry Service officials have completed their investigations.
Southern police commander Inspector Jerry Frank said the barge in Oro Bay would not move until implications surrounding its alleged link to logging with the customary landowners are resolved.

Cricketers head to overseas clubs

When businessman and philanthropist Sir Brian Bell passed away recently, many remembered him as having left a significant legacy. And so he has. One example is the announcement made this week that 14 young PNG cricketers will have places in Australian cricket clubs - thanks due mainly to the Brian Bell Future Star Scholarship 2010-2011.

The selected players are :- Rarua Dikana (Bentleigh Club - Melbourne), Kila Pala (Airport West Club - Melbourne), Loa Nou (Box Hill Club - Melbourne), Jason Kila (Box Hill & Coles Sharks - Melbourne, Pipi Raho (Dhoutta Stars - Melbourne) Mahuru Dai (Broadmeadows - Melbourne), Sese Bau (Bentleigh - Melbourne), Tony Ura (Broadmeadows - Melbourne), Hitolo Areni (Broadmeadows - Melbourne), Lega Siaka (Dhoutta Stars & Coles Sharks - Melbourne), Raymond Haoda (Norths Club - Brisbane), Asad Vala (Ginniderra Club - ACT), Jack Vare ( Ginniderra Club - ACT) and Norma Ovasuru (TBC Club - Tasmania).

The Brian Bell Future Stars scholarship program is designed to select Papua New Guinean cricketers with great potential who will benefit from exposure to elite competition and coaching  in another country.

Loggers turned back on their way to Sinapa, Collingwood Bay


                                              Eye-witness account from Tufi:

 "Last Monday a group of eight Malaysian men landed here at Tufi. They headed down to the wharf where they first bought a load of supplies in Cyril's trade store, and then made arrangements with a small boat to take them down the coast to Airara. A hired little dory, owned by locals who fish for the resort, would have been filled pretty much to the railings with goods and all and would have been quite a sight when it took off.

From what I hear, the Malaysian men had made a deal with a Sinapa landowner to start logging in the area. The land owner, who is a long time Port Moresby resident then turns out to be from Airara, and wouldn't under any circumstances, have rights to make decisions above the chiefs & leaders of the villagers living in the area. To me it sounds like he fooled these Malaysians quite profoundly, and that he had better kept his head down when they returned to Port Moresby. Because that's what happened!
 

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