News and Comments Friday 29 June 2012

Readers unfamiliar with the new format who are still having  problems reading the full post and comments are urged  to hover their mouse over PAGES (under the main heading) and read “How to use the blog”.  The technical problems reported earlier seem to have been fixed except for iPads.  If you cannot access the blog in future, please send me an email at crozwalsh@gmail,com

WEEKEND READING. • Allen Lockington Column • Introducing the Director of Public Prosecutions • Wages Council and Mr Hazelman • Ideas on Constitutional and Electoral  Reforms Part III

AUSAID TO DOUBLE.  Whether or not it is a response to progress on the Fiji political front or not, the doubling of AusAid to F$66 starting next month is a very welcome move.  Most of the aid will go to health and education.

NEW CALEDONIA SNUBS MELANESIAN SPEARHEAD GROUP.  New Caledonia’s pro-independence FLNKS movement says this weekend’s planned visit to Noumea by Fiji’s interim PM who also the MSG chairman has been cancelled because of visa problems. ► Click on posting to read more.

The PM  was to head a ministerial delegation of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to monitor and assess the implementation of the Noumea Accord on greater autonomy for New Caledonia. 
 The visit is opposed by the anti-independence Caledonia Together movement that had asked France to stop the visit.  FLNKS spokesperson, Victor Tutugoro,  has flown  to the MSG secretariat in Vanuatu to discuss the matter.  — Based on RNZI.

POSTSCRIPT. THE FRENCH EMBASSY in Suva, however, denies Bainimarama was not granted a visa. It says the trip has been postponed, not cancelled.

FIJITODAY AND COUP4.5. Both blogs are anti-the Bainimarama government but where the former is reasonable, even to the point of republishing a complimentary Grubsheet article on the Director of Public Prosecutions, the latter is now constantly attacking Constitution Commission Prof Yash Ghai and is allowing comments on how to make bombs! I will have further posting on this issue next week.

NO SDL MEETINGS IN CHURCH HALLS. Police have confirmed the SDL party (and presumably other political parties) will not be able to use Methodist Church halls for their meetings. The clear separation of church and state is  welcome but alternative accommodation needs to be available in all areas where they wish to hold meetings. 

NAMOSI MINING. Landowners and the Tui Namosi/Namosi Provincial Council seem to be at loggerheads over possible future development. 

POLICE AT MEETINGS. Police say they will not be changing conditions on the holding of political meetings “for now.” The FLP objected to their presence at a recent meeting and FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry says he will be raising the matter with the Constitution Commission next month. 

QARESE TRIAL FROM NEXT TUESDAY. A further plea to delay the trial has been denied. This is Qarase’s first case in relation to Fijian Holdings Limited where it is alleged that he facilitated and allowed the purchase of Class A FHL shares for certain companies when he was director of FHL, financial advisor of the Fijian Affairs Board and advisor to the Great Council of Chiefs.The case relates to the allotment and issuance of the FHL shares to Cicia Plantation Co-op Society Limited, Mavana Investments Limited and a family owned company named Q-Ten Investments Limited.

FNU GOES RURAL. The Fiji National University  has extended its services to remote areas and this week 124 Ra villagers graduated in sustainable livelihood courses conducted over two weeks in Nativi Village.

BRIBERY ACCUSED JAILED. A Nadi businessman and a customs officer found guilty of bribery by the Lautoka High Court were today handed partial prison sentences with a $2,000 fine imposed on the two.

POLICE OFFICER GRANTED BAIL. Kaipati Bakoa is charged with one count of theft and one count of interfering with evidence in relation to the alleged theft of drugs from the Nabua police station.

PINE CHIPS WORTH A PACKET. The commencement of the pine chipping operations in Wairiki, Bua Province,  has a potential of earning close to $35 million a year, besides offering employment and other benefits to landowners
The first shipment of 40,000 tonnes worth $6 million was sent to Japan on Monday. About fifty locals are employed at the mill.