Thursday, sepTember 12, 2013 cook Islands News
Tourists attacked on PNG trek Porters killed as bandits attack and injure hikers on Morobe trail POrT mOresBY – Trekkers from australia and New Zealand have been caught up in a deadly attack in Papua New guinea which killed two local guides. The australians and one New Zealander were hiking in PNg’s Black Cat Track when they were attacked by robbers.
several members of the group, including a number of the group’s local porters, were injured in Tuesday’s attack. “The attack resulted in the deaths of two PNg nationals who were porters for the group,” australia’s department of foreign affairs said. “Our sympathies are with the family
paciic BRIEFS Png Pm considers tourist Police PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister has signalled that legislation to create tourist police could be introduced following a deadly attack on a tourist group. Peter O’Neill was speaking in parliament about an attack on a group of trekkers in Morobe Province which left two local porters dead and several trekkers sustaining knife wounds. The injured trekkers included several Australians and a New Zealander. O’Neill says PNG could adopt the kind of arrangement seen in Bali where special police guard tourist areas and assist tourists in need of emergency help. he suggests trekking groups could be accompanied by police personnel.
raPists start beFore age Fourteen PAPUA NEW GUINEA – A United Nations study has recommended more work with young men and boys to address high rates of rape in Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. The study by the Partners for Prevention programme found a quarter of Bougainvillean men who have admitted to rape were fourteen years or younger when they irst committed the crime. Ten thousand men were interviewed in nine locations in Asia and the Paciic, and Bougainville was found to have some of the highest rates of physical and sexual violence. James Lang says the study shows violence against women is preventable and more work needs to be done to deal with trauma and change attitudes.
guam considers ‘medical use’ Pleas GUAM – A public hearing held by Guam’s Legislature has heard a number of calls for the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal use. The Paciic Daily News reports that those who submitted testimony advocated for medical uses of the drug to relieve symptoms of ailments such as glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and the side efects of chemotherapy. Lawmakers are considering a resolution calling for the decriminalisation of marijuana. After the hearing, Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas said that possession and use of an ounce or less of the drug has essentially been decriminalised for 20 years on Guam. He said the evidence should be presented without emotion when new policy is being considered.
HelP wanted to restore Historic Port FIJI – The historic Fijian town of Levuka is searching for specialists to help preserve the old buildings which have helped earn it World Heritage status. The town’s timber buildings are a signiicant part of the port which the UN agency UNEScO found to be an outstanding example of late 19th century Paciic port settlements. The chief Executive of the Levuka Town council, Suliana Sandys, says since receiving World heritage status in June, the town has enjoyed more visitors and economic activity but it is also under pressure to ensure the buildings are kept up. “Some that have been closed and not taken care of regularly have begun to rot.” Sandys says investors are being encouraged to restore and reopen buildings, including four large ones on the main street.
Floods cause Famine in guadacanal SOLOMON ISLANDS – A disaster oicial in Solomon Islands’ Guadalcanal province is assuring people in the region hit by loods over the past few days that food is on its way. heavy rain in the mountains caused looding that has destroyed food gardens, commercial crops, homes and public infrastructure in the Tetere area of eastern Guadalcanal. Bridge washouts several days ago severed the access to health services and markets of about 12,000 people. People are short of food but Iit is hoping supplies of rice will start arriving from the capital honiara tomorrow.
migration oF PaciFic women studied NEW ZEALAND – A New Zealand-born Paciic Islander has been awarded a Victoria University in Wellington doctoral scholarship to investigate the modern migration of young Paciic women to Asia. Rachel Yates says her research is inspired by her time teaching English in South Korea, where she was surprised to meet so many New Zealand Paciic Islanders studying, working and succeeding abroad. She says in the past, Paciic migration studies have focused on Paciic Islanders travelling to New Zealand, not about those who leave New Zealand for other opportunities. She says her research will focus on women, and will use the experiences of those she met in South Korea as case studies.
and friends of those who were killed.” “Other members of the group, including eight australians, one New Zealander, and a number of PNg nationals, sustained injuries during the attack, however none of the injuries are life-threatening.” reports suggest that the two guides were hacked to death, and the attackers may have used machetes, spears and guns, australian broadcaster aBC reported. PNg police spokesman Dominic Kakas said six men armed with guns, a spear and bush knives struck between 1pm and 2pm. One gun was homemade while the other was a .303 factory-made rile. The Black Cat Track in northern PNg joins the towns of Wau and salamaua. It was one of the sites of ighting between australian and
Japanese troops in WWII and is known as one of the toughest hiking trails in the country. The walk usually takes three days through leech and mosquito-infested territory with one trekking agency describing the area as ‘suitable only for masochists and Israeli Paratroopers.’ australia has updated its travel advice, recommending that visitors avoid the Black Cat Track until the incident has been investigated. Concerns have been raised over high levels of crime and violence in the country, including a number of high-proile attacks in recent months. The group of australians attacked with machetes on a trekking expedition in Papua New guinea were expected to return home yesterday. They had set up camp for the night and were in their tents sheltering from rain when the attack happened.
australian Nick Bennet told the aBC he was struck in the head with a machete and his friend steve Ward was punched several times. Bennett says he initially feared he had been shot in the head. “I thought I’d been shot and what I realised after was that I had been clubbed with a rifle barrel and it had opened my head up. so I was bleeding immediately, just confused,” he said. “all I could really do was hold my head in my hands and ordered the others down. “I could just see one of the guys attacking the porters with a bush knife. There was one guy with a rile, one guy had a pipe gun and a bush knife. “There was one person who appeared to be controlling it.” The injured men hiked four hours back to safety, carrying the porters’ bodies. The group were lown to Port
moresby and were expected to return home this morning. PNg’s prime minister Peter O’Neill says those responsible for the brutal attack will face the death penalty. O’Neill says the ordeal is an “obvious setback” to efforts to promote PNg as a tourist destination. PNg’s high commissioner to australia has described the attack as “inexcusable”. The motive for the attack is not clear, although some reports have suggested it could be related to a disagreement between porters from PNg’s lowlands and locals living in the highlands. PNg’s Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga condemned the attack. Local villagers were tracking the attackers now, he said, and about 20 police oficers and the airborne Unit had been sent to the area. - PNC/sources
Denies links with SIS
sUVa – One of Fiji’s coup colonels has latly denied his military regime co-ordinated with a New Zealand security Intelligence service operation in which Fiji democracy activists were raided in auckland last year. Colonel mosese Tikoitoga was land force commander at the time of the raids. he did not send text messages to one of the main targets of the sIs raid, he told auckland’s radio Tarana. Prime minister John Key has also dismissed claims made by NZ First leader Winston Peters of co-ordination between the sIs and Fiji. The July raids on mt roskill addresses came as the sIs investigated allegations of a plot
developed in New Zealand to assassinate military strongman Frank Bainimarama in Fiji. Peters told Parliament last week that evidence of co-ordination came in the form of telephone text messages between Tikoitoga and richardson road dairy owner rajesh singh, a former Fiji cabinet minister. The assassination plot was said to have been developed at the dairy earlier in 2012 during the visit of a runaway Fiji army colonel Tevita Uluilakeba mara. mara had fled Fiji ahead of arrest for allegedly plotting to overthrow Bainimarama. While mara was in New Zealand a group of Fiji citizens and a New Zealand citizen were said to have plotted his assassination.
Singh said the oficials seized his daughter’s laptop computer and his cellphone. singh denied there was ever a plot. Peters told New Zealand’s parliament that as the sIs was raiding mt roskill addresses, Tikoitoga sent a text message to singh showing he knew of the raid. Tikoitoga, one of two colonels who helped Bainimarama stage his 2006 coup, said Fiji military had no discussion with the sIs. “There was no information that we requested,” he told Tarana. “The New Zealand authorities were not talking to Fiji authorities, Fiji military in particular. They never worked with us; in fact they don’t recognise us.” Peters tabled transcripts of 16
texts said to be from Tikoitoga to singh. Tikoitoga said he did not send them. “That is a lie, a blatant lie, that is a lie,” he said. singh, who said he had been a family friend with Tikoitoga since 1987, rejected the denial and said the colonel had continued to text him as recently as two months ago. Key told reporters last week said he knew the case well. “mr Peters is completely and utterly wrong as per normal,” he said. “he’s adding one and one together and getting 173.” Calling it a “Winston Peters special” he said Peters could have taken the claims to the police or inspector-general of the sIs. - Fairfax NZ News
Worries over drinking water maJUrO – People in the north-
ern atolls of the marshall Islands are worried about running out of drinking water again in the wake of this year’s devastating drought. In april the marshall Islands declared a state of emergency because of the severe drought conditions that were affecting a number of atolls. That state of emergency was extended to about 15 atolls in the northern areas of the marshall Islands. The red Cross says people on Namu atoll have told them drought will return and again
threaten their livelihoods and drinking water. red Cross operations coordinator in marshall Islands, Victoria Bannon, says there’s an urgent need for risk reduction programmes to help hazardprone communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. Bannon told radio australia’s Paciic Beat that from the very irst declaration the Red Cross was supporting efforts to provide safe drinking water to affected communities. “In particular, through the use of reverse osmosis units, because we were finding that
communities had literally or were running out of water supplies,” she said. “Their crops were dying, they were really struggling to have sufficient food and to have enough water for not only drinking but also for hygiene purposes.” Bannon says reverse osmosis units are not the only solution to getting fresh drinking water to drought affected island communities. “One of the issues the red Cross and other partners have been looking into is the situation of rainwater catchment
because in the Paciic and in the marshall Islands we really need to be making the most of household and community catchment facilities,” she said. “That’s tanks, that’s guttering to make sure that when the rains are here we are able to store suficient quantities to see through dry periods, including periods of more intensive drought like the ones we’ve just seen.” Last week marshall Islands hosted the 44th Paciic Islands Forum, where climate change adaptation was high on the agenda. - Paciic Beat
Dogs impacting on tourism aPIa – a recent study by researchers at New Zealand’s massey University has highlighted the potential impact that the bursting dog population could have on tourism in samoa. massey University veterinary students have visited samoa regularly and in conjunction with the animal Protection so-
ciety of samoa have neutered over 900 dogs. The University’s Dr Kate hill has been involved in a number of research projects and says most recently they surveyed tourists in samoa, and found 64 per cent had had a negative interaction with a dog while there. “and over 80 per cent of the
tourists thought that there needed to be better management of the dog population. “It’s just because tourism is such an important part of the samoan economy we probably need to balance the perception of the tourists with actually what the samoan population do with their dogs.”
hill says better management of the canine population includes introducing spaying and neutering programmes, and providing better veterinary services and vaccinations. she says more research is needed into the potential for disease that could be transferred from dogs to people. - RNZI
News, Sports and Opinion from the Cook Islands News for Thursday, September 12, 2013