Friday, April 20, 2018

Papua New Guinea joins with Commonwealth countries to step-up fight against malaria

19 April 2018 

Commonwealth countries have agreed to further enhance efforts to deal the threats posed by the spread of malaria, particularly in developing nations.

Speaking at the 2018 Malaria Summit London, that was held in conjunction with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London this week, Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, committed to enhance regional efforts to combat the disease.
The summit, that included presentations from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair, Bill Gates, the Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Charles, and a number of world leaders, discussed plans to overcome malaria within the next generation.
O’Neill provided insight on current efforts in Papua New Guinea to treat the disease and to enhance preparedness for affected areas.
“Commonwealth countries have made great progress in dealing with malaria over recent decades,” he said.
“At the same time in our own country, and around the Commonwealth, there have been increases in the number of cases of malaria in certain areas.
“We all know that malaria affects the poorest in our communities, particularly the most vulnerable, our children.
“Malaria affects productivity and leads to economic and social hardship.
“Being poor should never deny a person’s right to a healthy and productive life.
“Papua New Guinea joins with our Commonwealth partners to better deliver care to those who contract the disease, and to work harder on prevention.”
O'Neill highlighted the importance of international co-operation to strengthen efforts.
“In Papua New Guinea, we thank the many partner countries, NGOs and the private sector, who have joined with us to fight malaria in our country and in other nations," he said.
“I would like to thank the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their generous contributions to combat the spread of malaria and other disease such as tuberculosis.
“I look forward to continuing our commitment to eliminate malaria from our country, from Melanesia, from the Pacific region and from the Commonwealth."
At the conclusion of the summit, the prime ministers of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands signed a joint communique to maintain focus on eliminating malaria.
In the communique, the leaders: “Reaffirmed commitment to the goal of an Asia-Pacific free of malaria by 2030.  We endorse the Asia-Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Elimination Roadmap as a framework for shared action.  We are committed to the Roadmap’s six priority areas.”
O’Neill said through the Asia-Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Elimination Roadmap, Pacific countries wereuniting national efforts and regional action to combat this disease.
“This includes better mapping of infections, and strengthening preventative measures.
“We are enhancing the delivery of high-quality malaria services, with better testing and the delivery of medicines, and the distribution of mosquito nets and insecticides.
“We are further increasing domestic financing and working with global partners, while undertaking real innovation in all of our measures to prevent the spread of malaria.”

Prime Minister O’Neill begins CHOGM meetings with courtesy call to the Duke of York

19 April 2018

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has begun his range of high level meetings at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) with a courtesy call to HRH Prince Andrew, The Duke of York.

During the meeting at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, the Prime Minister and the Duke of York discussed issues of relevance for Papua New Guinea and the Commonwealth.
“Prince Andrew is clearly concerned by the recent Highlands earthquake and expressed his sympathies following the disaster,” the Prime Minister said from London.
“In almost all of our CHOGM-related meetings today, for myself, the Foreign Minister, and senior officials, there was clear concern at the loss of life in the earthquake.
“We certainly thank Prince Andrew and our Commonwealth counterparts for their concern, and the support that has been received from partner countries for relief operations.
“There are a number of Commonwealth countries that experience earthquakes and other natural disasters, and it is important to share information to enhance planning and future responses.
“The recent disaster was a shock to our country and the Commonwealth, as a large earthquake has not been experienced in the Highlands for one hundred years.”
O'Neill said his discussion with the Duke of York was wide-ranging and covered a range of issues relevant to development and regional engagement.
“Prince Andrew is certainly familiar with Papua New Guinea, having visited our country as recently as the Pacific Games in 2015," he said.
"One of the important messages that we are carrying to our Commonwealth partners and business representatives is that Papua New Guinea is a country that is changing.
"We are transforming our nation from traditional communities to a modernising economy in the space of a generation.
"This brings with it challenges, but is also changing lives, particularly over the past seven years that our Government has been in office.
"Particularly in the area of healthcare and education, Prince Andrew is familiar with development in other Commonwealth countries so his views and observations are welcome.
"The policies that we are delivering in education and healthcare is delivering clear benefits to our people and empowering our young generation.
"Around the Commonwealth, a range of development models and policies have been implement with varying results.
“Papua New Guinea is on the right path.
“We are diversifying or economic base, particularly in key areas of agriculture and developing future export markets in Asia, and are implementing a long term growth strategy for the tourism sector.”

Thursday, April 19, 2018

New Zealand pledges US$1 million to support Bougainville referendum

UNDP

Port Moresby, 18 April 2018 – The Government of New Zealand has strengthened its support to the National Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through a one-million-dollar (US) contribution to UNDP’s Bougainville Referendum Support Project (BRSP).
Endorsed by both governments at the Joint Supervisory Body meeting of December 2017, the BRSP aims to support the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) to deliver an effective referendum.
The BRSP will assist the BRC through technical expertise, the procurement of operational items such as voter registration equipment, and outreach activities including the production and distribution of awareness materials. The project will also conduct training of media and other key partners on their respective roles in the referendum process.  
The project will coordinate closely with activities funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and other international partners to support the National Government of PNG and the ABG not only to hold a successful referendum, but also transition peacefully through the post-referendum period.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Papua New Guinea, Gianluca Rampolla, said: “The United Nations continues to work with both the National Government of PNG and the ABG on the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, and the successful staging of the referendum constitutes a significant aspect of this work.
“We are incredibly privileged to have a supporter such as New Zealand, and we look forward to furthering this relationship.”
Sue Mackwell, the New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG, hopes that their funding will encourage other international partners to also support the project.
“The peace process in Bougainville continues to break new ground, and we hope that other donors will join the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Government of Bougainville in being part of this important process,” Ms Mackwell said.
Both the United Nations and New Zealand have played important roles in the peace process in Bougainville dating back to the earliest days in the late 1990s.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Oil Search Ltd. hurt by Papua New Guinea quake

by Daniel J. Graeber, upi.com
April 17, 2018

A major earthquake in Papua New Guinea is partly to blame for a 24 percent loss in revenue and a 36 percent loss in production, Oil Search said Tuesday.
Production and revenue are down considerably from the fourth quarter for Oil Search Ltd. following a February earthquake in Papua New Guinea. Photo courtesy of Exxon Mobil

Oil Search is a partner in a liquefied natural gas facility and oil production in Papua New Guinea. In a report on operations through March 31, the company said its first quarter production of 4.84 million barrels of oil equivalent was 36 percent lower than fourth quarter 2017
"This reflected the shut in of Oil Search-operated production and the PNG LNG project following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck the PNG highlands on Feb. 26," the company stated.
Exxon Mobil said Friday that one train -- the part of its plant that turns gas to liquid -- is back in service. The second train will restart once the plant's production increases.
Exxon shut down much of its infrastructure and evacuated non-essential personnel from the areas impacted by the quakes. Oil Search said some of the transit infrastructure, bases and a refinery were damaged, but "the operating facilities generally withstood the earthquake well, with no loss of oil or gas containment identified."
The company added, however, that while production was disrupted, there was no impact on plans to expand LNG activities. A total of three trains are expected in the LNG development concept.
Nevertheless, Oil Search said its insurance loss adjuster outlined an initial estimate for damages to its assets at between $150 million and $250 million.
The International Monetary Fund said the economy in Papua New Guinea had "slowed sharply." More than 270,000 people still need humanitarian assistance following the quake. Oil Search said about 200 people died as a result of the quake and many residents are without basic necessities.
The company has contributed about $5 million in cash to support disaster relief efforts.

PNG Earthquake Response Logistics Situation Update (16 April 2018)

reliefweb.int | April 16, 2018

Logistics Operational Updates

Click for full report

Australian Defence Force (ADF) C-130J was available until 15 April. After the departure of ADF C-130J on 16 April, out of the submitted Request for Assistance (RFA), over 70 MT of WFP and IFRC food and non-food items still require air assistance from Port Moresby to Moro and Mt. Hagen and from Mt. Hagen to Moro.

New Zealand is also considering to partner with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) to provide a subsidised flight service in which aid agencies can access, through a booking request system, cargo space with a 50% cost reduction. Funding decisions are due this week, and New Zealand will be able to confirm the outcome at next week’s meeting.

Oil Search Limited (OSL) has granted the use of their Moro facility as a logistics hub for operations to the earthquake affected areas that are only accessible via helicopter. OSL wrote to the Office of the Emergency Controller outlining the scope of their support. A WFP Logistics Officer has been deployed to Moro base as the focal point for coordination in support of the Logistics Working Group.

While many access roads are being re-established, last-mile transport to locations only reachable via helicopter continues to be a major constraint for the response. The Logistics Working Group is working on identifying commercial options to ensure that remote communities can be reached, however it needs the cooperation of the cluster leads to identify those communities.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Researchers mark death of Pearl Harbor mastermind Yamamoto with visit to Bougainville

wtop.com | April 16, 2018 

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A group from the U.S. and Japan is trekking to a remote Pacific island jungle to document what is considered one of the most important wreck sites of World War II: where American fighters shot down a Japanese bomber carrying the mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack.
FILE - This May 21, 1943, file photo shows Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese combined fleet and the mastermind of the attack on Pearl Harbor. A group from the U.S. and Japan is trekking to a remote Pacific island jungle in Papua New Guinea to document what is considered one of the most important wreck sites of World War II: where American fighters shot Yamamoto down 75 years ago. (AP Photo, File)
Three members of a New York-based WWII research organization and a Japanese aviation expert plan to visit the crash site on Bougainville, part of Papua New Guinea, on Wednesday, the 75th anniversary of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s death.
Yamamoto had spent several years in the U.S. earlier in his military career, studying at Harvard University and admiring America’s industrial might. In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, he was quite possibly the most hated man in America.
“As long as he lived, the Japanese navy was a threat,” said Donald A. Davis, a Colorado-based writer who told the story of “Operation Vengeance” in a 2005 book. “He was feared in the Pacific.”
Historians generally credit Yamamoto, an innovative proponent of air power, with the idea of attacking the U.S. Pacific fleet and convincing Japanese military leaders that his plan could work. The Dec. 7, 1941, sneak attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor on Hawaii’s Oahu Island killed more than 2,400 people, sunk or damaged 18 ships, destroyed 300 warplanes and drew the U.S. into the war.
Getting Yamamoto became very much a mission of its own.
The big break for the U.S. came on April 13, 1943, when Navy code breakers discovered that Yamamoto planned to tour bases in areas of the Solomon Islands still held by Japanese forces. The admiral’s tour was scheduled for April 18 — just five days away.
U.S. military officials quickly approved an air mission to intercept the admiral’s plane and shoot it down. The task fell to a squadron of Army Air Forces P-38 Lightnings based on Guadalcanal, in the Solomons. After the pilots closely reviewed Yamamoto’s flight plan, 16 P-38s flew 400 miles west and spotted two enemy bombers over Bougainville, another island in the Solomon archipelago.
While some of the P-38s engaged Yamamoto’s fighter escort, other American planes attacked the two bombers. One slammed into the jungle, while the other crashed off shore. Yamamoto, 59, was among 11 men who died in the plane that crashed on land.
Yamamoto’s death was yet another blow to the Japanese after the tide of the Pacific war turned with the American victory at Midway and the taking of Guadalcanal.
Japanese troops recovered Yamamoto’s body, cremated it and sent his ashes back to Japan, where the admiral was given a state funeral.
But Japan didn’t officially announce Yamamoto’s death until weeks later, saying he died aboard a warplane “while directing general strategy on the front line,” according to an Associated Press story on the announcement in Tokyo.
The U.S. military had wanted to keep his death a secret lest the Japanese learn their code had been broken.
But one of the American pilots on the mission had spilled the beans almost immediately, telling everyone upon landing that he had shot down Yamamoto’s plane. (Decades later, historians determined another pilot had fired the fatal burst). As the worst-kept secret in the Pacific spread among American troops, AP correspondent J. Norman Lodge confirmed details of the mission even before the Japanese announcement, but U.S. military censors withheld his story.
The Pentagon didn’t officially release details of the mission until Sept. 11, 1945, nine days after Japan surrendered.
The wreckage of the Yamamoto’s Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bomber remains in the jungle. Most of the plane was destroyed on impact but a large section of the tail survives. Over the decades, parts of the plane were removed and placed in museums.
Justin Taylan, founder of New York-based Pacific Wrecks who has been compiling data on WWII airplane crashes for more than 20 years, said the purpose of visiting the Yamamoto site is to “document the wreckage and perform digital preservation of what remains for posterity.”
The group will commemorate the anniversary at the site with a Shinto religious ceremony conducted by Japanese WWII aircraft expert Yoji Sakaida.
Yamamoto remains a revered figure in Japan, where a museum was established in his honor in his hometown of Nagaoka. Artifacts on display include the left wing from Yamamoto’s aircraft. Museum officials say an annual memorial event will be held Wednesday morning at nearby Yamamoto Memorial Park, where the house in which he was born once stood

Monday, April 16, 2018

Anzac Day services in Papua New Guinea, 2018

Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery

Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) assists the Port Moresby RSL sub branch and the Australian High Commission in the official Anzac Day Dawn Service on Wednesday, 25 April 2018, at Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery.

The commemorative service is open to the public.

Event:
2018 Anzac Day Dawn Service

Date:
Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Time:
5:00 am: Dawn Service commences


Venue:
Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, Papua New Guinea.

Isurava Memorial

DVA, in conjunction with the Australian High Commission, Port Moresby, conducts the official Anzac Day Dawn Service on Wednesday, 25 April 2018, at Isurava Memorial.


Event:
2018 Anzac Day Dawn Service

Date:
Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Time:
5.30am: Dawn Service commences

IFC highlights niche-market investment needed to drive tourism in Papua New Guinea

April 16, 2018

 IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with the Tourism Promotion Authority of Papua New Guinea, says new research shows developing niche market tourism has the potential to attract an extra 40,000 tourists to Papua New Guinea, contributing $286 million (K929 million) annually by 2027.
The scenario is part of highlights from an assessment into tourism demand in Papua New Guinea, which IFC launched today in conjunction with the results of the 2017 International Visitor Survey (IVS), which looks into current tourism trends.
The findings show that last year PNG had 86,403 air visitors, who spent around $205 million (K666 million).
Sixty percent of those visitors traveled to the provinces in 2017.
Currently, business travelers make up the highest proportion of people arriving by air in Papua New Guinea, but the research shows holiday tourists are the biggest spenders, outlaying $2859 (K9290) per trip.
“With holiday makers to Papua New Guinea making up only about a quarter of all visitors, it’s clear the country is lagging behind its regional competitors, Fiji and Vanuatu, where tourists account for 75 percent of all visitors,” said John Vivian, IFC Resident Representative to Papua New Guinea.
“Greater investment can help Papua New Guinea boost holiday arrivals and close that gap, increasing revenue, diversifying the economy, and spreading the benefits to rural areas where tourists like to travel.”
The highlights of the demand assessment show how Papua New Guinea could better target tourists from high value niche-markets, including cultural tourism, soft adventure, birdwatching, diving and historical tourism. Collectively, these markets are worth over $970 billion dollars (K3.152 trillon) globally of which Papua New Guinea’s share is about $93.5 million (K304 million).
“Both government and the private sector will need to make long-term investments in infrastructure, capacity building, product development and marketing to realize this change,” said Jerry Agus, CEO of Tourism Promotion Authority.
“If we do this, Papua New Guinea has the potential to become a world-class destination over the next 10 years.”
IFC’s tourism project in Papua New Guinea, supported by Australia and New Zealand under the Papua New Guinea Partnership, is focused on supporting the development of tourism business, improving tourism-related conditions, and helping attract investment in the tourism sector.

About IFC 

IFC—a sister organisation of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

Papua New Guinea LNG project resumes exports - data

reuters.com | April 16, 2018

SINGAPORE, April 16 (Reuters) - A liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker has left Papua New Guinea laden with the first export cargo of the supercooled fuel since the country’s giant LNG project resumed production after a major earthquake triggered a shutdown in February, Thomson Reuters Eikon shiptracking data showed on Monday.
The tanker’s destination wasn’t immediately clear, but the resumption of shipments could put pressure on spot LNG prices, traders said.
ExxonMobil Corp restarted output at the project near the capital Port Moresby a fortnight ahead of schedule, its Australian partners said late last week.
ExxonMobil did not immediately reply to an email requesting for comment on the matter.
The 172,000-cubic metre capacity LNG tanker Kumul, custom-built for the PNG LNG project, left the project terminal with a draft of 91 percent, suggesting it is nearly full, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon shiptracking data.
The Kumul unloaded an LNG cargo at the PNG terminal on April 4. It was anchored nearby until April 14, before loading the cargo from the terminal on April 15, the data showed.
ExxonMobil had said in early April that it had imported an LNG cargo to the project’s terminal in order ensure tanks at the PNG facilities remained cold.
Meanwhile the 170,000-cubic metre capacity LNG tanker Papua is currently anchored near the Kumul Marine Terminal, while the 165,000-cubic metre capacity LNG tanker Bishu Maru is headed to Port Moresby, the Eikon data showed.

Redcliffe account for Hunters

qrl.com.au | April 14, 2018 

The Redcliffe Dolphins overcame a spirited PNG Hunters side at home to claim their fourth victory in a row, winning 20-6.
The Hunters had come to Dolphin Stadium  with a point to prove; starting the game by moving the ball quickly in attack, while fronting up in defence.
However, it was the Dolphins who got on the board first after a penalty conversion by Kotoni Staggs in the 4thminute.
This didn’t stop the Hunters relentless attack, and they managed to find a gap in the line in the 9thminute after a grubber from hooker Wartovo Puara sent rookie winger Junior Rau in for their first points of the game.
The Dolphins, who seemed a little rattled by the Hunters fast start early, managed to maintain their composure.
It wasn’t until the 31st minute that the Dolphins scored their first try of the game thanks to second rower Scott Schulte, off a short ball from the hooker, Sheldon Pitama.
Redcliffe captain Cameron Cullen then regained the lead in the 36th minute with his try, giving the home side a 14-6 advantage at the break.
While the Hunters were fast starters in the first half, the Dolphins maintained their momentum after the break, when fullback Tony Tumusa continued his try-scoring form and scooted over the line in the 47thminute from dummy half.
Despite being pleased with his team’s defence throughout the evening, ball control was something that Mogg said the Dolphins clearly needed to work on throughout the middle of the game.
“We trained really well during the week. We were obviously pretty disappointed with the control of the footy, but defensively I thought we were good,” Mogg said.
“I think we’ve got a bit to work on with the footy clearly, I know we scored 20 points, our completion rate was really low but our effort and defence I’m really happy with.”
The Hunters were giving Redcliffe plenty to contend with all game and gave themselves a number of opportunities to score out wide during the second half and were happy to chance their arm.
With four minutes to go – they tried kicking on the first tackle, turning the play into a foot race between Dolphins fullback Tumusa and their wingers, but they couldn’t nab themselves another try.
It remained a heated game right down to the last few seconds, with the frustrations of both sides reaching its tipping point just before full time.
“I really thought that they (the Hunters) came to play tonight, they were really physical, so it was a really, really good game of footy,” Mogg said.
“PNG are obviously a fantastic team, and if you don’t get the defensive part right then you’re no chance.”
While it remains early in the season, Mogg knows his team still has some room to improve before September comes.
“Our focus is just to take each game as they come, trying to improve and I thought we improved defensively tonight.”
Next weekend the Dolphins take on the Cutters in Mackay, while the Hunters play Souths Logan Magpies in Port Moresby.

 REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 20 (Scott Schulte, Cameron Cullen, Tony Tumusa tries; Kotoni Staggs 4 goals) def PNG HUNTERS 6 (Junior Rau try; Paul Bobby Jnr goal) at Dolphin Stadium. 

*Emily Clooney is a QRL correspondent covering the Redcliffe Dolphins 

50 days on, World Health Organisation continues to serve communities affected by PNG quake

16 April 2018, Port Moresby -- Fifty days after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit Papua New Guinea (PNG), limited delivery of essential health services has resumed in earthquake-affected provinces.
Dr Luo Dapeng, WHO Representative to Papua New Guineas, immunises a child in the Southern Highlands. 
Credit: WHO/JRivaca
 However, thousands remain vulnerable to health threats as they continue to live in crowded temporary settlements with inadequate access to clean water and medical services.
More than 500 000 were affected by the earthquake that struck on 26 February. At least 25 000 people have been displaced, while many communities continue to face compromised water and food supplies, significantly increasing threats of disease outbreaks.
Of the 77 health facilities that were damaged by the earthquake, only 10 remain closed.
However, services remain limited at most of the re-opened health facilities.

WHO on the ground within 24 hours 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) was on the ground in the affected provinces within 24 hours of the earthquake. WHO immediately activated the Incident Management System to coordinate the organisation’s response.
“WHO responded right away, deploying medicines and supplies to the earthquake-affected areas to treat those who were affected”, said Dr Zhang Zaixing, Incident Manager from WHO. 
“Our people were out there in the field, alongside the National Department of Health and partners, assessing the damage to health facilities and working to re-establish life-saving health services.”
WHO has designated the earthquake a Grade 1 Emergency and has deployed additional staff and supplies to the Country Office in PNG.
To date, WHO has repurposed and mobilised 19 national and international staff for the earthquake response, covering areas such as partner coordination, epidemiology, surveillance, information management, health operations, mental health, risk communication, administration and logistics.
WHO also delivered an Inter-Agency Emergency Health Kit containing essential medicines, supplies and equipment for 10 000 people for approximately three months. Diarrhoeal disease kits were pre-positioned in the country to help prepare for a potential outbreak and surgical supplies were sent to Tari and Mendi Hospitals.

WHO leads health response in support of Government 

Within 48 hours of the earthquake, the Health Cluster was activated at the national level in Port Moresby.
Twenty-five partner agencies are now working together to address the immediate medical needs of the affected populations. The Health Cluster provides a venue for the identification of needs and gaps and the prioritization of support, to reach as many people as possible and avoid duplication of work.
WHO co-chairs the Health Cluster, alongside the National Department of Health (NDOH).

A plan of action for a coordinated joint response

Within a week of the earthquake, a health response plan had been jointly developed by NDOH and WHO.
Within days, a Health Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), jointly managed by NDOH and WHO was established in Port Moresby to coordinate the health response at the national level.
Local-level EOCs were also established in Mendi and Tari to provide a hub to coordinate the efficient delivery of health services to the affected communities.
Field coordinators and emergency responders were mobilised by WHO and sent to the affected areas.
“The Health EOCs were instrumental in commanding and coordinating the public health response and in ensuring health services are reaching the people most in need”, said Dr Luo Dapeng.
Staff based at the EOCs also established an Early Warning, Alert, and Response System (EWARS) for the early detection of diseases and quick response to disease outbreaks.
Dr Joseph Birisi, Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Highlands Provincial Health Authority acknowledged the quick response of WHO and development partners in mobilising support toward the health response.
“I am grateful to the health partners, especially WHO, in providing direct support to the province,” Dr Birisi added.

High-level support from WHO for the people of PNG

WHO’s response to the PNG earthquake has the high-level support of the entire Organization. The WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific, based in Manila, Philippines, provides backstopping assistance to the Country Office.
During her visit to Port Moresby in March, Dr Li Ailan, WHO Regional Emergency Director for the Western Pacific, reaffirmed WHO’s commitment to the Government and people of PNG and in scaling up in its support to the health response and recovery efforts.
 She also guided the WHO Country Office team in the response operations.

Fifty days after: onward to restoration and recovery

Earthquake-affected communities continue to face a high risk of communicable diseases, linked to overcrowding in evacuation centres, low immunisation rates and a lack of access to clean water and sanitation.
 There is also a continuing need to provide mental health and psyscosocial support to help people cope with the stress, loss and anxiety they have faced and return to their normal lives.
Reaching some of the affected communities over the past 50 days has been extremely challenging, due to both damaged  infrastructure and security constraints. While many of the roads have
re-opened, the security situation has now worsened, particularly in Tari.
Despite these challenges, WHO is determined to find ways, alongside the NDOH and partners, to deliver life-saving care to those who need it.
The organisation is committed to helping the country recover and rebuild.
“As Papua New Guinea marks 50 days since the earthquake struck, our thoughts are with those still suffering from the aftermath of this disaster.
"The job is not yet done, there are still massive efforts needed towards recovery. WHO will continue to support authorities to address the key health concerns and ensure that the affected provinces build back better and safer,” Dr Luo added.
WHO’s initial response to the earthquake in Papua New Guinea was funded by the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE).  Additional support was also provided through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the United Nations’ global emergency response fund to deliver funding quickly to humanitarian responders and kick-start life-saving action whenever and wherever crisis hit.
“We are extremely thankful to the donors who have contributed to the CFE, including Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
"This emergency fund greatly help us do the immediate action to save lives”, added Dr Luo.
 “The people in the affected areas deserve our continued support as they remain determined to recover in the face of immense obstacles and personal tragedy.”

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Why forcing countries to choose sides in a trade war could benefit China, not the US

scmp.com | April 15, 2018

In a China-US trade war, many countries around the world would come under pressure to take sides. We pray it does not come to this. But let’s say it does. Whose side will they take? Even five years ago, that question would have been a no-brainer – the US, by a mile.
But today? The answer would be trickier, and not at all comforting to US consumers, companies or the trade war battle team assembled around the White House.
To help gauge an answer, I looked at the world’s top 20 economies. Then for good measure I looked at the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) economies. I browsed each of these economies’ 2017 export and import numbers to discover how important the US and China were to these economies, either as sources of imports or as leading destinations for their exports. I looked at just goods trade, omitting the services trade which is messier to compute.
The results were perhaps not unexpected, but were sobering nonetheless. As for the world’s 20 largest economies, China is the leading source of imports for 11. It is the second most important source of imports for a further four. For only two countries – France and Switzerland – is China not one of their top five sources of imports.


By contrast, the US is the major source of imports for just two – Canada and Mexico, and is in the top five for just 13 more. That means that for five of the world’s top 20 economies, the US was not among their top five sources of imports.
Now look at China as an export destination, and it is the most important export market for seven of the top 20, and one of the top five export markets for seven more. Of the other six economies for which China is not in their top five destinations, five are European economies (France, the UK, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands) and the sixth is Turkey. Since Europe’s economies mainly trade among themselves, this is not surprising.
And the US? It is the main export destination for six of the world’s top 20 economies, and in the top five destinations for a further 12. Only for Russia and Spain does the US fall outside their top five export destinations.
In sum, for 11 of the world’s top 20 economies, China is more important as a source of imports than the US, with just Canada and Mexico being more heavily reliant on the US. And even as an export destination – where the Trump administration would argue that flagrant exploitation of the openness of the US market has allowed foreign companies to trample US competitors underfoot – China has risen close to a point where it is just as important as the US market.
The picture for the Apec member economies, which obviously captures more accurately trade relations around the Pacific, shows even more starkly the rising importance of China to the region. The Apec list includes eight of the world’s biggest economies, and then 12 smaller regional economies (Hong Kong, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Chile). Of the Apec list, China is the most important source of imports for 15, and the second source for another four. Only Thailand has less reliance on China as a source of imports, and even here it is Thailand’s third most important source.
As an export destination, China is the number one market for 12 of the region’s economies, and is in the top five for six more – just Thailand and oil exporter Brunei are outside.
Compare the US: Canada and Mexico remain the only two markets for which the US is the main source of imports, with a further 15 having the US in its top five. As an export destination, the US is number one for just four (Peru and China join Canada and Mexico), and is in the top five for a further 13 economies (Russia, Thailand and Brunei fall outside).
So I ask the question a second time: if economies are forced to choose, which way will they flip? A country like the Philippines seems already to have made its choice. As investment from China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” begins to flow in, and plans take shape for joint exploitation of marine resources in jointly claimed areas of the South China Sea, President Rodrigo Duterte has seen what side his bread is buttered on.
For economies like Japan, the conflict is less easy to manage. China is its most important source of imports and its most important export market, but the US is number two both for imports and exports. So too for South Korea, whose main import sources are China, Japan and the US, in that order, with China, the US and Vietnam its three leading export markets. And Chile, which counts China, the US and Japan as its three leading export markets, in that order. There are similar stresses for New Zealand and Australia.
In short, this is not a choice anyone wants to be forced to make. But as China’s consumer market continues to grow strongly, and as Trump’s behaviour undermines confidence in the US’s commitment to rules-based behaviour, in particular through the World Trade Organisation, the temptation to keep friendly lines open to China must get steadily stronger.
For Canada and Mexico, the painful experience of US pressure to renegotiate Nafta to make it more favourable to the US has created impossible strains. Despite their huge interconnectivity with the US economy, they must surely be looking to dilute their reliance on an increasingly unpredictable and pugilistic partner. Trump’s initiatives to hurt its closest trading partners (include Germany and Japan) must surely be counterproductive, and must surely be putting in jeopardy the goodwill that has been built over seven decades of Pax Americana.
This is a trade war that is yet to start. It might end up being no more than bluff and bluster aimed at strengthening a negotiating position that is weakening over time. A rational China will stay cool, continue to liberalise – even if more slowly than most of us would like – in line with multilateral rules and commitments, confident that time is on its side. A rational US … where on Earth has that disappeared to?

David Dodwell researches and writes about global, regional and Hong Kong challenges from a Hong Kong point of view

Jessie Joe Parker has two milestones in his sights for Whitehaven

timesandstar.co.uk | April 14, 2018

JESSIE Joe Parker will reach one milestone on Sunday – and should make it to another.
Jessie Joe Parker: Need one more to record his 100th career try.

The popular, laid-back Papua New Guinea centre will make his 150th appearance for Haven against West Wales.
If he gets over the Raiders’ line it will be to record his 100th career try.
Seventeen of those tries were scored for his first English club Featkherstone in only 15 appearances during the 2010 season.
After a brief spell with Wakefield in 2011 he joined Haven the following year and has been a fixture in the team ever since.
Parker was on the score-sheet on Sunday at Coventry for his 99th career try.
His eyes will light up when he sees that Sunday’s visitors West Wales have conceded 204 points in just three League One games.
On their last visit to west Cumbria they crashed 72-6 at Workington Town, playing the whole game with just one option from the inter-change bench.
Already seen as the League One whipping boys, the Raiders are desperate for a good result to kick-start their season.
Haven player coach Carl Forster is mindful of the Raiders’ poor record, but insists there will be no complacency.
“It won’t be a question of going into the game with one eye on Rochdale Hornets in the Challenge Cup tie the following week.
“We will be completely focused on West Wales and on ensuring we get the points to maintain our top four push,” he said.
Bradford’s defeat at Workington on Sunday suggests it is going to be a really open league this season.
At least half of the 14-strong league look capable of putting in a challenge for the top four, especially now the season is played out over home and away fixtures.
As it is likely to be so close, points differential could come into the equation, which is why teams like West Wales will be seen as ideal opportunities to bolster that particular column.

Papua New Guinea Defence Force buys 4 P-750s from troubled New Zealand planemaker

nzherald.co.nz

For staff at Hamilton planemaker Pacific Aerospace, the work day has become a waiting game.


Waiting for a judge to hand down a sentence for illegal indirect exports to North Korea, waiting to hear who is leaving next, waiting for news of some firm orders, waiting for the redundancy rumours to turn to fact.
Sources say the privately-owned Waikato business icon, which traces its origins back to the 1950s, is a workplace riddled with uncertainty, the worst atmosphere they can recall on a site which, by the very nature of its industry, has survived plenty of ups and downs.
The chief financial officer and the commercial general manager left within a month of each other this year. Since late last year, say sources, other staff have been heading for the door, either squeezed out or seeking better job security elsewhere. Only one complete aircraft has been rolled out of the Hamilton hangar since February last year, said one source.
Chief executive and shareholder Damian Camp concedes cashflow has been "tight" and that last year was challenging. But he says the future is "positive", with solid orders in the pipeline and a new aircraft type soon to be rolled out.
The company is known for its multi-purpose P-750 XSTOL (extreme takeoff and landing) aircraft. The planes are believed to sell for about $2 million apiece, though the exact price depends on the specifications of each plane.
"Tight cashflows are not unusual for us, at times it gets pretty bumpy," says Camp. "It's about timing deliveries and payments against those deliveries. It's normal stuff."
Underpinning staff jitters is a joint venture with Chinese state-owned aviation juggernaut Beijing Automotive, promoted in 2016 as solving Pacific Aerospace's historic cashflow troughs and peaks once and for all.
Back then, Camp said "a $30 million company that's been pottering along" would, thanks to the joint venture, double annual production and delivery of its P-750 aircraft from 2017, with at least 20 planes to be made that year. Half would go to China and the rest to markets Pacific Aerospace had established itself before the partnership with the Chinese, he said. Forty aircraft a year would soon be rolling out of Hamilton.
But all manufacturing staff could see was their jobs disappearing, says one source.
"We felt like Fisher & Paykel [Appliances], we'll ride it to the end and then we all lose our jobs."
Today, some staff see no reason to change that opinion, with a factory in China now assembling P-750s, a regular one-way flow of information from Hamilton to China and a Chinese workforce having been trained at Hamilton, says another source.
Camp has confirmed the exits of CFO Paul Hornell and commercial general manager Steve Peters this year, but says there have been no redundancies. He says Hornell had moved with his family to Christchurch after five-and-a-half years with the company. "Big deal". Sources say Hornell's departure was a shock because he was the de facto chief executive.
Asked whether other staff have left, Camp says: "As with any company that employs 180 people there are people that leave and there's people who come."
But sources say there are fewer than 180 staff now and because Auckland-based Camp is rarely seen at the Hamilton site, he would be unlikely to know staff numbers.
In 2016 Camp said Pacific Aerospace had 135 staff. Wages are being paid with no problems, say sources.
The Herald sent follow-up questions to Camp, asking him to clarify staff numbers and to respond to allegations about credit lines and aircraft completion challenges.
Camp's emailed reply said that, because Pacific Aerospace is a private company, and the breadth and commercial sensitivity of the questions, he would have to consult the board of directors before saying any more than:
• Pacific Aerospace had 11 confirmed P-750 orders for 2018, with a "good number" of additional contracts under negotiation and/or subject to finance applications.
• It had contracted the sale of its first E350 aircraft and expected to ship in it about four months. (The E350 is a smaller aircraft than the P-750. The intellectual property and assets for it were bought from a Canadian company which went broke.)
The Papua New Guinea defence force was collecting the first of four P-750s at the end of this month.
• A second P-750 sale to Poland had just been dispatched.
• The Chinese joint venture had received its production certificate from Civil Aviation China and had completed its first P-750 from a kit supplied from Hamilton. A second kit would be shipped in coming weeks.
• A skydive aircraft with a larger, more efficient engine had begun trials and deliveries were expected to start next year.
Camp earlier said the 11 ordered P-750s were for China and some would be completed in that country.
"It's exactly why we've partnered with the Chinese to achieve that, so it's all going very well. The idea is that most of the assembly work for the Chinese aircraft will be done in China."
Asked if the North Korean issue had put the business under pressure, Camp says "no, none whatsoever".
"We're working closely with all our major US suppliers and have no issue with them at all."
In October last year, Pacific Aerospace pleaded guilty to indirect export of aircraft parts to North Korea. Customs NZ laid charges against the company in August for three breaches of the United Nations sanctions against North Korea and one charge under the Customs and Excise Act. The company also pleaded guilty to that charge.
The charges came after a New Zealand-made P-750 aircraft was identified at a North Korean military airshow in September 2016. The 10-seater plane, which had a North Korean flag on its tail, is popular with skydiving companies. It had been sold to a Chinese company earlier in 2016, Camp said at the time.
Customs NZ said a chain of emails suggested Pacific Aerospace knew the aircraft was in North Korea when it was asked by the Chinese owner for parts and training.
The company's latest annual report for the year ended December 2016 shows it received a government growth grant of $479,000. It is eligible for two grants under the Callaghan Growth and NZ Trade and Enterprise international growth funds.
Pacific Aerospace is owned 50:50 by Pacific Aerospace Group and BAIC International (Hong Kong), according to Companies Office records. BAIC is a Chinese government-owned company which in 2016 had annual revenue of US$56 billion ($77b).
Pacific Aerospace Group, in turn, is 33 per cent owned by PAHL Ltd, whose shareholders are Damian Camp and his brother Joshua Camp, and interests, and 67 per cent by Auckland property and agribusiness investor Nicsha Farac.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Chinese Foreign Minister says Papua New Guinea an important member of Asia-Pacific family

 By Li Ying

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi exchanged views on bilateral, regional and international issues with Papua New Guinea (PNG) Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato at the Diaoyutiai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Friday.
Wang told his counterpart that the two countries have made substantial progress in joint endeavours over the past 42 years of diplomatic relations.
He emphasised that Papua New Guinea is an important member of the Asia-Pacific family and that China strongly support the upcoming APEC leaders meeting set to be held in the Pacific island nation in November.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaking during the meeting. /CGTN photo

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to attend the gathering, which will be an opportunity for the two sides to strengthen exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation in different fields. China has pledged to continue to assist the reconstruction of Papua New Guinea after a devastating earthquake in February.
Pato said Papua New Guinea will provide more support for the development of bilateral relations under the One-China Principle, and would like to cooperate with China to speed up the development of the Belt and Road Initiative in the Pacific island region.

Bondholders in Denis O’Brien’s Digicel seek reassurance after rough ride

irishtimes.com | April 13, 2018

For bondholders in Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien’s mobile empire, it has been a roller coaster few months. Now, they’re looking for reassurance that the rough ride is almost over.

Within the next month, Digicel Group executives will brief investors worldwide, introducing them to its new management and beginning to lay the ground for an eventual $2 billion (€1.6 billion) refinancing of a bond maturing in 2020, according to a person familiar with the matter. The so-called “non-deal roadshow” comes after the 2020 yield rose as high as 15.4 per cent from 8.5 per cent – making it the worst emerging markets performer this year.

“What needs to happen is for the company to come out now with something positive,” said Till Moewes, an analyst at Schroder Investment Management, which holds a share of the debt. “They need to produce some new positive news to stop this negative chain reaction.”

Digicel has a history of refinancing early, and some investors might have hoped the company would move to redeem the 2020 bond this year. While no final decision has been taken, that probably won’t happen any time soon should yields remain close to their current level, even after a recent dip, according to the person familiar, who asked not to be identified as deliberations are continuing.

O’Brien built his mobile empire, which stretches from Haiti to Papua New Guinea, on high-risk, high-yield debt. Since 2001, Digicel has accumulated about $6.5 billion of borrowings, mostly to build out networks across 31 regions. More than two years after the company shelved a planned share sale in New York that was in part designed to pay down debt, and with recent earnings disappointing investors, bondholders want a positive catalyst. Digicel faces a $1.3 billion maturity in 2021, as well as the 2020 payment.

“We expect Digicel to address that with anticipation,” said Marie Fischer-Sabatie, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service. “If the company doesn’t make material progress in 2018 and does not start to address the issue by the middle of this year, then we could start to see some pressure on ratings.”

Widening spread
The extra yield, or spread, over Treasuries investors demand on Digicel’s 2020 bonds has widened by 358 basis points, or 3.58 percentage points this year, while emerging-market bond spreads widened 13 basis points. The drop in its bonds pushed the spread above 1,000 basis points, or 10 percentage points.

Meanwhile, momentum at Digicel has stalled. Underlying revenue in its fiscal third-quarter dropped about 3 per cent from the year-earlier period to about $580 million, according to a source. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were about $246 million, down around 3 percent.

A number of issues were at play, according to the source. Among these were delays in signing some corporate contracts, new incentives to drive data use which hurt short-term earnings and persistent weakness in Papua New Guinea’s economy, a key market for the company.

Digicel, which declined to comment for this article, faces no immediate pressure, as its next big bond maturity is over two years away and it has pushed out its timetable to reduce borrowings, which amount to about 6.5 times earnings.

Progress is needed, said Moody’s Fischer-Sabatie, who described Digicel’s debt level as “high” for its B2 rating. O’Brien laid out plans last year to dismiss 1,500 workers, and appointed Alexander Matuschka as chief executive.

“We still anticipate that Digicel will see some growth in Ebitda over the next 12 to 18 months, in particular because the company will see the benefits of its transformation programme,” said Fischer-Sabatie. “So we expect a gradual reduction in leverage.” – Bloomberg