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February 2018
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62 posts from March 2018

Resource curse as ExxonMobil’s LNG project foments unrest

Armed clansmen in Komo  Hela Province (Michael Main)
Armed clansmen in Komo, Hela Province (Michael Main)

MICHAEL MAIN | The Conversation | Extracts

You can read the complete article here

CANBERRA - The Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas (LNG) project is the largest resource extraction project in the Asia-Pacific region. Constructed at a stated cost of US$19 billion, it’s operated by ExxonMobil in joint venture with Oil Search and four other partners.

The project extracts natural gas from the Papua New Guinea highlands where it is processed before being sent via some 700km of pipeline to a plant near the nation’s capital, Port Moresby. The gas is then liquefied and transferred into ships for sale offshore.

Construction for the project began in 2010, and the first gas shipment was made in May 2014.

In February 2009, the economic consulting firm Acil Tasman (now Acil Allen) produced a report for ExxonMobil about the project’s impact.

Continue reading "Resource curse as ExxonMobil’s LNG project foments unrest" »

Kokoda author & film historian Neil McDonald dies aged 77

Neil McDonaldNEWS EDITOR | Books + Publishing

MELBOURNE – Neil McDonald, the author of two popular books on the Kokoda Track in wartime, has died in Sydney at the age of 77.

Mr McDonald published several books including 200 Shots, a pictorial account of Australians fighting on the Kokoda Track and Kokoda Front Line: The Amazing Story of Legendary Australian War Cameraman Damien Parer.

His most recent book, Valiant for Truth: The Life of Chester Wilmot, War Correspondent, was shortlisted for the 2017 NIB Waverley Military History Prize and the 2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Australian History, where judges commended the book for shedding] new light on the career and experiences of one of Australia’s most renowned war correspondents.

“All of us at NewSouth Publishing were saddened to learn of the death of our author Neil McDonald in Sydney last weekend,” said publisher Phillipa McGuinness. Coincidentally, it was the same day that journalist Paul Kelly, in the pages of The Australian, praised Neil McDonald’s biography of Chester Wilmot that we were so proud to publish in 2016.”

On the trail of Dudley McCarthy: he who had the minister’s ear

Sepik River scene
The middle Sepik near Korogo


SYDNEY - I had met Dudley McCarthy at least three times in New Guinea, but it was the two occasions when he was accompanying then Minister for Territories Paul Hasluck—at Wewak in 1962 and at Maprik in 1963—that most interested me.

McCarthy was one of the Assistant Secretaries of the Department of Territories at the time, and he seemed to have the Minister’s ear more than was his due. I wondered why.

I knew he had been a kiap in New Guinea before World War II but did not know when or where or for how long—or, indeed, any of the details of his subsequent career.

Many years later, after much digging, I found a short article entitled ‘Enter a historian’ in The Bulletin magazine of 6 February 1946. It helped a little but not a lot. It read:

Continue reading "On the trail of Dudley McCarthy: he who had the minister’s ear" »

Are you a person who fights for your children? Or a coward?

Governor Gary Juffa
Governor Gary Juffa


ORO - The decisions we make in our todays will determine our children's tomorrows. That's a fact.

So look around you today. Does Papua New Guinea look like it has a bright future?

We all have tribes and we all have families. We all have children. They all expect leadership.

It's leadership today, during these hard times, that will determine our tomorrows’ prosperity.

You have to ask yourself if you are a leader.

Leaders are not just those elected to Parliament or those employed into a position of power or authority.

Continue reading "Are you a person who fights for your children? Or a coward?" »

The Crocodile


In the wild you own the muddy water,
On the other side of swimming children,
Gorging on fish, pigs, dogs and friends alike;
An implacable grin of certain death

Hoiri was wrong to fear, hate and hunt you.
In my mind you are the old way we were.
To you Mitoro was simply a meal,
Silent and deadly, you stole to the deeps.

In the city you’re a belt or hand-bag,
On the waist or arm of some socialite,
Greedy fat wallet spewing Somares;
An innocuous sin of certain wealth

Hoiri was right, the sorcerers used you.
In my mind they are the new way we are.
Taking “possession of his wife Mitoro”,
Spreading their sanguma to steal our dreams.

Labu Station, 12:00pm February 25, 2018
© 2018 Michael Theophilus Dom

The death of Victor Juffa, Private 100, of Kokoda Block 168

Death of EverythingGARY JUFFA

ORO - Have you ever lost someone so profoundly intimate you cried yourself wretched so your heart ached and your entire being was soaked with such misery that you felt you were losing yourself?

And did you ever feel life was no longer worth living and you cared for nothing at all and there was this silent emptiness in your soul so heavy you could not breathe or walk or talk?

I’m sure many people have been there. I certainly have. Too many times.

My earliest recollection of such a moment happened at age five when I lost everything. I have often said I was seven or eight but I was five. I stretched my age because part of me refused to believe I had spent such a short time with Victor Juffa, my beloved Godfather, Grandfather, best friend and everything.

Continue reading "The death of Victor Juffa, Private 100, of Kokoda Block 168" »

NZ mulls ‘One Belt’ exit; questions China's influence in the Pacific

Winston Peters
Foreign Minister Winston Peters flags a stronger New Zealand Pacific aid policy

STAFF REPORTER | Television New Zealand/Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters has again hinted the Ardern government may exit China's One Belt One Road initiative as Wellington "resets" its strategic focus to the Pacific.

Mr Peters told Television New Zealand’s Q & A show the Pacific was where New Zealand mattered and could do most.

But, alluding to China's influence, he said a number of countries had been intervening in the Pacific in ways that were "not helpful".

"Our job is to ensure that the engagement of other countries in the Pacific is for the interests of the Pacific and the security and prosperity of the neighbourhood," he said.

Continue reading "NZ mulls ‘One Belt’ exit; questions China's influence in the Pacific" »

A memorial to our beloved Chief - love and tears


PORT MORESBY - It seems like just like a matter of days ago that the Chief told us he would retire from the Army at the end of the 2018 after 35 years of an illustrious service to government and people.

The Army was a career that, even through the harshest times, he served with distinction, transparency and honesty.

It would be the year Papua New Guinea hosted APEC, something the Chief believed would change the lives of ordinary Papua New Guineans if it was done right. He did not know how, but had every faith in God that it would be delivered.

It is just a month away from the second anniversary of the Chief leaving us and what I have never written on was the undying love he had for his wife and family.

Whenever I see my mum, I always think of how happy she was when dad was at home, because it was laughter, fun, loving and a family complete. I find it heart-warming that mum is humble and quiet and someone who gives us the strength.

We know deep in her heart she misses him; she misses his voice, the voice of the young Sepik soldier who faked his age as 20 when he was just 17 so he could join the military.

Continue reading "A memorial to our beloved Chief - love and tears" »

Sumi, okari nuts & the life of my childhood

Gary Juffa & friendGARY JUFFA

Trouble seemed to follow me obsessively throughout my growing years. I was always learning in some painful way what not to do or say. That’s what this walk down the memory lane of my growing years is about.....

ORO - How in the world had this giant wasp found its way into a dimly forested area? Especially this patch of dimly forested area - the border between my grandfather’s cocoa block and his most eastern neighbour, a place saturated with the tallest okari trees that produced the largest okari nuts. A place where we were doing things we should not have been.

Sumi was almost always found buzzing about the tops of coconut trees and was never known to frequent forested areas like this.

I considered this painful discovery whilst my mother tended to the back of my aching neck exactly where I had been stung by said evil creature, the giant sumi or coconut wasp.

Mum sprayed an antihistamine formula from the first aid kit and that soothed the pain instantly and prepared to remove the stinger and dress the wound. Mum was a nursing sister and very good at what she did; a testament to the health system of the early years of Papua New Guinea’s independence.

Continue reading "Sumi, okari nuts & the life of my childhood" »

The reckoning: The Leahy family revisited 30 years on

Joe & Jim Leahy
Joe Leahy with son Jim at Kilima. “We could be the last of the Leahys in the Nebilyer Valley,” Jim says. “There’s a high probability of that” (Stephen Dupont)

SEAN FLYNN | Smithsonian Magazine | Extract

Read the full article here – beautifully written, stunningly presented & replete with wonderful images

WESTERN HIGHLANDS - The road out of Mount Hagen deteriorates by the mile, the pitted blacktop of the little city crumbling to dirt before collapsing into reddish ruts scraped through the deep green of Papua New Guinea’s highlands.

In the final stretch before Kilima, a bedraggled coffee plantation in the Nebilyer Valley, our Toyota Land Cruiser has to crawl in low gear, wobbling and tottering through craters and washouts.

Bob Connolly bounces in the front seat, rolling with the pitch and yaw. He’s just over 70 years old but sturdy, dark-haired and barrel-chested, with a round face that still seems boyish.

He grumbles about the drive: too much traffic in town, too little maintenance everywhere else. When he was a younger man, the drive from Mount Hagen to Kilima took him 35 minutes. Now it takes twice as long.

The highlands seemed to hold so much promise when Bob first came to Kilima in the early 1980s. Bob is an Australian documentary filmmaker, and he lived here for years in a hut thatched with kunai grass, making films with his wife, Robin Anderson.

The plantation sprawled in endless rows, trees heavy with coffee cherries, wide fields pale with virgin beans drying in the sun. Back then, Kilima’s owner, Joe Leahy, was wealthy and powerful, and he employed dozens of local people to tend his groves and work his pulping factory.

Many in the Ganiga tribe eventually became his partners, and they were going to get rich in the coffee business, too.

Bob and Robin made three documentaries in the highlands, two of them about Joe Leahy and his neighbours. Each was a triumph, and they still are recognized as such, icons of a genre, touchstones of both anthropology and film.

Continue reading "The reckoning: The Leahy family revisited 30 years on" »

Opposition accuses O'Neill govt of falsifying PNG debt figures

Ian Ling Stuckey MPSTAFF REPORTER | PNG Today

PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea Opposition yesterday accused the O’Neill government of falsifying the debt to GDP ratio which it said was way higher than the 2017 forecast and later revisions.

The Opposition charged Treasurer Charles Abel of misleading parliament a week ago in a “rushed and unscheduled budget speech” where he told “some fairy tales to try and protect his political reputation.”

In question was Mr Abel’s assertion that the debt to GDP ratio was 31.9% - lower than the forecast 32.1%.

“Using PNG Treasury figures for 2017 GDP of K73.86 billion, this gives a debt to GDP ratio of 33.4%,” Shadow Minister for Treasury and Finance Ian Ling-Stuckey (pictured) said.

Continue reading "Opposition accuses O'Neill govt of falsifying PNG debt figures" »