Is Sam Basil's one month takedown of Facebook for dubious "research" just a precursor to a total ban?
MELISHA YAFOI | Pacific Media Watch
Since this article was written and the Facebook ban story widely reported around the world, PNG communications minister Sam Basil has walked back from his statement about suspending the social media platform. Basil now says his words were 'taken out of context' and 'not official, just a discussion'.....
BEIJING – Papua New Guinean students studying in Beijing, China, have described the move by PNG communications minister Sam Basil to suspend Facebook for one month as “irrelevant” and damaging for educational communications.
Speaking in a forum, the students expressed disappointment, saying there are more pressing issues that the government needs to address yet it is concerned about legislating freedom of speech for the people.
They said that being outside the country they were able to read information and connecting with family back home as many of the people do not have other social media platforms other than Facebook.
The PNG national & supreme courts have this helpful tome on sale for a lazy K400
TUMBY BAY - After surviving two years of probation and becoming a fully-fledged kiap and passing the prescribed courses, I was appointed a magistrate of the Local Court in Papua New Guinea.
As a local court magistrate I could hear both civil and criminal cases and fine or imprison people up to certain limits.
The principle law under which kiaps worked was the Criminal Code, which had been adopted from Queensland.
In our training great emphasis was placed on the correct interpretation of legislation. We had to get this right because all the cases we heard were scrutinised in Port Moresby and our rulings could be overturned.
When presented with difficult cases, it was sometimes hard to interpret the law and we had to decide what was the intent of the relevant section before we applied it to a particular situation.
To do this we might have to deal with precedent and be aware how courts in the past had interpreted the law. This could be difficult out in the bush where we didn’t have access to case law. No internet back then.
SYDNEY - Australia’s near-neighbour Papua New Guinea is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a mother and there are signs the country’s health crisis is getting worse, a report has found.
Women in PNG are 35 times more likely to die during pregnancy than women in Australia, according to an evaluation of maternal health by the aid agency ChildFund Australia.
Despite laws and programs to encourage supervised births, only 40% of women in PNG gave birth at a health facility with a specialised birth attendant in 2016 down from 44% in 2012. In some regions the share was just 21%.
And when women do manage to reach a rural clinic for the birth of a child they often find these facilities unstaffed or without electricity, running water, or essential medication and equipment.
Albert Schram - "“What happened to me can happen to anyone, and it can easily become a shake-down scam"
JOHN ROSS | Times Higher Education
LONDON - Ousted university reformer Albert Schram says he may never return to Papua New Guinea after being allowed to leave the country on bail.
Dr Schram has accused PNG police of a “shake-down” after they pursued “ridiculous” accusations that he had falsified his doctorate to secure the position of vice-chancellor of the PNG University of Technology, in the country’s second city of Lae.
In a blog penned from Singapore, en route to Europe, Dr Schram said his ordeal should serve as a warning to people visiting the country which is this year hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
“In a time when PNG is looking to attract more tourists and host numerous delegations for APEC meetings, this case is hugely damaging for the country,” he said.
“What happened to me can happen to anyone, and it can easily become a shake-down scam for police without scruples.”
Under Dr Schram’s leadership, the university – known as Unitech – last year achieved what it described as the first “clean” auditor general’s report into its accounts in more than two decades. “[We] became one of the handful of state agencies with this distinction,” he blogged.
Agro-scientist and cloning specialist Dr John Konam with a local farmer at the experimental cocoa plantation at Karimui station (PNG Cocoa Board)
KUNDIAWA – Karimui, in the deep south of the Simbu Province, is poised to become one of the major cocoa producing district in Papua New Guinea but it requires special attention from the national government.
The European Union committed K340 million for rehabilitation of cocoa in the cocoa pod borer-devastated province of East Sepik which many of us were not aware of it until it was mentioned recently in parliament by Madang MP Bryan Kramer.
Kramer’s question related to a decision by Planning Minister Richard Maru to cancel the grant to the East Sepik Province and direct it to projects in Karimui, Momase, Papua and Kerevat.
This would involve establishing a cocoa nursery in Karamui and building a connecting road from Gumine to the southern region, where there is no cocoa pod borer problem
A Facebook post by Kramer questioned the prudence and practicality of Maru’s decision in directing part of the grant to Karimui, which he assumed was not a cocoa producing area.
Oil Search managers and prominent Simbu MPs officiate at the opening of Mai High School's new buildings
KUNDIAWA – The Oil Search tax credit scheme has reached schools in the Sinesine-Yongomugl District of Simbu with a K10 million infrastructure fund delivering new buildings to educate the province’s children.
Since the inception of the tax credit scheme, it has established impact projects in Southern Highlands and Hela but this was a first for Simbu. The project was conceived by Kerenga Kua MP and Oil Search advisor Willie Kupo.
The money was allocated between three schools: Muaina Secondary and Bii Mai High receiving building funds of K4 million each while Ku High received K2 million.
The completed buildings gave a big boost to Mai High School, which lacked the required accommodation to cater for an increased the influx of students. No less than 26 singsing groups in traditional regalia sang and danced prior to the arrival of the distinguished guests at last Friday’s opening ceremony attended by 2,500 people.
NOOSA – The Post-Courier newspaper reports today that the Papua New Guinea government intends prevent access to Facebook for one month for so-called “research purposes”.
Communication minister Sam Basil has established no date for the shutdown, nor has he revealed how he will achieve it.
He has also not stated how the country will cope if access is prevented to the many substantive and legitimate sites that are used for day-to-day commercial, government, personal and emergency transactions in PNG.
Basil said his Communications and Information Technology Department and National Research Institute will conduct “research and analysis” of Facebook’s use, adding that his ministry was trying to enforce the 2016 Cyber Crime Act.
Albert Schram finally at liberty in Singapore - "A truly terrifying world, but the truth will set us free"
SINGAPORE – On his way back home to Verona in Italy during a stopover in Singapore, Dr Albert Schram wrote a lengthy article on his scarifying experiences in Papua New Guinea. It provides a detailed background and analysis of what befell him when he ran foul of powerful political players. You can read here the original Facebook piece, from which this extensive extract is drawn - KJ
Now that I have safely left Papua New Guinea, I feel free to write about what happened and was not reported in the national media.
As Vice Chancellor (President) for the PNG University of Technology appointed for two terms, I worked with seven Ministers of Higher Education, and three different Chancellors.
My achievements in this period speak for themselves. Most significantly, after an independent account went over all the university accounts, we achieved an unqualified, clean audit report by the Auditor General for the first time in over two decades, and became one of the handful of agencies with this distinction.
A 2013 report by the late Justice Sevua legitimated Dr Schram's doctoral credentials. Now attempts are being used to disprove this. Is Dr Schram needlessly defying the courts or are they being manipulated as a political plaything by his enemies? Who should really be on trial here & what are the implications for the rule of law in PNG?
PORT MORESBY - Dr Albert Schram, who had my support throughout his hardships, has now lost it if his intent in seeking a variation to his bail was to abscond and not return to Papua New Guinea to honour his commitment to the national court.
Whatever systems we have in place in PNG are our systems and we need people of great calibre like Dr Schram to accord our court system due respect, notwithstanding it being tinged in whatever shades of grey.
If Dr Schram does not return to PNG, as he has suggested, the esteemed doctor and his lawyer may have got the national court in bed with them to commit a felony.
It would be best for him to turn up in court and produce that authentic doctoral document.
Don’t force the court seek Interpol assistance to get him back to PNG. This time it may be jail and no bail variation application is going to help.
It is this same court he will need to appear before to lodge any damages claim against his accusers. The courts may not always readily avail themselves to his interests.
PORT MORESBY - With just a year to go before the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville go to the polls to determine their political future, the Papua New Guinean government has defended its handling of preparations.
Prime minister Peter O’Neill said the government had done more for the Bougainville during his term than at any other time.
He said next month’s Joint Supervisory Body meeting between the national and Bougainville governments will be of the utmost importance for the referendum next June.
In parliament, the MP for South Bougainville, Timothy Masiu, asked a series of questions regarding the government’s efforts in support of Bougainville’s preparations for the referendum.
'If an educated man is enticed into a con men’s den to drink home brew or smoke weed, he will be bestowed with grandiose titles & praised for his great wisdom'
KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN
PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinean society has changed rapidly from good to bad and with it people’s ethical behaviour. The Pidgin English language has changed too.
The betel nut and mustard markets and the dens of the drug addicts are also factories where the latest Tok Pisin is manufactured.
Old and young alike are now savvy in manufacturing words and there is no keeping adult-only language away from kids.
Coarse language, sexually explicit songs and dirty jokes are aired freely in the internet and social media, in ordinary conversation and on radio stations [referred to as Tok Pisin Kilim Ol [‘having infinite vocabulary in Pidgin’].
In this overwhelming melee of information, Kenyan money schemes and Filipino global money pyramids send chain emails and Facebook messages to lure people into false wealth arrangements.
Arthur Williams & photo album at home in Wales - 'too many of my PNG friends got an education but not a career'
CARDIFF - My wife’s extended family in rural Papua New Guinea are subsistence folk. Any of their children able to reach higher education rarely find paid employment back home where they can use their learning.
So they migrate, often forever, to the urban areas of PNG where they live in sub-standard homes in settlements or on the fringes of town.
They are expected to repatriate some of their salaries to help mum and dad pay for sibling to get educated, with a little money left over for a bag of rice and some sugar.
Thus, when the Malaysian loggers come along accompanied by an educated wantok spiv, the opportunity of getting a 20 kina note or more is hard to resist. After all, they only have to say yes and sign an official form in English legal jargon.
In the late 1980s, I worked at Gogodala in the Western Province employing mostly local staff. One of my female workers decided to get married to a recently qualified wantok policeman stationed in Moresby. So she sailed away to live with him in the big city.
Dr Schram & associate were delighted to see his Netherlands passport returned last week - now he has said he will not come back to PNG to face trial
NOOSA – In a shock development in the Schram case, the former vice-chancellor of the PNG University of Technology has said he will not return to Papua New Guinea “until major changes occur in the country”.
Dr Schram said he has been the subject of a “political prosecution” and will forego bail rather than return to an uncertain legal future in PNG.
“[We entered] a parallel world where lies are truth and all people are blind, deaf and mute,” he wrote in Facebook of the charge of 'false pretence' he is facing.
“In this world, you are completely alone because there is no point in trying to have a reasonable conversation with anyone. A truly terrifying world, but the truth will set us free.”
But Dr Schram said he will still go through “the costly process” of getting his original doctorate legalised and send it through diplomatic channels to the committal court in Waigani.
“This should clear all charges for ever,” he said.
TUMBY BAY - In light of revelations about money laundering in Australia and multi-million kina overseas investments by politicians, one can’t help wondering how they do it and how so many of them seem to get away with it.
Also of interest are the uncaring mentalities they must possess to drive them to deprive the people of such large amounts of money.
I’m no expert on corruption and I don’t fully appreciate the technical details of such blatant dishonesty but it appears to me that larceny on such a grand scale must involve complicity across a wide range of individuals and agencies.
This must include fellow politicians, public servants and lawyers, both within Papua New Guinea and in Australia.
Any politician contemplating such crimes and devising the crooked schemes required to carry them out must have to involve other individuals and agencies.
Curiously, on the rare occasions when one of them gets caught, you don’t hear much about the network that obviously supports them.
STAFF REPORTER | Kirby Institute & UNSW Media | Extract
SYDNEY - Researchers from the Papua New Guinea Institute for Medical Research and the Kirby Institute at the University of NSW say expanded health services are needed to tackle high rates of HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infection among key populations in PNG.
The study, Kauntim mi tu (“Count me too”), represents the most comprehensive understanding of PNG’s HIV epidemic among the key populations considered to be most in need of HIV-related health services.
It provides crucial clinical and behavioural information to assist plan a national response to support the country’s efforts in prevention and care.
SYDNEY - A fellow cadet patrol officer, Vince Smith, introduced me to kiap nicknames during my first week at the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) in June 1949.
He found Michael Joseph Cockburn's name was too formal and renamed him Sizzledick. Not content with that travesty, a few days later he truncated it to Sizzle, a diminutive that we used with affection for more than 25 years.
ASOPA was no Ivy League college. We had no hallowed halls of learning but took our lectures in two refurbished mechanical workshops. We learned in one.
Next door, the old timers—the kiaps down from New Guinea to attend the first Long Course— toiled in the other and called their youngest member Thrasher. John Gibson epitomised youthful exuberance.
I thought those nicknames were pretty smart until I met some people in the commercial world. The manager of Mandated Airlines at Lae in the early 1950s, Harold Hindwood, knew and enjoyed his nickname of Timber Arse.
Nursing school principal Noelyn Koutalo from New Ireland and deputy Janet Nakore from West New Britain
WABAG - It was a rare sight to see two women – the principal of a nursing school and her deputy - marching to petition the Papua New Guinea government to stop the warfare on Wabag's doorstep with a more effective intervention.
Principal Noelyn Koutalo from New Ireland and deputy Janet Nakore from West New Britain said they joined in the protest march because Enga is now their home and they were sad to see the suffering, death and destruction resulting from the prolonged tribal war between the Kii and the Kala tribes on the edge of town.
Noelyn Koutalo graduated from Sopas School of Nursing when it was operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church before it moved to the Pacific Adventist University. She was appointed principal when the provincial government established the new college in 2013.
She has lived in Enga for nearly 25 years and her deputy, Janet Nakore, has been at the college for eight years. Both were very near the fighting zone and experienced the effects of the tribal fight.
SIMBU - A dawn of a new day with the ascending rays of the sun painting the fog red. A lone boy rests upright against his dirty pillow in the small hut beside the gorge.
The young man is about to turn another year older. He pulls on a yellow and black striped shirt with the word ‘BII’ printed on it. Many years before people in the street had adopted ‘Bii’ as his nickname.
Bii lives on the periphery of the Sikaku tribe at the eastern tip of Yongos. He walks downstream on fine afternoons cutting across to the roadside market in search of vegetables.
He strolls gently, a stick clutched in his hand, whistling his favourite courtship song imagining courting with cute girls.
On this day, at a bend in the road, he encountered two girls returning from afternoon classes at Mai High School.
A Huli man at Ambua Lodge near Tari in the Southern Highlands Province
BRISBANE – “2018 marks the centenary of the first forced placement of people on Palm Island and we, the Palm Island Community, are inviting you to ‘Share Our Journey’ as we hold a series of events.”
This handful of words is part of a large, bold statement that introduces the online visitor to a calendar of activities in which the Bwgcolman (‘many tribes, one mob’) of Palm Island will reflect on the past, celebrate the present and look to the future.
Palm Island’s status as former penal colony was never imparted during my Australian school education, and to come across it is revelatory.
Instead, we are exposed to the story of a wayward society lacking in cohesion and a hot bed of violence cultivated in the blackwashed hyperbole with which the Australian media relayed the tragic events of 2004.
CANBERRA - We conducted research in Lae for three weeks in April to explore the connections between women’s experiences of seeking support to address family and sexual violence in their lives and their children’s wellbeing and opportunities for education.
Emerging findings from this research have highlighted the multiple financial and social considerations that limit women’s ability to seek certain types of assistance.
The research also highlighted the gap between formal systems of support and the reality for most low-income families whose children tend to fall out of the education system because of the immediate and longer-term impact of family and sexual violence.
Many of the women we interviewed have extremely low incomes and low educational levels. Their experiences of violence reflect deeply-entangled cycles of poverty, marital breakdowns and chronic episodic violence – all of which reinforce each other.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde
DIASPORA - On 16 May an iconic Papua New Guinean departed this world for the next on the very day of his birth.
Moses Tau,or Moshanty as he was affectionately known to the nation of PNG, lived his life with no regrets and certainly breathed every word of Oscar Wilde’s quote right till the very end.
With a distinctive voice and tunes that latched onto listener’s brainwaves, Moses took to the stage, and graced our screens, with hits such as ‘Ito Paka Paka’, ‘Temarama’ and the all-time favourite ‘Helalo Une’.
Ask many from our island nation and we will tell you that Moses is a national treasure. For those of us Papua New Guineans that live abroad ‘Helalo Une’ has become a regular at our independence day celebrations and on our ‘homesick’ playlist.
The Chinese embassy in Port Moresby - never mind the graffiti, think of the money
ADELAIDE - It didn't really need the resources of the CIA to uncover the nature of China's grand strategy in the Pacific.
That said, I think it is a serious error to underestimate just how effective this strategy will ultimately become.
History tells us that big powers like to dominate small powers within their self-described sphere of influence and will do whatever it takes to achieve this objective.
So China is simply proceeding down a well-trodden path and one which is entirely consistent with both its history and its current ambitions.
It amuses me when the governments of tiny and penurious countries like Vanuatu proclaim they can and will resist pressure to allow China access to ports or airstrips. This is simply whistling in the cemetery.
SUVA - “It is a victory for the media in Fiji and we should be encouraged to keep going and to stay within the law.”
These were the words of an emotional publisher and general manager of the Fiji Times, Hank Arts, after high court judge Thushara Rajasinghe concurred with the unanimous not guilty opinion of the three assessors and acquitted him and two other senior officials of the Fiji Times, the company and a letter writer of sedition charges.
Dr Schram's detention in PNG on academic fraud charges has caused international concern
PORT MORESBY - The national court in Waigani has allowed former University of Technology vice-chancellor Dr Albert Schram to return to Italy for three weeks to obtain his original doctoral credentials.
Dr Schram had his passport seized and was detained in Papua New Guinea after being arrested earlier this month and charged with obtaining employment through ‘false pretence’.
Police allege he produced a fake PhD certificate to Unitech in 2012 when he successfully sought the post of vice-chancellor there.
Dr Schram denies the charges and has produced copies of his credentials in the past and, more recently, even published them on the internet
WASHINGTON DC - In a secret report it commissioned recently, the US State Department has warned that China is offering a hundred billion dollars worth of loans to Australia's smaller regional neighbours in a bid to gain economic leverage and strategic and military prowess in the Asia Pacific region.
According to an article published by the Australian Financial Review at least 16 states, including Vanuatu, The Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Tonga and Micronesia and Papua New Guinea are falling for China's so-called "debt book diplomacy".
For example, the AFR article cites the case of Papua New Guinea. Historically, it has been in Australia's orbit and now news is in circulation that it has accepted Chinese loans that it possibly cannot afford to repay.
BRISBANE - The natural wealth of Pacific nations is disappearing overseas.
Unseen and unheard, the voices of Pacific island communities on the frontline of deforestation, irresponsible mining and seabed exploitation are being overlooked and human rights abuses are going unchecked in remote rural regions.
Voices from the Pacific need lifting to overcome the tyranny of distance and ensure that businesses operating in the region respect human rights.
The Pacific Ocean is a treasure trove of islands, hiding an abundance of precious resources. Cloaked in hardwood forests, rich veins of copper, bauxite and gold lie in its earth and rare mineral deposits sit buried in its sea floor.
Architect's drawing of the ornate main building with its feature cupula planned for the Tkatchenko estate
NOOSA – Papua New Guinea's sports and APEC minister Justin Tkatchenko and his wife Catherine are being frustrated by 178 pesky neighbours and the powerful city council in creating their dream estate in the Brisbane suburb of Brookfield.
The Tkatchenkos intend to build an ornate main dwelling, a three bedroom second dwelling, two pavilions, a large greenhouse, a big gym, an ornamental lake with two fountains, a 25 metre swimming pool, animal stables and a 30 aviary complex for 600 finches.
And now the saga of the property at 15 Upper Brookfield Road that they purchased for $1.77 million in 2015 has made it all the way to the courts.
The Tkatchenkos have lawyered up to fight for their rights as they struggle with Brisbane City Council over what to the naked eye is a lavish multi-million dollar transformation of the mini-estate.
PORT MORESBY - It is not clear when the big-man politics in Papua New Guinea’s foreign policy began.
It was likely during the prime ministership of Sir Michael Somare in the early 2000s, when he pushed for PNG to be an aid donor to the region.
At the time, and to this day, PNG continues to be Australia’s largest aid recipient, so Somare’s aim seemed hugely ironic. The ambition kicked off debates in the national newspapers between Somare’s cohorts and critics.
With the exit of Somare and the entry of Peter O’Neill, the benevolence grew. In 2013, O’Neill unveiled the Pacific aid program and proceeded to make donations to various Pacific countries, including a whopping US$18.5 million of funding for the Fiji national elections in 2014.
The O’Neill government also needed to deliver on several infrastructure-heavy commitments made in the heat of promised liquefied natural gas (LNG) returns. These included the Melanesian Arts Festival in July 2014 and the South Pacific Games in July 2015.
Mai High School - "the government is playing games and sabotaging our rightful basic school services"
CHUAVE - The government component of TFFE (tuition fee free education) to schools in Papua New Guinea has been slashed to only 50%.
TFFE subsidies are released to schools each term and are supposed to cover the actual cost of running a school for ten weeks.
The actual school fee per student is divided into two segments: lower secondary (Grades 9 and 10) and upper secondary (Grades 11 and 12). Lower secondary students were allocated K1,300 for 2018 and upper secondary K1,600.
The Education Department under the ministry of Nick Kuman adopted the concept last year. But it was not effectively executed. There was a large amount cut from the money supposed to be paid to schools.
CANBERRA - The yawning chasm between Papua New Guinea’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) benefit predictions and its adverse impacts on the PNG economy has little to do with the fall in oil prices. Claiming so is a poor and inaccurate defence.
The PNG LNG modelling done in 2008 accurately predicted export sales revenues for 2015 and 2016. While oil prices were some 25% below the model’s mid-case scenario, this was fully offset by actual LNG production being some 25% higher than 2008 expectations.
Price falls were matched by production increases – sales revenues were as predicted. As the marginal cost of production is low (most costs of LNG production relate to the high initial capital costs), sales revenue is the driver for expected benefits.
Dr Glen Mola - 'becoming more difficult for doctors & nurses to stay positive'
PORT MORESBY – It’s not always good news. Today we heard at our staff meeting at Port Moresby General Hospital that we have run out of antiretroviral (ART or HIV) medicines.
We have many thousands of HIV positive people on treatment in the National Capital District (and several more thousands around the rest of the country) and they may not have any medicine to take unless new supplies arrive in the very near future.
People on ART must take their medicine every single day: if they stop and start again they are very likely to breed resistant HIV.
This is not only bad (in fact life-threatening) for the patient, but life-threatening for everybody else in the community who might catch HIV from them.
We also don't have any syphilis test kits in the country. Syphilis used to be the commonest cause of stillbirth (babies dying inside their mothers) in our audit statistics - and after we started routine testing of all mothers coming to ante-natal clinics and treating the positives we virtually eliminated this scourge from our pregnant mums.
BRISBANE - Managing connections, exploring ideas and interpretations, refining skills or simply absorbing literary knowledge are amongst the array of reasons why writers and readers gravitate towards each other.
The shape of these meeting points differ, as does their meaning and significance.
Consider the fictional ‘Letters Library’ in the young adult novel, ‘Words in Deep Blue’ by Cath Crowley:
“Customers are allowed to write in the books in the Letter Library. They can circle words that they love, highlight lines. They can leave notes in the margins, leave thoughts about the meaning of things…they leave whole letters and put them between pages in the books…Mostly people write to strangers who love the same books as them – and some stranger somewhere, writes back.”
Crowley’s multi-award nominated book follows the exploits of teenager Rachel Sweetie, whose experience of family grief pivots the trademark stumble from awkward adolescence to adulthood.
Map showing scale of Chinese aid in the Pacific (Lowy Institute)
BAL KAMA | DevPolicy Blog
CANBERRA - The ‘China-in-the-Pacific’ dilemma has once again hit the headlines in Australia, this time with a proposed naval base in Vanuatu.
It was promptly rejected by the Vanuatu government, but the likelihood of having Chinese military hardware on a long-term basis in the Pacific has raised significant discussion on the strategic implications for Australia and its allies.
Australia has long maintained a well-established and enduring relationship with the people of the Pacific. But China’s influence is undeniably increasing. Its investment in soft power in particular has been a success, not only in economic terms but also in the lives of ordinary people.
SYDNEY - The ‘blackbirding curse’ is as damaging to Papua New Guinea’s adventure tourism industry as the ‘resource curse’ is to mining and exploration.
‘Blackbirding’ was a term given to the coercion of native people from PNG to work as cheap labour in Queensland’s sugar plantations in the latter part of the nineteenth century. When the extent of the exploitation became known it was outlawed as a form of slavery.
The ‘resource curse’ refers to the paradox that countries with an abundance of natural resources tend to have less economic growth, less democracy and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources.
Over the past decade 45,000 Australians from all walks of life have trekked across the Kokoda Trail. Their reasons are many and varied but the wartime significance combined with a sense of adventure in the land of the unexpected is the most compelling motivation.
HONG KONG - The Chinese government is leveraging billions of dollars in debts to gain political leverage with developing countries across Asia and the Pacific, a new report presented to the US State Department claims.
The independent report, written by a pair of Harvard University scholars, identified 16 countries targeted by the Chinese government for "debtbook diplomacy.
According to the report, in some cases the huge debts grow to a size too large to pay back, allowing Beijing to leverage the loans to "acquire strategic assets or political influence over debtor nations."
This could allow the Chinese government to extend its influence across the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, encircling India and Australia as well as helping to consolidate its position in the South China Sea, the report said.
Dr Schram's PhD certificate - proof positive of his credentials
NOOSA – Albert Schram’s application seeking leave to retrieve his original PhD documentation from Italy is now being determined by the PNG national court.
The former vice chancellor of Papua New Guinea's University of Technology and his wife Paulina sit in a Port Moresby hotel nervously awaiting the outcome of the judge’s deliberations.
The national court is expected to make a decision by Monday.
Dr Schram was arrested earlier this month and charged with obtaining employment through ‘false pretence’ with police alleging he produced a fake PhD certificate to Unitech in 2012 when he was seeking the post of vice-chancellor.
This matter was first raised in 2013, not long after Dr Schram’s appointment, as he began to implement measures to improve financial transparency and accountability at Unitech.
These interventions caused controversy among some senior staff at the university leading pro-chancellor Ralph Saulep to challenge the veracity of the doctorate after which Dr Schram was deported from PNG in March 2013.
Chris Haiveta - "Oil Search chairman Rick Lee is out of line"
CHRIS HAIVETA | Governor of Gulf Province
KEREMA - The Oil Search chairman and senior management need to stop deceiving the media and collectively own up to the processes that were fast-tracked in an effort to capitalise on Papua New Guinea's resources while leaving PNG landowners stranded with little possibility of promptly receiving royalties.
Oil Search has had a very long relationship with PNG; over 89 years of history. The company has continued to build its empire in PNG with our rich resources and the ongoing acquisitions of major oil and gas projects and concessions from major international brands PNG like Chevron Texaco in 2003.
It has been here long enough to know better than to try and deceive PNG and push false statements.
Oil Search has used the government for its own ends time and again. The transfer of Orogen Minerals, and along with that the State equity in Kutubu and Gobe Projects, to Oil Search by Mekere Morauta’s government was what made Oil Search, not new discoveries by the company.
Oil Search’s current equity in the Papua LNG project is not from its own money, but the loan that government took to buy shares in Oil Search and to provide it the protection against takeover.