Briefs, National

K300,000 boost for ELC-PNG
PREPARATIONS for the 27th Evangelical Lutheran church of Papua New Guinea (ELC-PNG) synod were boosted with a K300,000 cheque from Morobe Governor Luther Wenge. The money was given to Jabem district president and member of the synod’s organising committee, Gedisa Okamaisa, at the St Andrews cathedral at Ampo. The synod, which was the highest meeting in the church’s structure, would discuss among many issues, the election of the head bishop, assistant head bishop and the church’s general secretary. Mr Wenge also presented 16 cows for the synod. He has also pledged to ensure that the road leading from Chinatown towards the Martin Luther Seminary would be fixed before the synod. Police security will also be beefed up to ensure a safe and trouble-free occasion. A rehearsal of the synod’s opening ceremony will take place on Saturday at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium in Lae, Morobe province.


Nipa-Kutubu still part of SHP
NIPA-KUTUBU will remain part of Southern Highlands according to the former governor Hami Yawari. Mr Yawari said last week that Hela province would be made up of Koroba-Lake Kopiago, Komo-Margarima and Tari-Pori. “I wish to inform the Government and Minister for Provincial Affairs that Kutubu remains with Southern Highlands province,” he said. Mr Yawari said now that Parliament had created the Hela Transitional Authority, there was a vacancy in the Southern Highlands Regional seat because the governor had now become a member of the Hela provincial assembly creating a vacancy in the regional seat. “I call for immediate election to fill the vacancy.” Mr Yawari said if the Government failed to do so then he would have no choice but to seek Supreme Court reference to declare that the seat vacant. “But before I do that, I call on the Electoral Commission to seek legal opinion advice to conduct election to fill the vacancy.”

Climate Change day observed
TINPUTZ Primary School in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville observed World Climate Change Day last Saturday. The students started by planting mangroves near the Tinputz Catholic Mission and later presented items which promoted awareness on the climate change issue that are affecting the world. The ceremony was sponsored by the local NGO group Tulele Peisa, which is assisting in the relocation of Carterets Islanders to Tinputz on mainland Bougainville. The students also presented items like forming the shape of Bougainville island in colours – blue to represent the sea and green to represent the trees and mountains. The students covered their heads with these colours and formed the shape of the island. Later, they also formed number 350 which was the acceptable emission rate countries were being tasked to reduce their gas emission level to. Their activities were also covered by an Australia television crew. 


Tanis to stay put in ABG
AUTONOMOUS Bougainville Region President James Tanis will not be travelling out of the region for some time as he has outstanding issues to address. Mr Tanis made these remarks after returning to Bougainville from what he termed as a successful trip to Port Moresby. He said his trip to Port Moresby secured funding for the Panguna reconciliation that had been outstanding for many years now. Mr Tanis said ABG did not have the funds to address pressing issues that was why he continued to seek for funds from the Government and donor partners. He did not announce any figure but said AusAID had funded the Panguna reconciliation.


African fined for illegal entry
AN African man who arrived by boat in Vanimo, Sandaun province two weeks ago was fined K6,000 by the Vanimo District Court last Wednesday for illegally entering the country. He will be jailed for six months if he cannot pay the fine. Daniel Smith, 22, from Nigeria, told police he planned to cross the PNG-Indonesia border and then head to the Solomon Islands before reaching his final destination, New Zealand, where he was planning to study. Sandaun provincial police commander Chief Insp Sakawar Kasieng said yesterday that Smith’s passport was “totally blank” and lacked PNG and Solomon Islands visas and other travel documents from the countries he had allegedly passed through before entering PNG. Chief Insp Kasieng said such illegal border crossing were a growing concern. “Security at the border is very complacent,” Chief Insp Kasieng said. Meanwhile, the Assembly of God church in Vanimo town had a break-in in which an amplifier valued at about K5,000 was stolen on Sunday night. A doctor is also looking for his car radio that went missing after unknown suspects broke into his car.


Election petitions dismissed
A PETITION filed against Rabaul town mayor Changol Manuai by the runner-up in the mayoral elections last year has been partially successful. Senior provincial magistrate Reget Marum last Friday dismissed all but one ground in the petition by Nobert Marus against the Electoral Commission and Mr Manuai. The exception related to Mr Manuai’s photograph being included in election posters of ward councillors in Rabaul during the election period last year. Mr Marus claimed that Mr Manuai’s images had unduly influenced voters to vote for Mr Manuai as lord mayor of Rabaul. Mr Manuai was ordered to pay all the costs incurred by Mr Marus in filing the petition and was given 40 days to file an appeal. Meanwhile, in another petition filed against the Duke of York president, Isaac Ilom, Magistrate Marum dismissed all grounds with Mr Ilom retaining his seat as president. The petition filed by an election candidate, Henry Libai, was dismissed and he was ordered to pay both the costs of  the Electoral Commission and Mr Ilom.


Daru police on the alert
DARU police are on alert following intelligence that the bank on the island may be robbed. Manpower had been boosted to counter the threat, Western provincial police commander Chief Insp Peter Philip said yesterday. He said there was no independent confirmation of the threat but they were not taking risks. He said he had flown in personnel from Kuinga and Tabubil, increasing the number from the regular 30 to 200 men. Chief Insp Philip said two police mobile squads, including MS17, would be working closely with the task force at Daru to maintain order for an indefinite period. Meanwhile, in a separate incident, three men are in police custody for their alleged involvement in breaking a slurry pipe which transports copper owned by a mining company, on Oct 17. The three, two from Simbu province and one from Enga, will appear in court soon, Chief Insp Philip said.


Family terrorised by drunkards
VANIMO police are investigating a spate of break-ins and alcohol-related violence at the weekend which has shocked town residents. Provincial police commander Chief Insp Sakawar Kasieng said yesterday that among the residents affected was the family of Sandaun administrator Joseph Sungi. Chief Insp Kasieng said drunken youths started an argument with the administrator’s family and damaged properties at his home. He said Mr Sungi was out of the country on official duty. Chief Insp Kasieng said the suspects had been identified and would be arrested and charged. Police also reported the theft of a VHF radio belonging to the Vanimo General Hospital on Saturday. Chief Insp Kasieng said the radio was stolen by thieves who had forced open the vehicle carrying the radio.


Kerema tense but quiet
THE situation in Kerema, Gulf province, is tense but quiet after Kerema youths threatened to go on a rampage over the death of their colleague last week. Gulf province caretaker administrator Mark Avai said yesterday that police were keeping a close watch on the situation. He said the local people were also awaiting replies from Governor Havila Kavo and police to a list of demands they gave last Thursday. He said in the meantime, members of the workforce in Kerema reported back to work and businesses and school operated as usual yesterday.