An amazing coincidence: earthquake strikes during discussion of disputed maritime boundary

Bathymetry map of Vanuatu and surrounding area. Map: NASA

Bathymetry map of Vanuatu and surrounding area. The line to the west of Vanuatu is where the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates meet. Map: NASA

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La Nouvelle-Calédonie ou Kanaky?

Les deux drapeaux — la Nouvelle-Calédonie ou Kanaky?

New Caledonia will hold a referendum after the 2014 elections to decide the political status of the territory — to remain as a part of France, or become a sovereign nation.

But will the vote be held as scheduled before 2018 or will domestic and regional forces seek a negotiated alternative to independence? What role can be played by the Pacific Islands Forum, the Melanesian Spearhead Group and neighbours like Vanuatu? And how will the new strategic partnership between France and Australia, signed in January 2012, impact on regional politics?

USP Emalus is hosting a public lecture by Nic Maclellan, next Thursday 15th November at 5pm in the USP Conference Room.

Nic Maclellan is a journalist and researcher who has written widely on French policy in the region and is co-author of La France dans le Pacifique (Editions La Decouverte, Paris) and After Moruroa France in the South Pacific (Ocean Press).

Bienvenue à tous.


Vanuatu daily news digest | 9 November 2012

Like most of the population, elected Liberal Democratic Party leader Willie Jimmy Tapangararua is wanting proof that caretaker PM Sato Kilman paid his outstanding VT 13 million debt to government before the cut-off day. Jimmy, like Kilman, was required to pay outstanding government invoices in time to be accepted as a candidate. He is now seeking Supreme Court-attested proof of Kilman’s payment, he says in Daily Post today. This was an election issue in 2008, and Jimmy is determined to have proof of payment this time around.

Lands DG Joe Ligo attempted to deflect the issue by saying Kilman claims he was owed a substantial amount of money by government over an entirely different piece of land — Lakatoro customary land he claims as his own. This is doubted in many quarters, Kilman being of a Pentecost origin on the paternal side. It was also noted that when questioned on this subject at a Malakula campaign toktok he gave, he did not answer the question and promptly closed the meeting.

For the leader of the political party which won the most seats in the election, Edward Natapei of the Vanua’aku Pati, horse trading over portfolios is not standing in the way of better governance. The prime ministership, the speaker’s chair and other important posts are still available via the negotiating teams if it helps the ongoing fight against corruption. Political fraud has plumbed new depths in recent years, and if a fairer distribution of ministerial responsibilities can help to lift the economy, Natapei will promote it. The VP is ready to sacrifice. Natapei was amplifying the Solidarity Agreement signed by MPs on Wednesday — an agreement signed by many leaders of the main political parties. Mr Serge Vohor signed for UMP. Mr Willie Jimmy Tapangararua’s Liberal Democratic Party has also joined the grouping. MPP’s Nato Taiwia signed for the party of Barak Sope.

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Breaking news: Takara a hot spot in more ways than one

At a meeting attended by almost all of the land-owning population of Takara after church on Sunday, great disappointment was expressed by many and especially the young people of the area, that the thermal electricity company has alienated any support it might have had.

The young people especially now insist on a 51% — minimum – participation in any electricity venture that might be proven scientifically from the resource under the land they own.

The full story is likely to be in Read the rest of this entry »