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PACIFIC BRIEFS Marshalls loses nuke disarmament bid

Sunday 8 February 2015 | Published in Regional


MARSHALL ISLANDS – A Marshall Islands nuclear disarmament lawsuit against the United States has been dismissed by a US federal court.

San Francisco-based Judge Jeffrey White said the court had no standing to judge the effectiveness of negotiations to bring about cessation of the nuclear arms race. The Marshall Islands said the lack of disarmament action by the US has left the small Pacific island nation exposed to the dangers of existing nuclear arsenals and the real probability that additional states will develop nuclear arms. With the dismissal of the US lawsuit three similar Marshall Islands cases are left pending against England, Pakistan and India at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The Marshall Islands was the ground zero for 67 US nuclear weapons tests from 1946 to 1958.


FIJI – Fiji’s Ministry of Education says the boards of all government schools will be dissolved and all operations will be overseen by the ministry as it seeks to transform them to “model schools”. Minister for Education, Mahendra Reddy, said all government schools, both primary and secondary, need to reflect the vision of the ministry. Dr Reddy said all boards and committees whose terms have expired will not be renewed while those boards whose terms have not ended have been invited to discuss the new vision with the school heads. He says the government will ensure that the schools are renovated, ablution blocks improved, and hostels, kitchens and infrastructure upgraded to help them achieve “model” status. He says once remodelling of the schools is done, the ministry will either re-instate the boards or scrap them altogether.


WEST PAPUA – The Papuan Students Alliance in Java have urged the Indonesian government to close a number of national and foreign companies suspected of involvement in human rights abuses in Papua. Freeport Indonesia, which operates the gold and copper mine in Papua, as being complicit in reported abuses by security forces. Tabuni says the Indonesian military has violated the rights of Papuan people in their attempts to safeguard important companies, including Freeport, whose parent company is based in the US. He said that due to the presence of such companies in Papua, many Papuans have been persecuted and killed. The chairman has also questioned the legality of Freeport operations in Papua given the company’s licence to mine in the region was approved before the legal status of Papua as part of Indonesia was confirmed.


PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Over the past 12 months, Bank of South Pacific has had to close eight rural branches in Papua New Guinea due to break-ins. Branches have recently closed in a number of provinces including Morobe, Eastern and Western Highlands, East New Britain, Chimbu, Enga and Jiwaka. BSP has just announced its latest closure, the Walium branch in Madang Province, also as a result of a break-in. The bank says it promotes rural banking and financial inclusion for the benefit of communities and to bring more people in remote areas into the formal banking sector. But in a statement BSP says unfortunately these efforts are being frustrated by a small number of people. It says staff and property safety are fundamental requirements for the bank to operate its services in Papua New Guinea.


SAMOA – Samoa cruiserweight boxing champ Vaitele Soi is out for revenge after signing on to fight Australia’s Anthony McCracken in Christchurch next month. McCracken shocked top-ranked Kiwi cruiserweight David Aloua last November with a seventh round TKO to claim the WBA Pan African Cruiserweight, WBO Asia Pacific Cruiserweight and OPBF Cruiserweight titles. Soi, who lost a narrow decision in the Super8 final, says he’s looking forward to reclaiming the titles for New Zealand and Samoa, and overcoming the man who beat his friend. Australian brawler McCracken is ranked 13th by the WBA and has a record of 17-7, while Soi is 24-1.