Sunday, March 18, 2012

Papua's Freeport miners tell their struggle stories

A clip from the documentary Alkinemokiye.

Ika Krismantari

THE VOICES of local workers in the world’s largest gold and copper mine controlled by the US-based mining giant Freeport McMoRan in West Papua can be heard loud and clear in a new documentary that chronicles the biggest strike in the company’s history.

Alkinemokiye is the latest feature documentary from filmmaker Dandhy Dwi Laksono. It captures the fight of 8000 workers for increased wages in what is believed to be the longest and most widely joined strike since the mining company began operations in Indonesia in 1967.
Other West Papuan updates:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bainimarama condemns Anzac 'neglect' of Pacific

IN THE first extensive interview with Fiji regime leader Voreqe Bainimarama for the past 18 months or so, Fiji-born Australian journalist Graham Davis gives some insights into the commodore's current thinking. Davis highlights the US "open arms" policy in contrast to the Australian and NZ "isolationist" policy towards Fiji. Bainimarama also condemns the "neglect of the Pacific" by Canberra and Wellington in the 25min interview broadcast today on Sky News.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Another Fiji Coup 4.5 clanger?

A PICTURE, as Coup 4.5 says, citing the old adage, paints a thousand words. But in this case, it’s more like a thousand laughs. As if anything was genuine about this image – another death by a thousand pixels with Photoshop is more like it. Just look at the floating coconut tree and absence of shadow and the cross-hatched grass for a start … What is astonishing, too, is the gullible level of readers – 41 apparently taking this image at face value at the last web count. No wonder we are lost in a fog of propaganda over this coup. This was Coup 4.5’s justification under the headline: Fiji's self-appointed PM naps at the beach:
No idea where the picture was taken or what the occasion was - or even if there was one. But as they say, a picture paints a thousand words. We leave it to readers to draw their own conclusion. The picture ... and the caption .... has been printed as it was sent to Coupfourpointfive.
Baini drinks while country sinks

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Covert trip reveals rule of law ‘lost’ in Fiji

Cartoon by Marc Snyder - thanks to Fiji Island Mermaid Press.

By Eduardo Reyes in the Law Society Gazette

A SECRET fact-finding mission to Fiji has concluded that the rule of law "no longer operates" in the country. The independence of the judiciary "cannot be relied upon" and "there is no freedom of expression", council member and Law Society Charity chair Nigel Dodds reports in Fiji: The Rule of Law Lost.

Dodds visited Fiji on a tourist visa in late 2011. Following the 2006 coup by Voreqe Bainimarama, ruled illegal by its court of appeal in 2009, Fiji is ruled by decree through emergency measures renewed every 30 days. Fiji (pop. 850,000 people) is currently suspended from the Commonwealth.

The report claims that Fiji’s Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has been central to ending the rule of law by limiting the power of the courts and ending the independence of legal sector regulation. Fiji’s late President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, revoked all judicial appointments in 2009. Dodds’ report reveals the extent to which the government depends on the appointment of judges and senior law officers from Sri Lanka on short-term contracts.

Chancery Lane’s human rights adviser, Courtenay Barklem, notes: "Judges have to have security of tenure. We don’t know how these judges are being selected."

Meanwhile, the country’s largest commercial law firm, Munro Leys, once the government of Fiji’s main provider of legal services, no longer receives government instructions, independent sources told Dodds.

The 2009 Administration of Justice Decree removed the jurisdiction of the court to hear or determine a challenge to any government action. This has now been supplemented with a practice direction, seen by Dodds, pinned to the walls of the courts, noting that the Chief Registrar will terminate any such case that slips through the net.

Dodds told the Gazette: "I found a significant number of lawyers endeavouring to do the best for their clients in intolerable circumstances. They deserve tremendous credit."

Previously criticised by the Law Society in open correspondence, a professional accreditation regime remains in place whereby the government issues practising certificates, Dodds reports. In 2011 the government refused to permit Fiji’s Law Society to hold its annual meeting.

Dodds’ subterfuge was deemed necessary following the refusal of the Fiji government to admit an International Bar Association delegation to the country in 2009. He funded the trip personally.

Fiji’s High Commission did not provide a comment on the report in the time available.

Stop Press: Check out the Graham Davis/Russell Hunter/Victor Lal/Crosbie Walsh media debate on the alleged "four would-be coups" of Bainimarama here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It will always be a close call

THIS intriguing photo popped up in the Café Pacific inbox from longtime reader, friend and media educational colleague Pat Craddock, recently in Somalia. His thoughts:

Some of my friends get worried when they leave their phone at home, some worry when they leave their phone in a bus or even by their bed. How, they ask, can I be sure that I have my phone with me at all times?

But no matter where I am when you phone me, wait for a few seconds till I answer. It will always be a close call. As a teacher, I understand that the word “hear” means I need to get close to my ear. My cell phone is the perfect teacher and a close companion.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

French rugby: Once the whipping boys, now the rulers of the game

AN IRISH perspective on this month's cancelled Paris match on a frozen Stade de France, barely three months after the French Bleus almost won the World Cup against the All Blacks. Pictured: Dimitri Yashvili and the tricolore:


By Sean Diffley

Eighty years ago the French were thrown out of the Five Nations and were blackballed for what the other four countries considered wholesale improprieties, such as dirty play and covert paying of their players.

So, from 1932 until the 1946 resumption after World War Two, no French side was permitted to sully the amateur gentlemanliness of the men from Twickenham, Lansdowne, Murrayfield and Cardiff.

And no French engagements with the All Blacks, the Springboks and Wallabies either. Thus, in that 14 years of boycott the French were reduced to playing only the Germans on a regular basis.

It was, wasn't it, a classic instance of fin de siecle -- or the tail-end of a bicycle -- for the French at frosty Stade de France last weekend?

Like the icy reserve described by Harold Wilson in his dealings with General de Gaulle.

"I didn't find references by me to Waterloo and Trafalgar necessarily productive and he has been very tactful about the Battle of Hastings," said the late British Prime Minister.

But, a generation or so later and how things change.

The French, the whipping boys of the 1930s, are now the rulers of the game.

Bernard Lapasset is the chairman of the International Rugby Board, a neat bit of Sarkozy-style diplomacy ousting the popular favourite, former England captain Bill Beaumont.

Eviction process
It was England, back on Easter Monday, 1931, who played the final match of the time in the Stade Colombes, losing to France and then taking a leading role in persuading the other three, Wales, Scotland and Ireland to join the eviction process.

Ireland's game against the French in that 1931 campaign was a loss in Paris by a try (three points back then) to nil. That Irish team contained such notables as Eugene Davy and Mark Sugden at half-back, Paul Murray, Eddie Lightfoot and Jack Arigho in the three-quarters and forwards Jammie Clinch, Noel Murphy senior, Jack Siggins and Victor Pike.

Pike, incidentally was one of 11 children of a Tipperary clergyman; when he'd finished rugby with the French and the rest, went on to become a bishop.

The following year of 1932, with no French involvement, the Irish won the championship.

I suppose most of us will admit the French are the best side in Europe and really would have won the World Cup but for some peculiar refereeing.

But do they really care what we think of them?

Acme of disdain
The conduct at the Stade de France was the acme of disdain.

Was Noel Coward on the ball when he coined the song "But there is always something fishy about the French/ Whether prince or politician/We've a sinister suspicion/ That behind their savoir-faire/ They share/ A common contempt/ For every mother's son of us"?

As for Italy next week, financial problems have meant that only two professional clubs exist now, Treviso and Aironi; the rest have returned to amateur rugby.

Still things are improving and if they only unearthed a few good backs to compliment their tough pack, they would not be easy meat any more.

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