War brewing- North Korea’s fire power could reach South-East Asia

  • South-East Asia region which PNG is also part of is among identified regions which North-Korea’s fire power could reach. (see map)
  • Japan fears that North Korea could send its missiles loaded with sarin gas into Japan.

A war is brewing and possibly might erupt into World War 3. The tensions between the United States and North Korea is taking momentum with North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un not backing down on directions issued by the US to stand down its test on Nu-Clear weapons. Instead, North Korea tells US President Donald Trump to “bring it on” and threatens to launch Nu-clear attack against the US.

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North Korea is indeed a threat with its inter-continental ballistic missiles and nu-clear warhead capable of striking the mainland US. With its ongoing testing of its missiles, North Korea could launch a devastating attack with its conventional weapons. Its fire power is already within reach of South Korea, Japan, Russia and South-East Asia (which PNG is part of). And it’s believed to be developing a missile that could reach the west coast of the United States. However, a sixth missile test by North Korea just days ago was announced as fail by South Korean and US officials.

The US had to advise China to tame North-Korea but China remained natural despite numerous calls. President Trump then announced that the US will act alone on North Korea if China fails to assist. Trump was quoted as saying “if China is not going to solve North Korea, then we will.”

Trump claimed he had ‘great respect’ for China’s President Xi Jiping and ‘great respect for China’, but further warned that things could either turn out well for everybody or things could turn out not so well for anyone.

“China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don’t, it won’t be good for anyone,” President Trump said recently.

On the other front in North Korea, dictator Jong-un threatens a preemptive strike on the US if it thinks that the US military attack is imminent.

Already, the US on April 4, deployed a US aircraft carrier-led strike group headed towards the Western Pacific Ocean near the Korean Peninsula. The 97,000-tonne US aircraft carrier known as the USS Carl Vinson, with an escort of three warships travelled northwest with an escort of a guided-missile cruiser and two destroyers from Singapore’s Changi Naval Base.

According to US officials, the move of the USS Carl Vinson strike group is in response to recent provocations by North Korea.

According to reports from CNN, Adm. Harry Harris, the commander of US Pacific Command, directed the USS Carl Vinson strike group to sail north to the Western Pacific after departing Singapore on Saturday, Pacific Command announced.

Other super powers such as Russia and the Europe are watching closely on what may become of the close tensions between the two nations.

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Australia slow in addressing Manus asylum issues

Tensions continue to heighten at the Manus asylum detention center in PNG putting lives of thousands of asylum seekers at great risk.

The attack at the camp on the afternoon of Good Friday by locals and some PNG military personal from the nearby Lombrom Navel Base had struck fear into the well-being of women and children detained at the center.

Despite investigations being carried out on the incident, many detainees are still traumatized and in fear.

Parliamentary leader for Manus, Ronny Knight, expressed concerns via social media on what had happened.

“This is just another incident that will ignite again if the Australian government does not accept responsibility and a duty of care for these refugees and process them properly.”

“We do not condone such violence,” Mr Knight said.

The visit by Australia’s Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull few days ago did not prove any positive outcome.

While Turnbull’s government maintains that talks are ongoing with the United States to have some of the asylum seekers resettled in the US, there are still doubts on the arrangement.
Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton announced recently that asylum seekers that cannot be resettled in the US will remain in PNG.

Turnbull on the other hand was somewhat tight-lipped on the fate of the detainees by merely saying “ we will take this process one step at a time.”

Dutton told the media in Australia recently that the people presently detained on Manus Island “would not be coming to Australia when the Papua New Guinea centre closes, no matter how hard refugee advocates push.”

“They are not coming to Australia,” Dutton told Sky News on Sunday.

“The advocates can bleat all they want, they can protest all they want. We have been very clear those people are not going to settle in our country because that would restart the people trade.”

Aggrieved locals responded via social media saying PNG was not a dumping ground for Australia and that the asylum seekers should be sent back to Australia.

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PNGDF soldiers rampage on Manus detention centre

Papua New Guinea Defence Force soldiers based at the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island went on a rampage at the asylum detention centre on Good Friday firing several shots into the air and indiscriminately assaulting policemen, PNG Immigration Officers, other service providers and asylum seekers.

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The incident occurred on Friday April 14 at about 6.30pm at the Manus Regional processing centre.

Manus Provincial Police Commander Senior Inspector David Lapu said a group of drunken soldiers in retaliation for one of their colleague who was allegedly assaulted by an asylum seeker entered the centre shouting and throwing any objects that they could lay their hands on at the asylum seekers.

He said the soldiers also assaulted his policemen on deployment at the centre, PNG immigration officers, other service providers and damaged several vehicles and properties worth thousands of kina.

PPC Yapu said the soldiers removed keys from a hired car his officers were using at the centre and drove away and also damaged it.

PPC Yapu said the Commanding officer of the Naval Base, Mr Begsy Karaki intervened and stopped the incident from getting out of hand.

A senior PNG immigration officer and an asylum seeker were treated at the international health medical service at the centre and discharged.

PPC Yapu is concerned about such unethical and unacceptable behaviour of the drunken soldiers. He said only a day ago the PNG Defence Force Chief of Staff Colonel Numa addressed the Commanders parade and made some good comments to the solders to maintain high level of disciple, professionalism and leadership.

However this message had gone to deaf ears and the soldiers showed disrespect to the international and local community at the centre PPC Yapu said.

Mr Yapu has set up an investigation team to investigate the incident and deal with the perpetrators.

“I will leave no stones unturned. Someone will answer for what happened,” said PPC Yapu.

The commanding officer has already commenced his own investigation into the incident.

The situation at the centre is quite but tense.

Man found guilty of K5.3 million fraud

A man charged with misappropriating K5.3 million was found guilty by the Waigani National Court in Port Moresby today.

David Kumalau Pondros, 47, of Timoenai village in the Manus province is among list of others that were investigation by the Investigation Task Force Sweep (ITSF).

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Mr Pondros obtained a K6 million under National Agriculture Development Program administered by the National Planning Department in the pretext of doing some projects but the Court found there was no evidence of spending K5.3m for the purposes of the project, according to social media post by the now disbanded Task Force Sweep Chairman Sam Koim.

The matter was adjourned to May 8 for submissions on verdict.

This is yet another success story of ITFS work.

Meanwhile, Mr Pondros is currently serving a term of 5 years for misappropriating K400,000 to build a jetty in Oro province, another ITFS case.

Mr Koim acknowledged the efforts by the Prosecutor, witnesses, and policemen involved in securing the conviction.

PNG Flag designer passes on

A WOMAN who made history by designing the flag of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea passed away at the Port Moresby General hospital this morning.

She fell ill and was rushed to the hospital on Monday, April 10, and admitted at the Intensive Care Unit on life-support.

Her immediate family which included her husband and elder sons called for assistance from the government while she was under critical conditions.

However she was pronounced dead in the early hours of today.

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Susan Karike (centre)

Susan Karike became a household name when at the age of 15 and a student attending Sacred Heart Mission School on Yule Island, her simple design for the PNG flag stole the approval of many Papua New Guineans including the members of the then House of Assembly who voted in favor of it.

Susan Hareho Karike (later Mrs Huhume), from Meii village in the Gulf province, designed the flag in 1971 after she was approached by Sister Joseph Mary, her art teacher that time.

During that year the country was preparing for the Independence, so the government needed one outstanding design for a flag which would symbolize their independence and the birth of a new nation.

Hence, they went ahead and invited all Papua New Guineans to enter through a competition designs which would help find a PNG flag.

Art teacher, Sister Mary asked Susan who was her best student that time to design a flag after she heard of the competition and Susan had agreed.

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Young Susan Karike in 1968

Perhaps not everyone was as enthusiastic about the proposal, but when the government received a draft design from Susan it soon found widespread support.

It wasn’t until July 1, 1971 that the decision to adopt Susan’s design for the new PNG Flag became official. A flag in the proportion of 3:4 was then designed and on the arrival of the Independence on 16th September, 1975, the new PNG flag carrying Susan’s design was raised at the Independence Hill at Waigani, in Port Moresby.

The ceremony was accompanied by the beating of the drums and a loud cheer from the crowd who were present that time to witness the historic event.

During Independence the PNG flag was seen flown alongside the Australian flag on some official ceremonies, and Susan was invited to raise the flag on such occasions or on other important occasions which took place after Independence.

So immense, the applause it may have seemed, on the birth of our nation but for Susan Karike it was her proudest moment and she’s much more humbled by it.

The then 15-year old Susan’s work has received personal credits for her arresting design of Papua New Guinea’s flag from many who’ve seen her work.

And we as a nation can only thank God for a very talented and gifted woman Susan Karike was.

Her proud legacy will leave on.

Sir Manasupe passes on

ANOTHER prominent Papua New Guinean was pronounced dead this morning.

He is the country’s former Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc.

Sir Manasupe retired from his post early last year due to health reasons as he was suffering from a rare Parkinson’s disease.

He was one of the longest serving Chief Secretary until his retirement.

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Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc

In honouring his services, the government renamed the refurbished NEC and PM’s office as Sir Manasupe Haus.

His death was confirmed by immediate family members at his home in Lae, Morobe Province.

More details on the death to follow.

The passing of Sir Manasupe came shortly after the death of prominent radio broadcaster Roger Hau’ofa, who passed away at the weekend.

The passing of these two great man means a great loss to the nation and mostly their immediate friends and family.

Supreme Court refuse Ombudsman’s application

A COURT application by the Ombudsman Commission to prevent Parliament from deliberating on the proposed increase on nomination fee and petition filing fee has been refused by the Supreme Court.

This means the recent amendments to section 103(2) of the Constitution and section 87 and 209 of the Organic Law on the National, Provincial and Local-Level Government elections by parliament will remain.

The Ombudsman Commission last month filed an application for an injunction to prevent Parliament from debating, deliberating and voting on National Election nomination fee and petition filing fee.

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Waigani National and Supreme Courts

The Supreme Court refused the application last Friday on grounds that it could not interfere with Parliament to deliberate on the proposed increase in nomination fees from K1000 to K10,000 and petition filing fee from K5000 to K20,000.

The proposed law was to amend section 103(2) of the Constitution and sections 87 and 209 of the Organic Law on National and Provincial and Local-Level Government Elections. The Government needs two-thirds majority (75 MPs) to pass the constitutional amendment at the last session of Parliament starting on March 28 before the National Election.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed the Supreme Court decision saying it would enable Parliament to decide if election nomination and petitioning fees would be adjusted.

He said the proposed amendments would strengthen democratic process to enable true contenders to stand for elections, and would help prevent the malicious use of the court system after elections.

“The proposed changes are commonsense and the Supreme Court has made its ruling.

“It is now up to the Parliament to debate and then to vote on this issue, as is the democratic process of our country.

“Ours is a robust democracy, a democracy where the rule of law is respected and protected, and this has been reinforced by the Supreme Court decision.

“The proposed amendments to electoral laws will mark an important point in the ongoing evolution of the electoral process in our country.

“A natural evolution of any economy is that prices and costs will increase over time.

“Election nomination fee has not changed since 1992, while incomes have increased since 1992, consumer prices have increased since 1992 and it is only natural that other costs increase over a quarter of a century.

“Too often we have seen our electoral process manipulated and distorted by people who are not seeking election, but are playing a strategic game to manipulate the outcome for other candidates.

“We want serious contenders to stand for elections, men and women who are serious about representing their people and serving the collective interest of the nation.”
Source: PC

Nation mourns passing of radio legend

PAPUA NEW GUINEA is mourning the death of a legend who had contributed immensely in the media industry of the nation.

The long time radio personality and host of the PNG FM 100 most loved Talkback show, Roger Hau’uofa, silently passed away at his wife’s Lare village at Kairuku in the central province on Saturday evening.

Late Hau’uofa clocked over 50 years in radio broadcasting from the PNG National Broadcasting Cooperation (NBC) to Kalang radio, now FM 100.

His name became sysnonymous to radio in PNG as he hosts the PNG Talkback program featuring many development issues covering a wide range of topics including Economical, Political and Social agenda\’s giving everyone an opportunity to participate and be heard on an open forum on National Radio.

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Late Roger Hau’uofa

Mr Hau’uofa however succumbed to kidney failure. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends and the nation as a whole.

Opposition Leader Don Polye today joined the chorus of condolence on the passing of Hau’ofa and expressed his sympathy to the families and relatives.

He described his death as a huge loss to the nation’s media industry.

“He had a distinctive voice with his fluency in English. His used to critically analyse important issues affecting the country and created forums on the radio airwaves to prompt policies and legislations to address them,” he said.

Polye said late Roger had left a legacy with over 50 years of experience which young presenters would aspire to live by.

“He was a strong advocate for democracy, rule of law, good governance and systems of governance amongst others.

“His relatives and families should be proud of his contribution to the nation,” he said.

He said his prayers were with them at this time of sorrow.

Meanwhile, Polye said lifestyle diseases had been a silent killer, causing deaths to many productive citizens.

He calls on fellow citizens to take healthy food especially cereals, nuts fruits and vegetables.

He discourages them eating protein with ‘too much fat.’

Polye, a gym goer, has challenged them to do physical exercise as it is healthy for their hearts.

Young Papua New Guinean jailed abroad for murder

A YOUNG Papua New Guinean was sentenced to 22 years in prison by the Australian court for willful murder.

Sigaragh (Steven) Baea, 22, murdered the mother of his old school friend allegedly over jealousy.

The Age reports that Baea must serve at least 17 years for the fit of rage in which he stabbed Prasad Somawansa 38 times in her Hoppers Crossing home on the night of February 18 last year.

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Baea (left) who murdered Somawansa (right). 

Baea and Mrs Somawansa’s son, Wishhasad, were at primary school together and rekindled their friendship early last year when they crossed paths in the street.

About a week after that chance meeting, Baea arrived unannounced at the Somawansa home and stayed for dinner, only to return later that night and murder Mrs Somawansa, whose son had been paged by his SES unit and whose husband was in Brisbane on work.

During the attack, Priyantha Hewage telephoned home and realised his wife of 22 years was in trouble when she answered the call. Mr Hewage heard his wife say “You go out, you go out, you go out” and then three times called out “Dos”, the name she called her husband.

Baea lived in Australia with his family as a young child but endured a troubled life when his family returned to Papua New Guinea. Justice James Elliott said Baea found it a shock to see that his former classmate was brought up in a loving, supportive household.

“You found the experience of witnessing two loving parents supporting their son in his life and studies quite confronting,” Justice Elliott told Baea in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

“You were jealous of Wish’s life.”

Justice Elliott said he could not determine the exact reason Baea murdered Mrs Somawansa with a kitchen knife he always kept on him, but found it a brutal and unprovoked attack.

“It was a vicious, gruesome and cowardly attack. You stabbed this defenceless woman in her own home violently and repeatedly … you only stopped stabbing her once she fell to floor, which is where you left her.”

Outside court, Mr Somawansa, with his father standing next to him, said no sentence could make up for their loss. He had no answers for why his mother was attacked.

“I just find it hard to understand how someone like that would do such a thing and how I could trust someone else if someone I thought was once a friend would do that to my own mother,” he said.

“She was a beautiful person, she was loving, she was caring and she always wanted to do good for everyone else. I just wasn’t privileged enough to spend more time with her and to care for her and to repay her for making me who I am today.”

The court heard Baea spent most of the following day in church contemplating what he did, before admitting his crime to police and then pleading guilty to murder.

He told police that after Mr Somawansa dropped him off at a shopping centre, he returned to the Somawansa house to look for his myki card. Mrs Somawansa asked him to leave as she was on the phone to a friend.

Justice Elliott said Mrs Somawansa had shown Baea only hospitality and courtesy, and that it was plain by her family’s victim impact statements that she would be “greatly missed”.

Despite that, the judge said he could not be satisfied Baea had “murderous intent” as he walked to the house, although he was clearly angry.

Baea was effectively abandoned by his parents as a teenager in Port Moresby, when his mother returned to Australia and remarried and his father began a relationship with another woman, which left Baea to raise his younger sister.

Baea was in Australia after visiting his mother when he met Mr Somawansa. He was due to return to Port Moresby three days after the murder.

Parliament act to ban cigarette sale

THE sale of loose cigarettes and packs containing less than 25 cigarettes will be illegal next year.

This is according to section 24 of the Tobacco Control Act which was passed by the National Parliament last October and certified on January 26.

According to Post-Courier reports, the Health Secretary Pascoe Kase said yesterday that smokers and their suppliers have about 12 months to prepare for the reform.

“I have directed my department to act immediately to draft a National Executive Council submission and an instrument for the consideration of the Governor-General who has the power to issue a Notice under the Act nominating a date Section 24 comes into operation. This date will be made 12 months from the date of the Gazette Notice. This will give affected companies time to prepare for the reform,” Kase said.

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“I want to be very clear about the transition arrangements for section 24 of the new Act. When in operation, this section forbids the sale of cigarettes in packets less than 25 and the sale of loose tobacco of less than 25 grams.”

“Implementation of a reform can be a complex process as change becomes known, accepted and made part of a new way of doing things. Since the Act was certified on January 26, the Department of Health has been working to ensure a smooth implementation process. This means realisation of the intended reforms at a pace that also recognises the need for a transition period for affected business to prepare themselves to make some changes to their businesses practices to meet the requirements of the new law.”

“The purpose of such measure is to discourage young people from buying tobacco products or to make them less attractive to young people. It is the smaller, and therefore cheaper packages of tobacco product which tend to be more likely to be bought by young people who often have less available money to spend,” said Mr Kase in a media release.