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  • Press Releases
    Friday 4 March 2011 5:30am

    Auckland, New Zealand
    : Developing and reforming business registries in the Pacific Islands is essential if the region wants to build an efficient and flourishing corporate sector, delegates said at a workshop jointly organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development’s New Zealand Companies Office. - ADB.
  • Press Releases
    Friday 4 March 2011 4:59am

    Brussels, Belgium
    : On 18 February, Anthony and other union officials from the sugar industry were called to meet the Fijian Prime Minister at a sugar mill in Ba, on the western side of Fiji. The union representatives were subsequently assaulted by military officers while still at the mill, then taken to Namaka military barracks and subjected to further beatings. - ITUC.
  • Rugby
    Thursday 3 March 2011 10:17pm

    Australia
    : The Tonga A Rugby Union team rounded off its three-match tour of Australia with a victory over the Queensland Reds Academy, 23-22 at Ballymore on Monday evening, February 28.
  • Talanga 'i he lea faka-Tonga
    Thursday 3 March 2011 9:47pm

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : ‘Oku ou fakamalo atu heni ki he’etau Kau Loea ‘i Nu’u Sila – Mataitini Fotu, Sione Fonua mo ‘Amelia Saafi ho’omou feinga ‘oku fai ke fakamahino pe ko e ‘api ko ‘Atalanga na’e fakatau ‘e he Pule’anga. ‘Oku mahu’inga ho’omou ‘ohake ‘a e me’a ni he ‘oku tau fanongo pe ‘oku ‘i ai mo e ‘api ‘o e Pule’anga ‘i London, San Francisco mo New York, ka ko hai kuo sio he ngaahi Tohi Fakatau ‘api ko ia. - Sione ‘Uhilamoelangi Liava’a.
  • Letters
    Thursday 3 March 2011 9:18pm

    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
    : Mr. Public wants to see a published list of the directors’ salaries, and on down to the meter-person. Have they been offered salary reductions, early retirements, etc., to reduce labor costs? A comparison of those salaries to the public sector’s comparable wages should shed some light on how efficient and cost-conscious TPL’s management is. - Sione Akemeihakau Mokofisi.
  • Travel
    Thursday 3 March 2011 2:56pm

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : ” ‘Eva Mai 2011”, a Tonga Tourism Experience Program was opened by the Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre yesterday, March 2. The six days annual ‘Eva Mai program, launched last year by the Tonga Tourist Association, showcases what Tonga has to offer tourists. This week overseas tour wholesalers and tour operators will experience Tonga for themselves, visiting historical sites, accommodation facilities and beaches in Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai and ‘Eua. The Prime Minister congratulated the TTA and local tourist operators with their perseverance and courage “to make ‘Eva Mai a beacon of hope for the tourism industry and the economy as a whole. My government will continue to support this excellent initiative in conjunction with the private sector both here and overseas.” Lord Tu’ivakano said that the Friendly Islands are unique and remain special for the world, “our best product is our people, named by Captain Cook the Friendly Islands …” “Whether you are here in Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai or ‘Eua you will come face to face with a group of islands far more different from our neighbours. We are the last to be discovered and experienced in the Pacific.” Airlines Sakopo Lolohea the CEO of the Ministry of Tourism said three airlines had joined this year’s program: Air New Zealand, Pacific Blue and Air Pacific. From Australia there were 12 companies, including travel agents, travel magazines, diving adventures and Tonga’s travel agent. Six companies joined from New Zealand including GO Holiday, Air New Zealand Holidays, Pacific Blue-NZ, Air New Zealand, Infinity Holiday and the TVB. From the United States two companies, Destination World and Destination Magazine, with Air Pacific Fiji joining the program from Fiji. Following the opening of ‘Eva Mai 2011 Program visitors inspected a display outside the Fa’onelua Convention Centre by about 30 local tour operators of their products, handicrafts, and cultural performances. The program ends in Tonga on Monday, March 7.
  • Police and Crime
    Tuesday 1 March 2011 11:12pm

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : Tonga’s drivers have responded well to breath testing with less than one per cent of tests detecting positive alcohol during the first two months of testing.
  • Development
    Tuesday 1 March 2011 10:34pm

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : THE 50th anniversary of the United States Peace Corps was commemorated in Tonga today, March 1, with the unveiling of a plaque on the central Nuku’alofa waterfront. Kathy Rulon the Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff at Peace Corps from Washington, came to Tonga for the occasion. Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister Hon Samiu Vaipulu and Peace Corps Country Director Kelley Cullen unveiled the plaque located in the Yellow Pier area, during a ceremony attended by current Peace Corps Volunteers, former volunteers and friends. Peace Corps Tonga Country Director Kelley Cullen said the event celebrated 50-years of the US Peace Corps (1961-2011) promoting peace and friendship around the world and they were proud that over 200,000 volunteers had served in 139 countries. In Tonga, the location for the plaque was selected because many of waterfront trees were planted there in 1992 to mark the Peace Corps Tonga 25th anniversary. 43 years in Tonga US Peace Corps have served 43-years in Tonga since its first group of 39 volunteers arrived on October 9, 1967. Since then over 1,450 volunteers have worked in more than 30 areas of development in Tonga. Kelley said that when the first group of 39 volunteers came to Tonga they were mainly engaged in teaching in primary and secondary schools. In the 1980’s volunteers focussed more on technical assistance to government ministries and sponsoring organisations and taught science, vocational education and worked in health cooperatives and in energy related areas, she said. Volunteers then returned in the 1990’s and served as secondary school teachers in biology and chemistry while others continued to teach English as part of new national literacy curriculum at the primary school level. She said most recently, volunteers had developed a Tonga Expanded Community Education Project concentrating on both formal and non- formal education at the village and town level. They also teach English, industrial arts, teacher training, ICT, and business education to primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Tonga. “We are proud that we currently have 46 dynamic and dedicated volunteers serving Tonga with 23 ] in Tongatapu, five each in ‘Eua and Ha’apai and 13 in Vava’u.” 1967 Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minster Samiu Vaipulu said the original Peace Corps volunteers came to Tonga in 1967 and although they came to primary and secondary schools they offered their technical knowledge to build capacity in agriculture, fisheries, public health, employment, construction, business and cooperatives and youth development. He said during the 1960’s Tonga enjoyed a balance of payments and the pa’anga was stronger than the New Zealand dollar, Australian, US and Pacific currencies due to the abundance of exports of produces such as copra and tomatoes. He said the newly elected Tonga government was looking at a community level and private sector led economic development and Tongans should make good use of what US Peace Corps offered. “They are transferring technologies that we are short of and to remind us what we can do with the number of unemployed youth. “I am sure that the Peace Corps volunteers can find a way to get employment to these youth and I do not mean being employed in the office because we could not provide offices for all school leavers but I am confident as said President Obama said and I quote, “Yes, we can do it.” On behalf of the king, the Prime Minster, Government and people of Tonga thanked the US President and people of the United States for supporting Tonga through its Peace Corps volunteers. During the ceremony former Peace Corps volunteers who reflected on their time of served in Tonga, including Renswick Nelson, Christine ‘Uta’atu and Don Cobbs.
  • Economy
    Tuesday 1 March 2011 9:33pm

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : A large decline in remittances to Tonga is slowing down the economy while the inflation rate is expected to rise continually over the next six months, causing a weak domestic economy, Tonga’s Reserve Bank has reported.
  • Royalty & Nobility
    Tuesday 1 March 2011 1:24pm

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : TONGA will be without a king for ten days, starting today when HM King George Tupou V will leave for Los Angeles and will not return until March 10. The Palace Office stated that under the new constitutional arrangement, which restructured the Tongan government, “there is no need for a Regent to be appointed.” The King will be accompanied by the Minister of Education, Dr ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki on his visit to the USA, which will be for the purpose of exploring, “possible educational and development opportunities that could bring future benefits to the Kingdom of Tonga,” according to the statement. It is believed to be the first time that Tonga has been without a King or a Regent since Tupou I ascended to the throne in 1845, although this has not been confirmed by the Palace Office. In the past, when the Tongan monarch has left the country a Regent has been appointed to fill his role; and most recently, the king’s sister, Princess Pilolevu has acted as Regent.
  • From the Courts
    Monday 28 February 2011 10:30pm

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : Paul Karalus, Tonga’s former Minister of Transport told the Nuku’alofa Supreme Court on Thursday, February 24, that he had relied entirely on the maritime expertise of the marine surveyors and the Acting Director of Marine, defendant Viliami Tu’ipulotu and they had never told him of any concern they had about the seaworthiness of the MV Princess Ashika.
  • Pacific Islands
    Monday 28 February 2011 8:51pm

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : TONGA’S 10th military contingent has deployed to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands RAMSI, leaving Tonga on Friday, February 25. The contingent of 33 soldiers is the first to be deployed to the Solomon Islands following the return of the ninth military contingent that included Tongan soldiers who were alleged to have shot dead a Solomon Islander in Titinge on August 12, 2010. Captain Toni Fonokalafi told Matangi Tonga Online on February 28, that an investigation conducted by the Tonga Defence Services following incident had concluded in September that the Tongan soldiers did not commit any crime. “The Tongan boys acted according to the Rules of Engagement in regards to the area of operation,” he said. “To my understanding a report was officially submitted from the Government of Tonga to the Government of the Solomon Islands about the findings of the investigation,” said Capt Fonokalafi. The ninth military contingent returned to Tonga on August 27, 2010 after completing their normal four months deployment under RAMSI. 10th contingent Meanwhile, Tonga’s 10th contingent left Tonga on an Australian Air Force Hercules aircraft, going first to Australia for four weeks pre-deployment training before being deployed to the Solomon Islands on March 29, 2011. The normal RAMSI rotation has the Tongans taking over from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force. Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano was at Fua’amotu International Airport and sent off the departing contingent. “I wish you all the best in your mission, as you are good men of this nation. You are representing His Majesty the King, and the people of Tonga.” RAMSI is a partnership between the Solomon Islands and 15 other Pacific countries, including Tonga, to help bring back stability, security and prosperity to the nation. The TDS has provided assistance since 2004.
  • From the Courts
    Monday 28 February 2011 1:30pm

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : A New Zealand engine mechanic David Shaw who inspected the main engines of the MV Princess Ashika in Fiji on April 2009 told the Supreme Court in Nuku’alofa on February 24, that he never signed an Audit Report dated April 6-8, 2009 nor did he authorise anyone to do so.
  • Press Releases
    Sunday 27 February 2011 9:59pm

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : The Government of Tonga, along with church leaders of the nation, will hold a special church service tomorrow evening, Sunday 27th February, to pray for the community of Christchurch as well as the New Zealand government, following the devastating earthquake on Tuesday 22nd February. - PMO, 26/02/27.
  • From the Courts
    Sunday 27 February 2011 7:30pm

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : A Senior Marine Engineer, Lou Pale, one of the three surveyors who surveyed the MV Princess Ashika after it arrived in Nuku’alofa from Fiji on July 2, 2009 told the Supreme Court on Wednesday, February 23 that he had never surveyed a vessel with so many deficiencies as the Ashika and the vessel was unsuitable to sail on Tongan waters.
  • Health
    Wednesday 23 February 2011 4:28pm

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : AN eight -members group of volunteers from the South Pacific Animal Welfare SPAW are finishing off a month long animal care clinics that was launched after they arrived in Tonga on February 7. During the SPAW clinics at the Village Clinic, Ha’ateiho, they de-sexed well over one hundred cats and dogs, they treated about forty animals, and applied euthanasia on four dogs, three were in very bad condition after being hit by vehicles on the road, and a one was severely attacked by hook worms. In addition all the animals that were brought to the SPAW clinics were given a four month supply of treatment for worms and flees, to last them until the group return in May. Karen Galvin, the founder of SPAW and the leader of the group said that all the services and the treatment they gave were for free, though they welcome any donation from the public. The team is made up of three veterinarians and four veterinarian nurses, all women from Australia, New Zealand and the UK. “This is our first visit to Tonga, and we want this project to last, and to be successful.” Karen said that besides offering free services they also would like to develop a good working relation with their local counterparts. “It has been great, Mika, Mote and Nau have been working with us since we arrived.” The SPAW do not offer their services in every South Pacific island countries, only where animal care services are not readily or freely available. Mika Saipala from the Livestock Division of the Ministry of Agriculture said that allocation in the Ministry’s budget for the treatment of animal against worm is about $10,000 per annum, and that is not even enough for the treatment of animal for human consumption such as cows, goats and pigs, so pet animals are not catered for. He said that is why his ministry is very supportive of the initiative by SPAW. With regards to the general health of Tonga’s domesticated animals. Karen said that a national survey on the health of domesticated animals in Tonga has not been carried out, but worms appeared to be a threat, particularly with the Tongan life style of free roaming animals, and through their feces worms could be easily transmitted to human. “Good animal husbandry, catering for the security and the need of animals is fundamental,” said Karen and stressed that the basic need of animals are water, food and a shelter. Dr Bethan Cosgrove one of the veterinarians with the group said that the treatment of animal for human consumption such as pigs is vital, “because even after it is cooked, it would not kill all the worms, and meat with worms can be transferred to human.” Bethan is English who was on a working holiday in Australia when she heard of the SPAW program to Tonga, and she offered her service.
  • Police and Crime
    Wednesday 23 February 2011 10:34am

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : THE implementation of a newly structured Tonga Police was officially declared by the Minister of Police, Hon. Dr Viliami Latu on Monday, February 21, when he announced the appointment by the government of Police Commander Chris Kelley as Tonga’s first Police Commissioner. Dr Latu said that the introduction of the newly structured Tonga Police and the appointment of Chris Kelley had historical significance, since the inception of the Tonga Police Force in the 1860’s. “The separation of powers between the Commissioner and myself will provide for more constabulary independence. It would prove greater certainty, and transparency with the allocation of police powers,” he said. Under the Tonga Police Act 2010, the Tonga Police Force will become known as just the Tonga Police, and the Commissioner will have the command, supervision and control of the Tonga Police, and every member of the Tonga Police shall comply with the Commissioner’s instructions, circulars and orders. “Commissioner, the responsibility is now yours to carry out the organisation, governance, and the administration required implement the Act on behalf of the government,” said the Minister of Police. Police Commissioner Chris Kelley in his address said that the Police Act 2010 was required to better equip Tonga Police to confidently meet the challenges of policing in modern Tonga. “It came out of public concerns, government unease and police dissatisfaction with the old act which lacked clarity in administration and operation, and it adversely impacted on the effectiveness of Tonga Police,” he said. “The new act ensures police transparency and accountability to the people, by establishing guiding principles for how policing should be carried out. “Most importantly, it provides rights, strengthens safeguards in the exercise of police powers, not only for suspected offenders but also for victims and witnesses and members of the public who have care and protection needs,” he said. Recruitment With regards to the recruiting of police into the Tonga Police, a Police Employment Committee will be set up to appoint, promote and transfer members of the Tonga Police, and to determine the conditions of employment. Members of the Committee consist of the Commissioner, and two police officers appointed by the Minister of Police. A Police Commissioner holds office for a period not exceeding three years, but he or she will be eligible for re-appointment for one further term only. Police Commander Chris Kelley, a New Zealander, was contracted by the Tongan government on September 2008 for a period of three years, with the privilege for a renewal. Following the destruction of the Nuku’alofa Central Business District by protestors in 2006, the government launched the Tonga Police Development Program in, 2007. A five-years Tripartite Partnership Agreement was signed by Australia, New Zealand and Tonga in July 2008, with an allocation of $4 million pa’anga to finance the program. Chris Kelley was appointed as the Commander of the Tonga Police Force on September 2008 to oversee the program. The passing of the Tonga Police Act 2010, the restructuring of the police and the appointment of the new police commissioner were steps toward completing the Tonga Police Development Program. The reforming of the Ministry of Police, allows the other two portfolios of the Minister of Police, the Prison and the Fire Services to have a similar administration structure as the police, with the Superintendent of the Prisons, Sione Falemanu, responsible for the administration of all prisons in Tonga, and the Chief Fire Officer, Lofia Heimuli responsible for all Fire Services in the country.
  • Press Releases
    Monday 21 February 2011 5:33pm

    Noumea, New Caledonia
    : The Government of New Caledonia and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) have signed three agreements today to fund interventions to reduce public health risks resulting from contaminated drinking water, inadequate sanitation and drought. - SPC.
  • Economy
    Monday 21 February 2011 6:20am

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga
    : ALEX THURSBY, the CEO for ANZ Bank Asia Pacific, Europe and America said on his arrival in Nuku’alofa on Thursday, February 17 that for the Pacific to increase its economic development it should “capitalize on its proximity to Asia and the growing connections it has with the region.” Alex is on a six nation Pacific tour, accompanied by seven members of his leadership team. He pointed out that Tonga’s imports from China grew from USD$1.2 million to around USD$10 million in the past decade, and the trend is replicated throughout the Pacific, where the imports from China into the region passed USD$1 bilion for the first time in 2010. The exports from the Pacific to China has also went up by 77% during the first 11months of 2010, compared to 2009, and it has been estimated that it will reach a record of US$1.2 billion, more than eight times the amount in 2001. Imports from China into the region has passed USD$1 bilion for the first time in 2010. Alex said that during the next five years, the emerging markets of Asia “are expected to account for more than 50% of global economic growth and Asia, particularly China will be the most significant driver of World growth.” Meanwhile the ANZ Bank has big plans for its Pacific operation this year. “We intend to introduce a faster, lower cost way for people to remit money back to the Pacific, we’ll launch a new level of service for our affluent customers and we’ll continue to explore how we can use mobile phones to improve banking services for people living in remote areas.” The ANZ employs more than 2000 people and operates 60 branches in 12 Pacific countries. On this Pacific tour, Alex and his team will also visit Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Guam, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands.
  • Agriculture
    Monday 21 February 2011 1:55am

    Rome, Italy
    : In a world that has 1.6 billion people who are overweight, the biggest challenge to mobilizing action against hunger is that hunger is becoming invisible in places, “and in a world exploding with prosperity and possibility we have become morally bankrupt, we have lost the sense of compassion…,” UN Messenger of Peace HRH Princess Haya Al Hussein said this weekend, appealing to leaders who can make a difference for the rural poor. - By Mary Lyn Fonua