Saturday, October 31, 2009

First pictures of the Fiji v Tonga Pacific Cup rugby league game

Fiji beats Tonga 26-16

Fiji has just taken out third place in the SP Brewery Pacific Cup rugby league with a 26-16 win over Tonga at the Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby.

Fiji led 10-4 at halftime, but Tonga fought back in the second half to level 10-10.

Both tries scored a try apiece after that to level 16-16 before Fiji turned on the flair with two quick tries in the later part of the match to win the game.

Fiji 26 (Akuila Vate 2, Joseteki Ravueti 2, Iowane Divavesi tries; Wesley Naiqama 3 goals) bt Tonga 16 Richard Fa’aoso 2, Joel Taufa’auo tries; Eddy Paea 2 goals).

Full details and pictures to come


Central province village into large-scale taro farming

Happy Egalauna farmers show off their taro produce during the first harvest
DAL technical officer Francis Wambon explains taro harvesting method to villagers

By SOLDIER BURUKA of Department of Agriculture and Livestock
Egalauna villagers in the Marshall Lagoon area of Central province are very much involved in taro cultivation on a large scale.
With the help of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock and other partners, the village people are learning new methods of planting taro and are pleased with their efforts so far.
Recently, the people made a big harvest and have secured markets for their taro produce in the nation’s capital.
The community has established the Egalauna Farmers Association with 200 members and whose objective is to promote agricultural farming skills, farmer training and extension amongst the villagers.
Late last year, DAL officers led by Francis Wambon, introduced the new taro-planting technique, which has been promoted through the European Union-funded Development of Sustainable Agriculture in the Pacific (DSAP) project.
One ha of land was ploughed and divided into 100 plots of 10m by 10m for each farmer to plant taro.
This taro project is the first of its kind in the Aroma coast based purely on taro farming using the DSAP concept.
DSAP has ceased in PNG, however, DAL is using the concept to continue promoting taro and institutional farming activities in certain communities.
The idea was introduced in Egaulauna by a teacher based at Kupiano high school where DSAP provided technical assistance in agricultural activities.
According to Mr Wambon, taro farming in the Egaulauna and nearby communities had enormous potential and could be further developed.
Taro is a much-sought after food item and can be supplied for household consumption, local and retail market as well as for export.
“The taro project has generated a lot of interest amongst the Egalauna community and the people are very interested in new taro planting techniques that we are teaching them,” Mr Wambon said.
During the first harvest, the association invited Mr Wambon and other DAL officers to witness the occasion.
Mr Wambon told the people that the project was looking good and could become a focal point for conducting training programmes involving nearby villages.
He said the project had the potential to be expanded to other sites in Abau, Rigo and Kairuku districts.
He told them to work hard and become leading taro producers in the province.
The Egalauna farmers are planning to plant up to two ha next year.
Other crops that the people are growing include rice, bulb onion, radish, capsicum, cabbage, watermelon and ginger.

Australian states warned on plague locusts

Something for Papua New Guinea to consider, given that we are right next door to Australia...

Article from: AAP
October 30, 2009 03:28pm

QUEENSLAND is facing a threat of biblical proportions as Australian plague locusts mass on the border with NSW.
Biosecurity Queensland has warned that the locust swarms, which can travel up to 600km in a night, could cause damage worth millions of dollars.
In 2004/05, locusts were responsible for national agricultural losses estimated to be worth more than $11 million.
Biosecurity officer Kevin Strong said the locust population in central western NSW was expected to soon form a number of highly mobile swarms.
"We need everyone to be on high alert for any sightings of locusts and report them immediately to Biosecurity Queensland by calling 13 25 23," Mr Strong said.
The ability of locusts to migrate over large distances in short periods of time meant virtually all of Queensland's agricultural areas were at some level of risk.
"Locusts can travel between 500 and 600 kilometres in a single night if the temperature, wind speed and wind direction are right," he said.
"Even in small numbers they are highly destructive.
"A single Australian plague locust can eat approximately one-third to half of its body weight per day throughout its lifespan.
"This means a locust swarm covering an area of one square kilometre will eat up to 10 tonnes of vegetation every 24 hours."
Mr Strong says if left untreated and with favourable weather conditions, locusts are capable of a seven to tenfold population increase with each generation.
Biosecurity officials are on stand-by with chemical spray.

Pacific Cup rugby league finals

The SP Brewery Pacific Cup rugby league finals are on this weekend at the Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby.

In the play-off for third place today, Fiji takes on Tonga.

In the grand final tomorrow, giant-killers Cook Islands play hosts Papua New Guinea in a game which will decide who plays in the Four Nations Cup next year.

Watch this blog for results and pictures.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Tragedy of the Montevideo Maru world premiere

Australia’s worst maritime tragedy, which intimately involves Papua New Guinea, will be remembered in the stirring world premiere of The Tragedy of the Montevideo Maru on Wednesday, November 11.

It tells the shocking story of the sinking of the Montevideo Maru off the Philippines coast on July 1, 1942.

Japanese hospital ship Montevideo Maru was carrying 845 troops from Australia’s Lark force and 208 civilians – 1,053 men – taken prisoner of war after Japan invaded Rabaul, East New Britain province, in Jan 1942.

The youngest was a boy of 15.

There were fathers and sons, civilians and troops, missionaries and traders, businessmen and administrators.

They had all been captured and interned by the Japanese in Rabaul.

They all died.

The youngest, the 15-year old, was Ivan Gascoigne, recorded as a clerk, the son of Cyril Gascoigne, who also died.

The sinking of the Montevideo Maru at 2.40 am on Wednesday July 1, 942 was Australia’s greatest disaster at sea, then and now.

The unmarked Japanese ship left occupied Rabaul on June 22, 1942, but nine days later on July 1, American submarine USS Sturgeon torpedoed it off Luzon in the Philippines.

The saddest thing is that the wreck has never been found to this day, and both Australia and PNG do not know the names of those killed, as the official nominal (katakana) roll – which might give a clue to the identities of those on board – has not been located

This Remembrance Day, The History Channel will commemorate Australia’s greatest-ever maritime disaster in The Tragedy of the Montevideo Maru, premiering on Wednesday Nov 11 at 7.30pm AEDT.

Introduced by Sky News anchor Jim Waley – who lost a relative in the tragedy – and narrated by actor John Jarratt, this explosive two-hour documentary film tells the forgotten story of the death of over 1,000 Australians who were locked in the hold of the Japanese POW ship Montevideo Maru when the vessel was torpedoed.

In the early hours of July 1, 1942, the POW “hell ship” Montevideo Maru was torpedoed off the coast of the Philippines by an American submarine, the USS Sturgeon.

What the Americans did not realise at the time was that the boat was in fact a floating prison, holding over 1,000 Australian POW’s and civilians.

Tragically, 1,053 Australians perished on that fateful day.

The Tragedy of the Montevideo Maru recounts the harrowing story of the sacrifice and suffering endured by these forgotten Australians during World War II.

It features detailed re-enactments of the shocking event as well as in-depth interviews with soldiers and crew members speaking publicly for the very first time – including the only Japanese crew member to survive the Montevideo Maru and a USS Sturgeon crew member who witnessed the sinking ship through the periscope.

This unique documentary also explores the broader story of the torturous Australian POW experience during this tumultuous period of WWII and features interviews with both Australian and British survivors of other hell ship sinkings.

Group channel manager of FOXTEL’s Owned and Operated Factual Channels, Jim Buchan, said: “In the tradition of event television such as Beyond Kokoda, and He’s Coming South, The History Channel remains committed to remembering the legacy left behind by Australia’s brave men and women.

“I am delighted that we are able to share this truly incredible, although sadly forgotten, story.”

Producer John Schindler said he was drawn to the Montevideo Maru story because his own mother lost four loved ones in the tragedy: “It is one of Australia’s greatest maritime tragedies with the loss of 1,053 lives and yet remarkably, most Australians have never heard of it.

“This documentary will once and for all put faces to numbers.”

The tragedy of the Montevideo Maru honours the brave Australian soldiers who served on the islands of New Britain, New Ireland and the surrounding islands of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea.

The documentary is an exclusive FOXTEL production, co-produced by John Schindler and Bob Blasdall.



Amelia Earhart's plane in Papua New Guinea...something big is stirring

I believe that something big is stirring in the pot regarding the Amelia Earhart case.

This week, I received an email from David Billings, the former Air Niugini engineer who has been religiously searching the jungles of East New Britain for more than 15 years for what he presumes is the wreckage of Earhart’s plane.

I have also received emails from overseas, from total strangers, asking about how to get in touch with Billings.

I understand that over the last week or so, there has been renewed speculation, particularly in the US, that the Earhart plane is somewhere in PNG.

I have had a record number of visitors to this blog this week, mainly on one story, “Amelia Earhart’s plane is still there” (

Another interesting story is “Did Amelia Earhart return to Rabaul” (

There have also been speculations this week that a plane wreck believed to be Earhart’s has been located somewhere between Lae, which was Earhart’s last port of call in July 1937, and the island of New Britain.




The search for Amelia Earhart flies again

by Katie O'Brien

Oct 29, 2009


Imagine being thrilled to learn that the hardened material in your hands is dried...well, poop.  You might feel differently if the dropping potentially belonged to a famous aviator. 

Richard Gillespie, executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, said he believes his team has unearthed several artifacts belonging to airplane pilot Amelia Earhart, whose plane crashed on July 2, 1937.

The site of Gillespie’s search is Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati.  The atoll in the middle of the South Pacific is 400 miles southeast of Howland Island, Earhart’s intended target for the day on her epic flight around the world.

Gillespie’s Earhart Project, what Gillespie calls the “Holy Grail” of aviation mysteries, is the latest investigation testing the hypothesis that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan landed, and eventually died, on Gardner Island.  The mystery surrounding Earhart and Noonan’s disappearance propagated a gamut of theories, books and now, a newly released blockbuster motion picture, “Amelia.”

“The crash at sea [theory] is nice and clean. A lot of people prefer that to someone desperately trying to survive on a desert island and getting eaten by crabs. But it does appear to us that there is a chapter of Earhart’s story, of her trying to survive that’s, very heroic. If it happened, it really does need to be told…this castaway of Gardner Island’s story,” said Gillespie, a retired crash investigator who lives in Delaware.

When he founded the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery in 1985, he and other members supported the "crash-and-sank" theory. Since November of 1988, the Earhart Project has explored an older U.S. Navy hypothesis that the flight ended on one of the islands of the Phoenix Group. 

The only known piece of Earhart’s Lockheed L-10 Electra, the Lady Lindy, was found in 1937 by Dan W. Stringer, stationed with the Army Air Corp.’s 50th Observation Squadron at Luke Field in Hawaii.

On March 30, 1937, four months prior to Earhart’s planned trip around-the-world, the Electra crashed during take-off, stripping a piece of its landing gear from the plane. The accident delayed her around-the-world trip.

Stringer found the scrap and kept it for years as a private souvenir. Last year, his grandson, Jon Ott of San Jose, Calif. inherited the piece and took it to PBS’s “History Detectives” to test its authenticity. PBS in turn, took the piece to Trevor Harding at the California Polytechnic State University.

Harding used a scanning electron microscope to test the sample’s composition for traces of aluminum alloy 2024, the alloy batch unique to the skin of the Electra model. The sample proved to be authentic. 

Gillespie also has found trace aluminum his team collected over nine expeditions to the Phoenix Group and Gardner islands but his pieces haven't been tested as yet due to a lack of funding, he said. To help raise funds for his next spring 2010 expedition, he is reserving six seats on his boat at a ticket price of $50,000 each.

He said a news team and representatives of the Smithsonian Institution also have asked to join him.

But Gillespie does have a number two option. Chunks of a brown dirt-like substance found on the Gardner atoll during the last expedition are human fecal matter, according to Gillespie.  He said he hopes to test the waste—as well as 20th century makeup and pieces from a compact mirror found at the site against—a DNA sample from a woman related to Earhart.

  Michael Foote, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago, said that the conditions on the island raise some questions about the theory of finding human fecal matter from the 1930s.

“Sure, there is such a thing as fossilized dung or fossilized feces. If the environment were dry enough, it could just mummify. It’s conceivable. But the heat, the humidity,” Foote said, “The [Gardner] island is very humid,” Foote said.

Earhart’s crash may have involved a case of unfortunate miscalculation. Her Electra was modified to allow for additional fuel tanks to allow her to navigate the globe. As a result, pieces of navigation devices were removed for weight consideration, according to the American Aviation Historical Society.

Robert Brockmeir, retired United Airlines pilot and president of the society, said that, despite all the conspiracy theories, Occam’s razor applies.

“You take off from Honolulu, 0-6-0, flying northeast. If they’re speaking Spanish, you turn north, if it’s French Canadian, you head south. It’s different when you’re heading for a tiny island in the middle of nowhere,” Brockmeir said.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Papua New Guinea premiere of BBC hit documentary series

Caption: BGS events manager Jessica Johnston welcomes Dominic Seddon to the premiere of the BBC wildlife documentary at the Port Moresby residence of the British High Commissioner to PNG


Members of the British Graduates Society were given a special treat recently when they watched the Papua New Guinea premiere of hit TV documentary series "Land of the Lost Volcano".

British High Commissioner to PNG, David Dunn, who hosted the screening at his Port Moresby residence, said the wildlife TV programme was a big hit in the UK.

"A total of 15 million people in the UK were captivated by the breathtaking scenery and the discovery of new species in Papua New Guinea. The documentary is aimed at wooing a younger generation of conservationists in the UK and the world to follow in the footsteps of their seniors who grew up being inspired by David Attenborough wildlife documentaries,'' he added as he introduced the first episode of the three-part series. 

 The documentary was filmed early this year on East New Britain Island and Southern Highlands' Mt Bosavi and followed an international team of scientists, cavers and wildlife filmmakers in the dense and treacherous PNG jungle.

In the BBC series, scientists assisted by tribal elders comb the jungle recording wildlife for a database which would be passed on to the PNG government at the completion of the identification process. They discover 40 species new to science that included amongst others a giant woolly rat and fanged frogs.

BGS vice president Hennie Ikupu said the documentary showcased PNG and confirmed its position as one of the world's top biodiversity hot spots.

"The documentary explicitly highlights the richness of PNG's biodiversity and its significance as the host of one of the world's largest and last remaining tropical rainforest areas," he added.   

The screening of "Land of the Lost Volcano" is part of a lively event and activity calendar hosted by the BGS. The society has been active since 2006 and has recently increased its membership by over 60%. This has created a renewed and strengthened network of Papua New Guinean and expatriate members in business, education, development, Government and diplomatic services.

Screenings of the second two episodes of the documentary will continue next Tuesday November 3 and the following Tuesday November 10.

Anyone interested in joining the British Graduates Society of Papua New Guinea should email ukgradutes.png@gmail .com for further information.

For more information contact:

Jessica Johnston

British Graduates Society

Digicel: (675) 7196 9998

Fax: (675) 321 5007



British Graduate Society of Papua New Guinea

The British Graduates Society of Papua New Guinea has been active since 2006. In July 2008 the Society was fully incorporated and registered with the IPA. The Patron of the Society is currently His Excellency David Dunn, British High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea.

The society is currently actively seeking new members. To be eligible as a member a person must have studied at a UK institution and pay a membership fee of K100 per annum. A person may also become an associate member if they are a spouse, partner or nominated person of a full member. Associate members must pay a K50 fee per annum.

Some of the objectives of the society are currently;

         To establish and maintain means of communication between members of the BGSPNG and their institutions through the British High Commission and Alumni Societies;

         To foster relations between the United Kingdom and Papua New Guinea;

         To support and promote the principles of membership for all former students who have studied in the United Kingdom;

         To sponsor and promote educational, social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities among members of the BGSPNG and their families;

         To promote and maintain for members of the BGSPNG a common meeting place and a social centre over the long term and to network with similar entities or organisations;

         To provide a forum for the dissemination, discussion and debate of information and knowledge about matters of former colleges, universities, or matters of public interest.

Papua New Guinea banana industry under threat

Workshop participants making a field inspection to a banana patch in Morobe
Fusarium oxysporum Foc, the fungus that causes Fusarium Wilt disease on bananas
Fusarium wilt, also known as Panama disease, is a destructive fungal disease of banana plants.
It is caused by a fungus referred to as Fusarium oxysporum f.sp.cubense (Foc).
According to Dr Agustin Molina, an international specialist on banana diseases and the regional coordinator for Asia and the Pacific Bioversity International, the disease has already been identified along the PNG - Indonesia border in the Indonesian provinces of Western Papua and Papua.
He cautioned that there was a great risk of the disease spreading across to bananas in PNG.
Once Foc is in the soil, it cannot be eliminated.
Dr Molina said this during a two-day workshop at Bubia in Lae recently.
The workshop was conducted for quarantine and extensions officers in PNG for increasing PNG’s capacity for early detection, interception and incursion management of Fusarium wilt and other important banana diseases.
Participants were from National Agriculture Research Institute, National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority and Department of Agriculture and Livestock.
Banana is grown throughout PNG and it is the fourth most-consumed food with 34.3% after greens (75%), sweet potato (60.2%) and rice (35.1%).
It is considered the most-important staple crop with greatest production in Morobe, East New Britain, Central and Madang provinces.
Fusarium wilt of banana is a vascular wilt disease and can be very destructive.
It invades the vascular tissues called xylem through the roots causing discoloration and wilting.
The wilt pathogen is soil-borne and it survives in the soil for years.
It also survives on infected plant parts and infects roots, spreads and destroys vascular tissues.
The disease can be transmitted through suckers, roots, soil water and contaminated equipment.
The focus of the training was to improve capacity of extension officers to manage incursions of banana diseases into PNG with emphasis on measures to prevent the spread of Fusarium wilt across PNG-Indonesia Boarder.
Experiments in Indonesia were set up in an attempt to control the wilt.
The use of clean planting materials and resistant varieties are among the most promising measures identified so far.
Suggestions made at the workshop for the prevention or limitation of the wilt include:
• The need to evaluate important PNG banana varieties for resistance to Foc;
• Provide briefing papers on threat and potential impact of Foc and other diseases to policy makers;
• Better coordination of emergency response to relevant agencies and development at all levels;
• Formation of committees for further awareness-raising in the provinces along the border through local level government and ward presidents, church leaders and teachers; and
• Production of handbook of important banana diseases.

25 best blogs 2009 - TIME

What happens to your FaceBook after you die?,8599,1932803,00.html

Papua New Guinea LNG environmental impact statement approved


•           Key milestone approval for the project

•           Confirms most comprehensive environmental assessment in PNG history


Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Date, October 28, 2009 - Esso Highlands Limited, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation and operator of the PNG LNG project, today announced that the Government of Papua New Guinea, Department of Environment and Conservation, has approved the project's Environment Impact Statement which defines how the project will manage and meet its environmental commitments.

The Impact Statement contains assessments undertaken by environmental experts with years of experience working in Papua New Guinea and information from the current oil field operations, resulting in the most detailed and definitive environmental assessment ever completed in Papua New Guinea.

"We are pleased that the PNG LNG project has secured approval of its overall environmental assessment by the State of PNG", said Mr. Peter Graham, Managing Director, Esso Highlands Limited.

 "This is another important project milestone, as it allows the project team to secure final approval for the detailed environment management plans which will guide implementation of the construction works.”

The PNG LNG project will continue to work with the Department of Environment and Conservation, other Government Departments and its potential lenders to secure related environmental and social management plan approvals.  A final investment decision on the project is expected late this year.

The PNG LNG project is an integrated development that includes gas production and processing facilities, onshore and offshore pipelines and LNG plant facilities.  Participating interests are ExxonMobil (through various affiliates, including Esso Highlands Limited as Operator) 41.5%, Oil Search 34.0%, Santos 17.7%, Nippon Oil 5.4%, Minerals Resources Development Company 1.2% and Eda Oil Limited 0.2%. (Participation will change when PNG State nominees join as equity participants at a later date.)

Media Contact: Miles Shaw  Phone: + (675) 322-2133 Email:    

Papua New Guinea LNG environmental approval: key milestone achieved

ExxonMobil, Operator of the PNG LNG Project, today announced that the Government of Papua New Guinea, Department of Environment and Conservation, has approved the Project’s Environmental Impact

Statement (EIS), which defines how the Project will manage and meet its environmental commitments (see above release).

Peter Botten, Oil Search's Managing Director, said: "We are delighted Government approval of the PNG LNG Project’s EIS has been received.

“With another Project milestone accomplished, PNG LNG remains on track for a Final Investment Decision (FID) in December 2009.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trouble with Metric Conversion?

Some aren't bad

Trouble with Metric Conversion?
For all who have difficulty converting  units:

Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi
2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton
1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope
Weight an evangelist carries  with God = 1 billigram
Time it takes to sail 220  yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = Knotfurlong
16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod  Serling
Half of a large intestine = 1  semicolon
1,000,000 aches = 1  megahurtz
Basic unit of laryngitis = 1  hoarsepower
Shortest distance between two  jokes = A straight line
453.6 graham crackers = 1  pound cake
1 million- microphones = 1  megaphone
2 million bicycles = 2  megacycles
365.25 days = 1  unicycle
2000 mockingbirds = 2  kilomockingbirds
52 cards = 1  decacards
1 kilogram of falling figs =  1 Fig Newton
1000 milliliters of wet socks  = 1 literhosen
1 millionth of a fish = 1  microfiche
1 trillion pins = 1  terrapin
10 rations = 1  decoration
100 rations = 1  C-ration
2 monograms = 1  diagram
4 nickels = 2  paradigms
2.4 statute miles of  intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University
Hospital = 1 IV  League
AND.......100 Senators = Not 1  decision

What is the Carbon Debate actually about?

From PAUL OATES in Queensland, Australia
What is the Carbon Debate actually about?
What are the REAL issues?
Climate Change - well the Earth's climate has repeatedly changed over the millennia. Why is it so important now? Probably it's because there were never so many people in the world that would be affected. Who is responsible for having so many people? Not the Earth's climate surely?
Carbon - Why is it so important? Carbon Dioxide along with Methane and other poisonous (to humans) gases are the original make up of our planet. When plant life first started to use Carbon Dioxide to grow and so released free Oxygen into the atmosphere, eventually animal life developed that used this free Oxygen to live. Hence the symbiosis developed between plants and animals that still exist today. However there have been periods in the Earth's history where there were significant changes in the amounts of free Oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere. During the Carboniferous Period, there was so much plant life that the free oxygen was over 20% of the atmosphere rather than today's average of 16%. At this time, the basis for our coal and oil deposits were laid down by these plants dying and being converted to Coal which is mostly carbon. We are now digging and drilling this carbon up to release the energy that these ancient plants trapped from our sun millions of years ago. The more carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere, the better plants like it to grow. Therefore if the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, we should get an increase in plant life which will redress the balance. Wrong. We won't get an increase in plant life because basically human activity is using the plants at a faster rate that they can naturally regenerate.
Ownership - By chance good fortune, some humans have been born into countries that have desirable natural resources available for use. These resources were needed for the current human civilization to develop. Coal and iron ore are two of the original most important resources that have recently been joined by oil. Given our use of oil is depleting the available reserves and that it takes millions of years to produce oil, the importance of this substance will continue to become rarer and more expensive. Not so coal, where there are conservative estimates being bandied around about having at least 300 years supply at the current usage rates.
Control of Resources - So who owns these resources? Logically, possession is nine tenths of the law. Staved of resources 70 years ago, Japan was arguably forced into a war that logically, she had a poor chance of winning. Therefore, by sharing the available resources, the risk of heightened tension is reduced. But as soon as these resources are sold, the seller ceases to have any control over there use. Can there be any way of preventing unethical use of a product that is ethically sold? Does the current imposition on the sale of uranium for only peaceful purposes stop the buyer from the production of weapons grade material? Doubtful!
The Struggle for Power - Demonstrably, were developed countries to stop their industry and power production they would very quickly become on par with those countries that are today euphemistically called 'developing countries'. So are the governments of developed countries going to say to their voters "Stop using your vehicles, and turn your computers off for a start". We have to stop using power than is creating carbon dioxide"? Not on your Nelly! So what is the answer? Charge more for using the same product thereby hoping to reduce demand. But then this creates a voter backlash so those people who can't afford the price increases have to be subsidized by the same government who increased the prices by taxation in the first place. This strategy would be laughable if, by its own simplicity, it wasn't so insidious.
What to do with Excess Carbon Dioxide? - One of the most incredible shams that is being foisted on the world stage is the theoretical principle of 'Carbon Sequestration". The theory goes that excess carbon dioxide will be somehow 'harvested' and turned into a liquid and pumped underground. Based on this unproven and totally bizarre notion, the general populace is supposed to breath a sigh of relief and concentrate on more important issues life whose going to win 'the footy' this week. They won't be breathing anything however if the oxygen we need to live is steadily removed from the atmosphere and pumped into the ground along with the unwanted carbon. The only answer is to revert back to the natural cycle and have plants 'sequester' the carbon themselves. But this relies on one very important point. Will the plants be allowed to continue to exist?
The law of Business or that of Profit and Loss - If governments and their power providers start charging more for their product, what happens to the surplus virtual tax monies reaped by artificially increasing the cost of electricity and use of coal and oil? Clearly there needs to be a way of assuaging public concern that they aren't being screwed once again by their leaders? Enter the politics of 'green power'. "Feeling guilty at being told you're wrecking the planet and depriving people of their way of life? Add a 'top up' on your next electricity bill for example, and we'll tell you it's a 'greening levy'. There now, don't you feel better already?" But in this modern age where some media still can investigate and report on what is actually happening, something has to actually be done.
Enter 'Big Business'. A viable business must turn a profit to survive, unless of course it's owned by a government. The developed world is addicted to the use of carbon based energy production. Until recently, everyone was being encouraged to use more. Governments who ran the power generation plants were reaping indirect taxes by people doing so. Now, with power generation from carbon being a 'dirty' concept, governments are divesting themselves from power generation and wherever possible, distancing themselves from the industry. Why? Well they can't tell people that power generation from carbon burning is bad if they are the ones doing it, can they? So business has been given the role of the 'villain' who must come up with a solution to stop ruining the world. But how can it do this when this exercise must entail making a profit?
Enter the politics of Green Power' - Add a little extra to the cost of power generation and call it good for the world. But what does a business (or for that matter a government), do when it is held accountable for charging more to save the world? Why it goes back to basics and creates a new term called 'Carbon Sinks'. This technology will save the world and naturally in the process make some very rich. All one has to do is create the idea that if a forest 'sequesters' carbon, then we'll plant new forests or look after that few that are left.
So who benefits? - Well clearly those who are 'in' at the start. This is a mega industry in parenthesis. Vast amounts of green money is involved so vast amounts can be made. The question is: Who will end up with this 'Green Taxation'? If one is a cynic, the answer is very simple. Whoever manipulates this operation to help themselves.
New Forests versus Old Forests - Planting new forests is a very difficult issue. Forests will only grow where the conditions are suitable. Many places on Earth where forests used to grow are now covered by concrete and houses. Agriculture has been pushed out into the ever more marginal periphery of the big cities where conditions are increasingly more difficult to sustain. If the agriculture that is necessary to sustain a growing population is becoming more difficult, 'silviculture' (the growing and harvesting of trees) is becoming vastly more so. Drought, fire and pests compete with poor soil and lack of attention to destroy any newly planted forest.Existing or so called 'Old forests' are therefore becoming ever more sought after. But these existing forests are very few and far between and their 'ownership' is therefore very much sought after.
Where do countries like Papua New Guinea come into this Equation? - It has been claimed that PNG has one of the few natural rain forests left in the world. But why is this so? Primarily, this is because other countries like Brazil have continually cut their rainforest down for economic reasons. Brazil has just recently said it will work to reduce the speed of which their forest is being cut down. What Brazil did not say is that the felling of the forest would stop.
So what are the guarantees that if the billions in 'green taxation' from the developed world are available to 'buy' the existing world's forests, who will then be held accountable for the continued existence of the forests that have in this way, already been 'bought'?
The government of the particular country? Governments often change regularly and therefore can't be held accountable.
The business that made a profit from the deal? Not likely. Business can fold overnight and cease to exist, although if the recent financial crisis is any indicator, only after they pay their CEO's a huge gratuity.
The people who have been lucky enough to be born where there is currently a forest or the future generations of these people that may well need the forest to survive?
A cynic might observe that the whole process is an 'Aladdin's Cave' of potential for the right people or persons to REALLY make some serious money. Afterall, who really understands what is going on and who is really interested?
'Carn th' Blues', I say... and pass the meat pie will ya'?
Whoever heard of "Bread and Circus's" anyway?

Beat the queues!

Its Melbourne Cup next week and you don't want to miss out on your bookings!

 Beat the queues, join us at Airways Poolside, a couple of hours before the race with a glass of bubbly and some race day nibbles, while we take your bets and ensure that you have a great day at the races without waiting in the queues.

 Limited tickets for our VIP Deck so contact Vanessa or Nonnie on Ph: 324 5344/ 5339 for more information or to reserve your tickets for the day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Roger Hauofa is a man for all seasons

Caption: Roger Hau’ofa (centre) with his Siassi bowl and two women from the island who presented him with the gift.-Picture by MALUM NALU

Renowned radio personality Roger Hau’ofa was taken aback during a fundraising dinner for the proposed Gordons Marimari Lutheran Church in Port Moresby at the Grand Palace Restaurant last Friday.
Mr Hau’ofa, master of ceremonies on the night, was pleasantly surprised to receive a wooden bowl from Siassi Island in Morobe province.
The dinner was well attended by about 400 people, who paid K200 each, with pledges totaling about K43, 700 made.
The fundraising committee is made up of an all-woman crew, who since 2006, have raised about K300, 000 of a targeted K1 million.
Work on the proposed Marimari church building, designed by Rumbam Engineers, is expected to start in 2011.
Those who made pledges during the dinner included Rumbam Engineering (K10,000);  Kelly Naru (K8,000); Mondo Clothing (K6,000); Savo & Grace (K3,500); Dr Joseph Pagelio and family (K3,000); Sed Limited and Dr Korimbo (K2,000); Paul Mawa Lawyers (K2,000); Mr Kit Moya (K2,000); Gabriel Samol and family (K2,000); Rev Somi Setu and family  (K1,500);  Pacific Software (K1,000); Wendy Mawa (K500); and Thomas Laka (K200).

Nasfund property update

By RICHARD SAPIAS of Consap Developers
Nasfund has been very successful to date with its property development programme due to being able to quickly read the signals in 2006-2007 and push aggressively for development.
Similarly we chose smart locations to commence development at (Harbour City and Konedobu) as well as aggressively land bank for long-term projects.
While we have led the pack on construction as well as land banking for long-term needs, the signals very clearly tell us that supply of commercial space is rapidly catching up to demand.
Similarly while none of us can estimate what flow on space is required from the LNG project, we do know that evidence to date suggests that new construction in desirable locales is really about cannibalising tenants from older buildings as it is about new entrants or existing businesses looking for bigger space.
By Mar 31, 2010, Nasfund will have completed its current commercial construction programme in Port Moresby in line with our rolling five-year plan as 2009 being a year of consolidation.
 Our programme has been successful with what appears to be 100% take up on all constructions with “blue chip” tenants.
This augurs well because even if the market for commercial space softens, the quality of tenant combined with our premier locations mean that double digit income streams still flow through to the fund.
Knowing what we know about the current state of the market, we cannot continue on at the same pace and adopt the same methodology towards construction of more commercial space as we have done previously.
Any large-scale development will require pre-leasing or pre-commitment.
It is no longer a case of “build it and they will come” but more “we will build it when you decide to come”.
This we believe is a disciplined approach in a market that is drawing quickly to an end.

Nasfund Housing Development - Stage Three

By RICHARD SAPIAS of Consap Developers
On the morning of Nov 10, 2008, the first set of graders belonging to Digara Construction moved in to what is now known as Stage Three of the Nasfund/Consap Developers housing project to begin the site works.
Just under 12 months later, the housing project, which involved the construction of 47 brick houses have been sold out.
This was broken up between 22 two-bedroom houses and 25 three-bedroom houses.
The interesting fact in reviewing the data of this project is this emerging PNG middle class.
This was unknown and certainly ungauged previously.
The take-up of housing within the K285, 000 through to K350, 000 for three bedroom homes evidenced this.
Whilst many analysts might want to tag the upcoming LNG project as the sphere of influence for the popularity of the Eight and Nine-Mile homes offered by NASFUND, I can attest that this is not the case. 
The reason being is that the majority of purchasers are first-time home buyers happy to leave previously-rented accommodation and purchase their first home.
Thus the motivation to purchase was not about a speculative market influenced by an influx of workers or shortage of accommodation, but due to a general shortage of accommodation in the form of housing.
Through the marketing period we encountered many interesting points of view which we take seriously and enter into a database for reference in future projects.
The sorts of queries were:
 1. Is it a long way out?
2. Is it safe?
3. Can we purchase our own furniture?
4. I think I will wait for the next project at 8 mile. 
Thoughts on housing at Eight-Mile, Nine-Mile and the City of Port Moresby
Whilst there is considerable construction activity going on within the city whether it be retail, industrial, commercial and top end residential,  the growing need to service housing for Papua New Guineans is still not being addressed by appropriate government institutions. 
Our workforce is growing; our middle class is continuing to be the prevalent force in the open market of PNG owner-occupied residential pricing.
In short, I believe that the city is expanding out to Eight and Nine-Mile and it will not be limited to housing as there are already plans for schools, playing fields and Supermarkets.
Basic areas a developer considers prior to undertaking a residential subdivision project
As we continue to find ways to provide good quality housing in the city there are a number of issues that readers need to be aware of when a subdivision is planned.
1. The cost to provide the civil works – roads, curbs, drainage, water sewerage
At this stage, the cost of providing the infrastructure necessary for the residential   development rests in the basket of the developer. 
That cost is obviously passed on to the purchaser.
At cost to develop land and not including the cost to purchase of the land or cost to construct the house is considerable at K80, 000 per 500 sq m.
Once you add the cost of land (depending what you buy it for), then your cost to construct the house the numbers start to stack up.
The risk to undertake a project such as this can be risky without pre-commitments or an active knowledge of the market available to you.
2. The purchase price of the land. 
3. The style of housing that you are constructing and then selling.
4. Where the financial institutions are as far as their ability to lend and obviously the interest rates.
5. The area of the market most likely to be active and pay the costs of a subdivision.
The above areas of consideration are what influences a developers’ decision to build and it allows them to make decisions in relation to the project such as house type and sale price which ultimately, what the purchaser is interested in.
The new project - another 44 houses in Malolo Estate in 2010 - Stage 3
Consap Developers and Nasfund are proud to announce that we are entering Stage Three of our housing development beginning late 2009 and early 2010 and scheduled for final completion in Oct 2010.
The details of this subdivision will be made available to the public in early November 2009. 
One unfortunate fact is that construction costs and development costs have increased significantly since the last project.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nambawan Super on a property drive

Property development has seen significant growth in Papua New Guinea mainly in Port Moresby and with the multi-billion kina PNG LNG project, this development is evident in the new buildings being constructed.
Nambawan Super has been a market leader in prime property acquisitions for well over 10 years with its ownership of commercial properties in central business district along Champion Parade:  IRC Building, Burns House, Era Rumana Building and Mogoru Moto building.
In Waigani Nambawan Super owns Vulupindi Haus and Aopi Centre.
In Lae the Nambawan Super properties are IPI Building and Vele Rumana.
According to Managing director of Nambawan Super, Leon Buskens, Nambawan Super was taking the lead in this investment to meet the rising demands for office space and residential homes.
In 2008 alone, Nambawan Super had invested up to K351 million in property investments, both commercial and residential and this investment was mainly taken
up in Port Moresby.
In the last 10 years, the major property development has seen the construction of 35 executive style apartments which snake along the top of Port Moresby’s Touguba Hill – The Coastwatchers Apartments – which is a joint venture with Lamana Development at a cost of K9m.
Other developments include:
•       Eight-Mile (Malolo Estate) housing project in which 62 houses have been built for the Superfund members to purchase and with more houses being planned for erection;
•       A K60m six-storey commercial centre at Taurama (Port Moresby) is expected to be constructed next year;
•       The Port Tower currently under construction on Hunter Street in Port Moresby to cater for office space and executive apartments and is expected to be completed next year;
•       The Gazelle International Hotel in Kokopo, a joint venture with Lamana Developments and the East New Britain provincial government;
•       The ‘Top Town’ building in Lae which will be completed next year; and
•       Further commercial developments for offices, industrial warehouses in Kokopo.

Nambawan Super gears up for another office complex

Amidst the shortage of office space in Port Moresby, Nambawan Super is gearing up for a new A-grade standard commercial office development in which construction is being planned for mid 2010.
The six-storey building, which will have a key unique feature with a design that will be based on ‘environmentally sustainable design (ESD) principles or more commonly known as a ‘green’ building,  may become the first of its kind built in the country.
The new building,  to cost K60 million,  will be built alongside the Hubert Murray Highway opposite the Murray Barracks and takes up space that was formerly the Taurama Squash Courts.
Nambawan Super will be moving its offices to the new building and will take up two floors, while the other floors will be allocated for either commercial office space
and or services.
The new office complex will include five levels of commercial office space, ground floor of lobby and retail space and two levels of basement parking.
The building design will include a central atrium running the full height of the
building in order to enhance and provide natural daylight to all the office floors, as well as allowing fresh air circulation to improve indoor air quality and environment.
The atrium also allows for interconnecting communications stairs between floors to enhance flexibility and connectivity of the office environment.
Among other ESD initiatives being considered in the building plan will be to incorporate
extensive sunshade to the facades and developing a management system to manage all the building services systems such as the monitoring of energy use, and water recycling.
The total development will be 5500 sq m with each typical commercial office floor covering 1000 sq m.
The architect and the design consultant team will soon be appointed to start work on the design of the office complex while tender for a builder is expected to be announced next year in order to select a builder to begin construction work.
The total development,  which includes design, planning authority approvals, tendering and construction will take about 29 months to complete and should be available for tenancy by early 2012.

Nambawan Super invests in Kokopo hotel industry

The historic site of Queen Emma’s residence at Ralum near Kokopo in East New Britain will soon become an impressive three-storey hotel called Gazelle International.
Construction work started early this year on the multimillion kina hotel which is jointly owned by Nambawan Super which has majority shareholding, plus Airways Hotel and East New Britain provincial government.
The owners of the new development have taken into account the invaluable historical significance of the hotel site and have modeled the design of the hotel to reflect as much as possible Queen Emma’s original house.
This included renovating the original steps of the Queen Emma residence as a draw card and a major tourist attraction.
The steps are still located on the hotel property leading towards the golf course.
The hotel will comprise a reception, lobby shop, coffee lounge, restaurant, bar and poker machines all on the ground floor, while a total of 52 rooms make up the two upper floors.
Other amenities will include a resort pool, and a separate conference building which will seat up to about 150 persons.
In recent years, an influx of people have been attracted to Kokopo for conferences and a real need for good facilities have been unavailable to cater for their needs.
The builders for the hotel are Lamana Development Limited while the architect is Peter Kubli of Cairns.
According to the builders, the Gazelle International Hotel is designed to cater for a mix of customers, international tourists as well as conference people and weekenders.
All rooms will have spectacular views over-looking the blue waters of Blanche Bay and looking up to the green hills of Kokopo.
Building material for the hotel is mostly from PNG and via PNG suppliers.
Specialised equipment and furnishings are imported from various countries.
The Hotel which is expected to be completed early 2010, will bring about greater employment opportunities creating jobs for around 60 people, and will also
contribute to boosting the province’s economy through the development of tourism.
The hotel project managers agree: “Kokopo is a significant economic centre in Papua New Guinea plus it has an enormous untapped tourism potential.
“Rabaul, before the volcanic eruptions was held in high esteem as the most beautiful town in the country.
“We believe Kokopo will continue to expand, and with its unique mix of natural wonders, will attract people to visit this beautiful part of the world.”
Managing director of Nambawan Super, Leon Buskens said the new hotel investment should not be seen as competing with existing accommodation facilities but rather complementing them as the hotel was pitched at another segment of the market.
The larger conference room facility compared to the accommodation will mean
sharing of rooms within the Kokopo market
Mr Buskens said: “We are looking also at spreading our investments outside of Port Moresby and Lae where the investment returns are sustainable.
“The principle of partnership is one of long-term strategic value with the Lamana/Airways group which means that we are tapping into a proven and quality local brand with international standards, while the provincial government business arms bring local content and business alignment with provincial governments.
“Already one such model is operating in Alotau, in the Alotau International Hotel. “Likewise, the fund is also looking at the other centres to create a local hotel chain
with international quality standards.”
He added that the partnership provided much needed training and development of local people as well as expertise in international hotel management services through the Airways/Lamana group.
Conversely, the involvement of provincial governments provides local representation and content.

Marimari Lutheran church fundraising continues

The all-woman fundraising committee at their dinner last Friday
Rev Somi Setu makes a point at the fundraising dinner

Fundraising for the proposed Gordons Marimari Lutheran Church in Port Moresby is progressing well with another successful corporate fundraising dinner at the Grand Palace Restaurant last Friday.
The dinner was well attended by about 400 people, who paid K200 each, with pledges totaling about K43, 700 made.
The fundraising committee is made up of an all-woman crew, who since 2006, have raised about K300, 000 of a targeted K1 million.
Work on the proposed Marimari church building, designed by Rumbam Engineers, is expected to start in 2011.
“We started this fundraising activity in Oct 2006,” committee chairman Dennie Milan said.
“Up to now, we have raised about K300, 000.
“The committee is made up of all women.
“Hopefully, in 2011, we should set up the foundation.
“The target is K1m.”
Mrs Milan said the annual corporate dinner was the major fundraising activity of the last three years.
“Other church activities are a church fete, and a food fair where we cook different types of food and sell,” she said.
“We also have a special basket in front of the church every Sunday, where church-goers can make their offering.”
Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG Southern region president Rev Somi Setu commended women fundraising committee members for their hard work over the years.
“We know that women can do great thing,” he said.
“It was about 10 years ago that the project was launched.
“It’s quite a long journey that the (Marimari) congregation has taken to come this far.
“Rome was not built in a day.
“It took many years for this city to be built.”
Those who made pledges during the dinner included Rumbam Engineering (K10,000); Kelly Naru (K8,000); Mondo Clothing (K6,000); Savo & Grace (K3,500); Dr Joseph Pagelio and family (K3,000); Sed Limited and Dr Korimbom (K2,000); Paul Mawa Lawyers (K2,000); Mr Kit Moya (K2,000); Gabriel Samol and family (K2,000); Rev Somi Setu and family (K1,500); Pacific Software (K1,000); Wendy Mawa (K500); and Thomas Laka (K200).

A Port Moresby rhapsody

Luxury cruise liner Rhapsody of the Seas sailed into Port Moresby last Saturday with more than 2,000 tourists and berthed for 12 hours, allowing its passengers a taste of Papua New Guinea.
The visit marked a milestone for PNG tourism as it was the largest number of tourists to visit our shores at a single time.
More than 1,000 tourists disembarked and boarded about 60 hired buses for a tour of the city.
Other activities included a huge craft market staged within the wharf’s premises, organised by the Tourism Promotion Authority.
The cruise ship sailed in from Cairns, Australia, carrying with it tourists from all around the world who flew in to Australia for a cruise around the South Pacific.-Pictures courtesy of FRANK ASAELI of PNG Ports Corporation