Saturday, April 28, 2018

Anzac Day 2018 at Bomana War Cemetery

All pictures@Malum Nalu

Change of CEO of PNG Air Ltd

PNG Air Ltd

The Board of Directors of PNG Air Ltd (POMSOX: CGA) announced on Wednesday that the company’s chief executive officer, Muralee Siva, has resigned from his role as CEO.
Siva was appointed to the CEO position in November 2012, and has overseen the
implementation of the company’s strategy to focus more on regular passenger transport services, introduce majority ownership by major PNG institutions, re-fleet with new ATR 72-600 aircraft andr ebrand the company as PNG Air.
Chairman of the company’s board, Murray Woo, said: “Muralee believes that after more than five years in the role and with rebranding and the initial stage of the re-fleeting programme successfully completed, it is time for him to move on, and to allow someone with a new perspective and a
different set of ideas to come in and take the company through the next stage of its
“The board has been speaking for some time to Muralee about a transition, and agrees that this is the right time for it.
"On behalf of the board, the company and its major shareholders, I want to express to Muralee our appreciation of his outstanding efforts and contribution.
"I sincerely thank him for his dedication to the company, and for the skills, experience and acumen he has brought to it."
Pending appointment of a permanent CEO, the company’s chief commercial officer, Paul Abbot, will be the acting CEO.
Abbot joined the company as manager sales & distribution in January 2011, and became the chief commercial officer in October 2013.

Fresh Produce Development Agency commended for its work

Fresh Produce Development Agency

Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) will continue to promote its programmes in the country backed by an excellent corporate governance and best management practices, National Planning Minister Richard Maru said on Tuesday.

National Planning Minister Richard Maru (right) with Fresh Produce Development Agency management including CEO Mark Worinu (third from left).

The minister met with FPDA’s top management to discuss on issues relating to fresh produce development in the country and the way forward.
A presentation made by FPDA chief executive officer Mark Worinu touchedon the successes and prospects for the organisation.
Maru said he was impressed with the work of FPDA so far and assured them that he would ensure funding was secured to carry out to their activities.
Worinu said FPDA had been around for 30 years now and had been working in the back stage promoting and developing food crops for farmers and assisting with the market chain so farmers could get their produce to the markets.
He said some of the major crops that were commercially-viable included bulb onion, sweet potato and English potato, among others which they have been promoting in the country.
FPDA has developed seed-multiplication for distribution and assisted local farmers to grow and supply seedlings where and when required.
Potato and bulb onions are commercially-viable and can be grown in quantity to replace the import market and even export to other countries if emphasis and skills were transferred to local farmers.
Other crops such as citrus and pineapple had the potential to develop into large-scale with the potential for downstream processing only if there was concrete Government intervention with funding and technical support.
Worinu said FPDA was only a regulatory body assisting with skills and knowledge,  but given the need and interest shown by the small farmers, it had gone out of its way to assist with farming skills transfer, supply chain and securing markets.
Maru said while he was impressed with the work of FPDA, he also challenged them to provide their plans and objectives so the government could assist wherever they could.
“I want us to look at the bigger picture and take our food crop production and development to the next level," he said.
"We have to be innovative and learn the new skills and technology in farming.
"We need downstream processing and look at supplying our markets adequately and even exporting our crops to other markets around the world."
Maru is determined to see agriculture,  especially horticulture industry, adequately funded and driven to the next level.
“Our farmers must work in cooperatives and be owners of the market chain," he said.
"They should own the processing plants and continue to work on their farms to supply the market.
"We cannot sit back and allow outsiders to take over our agriculture industry."
Maru also commended FPDA for building a four-storey office complex in Goroka which is scheduled to be opened later this year.
He said with the best corporate governance and sound financing system, his office would not hesitate to assist FPDA with funding in their projects and programmes.
While thanking minister Maru for having confidence in FPDA Worinu said his office would be ever-ready to deliver what was required by the Government to fulfil the  Vision 2050 policy and the medium-term development plans.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Boluminski Highway sealing in New Ireland underway

Australian High Commission

Works are well underway in New Ireland on a major project to reconstruct 32.4km section of the Boluminski Highway between Pinatgin and Loloba.

The K39.4 million project is being delivered
through the Papua New Guinea - Australia Partnership, with the support of the New Ireland Provincial Government.

Australia is committed to supporting a prosperous Papua New Guinea.
Works along the Boluminski Highway will help business, help local communities access markets and services and boost the tourism industry in New Ireland Province.
Department of Works Secretary, David Wereh, is pleased to see the project progressing well.

“This is an important project on an essential economic corridor for
Papua New Guinea," he said.
"The project will finally link the centres of
Namatanai and Kavieng with 265km of sealed maintainable road.
"This will be a significant achievement made possible through a long term
commitment by the Papua New Guinean and Australian governments”.
More than 140 local residents are employed on the project and worksare expected to be completed by the end of December 2018. The project is being delivered through the Papua New Guinea – Australia Transport
Sector Support Program.

ExxonMobil PNG reopens Komo Airfield

*Flights resume into Komo airfield, APNG:WLN-donated humanitarian supplies on board
*ExxonMobil PNG assistance to rebuild infrastructure and key roads

Flights have resumed into the Komo airfield, operated by ExxonMobil PNG on behalf of PNG LNG, following the Feb 26  earthquake.
The first flight with staff on board arrived at Komo airfield on April 26, 2018.
A cargo plane delivering earthquake relief landed shortly after.
Jukuli Kapiako of APNG;WLN and ExxonMobil PNG staff arriving on the first flight that landed at Komo airfield

Relief items included household goods such as clothes, shoes, kitchen items, bedding and toys collected by the Advancing PNG: Women’s Leaders Network (APNG:WLN) and the Salvation Army from public relief drives and ExxonMobil PNG staff donations. APNG:WLN representatives were also on the first flight to coordinate distribution of the items within communities.
Cargo flight arriving at Komo airfield with APNG;WLN humanitarian relief supplies

ExxonMobil PNG managing-director Andrew Barry said the reinstatement of Komo airfield in such a short timeframe is a testament to the hard work and dedication of those involved.
“The Komo airfield is an integral piece of infrastructure, its reopening is a significant step forward and restores important transport and logistics infrastructure to assist with our operations and delivery of relief and recovery support for communities," he said.

Cargo flight unloading APNG;WLN humanitarian relief supplies at Komo airfiel
“We’d like to thank the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for accommodating timely inspections of the repaired runway to ensure we could resume flights into the airfield as quickly as possible.”
In consultation with aircraft operators and design contractors, ExxonMobil PNG repaired cracks and depressions to the runway, re-marked the entire airstrip and repaired fencing in line with the highest safety standards.
Local landowner company, Hides Gas Development Company assisted with the repairs along with teams from Wood Group and Aurecon.
ExxonMobil PNG Hides Gas Conditioning Plant Community Affairs team and Advancing PN; Women’s Leader’s Network representatives with the humanitarian relief supplies that arrived on a cargo plane at the Komo airfield

Non-critical repairs to various Komo airfield facilities will be finalised in subsequent phases.
ExxonMobil PNG is also assisting the government to build infrastructure and key roads and bridges for Hela and Southern Highlands orovinces that were destroyed during the disaster.
Humanitarian support provided by ExxonMobil PNG includes 50 tonnes of food and drinking water, 600 tarpaulins, 1,020 solar lights and other essential items such as purification tablets, cooking aids and hygiene kits.
 Exxon Mobil Corporation has also provided nearly K3.5 million towards humanitarian relief.
Longer term support is being provided for the restoration of health care facilities, education services and community food gardens. 

Protecting women and girls after the earthquake in Papua New Guinea | April 26, 2018

MENDI, Papua New Guinea – When a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the remote Southern Highlands Province on 26 February, 18-year-old Julian Ako was heavily pregnant with her third child.

In earthquake-affected Tamande, Mendi, local emergency responders meet with UNFPA staff. © UNFPA
She and her family emerged unscathed, but their home, like many others near the earthquake’s epicentre, was severely damaged.
A landslide contaminated their sole nearby source of safe drinking water. The earthquake’s aftermath brought strong aftershocks, while newly impassable roads and disruption of vital services made it hard for Julian to provide for her two young children.
February’s earthquake, perhaps one of the most under-reported natural catastrophes so far this year, has affected over half a million people, with over 270,000 still in need of vital aid as of April 2018.
Even in the best of times, inadequate infrastructure makes many parts of this impoverished country hard to access, and the number of health facilities is insufficient to meet the population’s needs.
Since the earthquake, landslides and sporadic unrest in some areas have made delivering aid even harder. Meanwhile, many critical health stations are out of commission.

Birth and death in the aftermath

For Julian, the effects of the earthquake and its aftermath compounded the challenges of a difficult birth.
“When my contractions started,” she recalls, “the local nurse told me she couldn’t help, and sent me off to Pimaga hospital to give birth.” This larger facility had already received safe birthing kits from UNFPA.
Early the next morning, after Julian had laboured for hours, midwives discovered that her baby had hydrocephalus. The baby died, and Julian’s life was in serious jeopardy.

Julian (left) with her mother (centre) and UNFPA officer Debbie Kupesan (right) after Julian's life-saving surgery. © UNFPA

But thanks to a swift referral made by a midwife from Papua New Guinea’s Family Health Association and a reproductive health officer from UNFPA, Julian was quickly airlifted to the larger, better-equipped Mendi provincial hospital, where her life was saved.
Julian was one of approximately 3,200 pregnant women caught up in the disaster who, along with an estimated 35,000 earthquake-affected women of reproductive age, were targeted by UNFPA as part of the government-led joint international and United Nations emergency response.
With support from Australia, the government has distributed around 700 of UNFPA’s dignity kits – containing vital health, hygiene and safety products to meet the needs of women and girls – in the worst-hit areas. Many kits were dispatched quickly through a joint Asia-Pacific pre-positioning initiative between the government of Australia and UNFPA. Another 500 kits are now pre-positioned in the hard-hit province of Hela.
In some of the worst-affected areas, UNFPA has distributed reproductive health kits containing supplies related to clean delivery, sexually transmitted infections and post-rape care.
Other UNFPA efforts target violence against women, which often spikes in emergencies.
Working with government and partners, such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation, UN Women and UNICEF, UNFPA is working to establish five women-friendly spaces in earthquake-affected areas, where women and girls can seek services for gender-based violence and receive counseling, awareness and support for referral services.
UNFPA staff have trained humanitarian aid workers in hard-hit communities on stress management, psychological first aid, and the Minimum Initial Service Package for sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence in emergencies.
Julian, meanwhile, is now safe, recovering and looking to the future.
“I’m happy to be alive,” she says. “I’m looking forward to getting back to my husband and children at home so we can get on with rebuilding our house and our gardens.”

Prince Andrew: 'Huge opportunities' for trade between UK and Papua New Guinea

Comments by HRH Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, at the closing of the UK-Papua New Guinea Trade and Investment Forum, London, April 24,  2018.

“All of you are here because you want to know what Papua New Guinea is about.
“I hope that you have heard from the Prime Minister what the opportunities actually are on the ground.
Longtime PNG tourism operator Sir Bob Bates talking with Prince Andrew at the UK-Papua New Guinea Trade and Investment Forum in London on Tuesday. With them is Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

“The conversations that I have had, and the conversations other members of my family have had over the last week, give a huge amount of confidence in the Commonwealth’s ability to work together in so many different areas.
“Investment and trade are just part of a whole series of activities the commonwealth is good at.
“You have had an exposed time today of concentration on what is available in Papua New Guinea in the coming years.
“I can see that there are huge opportunities.
“I hope today has been useful, I would like to say to the Prime Minister thank you very much indeed for the numerous offers that I have had to go to Papua New Guinea over the last few years.
“I will be going back to Papua New Guinea in the not too distant future.
“Thank you for your participation today.
“I hope to visit you when you have made your investment, increased you investment, traded more actively and increased the amount of actual trade that is going on between the UK and Papua New Guinea.
“It has been a pleasure visiting your country in the past and I look forward to visiting on many occasions into the future.”

Agriculture and tourism opportunities focus at UK-PNG Investment Forum

Agriculture and tourism provide substantial future growth opportunities for foreign investment in Papua New Guinea, and British investors are being given the opportunity to play an active role in these growth sectors.
Prince Andrew with Prime Minister Peter O'Neill at the forum.

Speaking to more than 150 participants at the UK-Papua New Guinea Trade and Investment Forum in London this week,  Prime Minister  Peter O’Neill  said alongside the resources sector, agriculture and tourism expansion was broadening the economic base of the nation.
“For many years, the Papua New Guinea economy has been based on the resources sector,” he said when opening the forum.
“We have delivered the most efficient LNG project in the world, and now with our partners we are initiating our second LNG project with Total from France.
“Demand for LNG will continue to increase in the next 30 years and this provides opportunities for investment with a healthy return.
“At the same time, as an economy, we must broaden our horizons so that we are not held captive to the boom-and-bust cycles of the global resource sector.
“Over the past few years we have been broadening the base of our economy focusing on sectors such as agriculture and tourism to be the key drivers of the economy in the years to come.
“Our people were some of the first in human history to establish organised agriculture.
“We have some of the most fertile soil in the world and a great landmass available for agriculture.
“We need to mobilise the capital that is needed to open up opportunities to produce more food for our growing population, and access the huge export markets in Asia.
“We are commercially producing milk, expanding production of cocoa and coffee and embarking on producing more of our own rice.
“Just as an example, we have demonstrated that double the yield of rice per hectare can be grown in our soil than is possible in other parts of South East Asia.”
O'Neill further highlighted the substantial potential PNG had as a tourist destination.
“Unlike many parts of the world where tourism is just one product based on sand and the ocean, Papua New Guinea has much more to offer," he said.
“We are a very culturally rich country, with a wide diversity of places where people from around the world can visit and engage with our people.
“As one off our tourism pioneers, Bob Bates, who is here with us today, will tell you, Papua New Guinea is a country that once people have visited they want to come back.
“Our Government is embarking on a programme that will provide incentives to increase investment in tourism.
“We are piloting a programme in East New Britain Province, working with landowners and Mineral Resources Development Company, and we are developing a master plan that will encourage investment in the tourism industry.”
 O’Neill told the forum that expanding opportunities in agriculture and tourism, requires ongoing investment in infrastructure.
“To grow future sectors we are investing heavily in new roads, bridges and airports that will get agricultural goods to market and enable tourists to travel in our country," he said.
O'Neill thanked the government of the United Kingdom, and the Duke of York, HRH Prince Andrew, for their commitment to strengthening economic relations between the two countries.
“Papua New Guinea’s relationship with the United Kingdom is growing" he said.
“I thank the UK Government for expanding more opportunities in Europe, and Papua New Guinea will continue to work with investors from the United Kingdom to increase opportunities, particularly in oil and gas, mining, agriculture and tourism
“Papua New Guinea has proven that it will deliver strong return on investments
 “We have demonstrated the political stability that our country is experiencing, and this is essential for business to expand investment.”
At the conclusion of the forum, O’Neill further extended his invitation to investors to visit PNG as part of APEC in 2018, and attend the APEC CEO Summit that will take place in Port Moresby in November.
UK-Papua New Guinea Trade and Investment Forum was opened by the Prime Minister on April 24, and included a key-note address by the British Foreign Minister, Mark Field MP, and was closed by the Duke of York, HRH Prince Andrew.
Other speakers at the forum included PNG  Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato, Bank of PNG Governor Loi Bakani, and representatives of leading PNG businesses.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

ICTSI agrees to reinstate PNG dock workers' pay | April 25, 2018

Workers at South Pacific International Container Terminal Limited (SPICT), Lae, Papua New Guinea. Image courtesy of ICTSI

The PNG Maritime and Transport Workers Union (PNGMTWU) signed a Memorandum of Agreement with International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI), the Philippine port operator, following building pressure from the local workforce and international sources.
ICTSI and PNG officers after signing the agreement. Image courtesy of ICTSI

ITF president and chair of the ITF docker’s section, Paddy Crumlin, said: “This Memorandum of Agreement is a significant victory for workers who were looking down the barrel of a 50% wage cut.
“The ITF congratulates the PNGMTWU and its members for digging in and demanding the pay and conditions that PNG dockworkers have fought for over decades.
“However the ITF remains concerned that 213 workers are still without a contract after receiving termination notices from the former concession holder at Port Moresby.
“The transition of these jobs to the new Motukea terminal needs to be urgently addressed by ICTSI.”
The agreement follows months of disruption and protests after the ICTSI was awarded concession agreements for the operation PNG’s two major ports in October 2017, and cut in worker’s pay down to the legal minimum — impacting overall working conditions.
Paddy Crumlin continued: “This sits in sharp contrast to ICTSI’s industrial relations practices elsewhere in the world. For this to be real progress ICTSI must extend this respect for workers’ across the entirety of the company’s global operations.
“The ITF is prepared to work with ICTSI to progress the fundamental rights of all workers across its global network, to end the exploitation of its global workforce, recognise trade unions and stop undermining the wages, conditions and safety of its workforce.”
The ITF recently released a shareholder advisory note detailing governance issues at the ICTSI, and recently exposed the company when an Indonesian worker died at its facility in Jakarta in November 2017.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Papua New Guinea: Highlands Earthquake Snapshot - Community Messaging Uptake (as of 23 April 2018) | April 23, 2018

Digicel network users in Hela and Southern Highlands Province continue to receive life-saving messages and access pre-recorded automated voice messages. Over 38,000 callers have listened in on the automated voice messages in 2 weeks. An increase of 20,000 calls were made this week targeting 50,000 automated voice messages.Click for full report.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Papua New Guinea: Measles - Emergency Plan of Action Final Report (Operation n° MDRPG006) | April 30, 2018


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) was granted on 1 November 2017 for CHF 88,808 to the PNGRCS. The DREF reached 9,132 people, of which 57 cases were identified as directly reached through vaccination/mobilisation messages; over 50,000 people were indirectly benefited from social mobilisation campaign in 33 villages.

Since 19 October, no new measles cases were reported and the epidemic is completely under control. The declaration of measles outbreak was lifted on 19 November and the Department of Health has since diverted the focus to a “mopup” Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign. The Vanimo-Green District Health Manager requested the PNGRCS volunteers to focus on social mobilization in the three target areas. Changes in the operation’s targets and activities were reported in Operation Update -1. These included scaling down the target numbers from 60,000 to 50,000 people and adding a new activity - mass awareness campaign through radio programming.

With the DREF allocation, PNGRCS met the needs of affected people and implemented a strategy that included hygiene information dissemination and community awareness to minimize or contain the spread of measles over the three-month timeframe. The scope and budget for this operation enabled the targeted population of approximately over 9,000 people to be reached directly, and a further 50,000 people indirectly.

The implementation of activities for the operation was successfully concluded by 31 January 2018. A total of CHF 45,674 was returned to DREF. The final financial report is available here.

Exxon Mobil offers Papua New Guinea LNG cargo for May delivery to N.Asia: traders

by Jessica Jaganathan,
April 24, 2018

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - U.S. energy major Exxon Mobil has offered a liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo from its recently restarted Papua New Guinea plant for delivery into the Japan, Korea, Taiwan (JKT) region in May, two traders with knowledge of the matter said.

Exxon Mobil has offered the cargo on a delivered ex-ship (DES) basis, they said on Tuesday, asking not to be identified.

Bids are due on April 25 and are valid until April 27. The cargo will be delivered on the Kumul LNG tanker, one of the traders said.

The PNG LNG plant was recently restarted after a major earthquake triggered a shutdown in February.

Papua New Guinea's Kutubu blend crude returns to market after two-month hiatus

by Norazlina Juma'at,
April 24, 2018

Papua New Guinea's Kutubu Blend crude has returned to the spot market after a near two-month hiatus, with April, May and June-loading cargoes appearing shortly after production restarted, trade sources Tuesday said.

Production of Kutubu blend was halted on February 26 after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake led to the closure of facilities involved in the production of the grade.

Market sources said there was an April-loading cargo that had been taken by BP. The seller of the cargo is not known, but prior to the earthquake, BP was heard to have bought a cargo loading over April 23-27 from Oil Search.

In addition, ExxonMobil was heard to be offering a May-loading spot cargo of Kutubu blend last week, two traders at a trading house and an Asian refiner said.

There were also two June-loading cargoes that were heard on offer, with Oil Search heard to be the seller of one of the cargoes, another two traders said.

This could not be confirmed with Oil Search and ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil was later heard to have withdrawn its offer for the May-loading cargo, while the June-loading cargoes were heard to have been sold, market sources said.

ExxonMobil might have been offering the May-loading cargo initially due to issues at its Singapore refinery, market sources said. The oil major typically takes its cargoes into its own system, though market sources said it occasionally offers its cargoes to the spot market.

ExxonMobil could not be reached on the status of its refinery.

Traders have been widely anticipating the return of Kutubu Blend crude to the spot market following notices of production restarting from Kutubu blend stakeholders.

Oil Search had said in a notice on April 3 that operations had resumed at its Kutubu Central Processing Facility and that it had restarted production from some of the wells at the Kutubu oil field.

This was followed by a statement from ExxonMobil on February 12 that it had restarted production from the PNG LNG project two weeks ahead of schedule. Condensates from the PNG LNG project are one of the streams that make up Kutubu Blend.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Expedition provides new look at Australia's first submarine in PNG waters | April 23, 2018

A joint US and Australian expedition to survey Australia’s first submarine HMAS AE1 has provided detailed new images of the 103-year old shipwreck, which lies on the seafloor off the Duke of York Islands in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS AE1 was lost at sea with all hands on 14 September 1914, and its fate had remained a mystery until its discovery in December 2017. It was the first loss for the RAN and the first Allied submarine loss in World War I but ultimately a tragedy felt by all Australians.

The recent survey was undertaken by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s research vessel Petrel and coordinated by Find AE1 Ltd. in partnership with the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Royal Australian Navy, Curtin University, the Western Australian Museum and the Submarine Institute of Australia. Approval for the survey was granted by Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery. The ship’s remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), fitted with high-definition video and stills cameras, undertook a comprehensive, non-invasive inspection of the submarine, revealing fascinating new information. RV Petrel diverted to the Duke of York Islands following a series of successful expeditions that located the World War II shipwrecks of USS Lexington, USS Juneau and USS Helena.

"The AE1 has a special place in Australian maritime history and I’m proud of our partnership with the Australian National Maritime Museum and others that brought an end to the mystery of the AE1’s final resting place," said Paul Allen. "For all of us associated with Petrel, we view this work as a means to honor the courage and sacrifice of crew of the AE1."

The data collected during this first ROV examination of AE1 will be used by the Australian National Maritime Museum to develop a shipwreck management plan in cooperation with the PNG Government and the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery.

"We are very grateful to Paul Allen, Vulcan Inc, and the crew of RV Petrel for making this survey possible. These incredible images and the new information they provide will help the museum tell the story of AE1 and its brave crew, and ensure their service and sacrifice are remembered by future generations," said Australian National Maritime Museum Director and CEO Kevin Sumption PSM.

The still images of the shipwreck site will also be developed into a detailed 3D digital model using techniques developed by Curtin University and the Western Australian Museum. This will allow the Find AE1 team and museum researchers to further examine AE1 and refine understanding of what happened to it 103 years ago.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Elomar brothers in $9 million legal row over PNG deal
April 22, 2018

Sydney businessmen the Elomar brothers were busy in 2014.

The Elomar brothers in Papua New Guinea. Photo: Supplied

Mamdouh Elomar was publicly decrying the actions of his son Mohamed, an Islamic State fighter in Syria who would go on to be photographed holding severed heads.
Mamdouh was also vying for Iraqi construction contracts with his brother Ibrahim, arranging a $US1 million bribe for which they would both be jailed last year.
But the pair struck another deal that year, paying $6 million for a logging company only to end up negotiating a $9 million payment from the previous owners after a dispute.
The case, now before the courts, involves the forests of Papua New Guinea and a development fund meant to help lift locals out of poverty.
And it hinges on claims that another businessman stole more than $10 million in assets belonging to the Papua New Guinean people.
Mamdouh, 64, and Ibrahim, 61, were raised in Lebanon in a family of 12 children and worked manual jobs in Australia before building a large construction company, Lifese.
The firm counted a former Supreme Court judge as its chairman and completed projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
In time, though, the Elomar brothers became better known for the extremist activities of their relatives.
Mamdouh’s brother Mohamed Ali Elomar is serving 21 years’ jail for his role in planning attempted terrorist attacks in Melbourne and Sydney in 2005.
Mamdouh’s son Ahmed was jailed for four years for assaulting a policeman at the 2012 riots in Sydney’s Hyde Park, after carrying a sign that said “our dead are in paradise, your dead are in hell”.
Then his son Mohamed, formerly a promising boxer, travelled to Syria to become one of Australia’s most infamous IS fighters, before he was killed in an airstrike in 2015.
Terrorism headlines were hurting the Lifese business in 2014, shrinking revenue.
But the Elomars found money in February that year to buy a timber operation called Cloudy Bay from the PNG Sustainable Development Program, a charitable trust part-run by Australians.
Managing $US1.3 billion in assets, PNG SDP funds local development projects with proceeds from the Ok Tedi mine that was once owned by BHP, which handed over its stake in return for immunity from environmental lawsuits.
“We commit ourselves to improving the quality of life of the people of Western Province,” the program says on its website.
The Elomars were joined by another Australian, 25 per cent shareholder Nick Roniotis, in buying the Cloudy Bay timber operation - including logging permits, production plants and a commercial building in Port Moresby - for 40 million kina, about $17 million at the time.
They paid $6.5 million up front, but then defaulted on the rest.
As they faced charges over the bribery in Iraq, the Elomars were negotiating hard over the PNG business to strike a new and unusual deal.
It would have allowed them to keep control of the company while receiving millions of dollars more than they ended up paying for it.
The deal, signed last February, was meant to put an end to a murky dispute.
PNG SDP could have taken back all of the timber operations’ assets, but it decided to forgive the $11 million debt in return for the Port Moresby property alone.
On top of this, PNG SDP said it would pay the Elomars’ company $9 million.
Once the property was transferred back to the development program and the money paid, both sides would relinquish any right to sue over the initial sale.
The deal was fair, according to PNG SDP’s Australian chief executive John Wylie, because it compensated the Elomars for a massive theft on the timber operation.
A former public servant and management consultant, Mr Wylie said the theft was committed by someone working within the development fund before the sale to the Elomars and was only discovered later.
“Physical assets” were allegedly stolen and funds siphoned off to pay for personal expenses, including school fees in Australia.
“The validated quantum of the theft was much more than $9 million,” he said.
The alleged thief, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been reported to an anti-corruption body in Singapore, where the company was incorporated, Mr Wylie said.
“The PNG authorities are in the process of being informed,” he said. “This is being done carefully through lawyers and has yet to be fully executed.”
Deeds sighted by The Sun-Herald refer not to a theft but “disputes” between the buyer and seller.
Asked why the $9 million payment was to go to the Elomars personally, not the Cloudy Bay company, Mr Wylie said Cloudy Bay had given a written executed authority for it.
“How they divvied up the spoils, as it were - we didn’t want to get involved in that. None of our business.”
The deal has yet to go through.
The Elomars’ former business partner, Mr Roniotis, claimed he was cut out of the $9 million payment. He launched action in PNG’s National Court of Justice to have the sum paid to the timber company, not the Elomars’ venture.
Mr Roniotis also questioned the idea of compensation for a theft, saying he and the Elomars conducted due diligence on the company before buying it and found nothing untoward.
His lawyer, Stewart Levitt, has questioned the negotiations between PNG SDP and the Elomars, who at the time had been facing foreign bribery charges for more than a year.
“It would be extraordinary for the trustees of a public trust to want to continue to do business with people known to be facing serious criminal charges which had been widely reported,” Mr Levitt said.
The Elomars, who pleaded guilty to the Iraq bribery last July, will be first eligible for release in September next year. Their lawyer at the time of the PNG deal negotiations, Abdul Reslan, did not return calls.
The establishment of PNG SDP and environmental damage from the Ok Tedi mine is now under investigation after PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced a public inquiry in parliament this month.

Speech by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill at CHOGM

19 April 2018
London, United Kingdom

Thank-you Prime Minister May, and you Government, as well as the people of the United Kingdom, for the warm welcome and generous hospitality.

The theme of this meeting, Towards a Common Future, is both relevant and timely.

It certainly recognises the unique history, the aspirations, and challenges of all Commonwealth nations.

This theme also highlights the opportunities that face us all, and highlights the importance of solidarity in the challenges we face together.

The Commonwealth has a proud history of taking affirmative action to protect democratic principles.

The Commonwealth has worked tirelessly to strengthen the institutions that are essential for economic growth and development.

This underpins a clear commit to the values of human rights, gender equality, good governance, democracy and the rule of law.

We have seen this commitment in the past year, as Commonwealth Observers were on the ground in our country for recent National elections.

They certainly played an important role in ensuring elections were free from hindrance, and so the democracy could prevail.

Papua New Guinea is committed to these ideals.


Trade and investment are critical to economic growth in any country.

It improves in income generation and employment for our people. 

However, the global economy today is threatened by the prevalence of protectionist trade measures, a surge in anti-trade rhetoric, declining investment and rising inequality. 

The challenge for the Commonwealth is to rise against these trends by boosting trade and investment among our member countries.

We are a diverse group of countries including developed, developing and the least developed. 

We also have many of the largest economies in the world, and several regional trade groupings including the World Trade Organisation. 

This membership provides the Commonwealth with the opportunity to demonstrate leadership – to expand trade and investment and create a fairer and more equitable global economy.

Papua New Guinea reaffirms our commitment to the multilateral trading system, and we want to see a more transparent, inclusive, and free and open rules-based system.

This also requires the larger economies to help in creating more opportunities for smaller economies.

Specifically, we greater need for support to grow small and medium enterprises, and to promote the economic empowerment of women.

Today, threats to national security and transnational crime are a global phenomenon. 

The sovereignty of all Commonwealth nations is threatened by transnational crime. 

The growth opportunities of emerging economies are attractive to many international businesses.

Most of these come to our countries to make a legitimate profit, and in the process stimulate economic growth and create jobs.

There are also foreign companies that come to exploit, to take advantage of evolving and sometimes weak financial regulator regimes, and immigration and labour laws. 

It is important that our Government’s commit to addressing transnational crime and to provide a safe and secure environment for all who live in the Commonwealth. 

Papua New Guinea has enacted several pieces of new legislation to deal with the Proceeds of Crimes, to prosecute the corrupt and those who corrupt them.

We have new legislation to deal with cyber-crimes.

We have laws to prevent forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking.

But given the transcending nature of all of these crimes, we need to support each other to make sure there is better enforcement of these laws through multilateral cooperation.

Papua New Guinea seeks greater co-operation and support through the Commonwealth, and other global forums, to enhance international cooperation as the best means to combat transnational crime.


Commonwealth countries are faced with massive challenges that threaten our growth, and in many cases, even our very survival.

The dire effects of climate change, particularly on vulnerable island nations, cannot be stressed enough.

Year-in-year-out we are faced with extreme weather conditions brought about by climate change.

Extreme tropical storms, and unprecedented drought, are devastating our communities.

Papua New Guinea reaffirms our commitment to the Paris Climate Change Accords, and the Talanoa Dialogue.

These are commitments should form the basis of real global action – to make sure there is effective preparedness, and help countries to adapt to the new world which climate change is affecting all of our lives.

But sadly, often action has not followed words from these global forums.

Adequate funding mechanisms have been established, but funding has not followed the pledges.

The developing countries did not cause climate change, but we are paying the price of this because of the industrialised nations who caused climate change.

As an organisation, the Commonwealth must be a stronger forum for stimulating action on climate change.

Papua New Guinea fully supports the adoption of the Commonwealth Blue Charter, but we must ensure appropriate action and innovative funding processes are implemented.

Thank You.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Papua New Guinea: Highlands Earthquake Situation Report No. 8 (as of 20 April 2018) | April 20, 2018

This report is produced by the National Disaster Centre and the Office of the Resident Coordinator in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It was issued by the Disaster Management Team Secretariat, and covers the period from 10 to 16 April 2018. The next report will be issued on or around 26 April 2018.


• 270,000 people are in need of assistance across four provinces of Papua New Guinea’s highlands.

• 11,041 households (42,577 people) remain displaced in nine care centres.

• Over 38,000 callers listened to automated voice messages providing life-saving assistance in 2 weeks

• 181 cases of gastrointestinal and diarrheal diseases due to poor water and sanitation reported from nine health centres in Hela and Southern Highlands.

• 62 children in Southern Highlands province screened for Severe Acute Malnutrition; 2 hospitalized.

• Humanitarian operations in and around Tari, provincial capital of Hela province, remain suspended since 28 March, with reports of a new rise in tensions since 19 April.

270,000 people in need of assistance

$62M funding required

38,000 callers listened to messages containing lifesaving information

4 health facilities started providing nutrition services

70 metric tons of relief items awaiting transport

Situation Overview

On 26 February 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the Highlands Region of Papua New Guinea (PNG), affecting an estimated 544,000 people in five provinces – Enga, Gulf, Hela, Southern Highlands and Western provinces, with Hela and Southern Highlands the most affected. More than 270,000 people, including 125,000 children, have been left in immediate need of life-saving assistance. Since the initial 26 February earthquake, at least 195 aftershocks have occurred, of which six were of a 6.0 or greater magnitude.

The latest tracking figures available from the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) implemented as part of the Shelter Cluster response, indicate that 11,041 households (42,577 people) remain displaced due to the earthquake, of which 1,252 households (24 per cent) are displaced in nine care centres while 9,789 households remain within their communities. The number of people registered as staying in care centres continues to fluctuate, and the overall number of displaced may rise as new assessments are carried out.

The Shelter Cluster has adopted common definitions of settlement types defining a care centre as a displacement site where people are hosted away from their community or area of origin, and affected community as a community where people are still living within their community, even if displaced locally from their damaged/destroyed home. Two shelter response options and recommended packages have been proposed for cluster members’ endorsement corresponding to the two target groups defined above: (1) IDP household Shelter-NFI return kit (for those in care centres); and (2) community reconstruction toolkit (for affected communities). The Food Security Cluster advises that affected households still living in their communities and thereby having access to land should also be supported with agriculture and other recovery kits, and that this could help promote return of other displaced people.

More than 80 per cent of health facilities in Hela and Southern Highlands (69 of 86) are open and functional, but 13 of these health facilities sustained severe structural damage that continues to pose serious occupational threats to all users. Refurbishment of earthquake related structural damages remains a challenge. In particular, 55 per cent of health facilities urgently need access to safe water sources.

Traditional water sources were destroyed by earthquake-induced landslides and landslips. Water quality testing is already underway, with capacity to sample and test water in sources suspected to be contaminated established in Southern Highlands province. The Health Cluster reports that the results of the water testing of the Kikori River in Gulf province showed no heavy metal contamination. However, bacteriological analysis showed heavy coliform presence which may result in water-borne diseases. The lack of access to safe drinking water significantly increases risks of water-borne diseases outbreak among affected and displaced persons. Gastrointestinal and diarrheal diseases due to poor water and sanitation are increasing, with a cumulative total of 181 cases reported from nine health facilities in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces.

A mass vaccination campaign is scheduled to begin at the end of April covering all children under five years of age in five districts of Southern Highlands Province: Lalibu Pangia, Imboggu, Kagua Erave, Mendi Munihu, and Nipa Kutubu.

Nutrition service provision has started at Mendi General Hospital, Urila Poroma Care Center, Tamenda Health Sub centre and Pimaga Rural in Southern Highlands province, with 62 children screened for Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) of which two were hospitalized. A total of 1,240 children are targeted to receive treatment for Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). To date, 14 community health workers and 13 nurses, nutritionists, and medical officers (out of 120 targeted for training) have been oriented in SAM management.

Since 28 March, most humanitarian programmes in and around Tari, the provincial capital of Hela province, have been suspended due to increased tension and inter-communal fighting. Many partners have temporarily relocated humanitarian staff to other locations, including to the Southern Highlands provincial capital, Mendi, in view of the situation. Humanitarian partners aim to resume relief work as soon as the security situation allows. While the situation seemed to calm for a period, tensions were reportedly rising again since 19 April.

How much broadband internet costs around the world: Papua New Guinea among most expensive

by Anca Alexe,
April 20, 2018

The internet has spread all across the globe with remarkable speed, but it is still quite hard to afford an internet connection in some countries of the world. has created a map of internet prices around the world, and you may be surprised by how cheap – or expensive – the internet can be in some places!

In Western Europe, Italy is the cheapest with an average price of USD 28 per month, followed by Germany (USD 34), Denmark (USD 36) and France (USD 37). In the UK, the average price is USD 40.5 per month. Six of the top ten countries where broadband is cheapest were former members of the USSR, including Romania, where the average cost is USD 14.
In North America, the cheapest internet connection can be found in Mexico, with an average cost of USD 26 per month. In the US and Canada, people pay between USD 55 and 66 for their internet.
In South America, the internet is generally quite affordable. The continent-wide average is around USD 50 a month, but countries like Brazil or Argentina can offer prices as low as USD 31-34 per month. On the other hand, small countries like Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados or Panama go above USD 100 per month, and the most expensive internet is by far found in Haiti, at an average of USD 224.
Asia has the most affordable internet overall, and countries like Russia, Kazakhstan or Nepal have extremely low prices ranging from USD 10-20 per month. Surprisingly though, the cheapest internet in Asia – and in the world – is found in Iran: only USD 5.4 per month on average! At the other end of the spectrum in Asia we can find Laos (USD 231 per month), Qatar (USD 149), UAE (USD 155) or Kyrgyzstan (USD 112).
In China, broadband internet is around USD 32 per month. In India, it’s USD 37.6, and similar prices can be found in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand or Pakistan; Japan is a little higher, with an average of USD 50 per month.
In Africa, the situation is not great as many countries didn’t even have data to review, and for those where there is internet, the extremes are huge. The best prices are in Egypt (USD 12.3 per month), Tunisia (USD 19), Algeria (USD 32) or Morocco (USD 39). Higher prices are found in South Africa (USD 59), Ethiopia (USD 65), Libya (USD 60) or Mozambique (USD 69).
But there are many countries in Africa where the internet is extremely expensive, despite the fact that people in these countries don’t have a lot of wealth. In Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Somalia, Angola, Niger and Mali, a broadband connection will cost between USD 115 and USD 170. However, there are two countries where the price is actually ridiculous: Namibia, with USD 464 per month on average, and Burkina Faso, with a whopping USD 923!
In Australia and New Zealand, the internet is relatively reasonable considering average incomes (USD 60 and 65 per month, respectively). In the rest of Oceania, the prices are quite high, ranging from USD 57 in Fiji to USD 177 in Cook Islands. But there’s also a country that’s completely off the charts – if you want to get internet in Papua New Guinea, you’ll pay USD 590 per month!