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Saturday, 17 November

02:34

For APECs poorest member, flashy cars point to another boondoggle "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit that opens in Port Moresby this week is supposed to be a showcase of Papua New Guineas hosting, but the run-up to the event has been overshadowed by fast cars. Italian-made Maseratis, mostly 40 of them, flown in on specially chartered cargo flights as well as three Bentleys. At a reported $148,000 per Maserati, and an estimated freight cost of at least $1.2 million, this outlay by the poorest of the APEC member states has put the government of Prime Minister Peter ONeill in the spotlight. ONeills APEC minister, Justin Tkatchenko, has justified the move, saying in a statement that the cars will provide the level of carriage for [world] Leaders that is the standard for vehicles used at APEC Summits. He also said the cars would be paid for by the private sector, but gave no details. ONeill was reported as saying separately that they would be auctioned off after the summit. But the extravagant spending has struck a nerve in a country where basic infrastructure and services are severely lacking. Thousands took part in an Oct. 26 Maserati Strike, including public bus drivers in the northern city of Lae. The spending on the summit at large has come at the expense of the health system, the education system, rural infrastructure, law and order, government finances and the economy, and employment, Mekere Morauta, an opposition member of parliament, said in a statement. Gary Juffa, the governor of Oro province and

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Friday, 16 November

14:05

Cat Rescued From Wildfire Becomes Instant Friends With The Man Who Saved Him "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Hidden amid the smoldering ruins of a region left devastated by the deadliest wildfire in California's history, rescuers discovered a heartening sign that all was not lost.

And boy, was he happy to see them, too.

Credit: Foster City Fire Department

On Monday, while patrolling areas affected by the Camp Fire that were evacuated due to massive blaze, a crew from the Foster City Fire Department heard a sound they could not ignore the desperate cries of a creature holed up under a bush.

It was a cat, but his species mattered little. First and foremost, he was a survivor in need of help. And the rescuers were happy to offer it.

Credit: Foster City Fire Department

The cat was understandably frightened at first, his seared whiskers and burned paws evidence that he'd had a brush with death. But soon the cat's demeanor changed upon realizing his ordeal was finally over.

Firefighter Geoff Downing was able to coax the cat from his hiding spot, taking him warmly into his arm. In that moment, the rescuer and rescuee shared the same feelings of relief and joy.

They'd both found hope.

"[An] instant friendship was formed," the fire department wrote online.
...

11:11

Palm oil supplier to PepsiCo, Mars, and Hershey resumes deforesting in Indonesia "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

A palm oil supplier to PepsiCo, Mars, Hershey and Johnson & Johnson has resumed clearing intact forest in West Papua, Indonesia, despite pressure by other major companies, many of which have since severed ties with the producer. The deforestation triggered a series of automatic alerts by Global Forest Watch, a satellite monitoring system operated by the World Resources Institute (WRI). PT Permata Putera Mandiri (PPM), a subsidiary of Austindo Nusantara Jaya Tbk (ANJ), has cleared 4.5 square kilometers (1.7 square miles) of intact forest since May. While this may seem like a relatively small area (in 2017 Indonesia lost 13,000 square kilometers, or 5,000 square miles, of tree cover), it is significant for the location, ANJs previous history, and the fact that this action violates the well-publicized commitments many of its customers have made to not deforest, not develop on peatlands, and not exploit indigenous peoples, also known as NDPE. PPM first began clearing forest in 2014. In response, palm oil giants GAR and Wilmar dropped ANJ from their supply chains, and Cargill followed in 2016. Facing a global boycott, PPM temporarily suspended forest clearing, but resumed operations again in late 2017. The Forest Trust (TFT), a nonprofit organization that helps businesses establish sustainable sourcing policies, has worked with many of the above companies on their NDPEs. In 2014, TFT engaged with its members and ANJ to address the deforestation issue, but reached an impasse when the company said it had to clear the forest for plantation to remain profitable.

10:22

Govt Announces Action To Resolve Basamuk Los Concerns Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

Landowners forced to take out media adverts to make Minister aware of human rights and other serious issues relating to MCC and the Ramu mine refinery

Post Courier | November 15, 2018

Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke has announced immediate action will take place to address the concerns of the Basamuk Limestone landowners of Madang Province.

Speaking from Goroka, yesterday, Mr Tuke said he was not aware of the alleged criticisms nor the human rights abuses and complaints made by the landowners until he sighted the one-page overly media release in this paper yesterday.

Mr Tuke said that he would in the next couple of days summon all concerned parties to his office for answers.

I appreciate the concerns of the Basamuk landowners and I am now very aware of the matter so in the coming days I will call up the MCC and Ramu NiCo Management, the Mineral Resources Authority, Department of Mineral Policy and Geo-Hazards Management, CEPA, and other government agencies involved in this matter to sit with me and tell me what is going on, he said.

...

09:37

Major Project Agreements Must Be Reviewed To Benefit PNG Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

There have been many complaints of a lack of benefits coming from the LNG project Photo: RNZI/Johnny Blades

The Current Business Model and Tax Concessions are Cheating PNG of Revenues and Landowner Benefits

Post Courier | November 15, 2018

In the period leading up to and eventual start of the multi-billion kina PNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in 2014, there was much fanfare and grandstanding of the promise/premise that the project would single-handedly transform PNG.

In fact, the project has delivered some much-needed tangible developments in terms of major infrastructure, additional employment and spin-off business opportunities as well as foreign exchange revenue. However, there are still many unresolved issues that demand National Governments most swift and appropriate remedial action.

On October 30 2018, it was reported (Post-Courier) complaints by Paguale Kekero resources landowners association from Southern Highlands Province over benefits from the PNG LNG project. The report referred to major clans with population of over 2000 people left in the dark on LNG project...

Thursday, 15 November

12:38

PNG experimental seabed mining project another failed investment, says ex-minister Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

The proposed production method for Solwara 1 Project. Image Nautilus

Pacific Media Centre | November 14, 2018

The controversial Nautilus Solwara 1 deep sea mining project has been accused of being another Papua New Guinean government failed investment on the verge of bankruptcy, claim campaigners citing a former attorney-general.

In a statement by the Deep Sea Mining Campaign, former PNG Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Sir Arnold Amet is quoted as saying:

Nautilus is propped up by US$15 million in loans from its two major shareholders, its been forced to reduce its workforce and to terminate contracts for the construction of equipment.

Even the production support vessel crucial to Nautilus o...

07:18

Republic of Congo names new national park, home to gorillas, elephants "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

The Republic of Congo has officially created its fifth national park, lending protection to great apes, forest elephants and other threatened wildlife. The new Ogoou-Leketi National Park spans 3,500 square kilometers (1,350 square miles), and borders Batk Plateau National Park in neighboring Gabon. Together, the two national parks form a transboundary protected area covering more than 5,500 square kilometers (2,120 square miles). Ogoou-Leketi is also part of the Batk Plateau landscape, a unique patchwork of large rolling savannas on sandy hills, interrupted by long strips of dense forests and turquoise-blue river valleys. This savanna-forest complex is home to several threatened species, some found nowhere else in Congo, according to a press release from the Wildlife Conservation Societys Congo program, which has been surveying the area with the countrys Ministry of Forestry Economy since 2004. Ogoou-Leketi National Park was created by official decree on Nov. 9, 2018. Image courtesy of WCS. In 2009, the IUCN identified the region in which the park sits today as a priority conservation site for the protection of the critically endangered western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and the endangered central chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes troglodytes), said Mark Gately, country director for WCS-Congo. The forest sector of the new park is also home to several other species, such as the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus), red river hog (Potamochoerus porcus), and several species of monkey including the iconic mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx). The savanna part of the national park, too, hosts a wide range of wildlife. The park

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