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RASHMII AMOAH BELL
The third in a series of articles about the need to improve conditions and sustainable development of the trek tourism industry along the Kokoda Trail. The articles are drawn from Rashmiis observations and conversations with Papua New Guinean guides, carriers, campsite owners and communities as she trekked the Trail from 6 -17 August, 2018
ON THE TRAIL - Empty cans of chicken soup sit beside a small open fire, their metal charring slowly as flames flicker around them.
Boskuk moves about busily clearing the other end of a timber platform on which his assistant, Junior, and I recline.
He throws scraps of onion peel and ripped pasta packets into a garbage disposal bag as he makes his way towards us to inspect the evenings dish washing efforts.
The various cauldrons that earlier held the trek groups two-course dinner, have now been washed by Junior and a few carriers, their head torches guiding them at Lubu Creek nearby.
Visibly satisfied, boskuk moves back to the fire to remove the blackened tins, crushing them easily under his feet before placing them in a separate garbage bag.
With no waste disposal system implemented by the Trails PNG-Australian management, Adventure Kokoda adheres to strict company policy that rubbish produced by the group is taken when departing campsites and rest stops.
ADELAIDE - The history of China is one in which the power of the central imperial authority waxes and wanes, mostly according the judgement, military capacity, diplomatic skills and luck of the incumbent Emperor and his minions.
However, a consistent thread throughout that history has been China's conviction that it represents the apex of human culture and civilisation and that, as a consequence, all other powers should humbly acknowledge this and submit to its will.
This belief has persisted despite what the Chinese regard as the 'century of humiliation' inflicted by the burgeoning European imperial powers and which is seen as having been terminated by the triumph of the communist party in 1949.
By this view, the so-called American Century (which arguably commenced in 1917) is a mere aberration, during which the upstart USA usurped China's legitimate role in the world.
Bearing this in mind, what China is currently doing is reasserting its prestige, military and economic power and authority, starting with South East Asia, still spreading through Africa and now appearing in the Pacific.
The strategic aim is to replace the USA as the world's foremost power, and thus be able to significantly influence if not entirely dominate world affairs to its advantage.
Naturally, the USA is going to push back against the Chinese efforts and this has already commenced. It is exerting its still enormous economic power and Donald Trump's overt belligerence towards China enjoys real support amongst many, probably the majority, of Americans.
While overt warfare seems unlikely right now, a covert digital war is already occurring, with both China and Russia seeking to find ways to disrupt western societies and, especially, the social cohesion amongst democratic societies that is a necessary prerequisite for any effective resistance to their geo-political ambitions.
Right now, the authoritarian regimes across the world seem to be...
CRAIG MAJOR | AUT News
AUCKLAND - Based at Auckland University of Technology, the Pacific Media Centre is a small team dedicated to telling stories from across the Pacific that you wont read anywhere else.
Established in 2007 by Professor David Robie in AUTs School of Communication Studies, the centre focuses on postgraduate research projects and publications that impact on indigenous communities across the Pacific.
Were a small team, but the scope of what we cover is phenomenal, Dr Robie explains. As researchers and reporters, we look at the repercussions that big issues like climate change, human rights violations and press freedom have on these small communities in the Asia-Pacific region.
The team are active publishers, managing several platforms including the Pacific Media Watch and Asia Pacific Report news websites, the half-yearly academic research journal Pacific Journalism Review and its companion Pacific Journalism Monographs, the blog Niusblog and Toktok, a quarterly newsletter.
The centre has also secured a media partnership with Radio New Zealand the first content-sharing arrangement between a New Zealand university and a news organisation and hosts the weekly Southern Cross radio programme on 95bFM.
Some of the Pacific Media Centre team: Sri Krishnamurthi (from left), Blessen Tom, Leilani Sitagata, Associate Professor Camille Nakhid, Professor David Robie and Del Abcede. Image: Craig Major/AUT
Dr Robie, along with Advisory Board chair Associate Professor Camille Nakhid, sees the centre as having a strong advocacy role across the Pacific and further afield.
I think it is a real strength of the PMC that the team can find issues in the Pacific that just arent covered in the mainstream New Zealand media, then explore them and report on them with authority and conviction, Dr Robie says.
The team is skilled in ident...
Journalism is getting something of a battering in Australia. At the parliamentary level, laws have passed that would be inimical to any tradition versed in the bill of rights. (Australia, not having such a restraining instrument on political zeal, can only rely on the bumbling wisdom of its representatives.) At the executive level, deals have been brokered between Canberra and various regional states to ensure minimum coverage over the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. Secrecy is all fashion.
Adding to this is the triumph of a certain breed of lazy, compliant journalist. The image of the ragtag journo long lost in the speculative tripe of Evelyn Waughs Scoop has been replaced by a tedious, technocratic lout who should, time permitting, be put out to a distant pasture. We are now dealing with compromised dispatches, press releases that yoke the reasoning and analysis that would barely pass muster in the lower grades of a half credible primary. The investigative journalist has, for the most part, disappeared, leaving a few brave scribblers to toil in the wilderness.
The corporate angle on this is fairly unremitting: wedged between the Murdoch behemoth (populist, ragged Herald Sun, or the screaming ideological The Australian) and the Fairfax machine (given a progressive tag), the options for the enterprising press writers are narrow. From the perspective of covering the brutal refugee policy Australia insists on pursuing, the Murdoch press tend to earn the medals of the island authorities in Manus and Nauru. Fairfax shuffles along in the background with the occasional note of condemnation.
The restrictions placed on covering the policy of the Australian government, and those paid subsidiaries on Nauru and Manus remain on par with the secrecy protocols of the Cold War. Since its inception, the Australian policy towards boat arrivals ultimately sent to those isolated island reaches has smacked of colonial patronage, with the regulations to boot.
Elevated to the levels of high secrecy under the term Operation Sovereign Borders, operational details in dealing with boat arrivals, as they are termed, have been a matter of clandestine value. The degrees of control have also extended to covering camp conditions, a matter policed by brutish little laws such as the Australian Border Force Act 2015 (Cth). Under that bit of legislative nastiness, those who obtain protected information in the course of their employment in the border force apparatus can be punished for two years for disclosing such information except to authorised personnel.
Prior to the passage of the ABFA, the Australian government made it its business to hound a number of Save the Children employees working in the Nauru Regional Processing centre. Th...
Large landscapes of intact tropical forests will figure prominently in global strategies to avert catastrophic climate change and conserve biodiversity. In this context, the extensive forests of Papua and West Papua Provinces in Indonesia are now becoming the focus of international conservation efforts. There are many inherent perils to this new boom in conservation in the provinces, which could repeat past mistakes that have deprived and dispossessed indigenous Papuans from their lands. Here we briefly outline the challenges of conservation, development and the recognition of indigenous land rights in West Papua province, based on our ongoing collaborative applied research projects in the province that began in 2013. West Papua Province, located in the Birds Head region of Papua (New Guinea) with a total area of 9.7 million hectares, retains over 90 per cent of its forest cover (Figure 1). West Papua Province was created in 2003 by splitting the province previously known as Papua into two provinces. As one of the youngest provinces in Indonesia, West Papua is under pressure to accelerate socio-economic development. The poverty rate in West Papua is high, although declining. In 2016, one fourth of West Papuans (225,800 people) lived under the regional poverty line, defined as 475 thousand Indonesian Rupiah (about USD 31) per month (Badan Pusat Statistik, 2017). The rural areas of West Papua, which are mostly populated by indigenous Papuans, are poorer than urban areas. Although lagging behind in its socio-economic development, West Papua is one of few provinces with extensive native forests.
|The closed down Garaina Tea Plantation now standing idle in thick kunai grass with no sign of life.~Pictures by SAMPSON BONAI|
|The towering Owen Stanley Range at Garaina|
A discrete emission of volcanic ash to a height of 10.4 km (34 000 feet) above sea level took place at Manam volcano, Papua New Guinea around 12:48 UTC, October 5, 2018. The eruption does not seem to be ongoing, the Darwin VAAC said 14:17 UTC. Volcanic ash cloud...... Read more
Radio New Zealand | 5 October 2018
A Papua New Guinea MP says a group opposing a mining companys presence in his district does not represent local landowners.
The Canadian company Barrick Gold is seeking to renew its licence at the Porgera mine in Enga, which it and Chinese miner ZiJin each own a 47.5 percent stake in.
The Justice Foundation for Porgera group, which claims to represent landowners, is urging the government to reject the licence application.
It said Barricks operations have caused great environmental damage and extensive human rights abuses.
However, Lagaip Porgera MP, Tomait Kapili said he believes the license will be renewed, but on improved equity terms.
Im ready to negotiate with Barrick and ZiJin on those funds, not to accuse them of this and that,...
PETER HARTCHER | Sydney Morning Herald | Extract
SYDNEY - To most Australians, the South Pacific looks like a holiday opportunity or a blank space on the map. It takes a crisis for Australia to pay serious attention to the Pacific islands.
Like when the Japanese occupied several to prepare for the full-scale invasion of Australia in World War II.
Or when the Solomon Islands became a failed state and turned to Australia in desperation in 2003, leading to the 14-year, multibillion-dollar RAMSI mission. Or when civil war broke out on Bougainville and Australia and New Zealand were asked to oversee the peace process from 1997.
All these crises ended well and Australia's performance ultimately was outstanding in each case. But in each case, Australia was complacent or distracted until events forced it to act. Some vigilance would have reduced the cost and consequences.
So it's time for Australia to pay serious attention. Crisis has again broken out in the Pacific islands, and this is one that directly threatens Australia's future.
Because while most Australians see the region's main value as a holiday destination, the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party sees Australia taking a holiday from history.
To China's President, Xi Jinping, that is an opportunity to establish dominance in the Pacific as part of the "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation". Beijing is using aid, infrastructure and other inducements to build influence over the small, poor nations that make up the region.
Just as China has been setting up naval bases in Africa and along the edge of the Indian Ocean, it's a matter of time before it does the same in the Pacific. It's interested in building ports in Papua New Guinea, for insta...
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