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          9/13/2018: Editorial & Letters: Nauru ‘safe’      Cache   Translate Page      
I’d like to remind the Herald that its Pic of the Week in the Herald on Sunday was a group of very happy and delightful looking young teenagers, all students from the Nauru Secondary School. These young people were proudly highlighting their culture at...
          Minaurum Gold, Inc. (MMRGF: Pink Current) | Venue Change      Cache   Translate Page      
Wed, Sep 12, 2018 12:00 - Minaurum Gold, Inc. (MMRGF: OTC Link) - Venue Change - The symbol, MMRGF, no longer trades on Grey Market. As of Wed, Sep 12, 2018, MMRGF trades on OTC Link. You may find a complete list of venue changes at otcmarkets.com.
          Minaurum Gold, Inc. (MMRGF: Pink Current) | Tier Change      Cache   Translate Page      
Wed, Sep 12, 2018 12:00 - Minaurum Gold, Inc. (MMRGF: Pink Current) - Tier Change - The symbol, MMRGF, no longer is classified as Grey Market. As of Wed, Sep 12, 2018, MMRGF resides in the Pink Current tier. You may find a complete list of tier changes at otcmarkets.com.
          A look at the fallout from PIF in Nauru      Cache   Translate Page      
Academics, Tess Newton Cain and Matthew Dornan pull apart the drama of PIF 2018, exploring the Boe Declaration; as well as the ramifications of closed door discussions when Pacific Island leaders confronted Australian officials over the Coalition Government's climate change policies.
          Case against Nauru 19 given permanent stay      Cache   Translate Page      
Nineteen Nauruans accused over anti-government protests three years ago have had their case dropped.
          Delight as Nauru 19 given permanent stay      Cache   Translate Page      
There is delight in Nauru after a court dropped a long-running case against a group accused over anti-government protests.
          Dateline Pacific evening edition for 13 September 2018      Cache   Translate Page      
Permanent stay for Nauru anti government protestors; NGO stays on the case of deforestation in Papua; Fish management funding from EU and Sweden to help net thieves; A commission of inquiry details Samoa's harrowing rates of violence and a lack of government action; Another report says Pacific Islands students face bullying rates way higher than global averages.
          Permanent stay for Nauru anti government protestors      Cache   Translate Page      
The group dubbed the Nauru 19 has had charges laid after an anti government protest three years ago thrown out.
           Government argued refugee didn’t need to come to Australia for an abortion       Cache   Translate Page      
A Somalian refugee detained on Nauru since 2013 applied for entry into Australia for an emergency abortion but was denied by the Home Affairs office based on the severity of her genital mutilation.
          Nauru 19: judge throws out case and rules protesters cannot receive a fair trial      Cache   Translate Page      

Judge says government of Nauru has decided protesters are guilty and will spend whatever it takes to jail them

The Nauru 19 cannot receive a fair trial in the country because the executive government has already decided they are guilty, and will do whatever it can, and spend whatever money it has, to convict and jail them, a senior judge has ruled.

In an excoriating judgment, the Australian judge Geoffrey Muecke said the actions of the Nauru government – and in particular those of justice minister David Adeang – were “a shameful affront to democracy”. The judge granted a permanent stay in the proceedings, meaning the case will not continue.

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          Nauru judicial officials and minister slammed by judge      Cache   Translate Page      
A court in Nauru has issued a scathing condemnation of the Nauru government and its judicial officials over the Nauru 19 case.
          A SEA CHANGE IN THE SECURITY OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC / GEOPOLITICAL FUTURES      Cache   Translate Page      

A Sea Change in the Security of the South Pacific

Small countries have been caught in the current of great power politics.

By Jacob L. Shapiro


Concluding today is the 49th Pacific Islands Forum, an annual three-day summit that has gone broadly unnoticed by much of the world. The few headlines that managed to creep their way into continental news agencies concerned a minor spat between the host, Nauru, and China, whose delegation eventually walked out of a meeting Sept. 4. Most overlooked the fact that forum members agreed in principle to jointly augment the national security of Pacific island nations.

The agreement, called the Boe Declaration, has been in the works for a few months. Australia and New Zealand, the two strongest forum nations, hinted in July that a new regional security architecture would be announced at the recent summit. Outspoken advocates of the declaration, Australia and New Zealand want to strengthen the forum to counter China’s growing economic influence in this part of the world. Until recently, the biggest threats to the forum were run-of-the-mill internal problems such as civil unrest and natural disasters. But Canberra and Wellington want these island nations to prepare for worse.

The new declaration itself, like others before it, is almost uniformly unremarkable. It repeats previous declarations and offers platitudes about cooperation and information sharing. It identifies no country as a threat – if anything, parts of it are as much a criticism of U.S. efforts to undermine international institutions as they are a defense against Chinese intrusión.


 

Unlike others before it, however, the new declaration includes in a small section near the end wherein the forum members “recognize that national security impacts on regional security” and pledge to develop national security capacities accordingly. That is a sea change. The previous security framework, known as the Biketawa Declaration, is far more specific on the mechanism by which forum nations can intervene in the affairs of neighbors – Australia and New Zealand have used it in recent years to deploy forces to the Solomon Islands, Nauru and Tonga – but it is chiefly concerned with internal problems that require outside assistance. The Boe Declaration explicitly deals with the need for forum nations to develop capacities to resist external threats. The post-summit communique also notes that a detailed plan for implementation of the Boe Declaration will be completed by November.

As with all multilateral institutions, the challenge for the forum is that its members all have different national interests. The forum comprises 18 countries, and while most of them share a similar geographic identity as small island states in the South Pacific, they don’t necessarily share the same goals. Nauru, for example, still recognizes Taiwan, and barely trades with China. (It accounts for just about 1 percent of Nauru’s total imports and exports). That’s a far cry from a country such as Vanuatu, which owes half of its $440 million in foreign debt to China, which is also the island’s top source of imports and a top five export destination. Samoa and Fiji criticized Nauru for rocking the boat with China even as they were agreeing to boost national security capacities.

Even so, the Boe Declaration was adopted unanimously and so is a first step toward a more unified Pacific Islands Forum, with Australia and New Zealand playing a leading role in its cohesion. For all the talk of China’s ambitions, Australia and New Zealand are still in charge, dominating forum countries by almost every metric. The Boe Declaration reflects this balance of power even as it acknowledges what has now become clear – that these small nations are caught in the current of great power politics.

          Jörn Donnerin kommentti: Ruotsin blokkipolitiikka tiensä päässä – muutoin nuorallatanssi päättyy ruotsidemokraattien nauruun      Cache   Translate Page      
Ruotsi on kaikesta huolimatta yhä tavattoman vakaa maa ja vakaa yhteiskunta, kirjoittaa Jörn Donner.
          Murray Grimwood, aka Power Down Kiwi, looks at the problems we face and aspirational ways we might approach them      Cache   Translate Page      

By Murray Grimwood

Having compared the planet to a paddock and given some thought to thinking, it’s time to turn that knowledge on our current set of problems. And they’re doozies, compounding.

Using the dispassionate logic mentioned in my last article, we can surmise that any planet upon which life evolves, is eventually going to throw up a species sapient enough to dominate all other life-forms and to alter the physics of said planet. The question is whether the species could get sapient enough quick enough to realise it was headed for a game of double-or-quits Russian Roulette (with its own existence at stake) or whether it was stupid enough to run off the cliff still denying that the cliff existed.

On current trajectory, we seem to be demonstrating that it doesn’t get sapient enough, fast enough. It looks like the exponentially-increasing growth of its endeavours outpaces it’s evolving cognisance, which may explain the lack of extra-terrestrial communications received. (In other words we seem to be demonstrating that dominant/sapient species wipe themselves out about 100 years after they’ve learned to transmit). The residual adherence to religious belief is another indicator that our rate of cognitive adaption (towards taking responsibility rather than off-loading it) is too slow.

I’d like to think we can do better than that. Let’s start from the top:

A Goal

How about an over-arching goal: that our grandchildren thank us for what we’ve left them? No objections? Let’s proceed…..

Population

This being a finite planet/paddock and this being everyone’s grandchildren we’re leaving things to, it’ll have to be replacement-procreation only from now on. Simple really; wealth boils down to access to parts of the planet (food, water, minerals, shelter, land). More people means poorer people; a per-head legacy is always invalid if it fails to count heads. So New Zealand’s prime move has to be to stabilize, and preferably reduce, population. More paddock per child – the ultimate gift.  

Yes, there will be yowls, howls, derision and snorting from the stables. Yes, it clashes with what is currently seen as personal choice. Yes, it clashes with some beliefs, be they religious, financial, or both. Yes, it means that altruism is the only workable format if we wish to continue; an interesting realisation in itself. But it does tell us that anyone parenting six offspring, should be questioned as to their appropriateness future-leadership-wise.

Consumption

The other side of the population coin is consumption. Actually, it’s the only one Nature takes notice of, it’s up to us to work out the per-head bit. Consumption can be divided into three categories: finite resources, renewable resources, and sinks.

Finite resources are easily addressed – they must be kept once they’ve been extracted, recycled as near 100% as possible, and only locked into infrastructure which will not be a liability to those grandchildren (you could conceivably leave them enough earmarked energy or tools to alleviate a liability, leaving them money is invalid for obvious reasons).

Renewable resources may only be used at up to their renewal rate, or we’re handing those grandchildren a depleted inventory and falling short of our stated goal. Aquifers, timber, fish-stocks, soil; currently New Zealand has a long way to go and arguably we should be looking at pre-European stocking levels/counts, as the base-line.

Sinks are the capacity of the environment (soil, water, atmosphere) to absorb and mitigate our output. Atmospheric CO2 is a classic, oceanic plastic another, reduction in NZ waterway-quality yet another. We’re up against and away past most of those counts too, when same-or-better is the requirement.

The three are easily identified. If we had the will, they are easily quantifiable and addressable. Address them, and cultural evolution can proceed unfettered, as can technology – just without reducing those three categories. Again, natural capital is not interchangeable with monetary capital; substitution is therefore invalid – you end up with a pile of worthless digits and an uninhabitable planet.

Few people grasp the magnitude of the physical de-growth required to meet those rather obvious criteria. We’re talking orders-of-magnitude here, and almost certainly the end of our present financial system. Trying to debate this with people trained in the current money-paradigm, is often difficult. Also proving difficult, is convincing people that an entirely fulfilling life can be lived with less consumption.

Re-defining Sustainability

Next, we have a Tragedy of the Commons problem. Some of the resources we use and have used (eg: Nauru phosphate, ex-bird-droppings) have not only been used up at an unsustainable rate, they’ve come from somewhere else. And some things we export (coal for instance) have negative repercussions from being burnt somewhere else. Yet the ocean, the atmosphere, indeed the entire biosphere, respect no boundaries. The classic ‘Tragedy’ scenario is a bunch of farmers each out for their own advantage, collectively running commonly-held land into ruin. Neo-liberal types tried to use the ‘Tragedy’ tale to advocate private ownership – but short-term demands (like debt-repayment obligations) and exponential growth have made a mockery of that.

The sapient approach is for the farmers to agree not to reduce the quality of their communal paddock, to put a measurement regime in place (and a penalty one for those no sapient enough yet) and pass the Commons on as a going-concern legacy.

Now we know enough to deduce that the United Nations ‘Global Goals for Sustainable Development’ (they took over from the Millennium Development Goals) are fatally-flawed. Here they are: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-Being for People, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Reducing Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, Partnerships for the Goals.

 No mention of population curtailment nor of resource/environmental equilibrium and a clear demand for economic growth. They fail, in the same way that ‘Titanic passenger entertainment plans for tomorrow’ fail – they give no cognisance to the things which underwrite them. Some Goals may well be socially desirable, but there is no point in addressing those without addressing the levels of population/consumption which are maintainable long-term.

We know enough too, to deduce that the RMA is deficient in its definition of sustainability, and in its inability to adjudicate. Some of this can be traced back to the ‘Commons’ problem (like the fact that nearly all ‘economic’ activity in New Zealand is underwritten by foreign-sourced fossil fuels). As long as the RMA cannot address this, applications (from dairying to tourism to suburban sprawl) which are unsustainable, cannot be disallowed. Neither document will achieve real sustainability in current form.

Default logic tells us that if we need different goals (like the one I’ve suggested above, say) then we need different measures. Having discredited GDP, and with it ‘economic growth’, we need to introduce some others: measures for water, for soil, for bio-diversity, for the state of resource-stocks. Instead of RNZ Business chanting thrice daily that the Dow has moved X% (does a thing that big really move so far in a day?) we might expect daily updates on the state of the local river and adjacent farmland, with quarterly guidance and audited yearly reporting.

In formulating a replacement suite of Goals, we could do worse than begin with the suggestions of Rod Dietz and Dan O’Neill in their book ‘Enough is enough’, list three overarching discussion-points:

  1. Replace the culture of consumerism with a culture of sustainability.
  2. Stimulate political debate and media coverage of the limits to growth and the steady-state alternative.
  3. Change national goals regarding growth and improve international cooperation.

I don’t suggest they’re perfect – but they’re a start. Locally the wellbeing moves being made by Treasury and the current Government, are moves in the right direction. We can trace them back to fumbling beginnings like Victoria University’s Valuing Nature conference, and make some reasonable guesses as to where they will go. Calls for long-term thinking also indicate that the societal narrative is morphing. Whether it’s morphing fast enough is the 64,000-ton question.


          Comment on PM pulls out of weekend TV show interviews by Justitia      Cache   Translate Page      
Panic attack! Robbo's just let Cindy know the figures aren't looking good and they will have to cut back on budgeted expenditure. All this coming on top of the Currangate, Nauru, "Partnership Office" setbacks and Winston questioning the industrial relations "reforms" so dear to the unions. Jethro better be squeezing those almonds and drawing the curtains this weekend.
          Appeal to be filed in Nauru 19 case      Cache   Translate Page      
Nauru's Director of Public Prosecutions is to appeal a Supreme Court decision granting a permanent stay on the trial of the so-called Nauru 19.


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