Tracking daily developments in the struggle for a Papua New Guinea worthy of its people

Saturday 2 July

OIL Search's $3 billion bid to acquire InterOil is now subject to a rival offer from an unnamed party, believed to be Exxon. Oil Search says it has been notified by InterOil that an unsolicited, conditional non-binding proposal has just come forward. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/07/01/rival-emerges-oil-searchs-interoil-bi

Friday 1 July

PNG church leaders are calling on the prime minister to step aside while a commission of inquiry investigates recent violence at the nation's universities. Retired judge Warwick Andrew will chair the commission, which the church leaders say will only investigate the symptoms and not the root cause of the unrest. The deputy chairman of the evangelical and pentecostal churches in Morobe, Pastor Newman Watati, says the prime minister should do the honourable thing. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307681/church-leaders-in-png-call-for-pm-to-step-aside

THE PNG government has successfully raised an unsecured loan for up to $US500 million (K1.5 billion) from Credit Suisse AG, with the first funds to be drawn down immediately. The government announced this in a aid advertisement but with no details on conditions, interest rate or where the proceeds would be applied. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/png-government-secures-k15-billion-loan.html#ixzz4D7Oldoks

PETER O’Neill’s trade mission to China next week, juxtaposed with Rio’s pull-out from Bougainville, has some PNG Attitude commentators excited. Will the Chinese be invited to redevelop the Panguna mine? While John Momis was once PNG’s ambassador to China, Bougainvilleans would be hugely unexcited by this option, especially under the aegis of the PNG government. In China, O’Neill will meet with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/png-pm-oneill-to-officially-visit-china.html#ixzz4D6B5QtmM

PETER O’Neill has revisited his effort to grab the $USD1.4 billion PNG Sustainable Development Program established for the people of the Western Province when BHP fled PNG. O’Neill says he wants to see that the funds “are protected and safely delivered back to the people of Western Province”. Ahem…. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/prime-minister-oneill-committed-to.html#ixzz4D68ulKGw

Thursday 30 June

POLICE are providing protection for Unitech vice-chancellor Dr Albert Schram following an attack on his car and threats made to him. A group of students was not happy with Dr Schram for not publicly disclosing which group killed a student on Saturday. Metropolitan superintendent Anthony Wagambie said police had been assigned to provide protection. http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/110692&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

ASIAN Development Bank says PNG is still seen by private sector as a growth market, but the downside risks are significant. "Without a public finance reform … any additional debt begs the question how it's being utilised, whether it's being driven towards productive sectors or not." http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307605/adb-urges-further-expenditure-reform-for-png

IN rare good news, the international anti-money-laundering task force has removed PNG from its blacklist. It welcomed the "significant progress" PNG has made in addressing deficiencies in its anti-laundering systems. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307606/png-dropped-from-anti-money-laundering-blacklist

Wednesday 29 June

NO new doctors will graduate from the UPNG medical school in 2017 because of the impact of the student boycott on classes in a so far failed effort to get rid of prime minister Peter O’Neill. PNG has one of the worse doctor to patient ratio in the world, a ratio of 0.05 dctors  per 1,000 people. http://www.looppng.com/content/no-graduating-doctors-put-strain-health-services-%E2%80%93-health-secretary#.V3IYUGKTlqU.twitter

THE PNG government is enforcing a curfew at UPNG and Unitech following the violent attack in Lae and ongoing student protests. NCD metropolitan police commander Ben Turi said there would be no tolerance for more protests. The mood at UPNG is said to be quiet under a heavy police presence. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307509/curfew-and-clampdown-on-protests-in-png

EASTERN Highlands governor Julie Soso has been found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court. The court found that the actions of the governor in instructing Solomon Tato to step down as provincial administrator and later recommending another appointment was contemptuous as it breached an earlier court order. The matter will now proceed to criminal trial. http://www.looppng.com/content/soso-guilty-contempt-court#.V3IWBysHNUU.twitter

OPPOSITION Leader Don Polye has called on chief secretary Isaac Lupari to resign, saying he must be blamed for leading the country into financial woes and uncertainty. “Isaac Lupari is professionally and morally unfit to be the government’s chief secretary,” he said. https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/902664963175630

Tuesday 28 June

LAE police have arrested three students after the death of a student at the University of Technology on Saturday. It is understood one of arrested men was the dead man's roommate. The victim was reportedly targeted amid student disagreements over whether to continue boycotts on classes as part of a campaign to get prime minister Peter O'Neill to resign. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-28/three-arrested-over-png-student-death/7550564

FOLLOWING a visit to West Papua, PNG’s ambassador to Indonesia, Peter Ilau, says West Papuans are running their own region. "We're observing a trend towards doing things for themselves," he said. "You know the governors, they're all indigenous Papuans.” Ilau said that ‘one of the salient points’ he and ambassadors from New Zealand, Fiji and Solomons picked up during the visit was that local people in Papua are ‘fed up with outside interference’. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307457/west-papuans-in-the-driving-seat,-says-png-ambassador

IN AN example of what psychologists call ‘projection’, Peter O'Neill blames the opposition for protests at the country's universities, saying opposition leader, Don Polye, has blood on his hands. O'Neill accuses Don Polye of stirring up students and misleading them with false ideas. When investigations are completed, O’Neill says, he wouldn't be surprised to find the opposition heavily involved. He also says the opposition is undermining the economy and image of the nation. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307451/png-pm-again-blames-opposition-for-student-unrest

WITH PNG’s university system in chaos and students heading home, Peter O’Neill is planning a curfew. “A curfew needs to be imposed on campuses and strict controls must be in place to ensure that only students, staff and people with a legitimate reason to be there are able to visit campuses,” he says. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/png-government-plans-to-impose-curfew.html#ixzz4CooZMh5w

THOUSANDS of people march in the Southern Highlands capital Mendi to mourn Graham Romanong, a first-year surveying student, who killed at Unitech on Saturday, allegedly murdered by a rival student group. The killing is not related to recent student boycotts but to an earlier incident where a clash between two groups of students resulted in a wounding.http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/shp-mourns-for-student-killed-at.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz4Copwr3UY

Monday 27 June

RESPECTED paediatrician and vice-president of the National Doctors Association Dr Alphonse Rongap Snr was shot at close range and killed in a weekend carjacking in Lae. The death of the senior doctor, originally from East Sepik, has shocked PNG. http://www.looppng.com/content/bring-culprits-dr-rongap-snr%E2%80%99s-death-justice-nda?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

THE Catholic Bishops Conference says the situation at UPNG and Unitech has gone from bad to worse. General Secretary Fr Victor Roche said: “The CBC is against any form of violence. We appeal to the students not to cause any more destruction of property. The students who want to attend classes should be allowed by other fellow students. There should be no intimidation.” http://www.onepng.com/2016/06/unitech-upng-situation-going-from-bad.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

Sunday 26 June

UNITECH vice-chancellor Albert Schram confirms that Appropriate Technology & Community Development Institute, Department of Open and Distance Learning, SRC president’s house and mess building lost to arson. “We will need support now in times of need to rebuild the mess and academic buildings,” Prof Schram says. https://www.facebook.com/albert.schram/posts/1298827166811870

GOVERNOR Gary Juffa tweets on continuing unrest in three universities: “One student murdered in Lae; another still in critical condition in Port Moresby; Parliament must be recalled.”

CORRUPTION busting lawyer Sam Koim (deposed by a fearful prime minister)  tweets: "The central feature of the Rule of Law is that our country is ruled by laws not men."

POLICE have arrested and charged four people in relation to the violence on the UPNG campus. Police Minister Robert Atiyafa said most students wanted a return to classes but were prevented from doing so by intoxicated students. “The activities of these remaining few are no longer student issues but law and order issues,” he said. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/four-arrested-over-upng-student-rampage.html#ixzz4CckioO9N

HIGHER Education Minister Malakai Tabar has condemned the actions of students who torched a building and five vehicles at UPNG. “They are behaving like criminals, they are not behaving like students, and the police have been requested to identify and deal with those involved,” he said. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/tabar-condemns-actions-of-students-at.html#ixzz4CclRclEX

Saturday 25 June

PNG’s attempt to interest global investors in a $1 billion bond issue has likely been doomed by UK’s vote to leave the EU and the market turmoil in its wake. Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari says if the funds aren’t raised there will be further spending cutbacks on schools, roads, hospitals, bridges and health care. http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/Papua-New-Guinea-tries-again-to-interest-global-bond-buyers

UPNG’s Uni-Venture publishing and bookshop business entity has gone up in flames. Books on PNG history valued at K1.5 million have been lost together with office and training equipment, school kits and other reading materials. The building was also looted. http://www.emtv.com.pg/article.aspx?slug=Millions-in-Flames-&subcategory=Top-Stories

Friday 24 June

POET Jeff Febi writes: "I have been supporting UPNG4PNG protests passionately until today. After burning of the two important and critical infrastructure - Somare Library and Uni Printery of UPNG - my support will be withdrawn. Uni students just can't afford to stoop to the levels of the policemen who shot at them and injured many."

POLICE have reoccupied the UPNG campus after students burned a building and vehicles and shut down the main campus yesterday. UPNG staff were told not to enter the campus this morning and police met with university administrators and were guarding the main buildings. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-24/png-police-re-occupy-university-after-students-torch-building/7541070

IN A media statement, PNG chief secretary Isaac Lupari hits out at “ill-informed naysayers who are preoccupied with talking down the national economy.” He says people “who talk the economy down are ignoring the facts. There is a small group of people who have a singular obsession of trying to mislead markets and the nation about the national economy.”

Thursday 23 June

THE PNG Supreme Court has set 1 July as the date for a hearing on the right of Sir Mekere Morauta to challenge the constitutionality of the O’Neill government’s illegal expropriation of PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd’s 63.4% shareholding in Ok Tedi Mining Ltd. Sir Mek is seeking standing to bring the challenge as a private citizen. http://www.mekeremorauta.net/#!Date-set-for-constitutional-challenge-to-illegal-expropriation-of-PNGSDP-shares-in-Ok-Tedi/c1sbz/57687e140cf2644549bd278a

UPNG students have requested a formal reconciliation process with the university administration before returning to class. Student Council spokesperson Gerald Peni says students are prepared to apologise if the administration says sorry to students and condemns the 8 June shootings by police. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307033/upng-students-seek-reconcilation

Wednesday 22 June

MOVES by police commissioner Gary Baki to arrest fraud squad head Matthew Damaru are described as an abuse of power by his lawyer McRonald Nale. He said the argument that Damaru failed to consult the public prosecutor before arresting and charging Sir Bernard Sakora is nullified by the constitutional provision that police operate independently. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307006/arrest-of-png-fraud-squad-head-called-an-abuse-of-power

MAJOR Andrew Napi, commanding officer of Kerowil Barracks in Jiwaka, says soldiers will assistpolice along the Nondugl-Banz road in doing random checks on vehicles for illegal firearms and weapons, unlicensed liquor, marijuana and unregistered vehicles. Looks like it could be a thin edge. http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/110155

NEW charges against the head of PNG’s police fraud squad are temporarily suspended by the national court. Matthew Damaru was arrested last week in relation to his arrest of supreme court judge, Sir Bernard Sakora, on corruption allegations. Justice Kiele Polume has placed a restraining order preventing police commissioner Gary Baki or internal affairs officers making further arrests of fraud squad detectives over the matter. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306958/charges-against-png-fraud-squad-head-on-hold

FRAUD squad boss Matthew Damaru has aired his frustration at the police hierarchy for infighting amongst officers. He says it is embarrassing him to be arrested for doing his job in investigating and prosecuting high profile cases. Mr Damaru said the charge of abuse of office was a “real joke” and blamed it on wrong advice issued to the police commissioner. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/police-infighting-is-embarrassing-says.html#ixzz4CFAFkuoR

CHIEF Secretary Isaac Lupari says classes have resumed at Unitech and the UPNG medical school, the first since students were shot at UPNG. He took the opportunity to lash social media, saying, “As responsible Papua New Guineans it is our responsibility to be careful of what we post on social media, not to incite any major trouble in the country.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/positive-turnouts-as-students-resume.html#ixzz4CFEr7L85

Tuesday 21 June

A PSYCHOLOGIST who has counselled people in the aftermath of terrorist attacks, bombings and mass murders says he has "never seen more atrocity" than in the detention centres of Manus and Nauru. Paul Stevenson has disclosed 2,000 pages of reports revealing the privation, self-harm and desperation he dealt with during his 14 deployments to the Australian detention centres. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/20/i-have-never-seen-more-atrocity-than-i-have-seen-in-the-incarcer/

INTERESTING piece in favour of anonymity in PNG social media as “an excellent way to support the kind of effective free speech that the Peter O’Neill government now wants to silence.” Some familiar names are mentioned and fascinating ideas canvassed. But it’s written anonymously and thus should be read with caution. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/06/all-out-png-social-media-war-against.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

THE PNG supreme court wants to enforce its ruling that the detention of asylum seekers on Manus is illegal. About 900 of the so called boat people are remain at the detention centre. The court asked lawyers representing detainees and the government to apply for orders that to enforce the ruling. One of the detainees' lawyers, Ben Lomai said “we are seeking a release and retransfer of all the asylum seekers back to Australia within the next 30 to 60 days. The supreme court is reconvening today. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306783/png-supreme-court-to-enforce-manus-ruling

ASSISTANT commissioner Victor Isouve who is leading the police investigation into the UPNG shootings says the investigation is proving difficult because people are not cooperating. He says he is waiting on university officials for information and the general hospital has refused to release medical reports to police. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/no-cooperation-in-upng-protest.html#ixzz4CAXOg9R0

UPNG student leader Henry Norrie-Maim says students have chosen not to attend classes out of respect for those shot by police. "The lecture rooms are open for us,” he says, “but most of us don't want to go to classes while our friends that took bullets are suffering in hospital and recovering." http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306495/upng-students-still-not-back-in-class

EXPERIENCE in PNG has shown that inappropriate policy, poor governance and ineffective administration have contributed to the inefficient translation of economic gains into broad based gains and development. Here’s the story of the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). http://www.publishwhatyoupay.org/eiti-in-papua-new-guinea-pros-and-cons/?utm_content=buffer186d6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

THE detention of three immigration officers attempting to deport a Malaysian businessman has caused a confrontation with police. Chief Immigration Officer Mataio Rabura expressed concern over the behaviour of a senior police officer and his faction of policemen for allegedly assaulting the immigration officers and detaining them at the Gerehu police station last week. http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/110101

Monday 20 June

PNG IS approaching world financial markets for a USD 1 billion sovereign bond. A successful raising will have major benefits for PNG, says Paul Flanagan, especially in reducing foreign exchange shortages. However, the costs will be too high – over 25% per annum – unless the kina is made much more competitive before the bond is issued. Failing to do so will be a K2 billion mistake. http://pngeconomics.org/?p=184

AS OIL Search attempts a takeover, the InterOil share price rallies and pressures the $US2 billion bid. InterOil founder Phil Mulacek has been strongly critical of the Oil Search offer, which he argues undervalues the potential of the Elk-Antelope reserves in the Gulf Province. http://www.smh.com.au/business/interoil-share-price-strength-adds-to-oil-search-bid-woes-20160619-gpmli1.html#ixzz4C5Em32Nx

THE UPNG Administration is demanding students complete ‘reaffirmation forms’ to clarify if they want to continue to boycott classes. The coercive and repugnant forms include clauses designed to remove the students’ democratic right to protest. Time ANU severed its association with this failed institution. https://www.facebook.com/pngples/posts/1129666030428343

STAFF at the National Broadcasting Corporation missed out on their pay last week, Tundei luswik in PNG parlance. They now face the grim reality of the government’s cash flow problems and the difficult task of sustaining their families. There is no certainty they will get their pay this week. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/06/nbc-staff-didnt-get-their-pay-this-pay.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

Fights among students at Bugandi Secondary School in Morobe Province have been an issue for many years. Principal Tony Gau says he is not sure if the fights are related to cult activities or ethnic differences. He has exhausted all avenues to stop them and has involved the police to assist the school. Some students caught by police have been taken into juvenile custody. http://www.onepng.com/2016/06/student-gang-groups-cause-school-fights.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

AT the University of Technology, student leaders from all 22 provinces are working tirelessly to broker peace between students from Southern Highlands and Enga. A physical confrontation took place between the two groups last week after a forum to air support, as well as raise funds to contribute towards medical costs for their UPNG colleagues. http://www.looppng.com/content/unitech-students-seek-reconcile#.V2WoKfMZzzY.twitter

Sunday 19 June

“Those who wants to fight against corruption, bear in mind that corruption fights back,” says Sam Basil MP, who led this weekend’s walk against corruption in Lae. “I am the longest serving opposition member in the current national parliament and I am the victim of fighting corruption. Look my Bulolo District. My business and my family are also affected because of fighting corruption.” https://www.facebook.com/pngples/posts/1129915267070086

MORE than 300 Engan students at the University of Goroka have distanced themselves from ongoing students protests. After meeting with Enga Provincial Government authorities the students said they were not supporting other tertiary institutions. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1106407759400291&set=gm.1128955950475952&type=3&theater

Saturday 18 June

ECONOMIST are forecasting a crisis in which thousands of Papua New Guineans will be laid off from their jobs, writes Sylvester Gawi. “Companies are going to lay off workers because they are not making enough money. Prices of goods and services will increase. There is not enough money in the economy for the people and business to buy and sell. That means thousands of Papua New Guineans will be without jobs.” http://sylvestergawi.blogspot.com.au/2016/06/massive-redundancy-looming-for-png.html?spref=fb

THE Solomons government is repatriating its students studying at UPNG, University of Goroka and Unitech due to the ongoing boycott of classes and disturbances. Repatriation starts today. Officials had been closely monitoring the national students uprising. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1606/S00054/govt-begins-repatreation-of-students-studying-in-png.htm

ENGAN students at the University of Goroka have called on the PNG government to investigate what was described as “a sudden attack” on students Enga, Hela, Jiwaka, Southern Highlands and Western Highlands by their Eastern Highlands and Shimbu colleagues. The incident led to 46 students being treated in hospital on Tuesday. http://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/06/17/engan-students-call-for-png-inquiry-into-goroka-campus-clash/

“SINCE Mr Somare’s time the stakes have grown. The past decade’s commodity boom poured rivers of extra cash into public coffers. Meanwhile, politicians have grown more adroit at using state institutions to quash investigations into their alleged misconduct. Incumbency confers big advantages. The fear is that some politicians may steal and take kickbacks not only to enrich themselves but also to buy protection and win elections.” http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21700667-student-protests-spread-defiant-prime-minister-digs-university-challenge

NEW Ireland governor and ex prime minister, Sir Julius Chan, has warned that the worst is yet to come with the PNG economy. He says foreign investors will think twice about investing in PNG because, while they will be able to bring in their money, they will not be able to take it out. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/sir-julius-chan-warns-of-looming.html#ixzz4Bs73zBpd

Friday 17 June

CORRUPTION fighter Sam Koim, fired by O’Neill for getting too close to the truth, writes poetically: “In a society where the abnormal becomes normal/The corrupt are rewarded/And the honest are penalised/The madness continues/Unhindered by popular dissent/Not even a court order.” https://www.facebook.com/sam.koim/posts/1130105037052539

FINANCE Asia reports that PNG is to embark on international roadshows next week for what it hopes will be its debut international bond deal. Central bank governor Loi Bakani and Department of Treasury secretary Dairi Vele will lead presentations in London, Boston and New York. PNG will be hoping it is third time lucky given it has made failed attempts to raise dollar bonds over the past 15 years and it is running short of US dollars. https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/chinese-banks-to-bail-out-the-png-government/

BANK of China is helping out PNG with its international fund-raising effort. Its inclusion in the syndicate reflects the greater role Chinese companies are playing in PNG. Chinese investors may provide some a backstop for the deal, especially as they have a reputation for being less bothered about political risk. In PNG’s case, that may be just as well since political risk will be one of international investors’ chief considerations. https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/chinese-banks-to-bail-out-the-png-government/

FORMER chief justice Sir Arnold Amet says victims of the police shootings in Port Moresby can seek redress in the judicial system. The government and police have announced inquiries into factors leading up to the unrest. But Sir Arnold said he had no confidence that the inquiries will hold anyone to account. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306612/upng-shooting-victims-can-seek-court-action,-says-amet

PROFESSOR Jason Sharman, a money laundering expert at Griffith University, has again warned that Canberra has put the maintenance of the Manus detention centre over the fight against corruption in PNG. “Various people have flagged PNG corruption proceeds coming to Australia as a problem but the Australian government has chosen not to investigate and recently Manus has been a big reason for inaction.” http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/15/in-png-and-nauru-australias-immigration-policy-comes-at-the-expense-of-democracy

THE government has ignored serious human rights concerns raised by various United Nation’s representatives about the huge SABL land grab and its impacts on customary landowners. Instead of addressing concerns, the government is pushing ahead with changes to the Land Act that will make the situation even worse by retrospectively endorsing the illegal leases. http://actnowpng.org/blog/blog-entry-government-ignores-human-rights-envoys-over-sabl-land-grab

BELDEN Namah, who says he fell out of love with the prime minister as long ago as August 2011, declares “This guy is bad for our country and democracy. Why is Peter O’Neill continuing to hijack the process of parliament?” he asks. http://www.looppng.com/content/no-confidence-vote-democratic-process-namah?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

POLICE have arrested the director of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, Chief Superintendent Matthew Damaru, who has been leading efforts to arrest prime minister Peter O’Neill. He has been charged with abuse of office and deprivation of liberty over the arrest in April of supreme court judge Bernard Sakora. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-16/papua-new-guinea's-top-fraud-squad-officer-arrested/7518278

AUSTRALIA’S close association with the PNG police force in terms of training and policing programs has been questioned. “The sight of PNG police with semi-automatic weapons facing students last week not only suggests a police state, it also raises pressing questions about the types of training, discipline and equipment that have been made available to use in response to unarmed protestors,” writes Bal Kama. http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2016/06/16/Students-against-PNG-Prime-Minister-A-bloody-struggle.aspx

Thursday 16 June

POLICE commissioner Gary Baki is undermining the honest detectives again. Last night internal affairs police tried to arrest the director of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption directorate, Mathew Damaru, alleging “abuse of office”. Damaru's lawyer, McRonald Nale, was to have met with police this afternoon to see what they're up to this time. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306558/png-police-try-to-arrest-damaru

THE PNG government has met with the country's state-run universities for talks on how to salvage the academic year. This comes amid continuing boycotts of classes as part of students’ demand for prime minister Peter O'Neill to stand aside over fraud allegations. This week there were violent clashes at the University of Goroka and the University of Technology in Lae over student divisions about whether to continue the boycott. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306553/png-govt-and-universities-in-talks-over-class-boycotts

DESPITE the O’Neill government trying to talk up the economy, PNG consumers are facing a big hit as inflation accelerates to 6% this year. Business will also suffer as the government continues to face pressing cash-flow problems with the build up of arrears from deferred obligations, difficulties in financing the deficit and higher debt servicing costs. http://www.looppng.com/content/inflation-expected-reach-60

RURAL Industries Council Chairman Sir Brown Bai says the dearth of foreign currency is hindering new investment coming into PNG. Bai says newly established investment companies are especially feeling the pinch. As if foreign exchange problems weren’t enough, there are also concerns that new payment procedures introduced by Customs are delaying clearance of cargo and containers. http://www.businessadvantagepng.com/brief-june-15/

“THE Australian government is clearly concerned at the ongoing political instability in PNG,” says the World Socialist website. “Canberra has previously indicated it would intervene, including militarily, in the event of a crisis in PNG and may well be attempting to manipulate events behind the scenes at present. An obvious question needs to be asked: what were the AFP’s embedded advisers doing last Wednesday as PNG police shot at protesting students?” https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/06/14/pngs-j14.html

THE website also comments that the police shootings “are a warning of the draconian measures that will be used by the local ruling elites to suppress any resistance to their agenda. It is not difficult to imagine a completely different scenario if O’Neill no longer enjoyed Canberra’s support. Not only would the corruption allegations be used to paint a picture of a dysfunctional government, but the shooting of unarmed student protesters would be seized upon to denounce O’Neill in the blackest of terms, paving the way for his removal.” https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/06/14/pngs-j14.html

SELF-proclaimed author, researcher, and theologian Peter Barnabas Pamula says “Peter O’Neill’s leadership is anointed and favoured by God” and that “God will give him the ability and power to lead this nation to the next level of economic and spiritual prosperity, in spite of the prevailing antagonism against his leadership as well as appalling global and national economic conditions.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/call-for-students-to-return-to-classes.html#ixzz4BgWpS9kW

Wednesday 15 June

ASTONISHING statistic. Sam Basil reveals that PNG Defence Force recruitment since 2013 has seen 70% of recruits from Peter O’Neill’s Ialibu Pangia area and the remaining 30% from the adjacent Southern Highlands and Jiwaka provinces associated with defence minister Fabian Pok. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1127098204018459&id=470905732971046

LAST week's shootings at UPNG are having repercussions elsewhere in PNG, especially in the highlands. Public outrage over the unrest is significant and there has been fighting between university students in Goroka and Lae which have led to casualties. Opposition leader Don Polye has called for an independent inquiry into the police actions at UPNG. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306381/university-chaos-proliferates-in-png?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

THE student boycott of UPNG is still on despite court orders obtained by the University Council. Student leader Kennet Rapa welcomed a government decision to have a commission of inquiry but says the boycott of classes will continue. http://www.pngfacts.com/44/post/2016/06/student-continue-boycott-despite-restraining-order-from-the-university-council.html#ixzz4BaVWilbm

Tuesday 14 June

REPORTS are being received of bloodshed up the spine of PNG from Lae to well into the west of the highlands as pro and anti government supporters come into conflict. Great pressure is being put on highlands MPs to abandon support for Peter O'Neill and there are rumours of some deaths.

PETER O’Neill has finally expressed sympathy towards students shot by police on the UPNG campus last Wednesday. "Let me express our sympathies to the students and some members of the public who received injuries,” he said. "It has come to light that this confrontation was unnecessary, it could have been handled a bit better by of course not allowing this sort of confrontation to take place." What a very strange choice of words. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/prime-minister-peter-oneill-thanks.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz4BUpBXtgR

A DOCTOR at Port Moresby General Hospital has denied a rumour that a UPNG student shot by police has died. The hospital says that of all the students admitted to the emergency unit only two remain, and they are recovering. http://www.emtv.com.pg/article.aspx?slug=UPNG-Students-Recovering-in-Hospital-&

UPNG students’ council president Kenneth Rapa says that, after last week’s shootings by police, most students are staying away from the campus. Raka is trying to calm students but says the government must respond to outrage in communities around PNG. Dozens of students were hospitalised with injuries, including at least four who were critically wounded. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201804301/png-university-students-keep-away-from-campus

Monday 13 June

ROSE Amos (journalist & independent eye witness): “I was there in the midst. I see there was no provocation (by) students. The students organised themselves in an orderly manner and they were just preparing themselves to march through the street. But unfortunately, some policemen just decided to just open fire and that's when everything escalated and went out of control. And then the students were shot. A lot of females were dragged, kicked, punched, I was there, I watched everything that happened. And it turned really bad.” http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201803882/png-police-said-to-have-fired-without-provocation

“POLICE have no right to behave in that manner and people really should be controlling the use of weapons by our disciplined forces," says chair of Transparency PNG Lawrence Stephens. "They continue to cause us great shame and great destruction to life and damage to individuals." He says last week's shooting of students was yet another case of the disciplined forces acting with impunity. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306235/little-prospect-of-change-after-png-police-shootings

ENGA students from UPNG walked out of a meeting with Governor Peter Ipatas on Saturday. Ipatas called on the students to return to class saying whatever they have set out to achieve is before the government  But the students said they will stand their ground and continue to pursue their cause to have prime minister O’Neill step down from office. https://poboxblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/enga-students-walk-out-of-meeting-with-governor-ipatas-politicians/

UPNG has made it compulsory for every student to sign a ‘Reaffirmation of Registration’ before resuming classes, if they do, this week. The document expects students to relinquish constitutional rights in exchange for their education. http://upng4png.live/upng-administration-imposes-draconian-document-on-students/

UPNG public relations flack Jim Robins says police will still be on campus as classes resume tomorrow. Robins says this is to ensure the safety of staff, students and university property. Students can come back to classes only if they sign a reaffirmation form to declare they want to continue their education by foregoing some of their constitutional rights. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/police-to-watch-university-campus-when.html#ixzz4BOys4MWZ

Sunday 12 June

UPNG student Alphonse John from the Western Highlands, unarmed and exercising his democratic right to protest, is in hospital after being shot in the lower abdomen by police acting on government instructions. He wishes to see a family member. https://poboxblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/pls-pass-the-word-alphones-john-is-recovering-wants-to-see-a-family-member/

TWO Grade 10 students in Mt Hagen were arrested after a riot prompted by the police shootings in Port Moresby. Hagen Park Secondary School principal Tony Buldung said the public was blaming his students for all the damage caused in the city. But he said opportunists had been responsible. http://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/06/12/two-hagen-high-school-students-arrested-in-highlands-protest-fallout/

ANU academic Bill Standish always manages to clarify a situation, no matter how complex. He looks at how last week’s shooting of students has damaged PNG – and changed the political dynamics: “The student protestors are all members of their clans back in their home provinces. Their campaigns will likely hurt current parliamentarians in the 2017 election.” http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2016/06/11/papua-new-guinea-students-shot-country-damaged/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork

“WE don’t need money or apologies from politicians. We have our family of 8 million! We are a group of ex UPNG friends and with great heartache, we heard about the plight of UPNG students. They stood for our right, freedom and justice, only to be gunned down heartlessly by RPNGC.” Read more…. https://poboxblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/we-dont-need-money-or-apologies-from-politicians-we-have-our-family-of-8-million/

HUFFINGTON Post has a good backgrounder on last week’s shootings and quotes Gary Juffa: "This is all happening because the prime minister refuses to go down to the police station and answer a few questions. If he is innocent then he has nothing to worry about and if he is charged then he can go to the courts and it should only be the courts that find him innocent or guilty, not he himself declare that he is innocent." http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/06/09/theres-a-lot-more-to-the-png-shootings-than-one-day-of-violence/

Saturday 11 June

PNG chief secretary Issac Lupari blames the media for inciting violence after police shot about 40 people at UPNG on Wednesday. He says the media will be investigated by a commission of inquiry. Lupari also lashes out at overseas media for reporting on “unfounded events”. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1125253664202913&id=470905732971046

LATEST reports are that about 40 people were hospitalised after Wednesday’s police shootings of unarmed student protesters. Four are in a critical but stable condition. In a stunning revelation, it seems two of the wounded were chased and shot by police several kilometres from the campus. UPNG and other authorities – behaving like sociopaths - have extended no sympathy to the victims. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201804050/png-authorities-yet-to-condemn-police-shootings

GOVERNOR Powes Parkop emerges as an apologist and purveyor of weasel words. “Removing the prime minister will not solve the problems of PNG,” he says. “It will not end corruption and we will not be better off…. The protests have incited opportunities to create a security threat to other civilians. It becomes unlawful when it is a threat to security!” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/we-can-learn-more-from-current-student.html

UPNG's struggling vice-chancellor Albert Mellam describes the conduct of students shot by police as 'illegal from the outset'. And acting chancellor Nicholas Mann confirms the university obtained a court order to stop students exercising their democratic right to protest. Meanwhile fearful students stay away from campus despite the university urging them to return to classes on Monday. "If the police can go right into the campus and shoot them, it's unsafe for them to stay so most of the students have left already," says students’ council president Kenneth Rapa. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306103/heat-on-png-students-following-unrest

COMMENTATOR Albert Kasokason (@ConfigGuyPom) makes an interesting point when he observes ironically that the “rapid rise in police brutality and a sharp decline in professionalism by PNG police says much about the success of Australian Federal Police technical support program” in PNG.

JOURNALIST Sylvester Gawi says democracy in ‪‎PNG is becoming a myth. “All voices of hope have been [subordinated] with a bigman law… Simply our democracy is threatened and it is likely to be traded to bail PNG out of the chaos of law and order, financial crisis and the falling global prices.” https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/892006594241467

REPORTERS Without Borders says it is “appalled by a police attack on a woman journalist during a student demonstration that was dispersed violently in Port Moresby and calls on PNG authorities to put an end to such violence and punish the police officers responsible”. https://rsf.org/en/news/rsf-calls-end-papua-new-guinea-police-violence-against-journalists

“I HAVE felt for years that PNG was a failed state. The rattling sound of semi-automatic weapons being fired at student protesters puts it beyond doubt,” writes Australian Chris Craig, founding member of the National Union of Students. “You have to ask if independence was an achievement or an abandonment. Were they ready to manage a functioning democracy in the modern world? The fact that they are now slaying their young argues not.” http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3961529/pngs-protest-shootings-point-to-a-larger-failure/

Friday 10 June

THE PNG media council has condemned the assault of journalist Rose Amos by two police officers. Amos ran towards police for cover only to be punched by a heavily armed policeman and kicked by another, with a third policeman punching her again before a senior officer intervened and took her to a RPNGC vehicle. https://poboxblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/media-council-condemns-police-attack-on-nbc-journalist-rose-amos/

GOVERNOR Gary Juffa says that PNG is “seeing the birth of an autocratic state; we are witnessing the rise of a dictatorship.” He adds that laws to curb social media are now likely to be imposed.

PETER O’Neill's spin doctor Susan Merrell, showing an exquisite sense of appropriate sentiment, tells PNG Attitude: “Mr Rapa [UPNG student leader] and his cohorts got exactly what they wanted … exactly what they asked for, in fact, I’d say they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams – they just need to keep off the moral high ground, it doesn’t belong to them.”

MEANWHILE O'Neill brushes off Australia's concerns over the shootings while offering throwaway sympathy to victims saying they "could have been handled better". "Of course Malcolm [Turnbull] has got every right to call me any time he wants to,” O’Neill said, “but as I indicated to him, these are internal matters for PNG.” Big man indeed. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-06-09/papua-new-guinea-pm-peter-oneill-brushes-off-australias-concerns-over-protest-shooting/1588966?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

UPNG vice-chancellor Albert Mellam tells the PNG national security advisory committee that the conduct of students has been illegal since day one. Mellam seems to believe that university by-laws trump the democratic right of protest. Clearly unfit for the job. http://www.looppng.com/content/upng-students%E2%80%99-conduct-illegal-says-mellam#.V1m5olzJSDE.twitter

PNG opposition leader Don Polye says parliament must sit again to address pressing issues of national importance. Parliament was prematurely suspended on Wednesday amid concerns about the security situation in Port Moresby. Polye also slammed the police, calling for those behind the shootings to be imprisoned. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306031/png-opposition-wants-parliament-to-reconvene

TRANSPARENCY International PNG says the country is being “dragged into chaos by people who apparently expect impunity from the law”. "There can be no excuse for the use of high-powered assault weapons in dealing with a group of defenceless students in expressing their rights," says chairman Lawrence Stephens. http://www.transparencypng.org.pg/newsroom/view/tipng-strongly-condemns-the-use-of-assault-weapons-on-students

THE Catholic Church condemns the use of violence against unharmed civilians and says it’s willing to mediate peace with the disputing parties. “We appeal for all parties involved that there should be no violence. Especially there should be no violence by the disciplinary forces with arms on unharmed civilians,” said general secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Father Victor Roche. http://www.looppng.com/content/catholic-church-condemns-violence-against-unarmed-civilians

INTERNATIONAL and regional organisations are pressuring the PNG government to immediately set up an independent investigation into the police shootings of unarmed student protestors. The United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Transparency International issued separate statements, concerned over prime minister Peter O'Neill's initial reaction after Wednesday’s confrontation. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/international-pressure-on-png-government.html#ixzz4B7DwgbA8

Thursday 9 June

THERE are fears for the wellbeing of a number of students who remain missing after yesterday's shootings at UPNG. Police claim 23 people were injured but say no one was killed. This has not been independently verified. More than 24 hours on, dozens of students are unaccounted for. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305965/fears-for-students-still-missing-after-png-unrest

UPNG students signal they will continue to boycott classes in their protest against prime minister Peter O'Neill. However, for now they are taking stock of the carnage from yesterday's savagery when police opened fire on students at the Waigani campus. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305997/png-uni-students-to-take-stock-of-carnage

THE ABC is reporting more shots have been fired in Port Moresby this morning and attempts made to torch a police barracks. But there is still no clarity on casualties as suspicion mounts that prime minister O'Neill may have lied to Malcolm Turnbull that nobody was killed in the initial confrontation.

AMNESTY International describes the shooting of students peacefully protesting in Port Moresby as a disgraceful attack on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. With hard figures on casualties impossible to obtain and disinformation from government and police sources, Amnesty believes 38 people were injured, including four in critical condition. https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/disgraceful-shootings-of-students-must-be-promptly-investigated/

RESPECTED corruption fighter Sam Koim writes: “To the Heartless who may be wondering why I shed tears today, let me tell you this / My heart is not made of stone / My flesh is not made of steel / My passion for my country is driven by my compassion for my people / When my people cry, I cry / When my people are hurt, I am hurt / What more would make me cry than crying for what happened today / These innocent students were shot openly in daily light, and I cried openly / I am not ashamed of my tears.” Sam Koim is everything Peter O’Neill is not. https://www.facebook.com/sam.koim/posts/1125384834191226

LIKE a textbook tinpot dictator, Peter O’Neill, condemns “agitators” for instigating yesterday’s police violence. He also announces an inquiry – but into students not police. “This is now a law and order issue,” he says. “We must obtain the facts and ensure this does not happen again.” http://www.looppng.com/content/pm-o%E2%80%99neill-condemns-agitators-behind-upng-confrontation#.V1g08wqOwLs.twitter

AFTER spending a day downplaying and misinforming about students deaths and woundings, disgraced police commissioner Gari Baki demands that people refrain from releasing unconfirmed, unsubstantiated information to the public. He could in fairness start with himself. http://www.looppng.com/content/police-commissioner-urges-public-refrain-releasing-unconfirmed-reports-public#.V1g00ECYTM8.twitter

SPEAKER Theo Zurenuoc says something sensible. As acting governor-general he says parliament should not have been suspended yesterday. "Some of the pressure should have been defused in parliament. I think that's the appropriate avenue for all concerns of the people of the nation to be dealt with." Correct. Peter O’Neill doesn’t get it – or, more likely, doesn’t care. http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/pacific/305922/png-governor-general-disappointed-in-parliament-adjournment

ORO governor Gary Juffa forecasts dire s repercussions for the government from yesterday’s violence, pointing out that students come from all over PNG. He also says people “will hold their leaders to account…. some of the reactions of the leaders leave a lot to be desired…. "[They] will only escalate the tension, they do not resolve anything." http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305940/fears-of-escalating-tensions-in-png

DEMONSTRATING they are unfit to administer a pet rock let alone a university, UPNG authorities obtain a court order against further protests after police open fire on students. If UPNG had responded like Unitech’s Albert Schram instead of going to war with students, outcomes may have been very different. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-09/png-university-gains-court-order-to-prevent-student-protests/7494692

KUDOS to Radio New Zealand International’s coverage of yeterday’s atrocity. Under the experienced leadership of the well-networked Johnny Blades and with Todagia Kelola on the ground, the reporting was comprehensive and as reliable as you can get in the circumstances. To its credit, and unlike other sources, RNZI refuses to buy into government and police propaganda.

NUMEROUS students report that local residents and strangers helped and protected them from the brutal police assault. Some students ran to Ensisi settlement and were hidden by residents. Other members of the public gathered at the campus gates and scolded the officers, questioning their use of firearms. “These are not our children but as parents we feel their pain,” a mother told Loop PNG. University guards responded courageously, protecting female students from assault while others tried to revive unconscious

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