Friday, October 30, 2009

Frank Attempts Divide and Rule Tactic in Desperation

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Fiji considers a Pacific get-together

October 30, 2009

Fiji, suspended from the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum amid concerns over democratic rule, is considering holding its own gathering of Pacific leaders.

Interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat it would be a way to talk “without getting too involved in what Australia and New Zealand want”.

Commodore Bainimarama said he was asked recently by some other Pacific leaders to include their countries as observers at the next meeting of the sub-regional Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

He is taking the idea seriously.

Fiji will host the next gathering of the MSG, which brings together leaders from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

- Radio Australia

Who is this man Aisea Katonivere?

The latest joke in the sugar industry is the appointment of Ratu Aisea Katonievere as a FSC Board member.

Here are the facts about this man.

1. As Tui Macuata this man has not done anything for his Vanua and the ordinary Fijians. After taking over from his father, the highly respected chief Ratu Soso Katonivere who truly cared for his people, Aisea has lived only for himself and his immediate family. Ordinary Fijians regard him as an opportunist lacking in integrity and principles.

2. He has no moral qualms about transferring his allegiance to whoever is in power to suit his selfish interests and to fund his lavish lifestyle. He has courted the Qarase, Chaudhry and now the Bainimara government with unashamed opportunism. Nothing matters to him as he lives only for himself.

3. Under Qarase, he got the government to fund the Methodist Conference in his province at Naduri village, which included the construction of many houses and a grand meeting house to accommodate the conference participants. He also obtained a 100% FDB loan to finance some massive property investments in Labasa without a cents equity of his own.

4. His portfolio of some $2 million includes recent acquisitions from a Labasa timber dealer, an 18,000 sq feet multi storey office complex worth $1.25 million which is rented to government at about 25% above market rate (rental $300,000) , the Labasa Court house (rental $ 85,000) and several residential properties in Delailabasa. There is very grave concerns that he will not be able to repay those loans and that FDB has already made provisions to write it off.

5. Using EU funds, he also got a 3 phase power connected to Naduri village from Tabia about 25 kilometres away by FEA.

6. When Chaudry was PM, Aisea conned him to include him in the delegation to Malaysia and Indonesia. He has not undertaken a single community project to uplift and improve the lifestyles of his people since he got back. Rumour has it that the trip was all about a good junket for him at the taxpayers expense.

7. He has not ever done a honest day’s work in his life and has lived on the charity and sacrifices of his Vanua and its poor people. He drives big 4 wheel drive luxury vehicles, eats imported foods, and revels in best wine while his people struggle to even afford tapioca and tea.

8. His 4 children study in NZ with all the luxury, comfort, security and opportunities, while his poor people cannot even send their children to the local primary school. They have no money for their books, food , and busfare and struggle without any future hope or opportunity.

9. Is this what chiefly responsibilities is all about? Where is the duty of share and care, and true leadership for the welfare of the ordinary and the poor. What happened to those chiefly values and principles that Ratu Soso was so widely endeared and respected for ?

10. Worse still he is now known to terrorise Indian fishermen by illegally and forcefully extorting as much as $1000 per fishing boat. He has siezed many fishing boats and grabbed their entire catch. He has set up a fish depot at Naduri entirely on the basis of this unlawful activities. He has now decreed that 50% of all catch be given to him and many hundreds of Indian fisherman are living under his tyranny without any recourse to justice and protection. .

11. This matter has been reported to the Police but he has conspired with them to avoid any prosecution.

12. Now he has been appointed FSC director. What expertise and skills he will contribute, nobody knows because he knows nothing about cane farming or business.

13. The only thing he can do is to further entrench corruption, inefficiency and mismanagement in the sugar industry and help GautamBud Swarup to bleed it completely to its death.

There is no incentive by anyone in the Regime, to return Fiji to Deomocracy, and that was the question Mark Manning asked Mr. Qarase at the Marrickville Town Hall in Sydney ;-
” given the deaths of C.R.W. Soldiers in 2000 and the four Civilian deaths since December the 5th. 2006, as well as the illegal detaining, torture and abuse of innocent unarmed indigenous men & women by the RFMF under Frank Bainimarama’s Command, where is the incentive, if any, for Frank Bainimarama to return Fiji to a Deomcratically elected Government ” ?

The answer was :-
” with consensus, and the agreement of the majority, we can find a way forward ” !

Driti, being the Military Officer who assaulted, abused, kicked and stood over the women at the camp on the 24th. of December 2006, is the man least liked by Fijians who know his reputation as a cowardly, pathetic little man that he is.
Hiding in the shadows !


FHL and Sereana Qoro’s Public Relations machine is throttling on full gear as they count down to their AGM this afternoon.

It’s expected to be a heated AGM with some no-nonsense shareholders predicted to nail FHL board on their thrift spending bad habits.

FHL Chairman Isoa Kaloumaira and its CEO Sereana Qoro are repeating old boring statements about their record profit performance financed mostly by the sale of their Fosters shares.

Sereana has even announced their FHL board decision to acquire management contract of supermarket giant RB Patel Group.

But latest news to hand reveal that FHL’s key man at RB Patel, Jaoji Koroi, who was on secondment to the supermarket chain to understudy secrets behind the success of RB Patel is leaving.

Sources say Jaoji, who is the only FHL full-time staff at RB Patel have accepted an offer to be FNPF’s new Chief Investment Officer.

So who is Sereana depending on to watch over FHL’s interest at RB Patel Group?

The gujarati Patel will run rings over Sereana and her FHL team who know sweet eff all about retailing.

Or perhaps Sereana wants full control of RB Patel where she can cash her post-dated cheques.

Expect RB Patel’s performance to fall!

Why didn’t Epeli Ganilau demand a military investigation when indigenous Fijians were hauled up by the military, detained and tortured?

Why is he giving special attention to the tortured cane farmers and not to others? What about those native Fijian family members whose sons and fathers died in the hands of the military soon after the coup?

This is the question that looms in many peoples minds right now following Epeli Ganilau’s instant response to the Fiji Labour Party letter to him reporting about the torture inflicted on some cane farmers by certain military officers.

Ganilau swiftly ordered Landforce Commander Pita Driti to carry out an investigation into that matter.

One day later, Driti reported to the media that he was investigating.

Less than 48 hours after his public statement, Driti has been side-lined to piss off to Iraq under some 6 months peacekeeping mission crap.

In case you’ve missed it….yes dude…there’s big rumblings happening at Frank’s fortress as we blog!

Driti’s sudden piss-off mission is a big deal!

It’s a move that heralds another major manouvre in what is turning out to be the return of the “old elite” over Frank’s uncertain empire.

The Ganilaus, Nailatikaus and Maras are setting themselves up to topple their coup guinea pig, Frank ,and they have chosen the military’s brutality against some Indo-Fijian cane farmers incident as the impetus to make their move.

So why now and not earlier on when alot more native Fijians were subjected to inhumane treatment by the military?

There is alot more than meets the eyes.


A leading academic on Fiji says a three-month delay in appointing the country’s president could suggest a split within the interim regime.

Fiji’s former military commander and parliamentary speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has been confirmed as the country’s new president, three months after the retirement of Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

A spokesman for the interim regime has confirmed that Ratu Epeli was appointed earlier this week, but is yet to be sworn in.

Dr Jonathan Fraenkel, an academic based at the Australian National University, says he questions why there’s been such a long delay in making the appointment.

“Quite a few people have suggested that there’s some nervousness on Bainimarama’s point of giving executive power to Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. After all Bainimarama’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly last month was very critical of the old guard and Ratu Epeli Nailatikau is certainly part of that old elite, being the son in law of the former President, Ratu Mara. So there’s obviously some fissions going on within the cabinet.”

Dr Jonathan Fraenkel

Radio New Zealand International

A leading academic on Fiji says he wonders whether the appointment of the country’s new president went through Cabinet at all.

Fiji’s former military commander and parliamentary speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has been confirmed as the country’s new president, three months after the retirement of Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

A spokesman for the interim regime has confirmed that Ratu Epeli was appointed earlier this week, but is yet to be sworn in.

The appointment has had no official announcement in Fiji, except for the interim Prime Minister speaking to one local newspaper.

Dr Jonathan Fraenkel says the interim regime is operating outside the constitution.

In the provisions of the 1997 constitution it would have been the Great Council of Chiefs that would advise on this, but the Great Council of Chiefs, has allegedly been disbanded, so there are no formal procedures for the appointment of the president. It’ll be interesting to know whether that process actually went through Cabinet at all.”

Dr Jonathan Fraenkel.

Radio New Zealand International

Sources say that moves are already underway not to allow Pita Driti to serve under the UN’s peacekeeping mission.

Driti has been confirmed by junta spokesman Leweni to be preparing for his six months tour of duty to Iraq in the next few weeks.

But we can report here that the UN is not very keen to have a tyrant’s torture chamber master to head one of their peacekeeping missions in Iraq.

Our UN experts say it is very unlikey that Driti will be given the all clear to be part of any peacekeeping mission sponsored by the UN, US or any democratic country.

Your time is up Driti!

October 29, 2009

Frank’s Military Forces Landforce Commander, Peter Driti’s used-by-date has finally arrived.

Like those before him, Driti was nicely used and abused by cunning Frank Bainimarama.

Driti was one of Frank’s lap dog from day one.

Not that he whinged about it!

Hell no! He made the most of it and with dictator Frank Bainimarama and Ului Mara, they ordered and executed some of Fiji’s worst crime against humanity on their own Fijian people.

They became instant stars all for the wrong reasons.

Driti came into prominence when his name was singled out as ring-leader of Frank’s Military Forces torture chamber following the coup of 05.12.06.

He was not only physically torturing Fijian men, women and youths but he was not ashamed to go publicly to the media hurling threats at just about anyone he heard from the grapevine not towing Frank’s coup line.

Many who knew Driti were shocked to learn of his cruel side unleashed by Frank’s coup.

He wasn’t an ordinary kinda guy.

As an ardent musician and singer, he used to sing halleluyah to his lord and participate in winning souls as a very strong religious person for many years.

But he back-slid and ended up on Frank’s gravy train convincing him to commit treason and cruel crime against souls he was supposed to have protected.

His first day of reckoning came when Frank wanted to side-line him as Fiji’s Ambassador to Malaysia.

That fell through after lobby groups pressured Malaysia not to accept a bad human rights violator like Driti.

Throughout his Land Force Commander days, his military men and many civilians looked up to him as someone who could see through Frank’s bluff by taking Fiji back to democracy via the Appeals Court ruling

That could have made him a hero for stepping forward as a real military officer who will fight to the end to uphold the rule of law and what is best for his people.

But Driti didn’t see that as his calling.

He was quite happy with the attention he was getting, especially from women, plus the seriously puffed up pay-pack and back-pay he received from Frank.

He also received plenty tin medals along the way as extra bling pinned onto his prideful pumped-out chest.

But like those before him, Driti is finally realising that promoting Frank is a very short-lived and dangerous exercise.

He meddled with Fijian peoples lives and he is now beginning to pay the hefty price for the bad choices he made.

His own torture chamber has come back to haunt him.

It has become his worst enemy.

The cane farmers he recently brutalised are now having their last laugh.

Your time is up Driti!

The Fiji military’s Land Force Commander Colonel Pita Driti is going on a six-month tour of duty to Iraq.

The military spokesperson, Lt Colonel Neumi Leweni, has told Fiji media that Colonel Driti will leave for Iraq within the next few weeks.

Reports say he will lead a contingent of 86 soldiers and serve under the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.

Lt Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara will be the acting Land Force Commander during his absence.

Radio New Zealand International

Fiji’s former military commander and parliamentary speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, is to be the country’s new president.

A spokesman for the interim regime has confirmed that Ratu Epeli was appointed earlier this week.

Megan Whelan has more.

“Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni says Ratu Epeli Nailatikau is yet to be sworn in as Fiji’s head of state. He says a decision on when that ceremony will be held will be made by cabinet on Tuesday next week. The Fiji government website makes no mention of the decision. Ratu Epeli succeeds Ratu Josefa Iloilo who retired three months ago. He was made vice president last April, and became acting president when Ratu Josefa retired. Ratu Epeli spent 20 years in the military and was minister of foreign affairs in the interim regime.”

Radio New Zealand International

Acts of brutality against Citizens can not be condoned nor tolerated. ..ever!! It is stupid acts of defiance showing off brutal strength against the weakly feeble folk as alleged, tarnishes the proud reputation of our Fiji Military Force.

Sadly, these alleged acts of inhumane brutality further slurs the genuine efforts within the ranks to lift the reputation Fiji Military, both locally and abroad.

Those found taking the law into their own hand in this Sugar belt saga should be belted with the full strength of the Law!!

This may also include those so called leaders who still play politics with the innocent Farmers; using them as pawn in poor attempts to resurrect their own shredded political reputation…eh…like some people we know, and whose hypocrisies are also known by those in sugar belt!!

Either way….How dare they attempt to throw the spanner in all our genuine efforts to rebuild our Nation? Goodness..are they foreigners or what!!

semi meo

The interim defence minister in Fiji says he is expecting to receive results of an investigation into allegations of brutality against sugar cane farmers next week.

Ratu Epeli Ganilau says he last week asked the military to investigate claims that farmers were being beaten by members of the military.

He says he is yet to find out what prompted the abuse.

“Well about a week or so ago I received a letter from the General Secretary of the National Farmers Union which is Mahendra Chaudhry, outlining a number of alleged complaints regarding the involvement of soldiers in the sugar industry. There were allegations of harassment and a few other incidents which he had highlighted.”

Ratu Epeli Ganilau says he believes the abuse has taken place in the Western Division and Vanua Levu in the Northern Division but are one-off incidents.

Radio New Zealand International

Many predict that Frank Bainimarama’s empire will crumble, not because of anyone else’s doing but his own.

The passive resistance shown by Fijians is beginning to work to their benefit.

The Fijian peoples stance not to do anything but to watch Frank’s stupidity unravel into something that will bite him back is already taking shape.

By his own stupidity, incompetence and selfishness, Frank has driven Fiji’s economy to one that depends on devaluation of the dollar and hand-outs from IMF and World Bank to survive.

Fiji’s economy is no longer driven by exports.

It’s an unsustainable strategy the junta will find very hard to juggle with come 2010.

There is no hiding the fact that Sada Reddy and Frank’s fluffy $1billion record foreign reserves was derived from Sada’s 20% devaluation of the Fijian dollar and IMF’s financial assistance to Fiji.

In late August 2009, Sada said, “Being a member of the IMF, Fiji has benefited from a financial assistance by IMF due to the global and financial crisis, Fiji’s reserves were boosted by $165million on August 28. A further $25million will be received on 9th Sepetember.”

But IMF’s Special Drawing Rights is not a straight out money transfer to Sada’s Reserve Bank. It’s a far more complicating financial instrument that requires special attention by IMF. All transactions and operations involving SDR’s are carefully scrutinised by a special IMF SDR department.

6 months have gone since Sada’s controversial devaluing of the Fiji dollar which many pundits say shouldn’t have happened.

Sada’s devaluation is proving to be a bad decision after all.

Not only has it worsened Fijians cost of living index but major export commodities like sugar for example have slumped. Tourism’s visitor arrivals have increased but with much lower yield due to heavy discounting. Bottled water exports are no longer archieving their pre-devaluation numbers so is gold and other exports.

All these on the back-drop of a weakening Fiji investor confidence index as an unattractive place to throw your investment bets on.

So what does all these mean?

It means that Frank’s junta is running low on money available to finance their rule by bluff.

We can report here that as of last month, Frank’s junta has begun to operate on bank overdraft to finance its daily operations.

This is something that hasn’t happened for a very long time.

With the help of FNPF Chairman, John Prasad who is also PS Finance, FNPF is again being used as security for the junta’s overdraft.

Insiders from Ministry of Finance say civil service pay days are a drag in their office as they scrunge around looking for money to pay out.

With that cashflow shortage scenario expected to deepen, pundits are now saying that that could very well become Frank’s undoing.

pundit padre

Let’s admit it.

Many indigenous Fijians simply don’t understand their shareholding rights and what they should do to challenge bullish moves by bigger institutional investors.

In our previous thread, National Farmers Union, led by Mahendra Chaudhry and his “in-the-know” team, are exercising their shareholder’s rights to address their concerns with FSC. And good on them!

They, like FHL, have been unfairly bullied and denied access to their Annual Report by their board but NFU are spot-on in giving prior notice on their issues they wish to raise at the AGM, a technicality we doubt FHL indigenous Fijian shareholders understand.

FHL shareholders have a lot of learning to do if they want to protect their interest.

They should take a page from NFU and educate themselves better on minority shareholders rights.

Fiji Sugar Corporation says as shareholder NFU is not entitled to information regarding salaries and perks of its Australian consultants/employees or to details of mill performance for the 2009 season.

The National Farmers Union will, however, attend tomorrow’s (28 October 2009) AGM to be held at the YP Reddy owned Waterfront Hotel in Lautoka, and demand answers to these questions.

NFU as shareholder did not receive a copy of FSC’s 2009 annual report or notice of the AGM. On inquiry, we were told that the report and notice had been mailed to us but we still have not received the ‘mailed’ copy three weeks later.

Nevertheless, the NFU wrote to FSC last week giving notice that it intended to ask questions at the AGM regarding the

• highly precarious state of the Corporation’s finances
• the salaries, perks and travel expenses of its ‘expatriate’ Australian consultants/employees and Board members
• its dismal mill performance for the 2009 season and failure to meet shipment commitments to Tate & Lyle in UK.

NFU asked for written answers to these questions but was advised that it was not entitled to information sought regarding salaries, perks and travel expenses of its Australian employees/consultants/Board members or in regard to the performance of the mill.

NFU called for the resignation of all present Board members and the CEO as well as the expatriates recruited as consultants/employees from Australia in view of FSC’s current critical situation.

The questions sent to FSC chief executive Deo Saran are as follows:

1. Please provide full details of remuneration (salary, allowances, cost of accommodation/travel benefits, phone facilities provided and any other payments (in cash or kind) of the following expatriate employees/board members:

  • Gautam Ram Swarup
  • Rasheed A. Ali
  • Ram Karan
  • Annamale Naicker

2. Please provide full details of expenditure incurred on overseas trips made by the above-named employees/board members at FSC’s cost, including countries and organisations visited, the purpose of the visits, the duration of the visits in each country, class of air travel, including amounts paid on airfares, accommodation and any other expenses.

3. Why are weekly mill performance reports now not made available to the representatives of the cane growers, namely, the Sugar Cane Growers Council?

4. Why is the FSC colluding with Army personnel to harass, intimidate and assault cane growers on the issue of burnt cane? There is ample evidence of such collusion.

5. From all accounts FSC is (technically) insolvent and is unable to pay its debts on time. For example, loan repayments to the Exim Bank of India due in 2009 have not been met and an extension of the original moratorium has been requested.

In the event what steps are being taken to ensure that:

(i) the Corporation does not continue to trade in breach of the Companies Act?

(ii) the Corporation will be in a position to meet its liabilities to its lenders, creditors, employees and the cane growers?

(iii) the Board of Directors of the Corporation notifies the South Pacific Stock Exchange of its precarious financial position in order to seek appropriate directions?

6. What is the likely sugar make for the 2009 season and what will be the shortfall in terms of meeting FSC’s commitments to Tate & Lyle – buyers of our sugar

7. Please provide season to date information as of 19 October 2009 on the following:

• total hours of stoppages/breakdown for each mill

• total tonnes of cane crushed at each mill

• total tonnes of sugar made at each mill

• average TCTS for each mill

8. All three sugar shipments so far in the 2009 season were delayed by several days. Please provide details of penalties and additional charges levied by the shipping company and any other related organisations as a consequence of the delays.

9. (i) Please provide tonnes of sugar which should have been manufactured from the tonnes of cane crushed to 10 October 2009 using a TCTS ratio of 9:1

(ii) How many tonnes of sugar were actually produced to 19 October 2009 and explain the reasons for the discrepancy between (i) and (ii)

Steve Creedy, Aviation writer | October 28, 2009

Article from: The Australian

QANTAS’S investment in Air Pacific has taken a tumble after the Fiji carrier recorded a $F12.2 million ($7m) pre-tax loss for 2008-09 and predicted the red ink would deepen this financial year.

The loss, down from a $F41.1m profit the previous year, came despite a record number of passengers and an $F80m rise in revenue to $F622.8m. But the 15 per cent revenue improvement was overshadowed by a 21 per cent increase in expenses as financing costs swung $F7m into the red and fuel costs, including hedging losses, increased by $F126.5m to $F297.7m.

The result comes as Qantas is talking to the Fiji government about selling its stake in Air Pacific and the Fiji carrier faces increased competition from Jetstar and Virgin Blue.

It slashed shareholder equity by $F48.6m to $F123.5m while cash reserves tumbled from $F227.3m to $F91m.

Fiji has dropped 73 places on the Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders.

It’s ranked at 152, out of 175 countries listed.

The only other Pacific island country listed in the index is Papua New Guinea which remains in 56th position.

Fiji’s interim regime has imposed strict censorship of the press, placing officers in each newsroom to sub-edit print, radio and TV stories before they are published.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, Asia program coordinator, Bob Dietz told Geraldine Coutts a decline in media freedom is usually tied to economic and political reasons.

“I understand what [Fiji is] going through but I can’t help but think that eventually what drives the change is demand from the media consuming audience itself,” he said.

- Radio Australia

Fiji has plummeted 73 places on the Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, dropping to number 152 of the 175 countries listed. Fiji’s interim regime has imposed strict censorship of the press, placing officers in each newsroom to sub print, radio and TV stories before they are published.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts
Speaker: Bob Dietz, Asia Program Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists

DIETZ: Well I think what Reporters Without Borders saw was a real fall off in the political climate there and the disruption and the government’s response to trying to suppress information and control the situation through trying to control the media. And frankly what we find most of all in situations in which we find a decline in media freedom is that it’s usually tied to economic or political reasons, and in this case it seems it’s clearly linked to the political climate in Fiji.

COUTTS: And what about, you’re with the Committee to Protect Journalists, do you actually take an active hand in knowing exactly how journalists in Fiji are being treated?

DIETZ: We rely, I just met with there were two journalists from Fiji who came through New York last week, and we rely by and large on journalists organisations and when we have the direct contacts with the journalists themselves. The people with whom I met last week felt that they were fighting an uphill battle at this point; they didn’t know really when it would turn around. I think you’re most likely more aware of the political situation on a day-to-day basis and you could maybe tell me when or if you see this sort of pressures leveling off and some sort of political stability returning. But like I say we usually find declines in press freedom linked to political disruption, like we see in Fiji.

COUTTS: Well the journalists that you have had discussions with did they refer to the incidents that were well publicised, that journalists were being intimidated on a regular basis, some of them being invited to the barracks to be interviewed, and also physical threats, some of them having Molotov cocktails thrown at their houses?

DIETZ: Well I hadn’t heard the Molotov cocktail story but we certainly know they told us that people were being called in, not terribly on a regular basis but it’s become a frequent tactic. The questioning we were told is kind of general and not particularly aimed at anything so much as just really trying to intimidate people and make them back down from any criticisms that they might want to start writing.

COUTTS: In your knowledge how long does it take a country such as Fiji to recover from this? For instance if they hold elections in 2014, which is still some time off, how long does it take for a media to recover or is something like that lasting?

DIETZ: It really depends on who comes in. What we saw, it’s always dangerous to think by analogy, but let’s look at the Maldives for example, where there’s a change of administration of I think we got to 20-25 year old government and moved on. We saw initially a positive change and one of the campaign issues was the freedom of press in the Maldives. And then we saw the government sort of trying to back away from that once they were in power and realised that there was a power to the media that they were not comfortable with. But I think inherent in most of these societies, even in less developed ones, is this understanding of the role of the press. And that there are journalists who are ready to resume a full role, and there’s certainly an audience fully aware of how the media operates around the rest of the world that will always bring a pressure on a new government to kind of reach a certain minimal set of standards. Fiji right now I understand the political situation and I understand what it’s going through, but I can’t help but think that eventually what drives the change is demand from the media consuming audience itself.

- Radio Australia

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