Scoop Video: Hated & Loathed By Many, Extended Interview With Pro-Democracy Movement's Clive Edwards
Scoop Video: Tonga's King George V delivered a speech Thursday morning (Nov 23 06) at the closing of the Tongan Parliament. It was a reconciliatory speech calling for all Tongans to come together to rebuild the nation and its capital Nuku'Alofa that now lies broken from riots. The speech was welcomed by many, but rejected by Pro Democracy leader, Clive Edwards. Tonga's Government has banned media from reporting Edwards' views. Here is an extended Scoop interview with Clive Edwards.See below for more on the Tonga uprising and crisis.
FIJI - Scoop Audio & Text Report: Selwyn Manning on BBC Radio reports: How Fiji's military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama has intensified threats to overthrow the Fijian government unless it meets his demands by December 5. ALSO:NZMFAT Travel Advisory: Fiji Travel High Risk
SCOOP AUDIO REPORTS FROM TONGA:
KiwiFM Audio: Wammo talks to Scoop's Selwyn Manning, fresh from the first flight into Tonga after last week's rioting. Selwyn discusses the reactions of Tongans and background events from his last visit for the royal funeral.
95bFM Audio (click here to listen): Selwyn Manning speaks to bFM's Noelle McCarthy about the situation in Tonga. Selwyn will be reporting from Tonga on the situation after riots in the capital Nuku'alofa.
Scoop Report and Photoessay: Tonga
Faces Crossroad - Twenty four hours after rioters
tore through Tonga's capital town looting and burning,
leaving a sea of blazing buildings in their wake, New
Zealand's Helen Clark said there were two futures on offer
for the Pacific. "One is poverty and conflict; the other is
peace and development." The comment accurately paints a
crossroad for Tonga, for Solomon Islands, Fiji, for
Melanesia in general. The comment acknowledges how accurate
the United States' most recent handle for the Pacific is:
The Arc of Uncertainty. See... Scoop
On Assignment: Tonga Faces
Reports All Is Calm In Nuku’alofa - Reports from
the New Zealand-led task force confirm that the situation in
Nuku’alofa appears calm at present. The Combined Joint
Task Force remains in a security role at Fau’amotu
Airport. See... Tonga
Update: Central City Calm And Secure & NZDF
Calming Support in Tonga
MORE TONGAN NEWS & VIEWS:
In reference to civil action and island-wide strikes in 2005 that led to pay increases of between 60-80 percent, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said: "That's led to a lot of pain in restructuring of the economy." She, noted that 170 teachers have now lost their jobs. Child numbers per classrooms are at an all time high, and Tonga has an expanding youth population. "There's work to do here and let's hope there's an open enough process for that to happen."
As the late King's body was brought from his palace to his final resting place at Malae Kula, the free Wesleyan Church bells began to play.
The King's body had been handed over to the charge of Luaki, the traditional undertaker, who was carried in to the Royal Tomb Malae Kula on top of the King's coffin. In the past, it is believed warriors were buried alive with the monarch's body. But today, that part of the old tradition has been relegated to history.
Caring for the King's body is a clan of people called Nima-Tapu who are renowned for their oratory. When a monarch dies, Nima-Tapu are not allowed to feed themselves, nor cook food, nor do any tasks apart from that of looking after the monarch's body. They are the only people allowed near the Royal Tombs. They prepared the grave for the late King of Tonga.
Tonga's people are not normally allowed on this sacred ground surrounding the tombs. Today, they say, is the exception. They have been told that it is a privilege for them to be there for the funeral.
There were traditionally around 1000 pallbearers who were chosen to carry the King's coffin rested atop a large cradle. The chosen came from the late King's former school, Tupou College and included men from villages of Tongatapu Island who attended his favoured Wesleyan Methodist Church.
The new King, George V arrived in his black London cab. Locals say he is very English, by nature more Palagi than Tongan. He speaks with a different accent, likes western things, they say he appears to abandon the finer points of old tradition. He is at times indifferent to the 'commoners'.
Away in the distance, far from the Royal Tombs, a church bell tolls to Pacific time, punctuated by a thud of cannon fire.
Tonga has a total population of 101,000 people. Around 15,000 people turned out to observe the late King's state funeral.
As King Taufaahau Tupou was carried onto the sacred ground, a slow agonising beat drew closer a brass band playing the death march.
One could not but wonder that this just may be not only a state burial of the late monarch, but also of the island state's monarchy.
Looking about the thousands gathered, there was not a tear to be seen, not a sob, nor a cry, there was no outward mourning at the Royal Tombs. There was respect, patience, and kindness belying a mood of anticipation for change.
Information courtesy of New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Tonga's political system is a constitutional monarchy where the King appoints the Cabinet. In March 2005, the late King of Tonga, Taufa'ahau Tupou IV permitted four additional ministers to be appointed from within the legislature. The four included two people's representatives and two nobles' representatives.
The Tongan Legislative Assembly comprises of a cabinet of 16 ministers, nine nobles representatives chosen by 33 noble families, and nine representatives elected by universal suffrage by Tongans 21 years of age and over.
Tonga's head of state is the new King George Tupou V, the eldest son of the late King.
Tonga has been struggling to hold its economic position. GDP stands at T$361 million, with GDP per capita totalling T$2936 with GDP growth at 1.6%. It exports US$13.9 million per annum and imports US$82.9 million per year. Its main exports are fish, squash and vanilla, main imports are food, animals, beverages and tobacco.
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