Political ructions in Papua New Guinea continue as Fiji ally Sir Michael Somare remains quiet about the failed mutiny to oust Peter O'Neill and Australian PM, Julia Gillard, (Fiji's bete noir) tackles the thorny issue of Aboriginal rights.
The first story is an ABC interview with its PNG correspondent Liam Fox and the second is from MSNBC
ABC: TANYA NOLAN: Now to Papua-New Guinea where the political crisis is deepening, despite claims by prime minister Peter O'Neil that yesterday's attempted mutiny is all over.
The rebel soldiers detained the country's military commander, Brigadier General Francis Agwi, and demanded Sir Michael Somare be reinstated as prime minister.
Today, the soldiers involved are refusing to give up their weapons until they're granted a pardon.
Our PNG correspondent Liam Fox joins us from the capital Port Moresby.
Liam, where are these rebel soldiers now and what exactly are their demands?
LIAM FOX: The rebel soldiers along with their leader Colonel Sasa withdrew to Taurama Barracks which is on the outskirts of Port Moresby yesterday when Brigadier General Francis Agwi was released from house arrest.
A senior figure in the defence forces told the ABC that they are demanding a pardon before they give up their weapons and we understand that demand has been or will be taken to the government for it to consider.
TANYA NOLAN: And what is the likelihood that it will be granted and if it's not what would happen next?
LIAM FOX: Look, I think there is a chance that this could happen. Yesterday the deputy prime minister Belden Namah said we want to solve this the Melanesian way and that is bringing former enemies or opponents back within the fold without any recriminations.
I think that is certainly possible with the soldiers, I'm not sure that's the case for Colonel Sasa. Mr Namah used some pretty strong language yesterday saying that his actions amount to treason and that is punishable by the death penalty so we are waiting to see what if any response the government is going to give.
Also yesterday the Peter O'Neill, the prime minister, said that he believed Sir Michael Somare had taken advantage of long standing gripes about pay and conditions within the defence force to enlist this group of soldiers to perform this attempted mutiny yesterday and that Peter O'Neill understands those complaints and he wants to deal with them as well.
TANYA NOLAN: And Mr O'Neill of course as you alluded to said that Colonel Sasa is being "dealt with". Are you saying that it's likely he would face the death penalty if convicted of treason?
LIAM FOX: Look, just a bit of clarification. PNG has the death penalty but it doesn't have any means to carry out the death penalty so a death penalty here effectively means life imprisonment. We are just waiting to see what happens. There was strong language used yesterday and it depends I guess whether Peter O'Neill and his government want to make an example of Colonel Sasa or as I said whether they want to solve this the Melanesian way and bring former opponents back into the fold and call them brothers once again.
TANYA NOLAN: I've just been reading online that Sir Michael Somare isn't prepared to give up the power struggle just yet according to his daughter Betha Somare. She says reports that the coup was a failure were premature. Can we read that that another attempt could be made to overthrow the O'Neill government with Somare's backing?
LIAM FOX: Oh look I think there will be other attempts to change the situation. What form that will be I can't say or can't predict. I don't know if anyone can predict that. It is hard to see how they can go about that. Last December they tried to order the army to come out onto the street to, as they said, restore law and order. That failed. Now they have tried to forcibly change the hierarchy of the defence force. That appears to have failed. I'm not sure what else they can do except go to court but that is a lengthy solution, one that likely wouldn't be resolved until the elections are called in the middle of the year most likely.
TANYA NOLAN: So how much longer can this go on before the country's economy is seriously affected by the political unrest? It which will scare off much needed international investors. Is there any concern over that?
LIAM FOX: Well, there was certainly concern yesterday. Businesses around Port Moresby closed their doors and sent staff home. Domestic flights, most domestic flights in the country were cancelled. Most of those have resumed today.
There was certainly concern when something like this happens that it can affect business but I think the major investors here all know that PNG is a country where dramatic things like this can happen. They've done their research. It is no surprise that dramatic things happen in Port Moresby and most companies here are in it for the long term but no doubt when something like this happens investors will be sitting back watching with interest to see how things develop.
TANYA NOLAN: Liam Fox, thank you. That is our PNG correspondent Liam Fox in Port Moresby.
Australia PM reunited with shoe she lost during rowdy protest
A blue suede shoe that she lost as she was hustled away by security officers from a Canberra restaurant that was surrounded by aboriginal-rights protesters has been returned.
Gillard lost the size-8 shoe off her right foot on Thursday when she stumbled during the rowdy fray, and it was scooped up by protesters. One protester gleefully raised the footwear above her head and shouted, ''Gingerella, come get your shoe.''
On Friday night, someone returned the shoe to a security guard outside the main entrance at Parliament House, AAP reported.
Meanwhile, the fallout from the fracas has led to the resignation of one of Gillard’s press secretaries, Tony Hodges. He acknowledged tipping off protesters that Oppositionn Leader Tony Abbott was going to be at the Canberra restaurant with the prime minister at an award ceremony to mark Australia Day, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The restaurant where Thursday's clash occurred is close to the so-called Aboriginal Tent Embassy, where the protesters had demonstrated peacefully earlier in the day. That long-standing, ramshackle collection of tents and temporary shelters is a center point of protests against Australia Day, which marks the arrival of the first fleet of British colonists in Sydney on Jan. 26, 1788. Many Aborigines call it Invasion Day because the land was settled without a treaty with the traditional owners.
Abbott was the focus of much of the protesters' rage. The Tent Embassy celebrated its 40th anniversary on Thursday, and Abbott had earlier angered activists by saying it was time the embassy "moved on." Abbott said Friday that his comment had been misinterpreted, and that he never meant to imply the embassy should be torn down.
Meanwhile, the makers of Gillard's now-famous "missing" shoe are hoping to cash in on her Cinderella moment. Melbourne-based Midas plans to release a new version of the shoe dubbed the "Julia," the Herald Sun reported.