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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (December 14, 2001 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---The joy of Christmas comes early in Port Moresby as the first edition of the South Pacific Braille News is presented to the St. John School for the Blind.

Reviewing the new newspaper are (from left) ex-policeman Ben Theodore, Papua New Guinea Post-Courier managing director Bob Howarth, and Anna Hitovea.

Mr. Theodore was blinded during the Bougainville secessionist war. He was the only survivor of an attack on four Papua New Guinea policemen by Bougainville Revolutionary Army rebels 10 years ago.

Anna lost her sight also, 10 years ago, in a childhood accident. But she has become an avid Braille reader.

The Braille newspaper is a joint community project of the PNG Post-Courier and the Fiji Times, both members of the News Limited group. Copies have also been sent to Fiji, where they will be presented by Fiji Times publisher Tony Yianni.

Braille is a system of printing for the blind, using combinations of raised dots to represent letters and numbers.

The joint project was announced by Mr. Howarth and Mr. Yianni during October's Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) convention in Madang.

Mr. Howarth said the newspaper carries topical stories of interest to the blind community both in Papua New Guinea and in Fiji.

The director of the St. John Association for the Blind, Ruth Sangkol, said she was pleased that her small community of blind people will now be able to read their own newspaper.

Ms. Sangkol thanked the Post-Courier and the Fiji Times for the new initiative.

Mr. Howarth said the newspaper will be produced quarterly as a start but will soon be available monthly.

Mr. Howarth previously launched Braille newspapers in Africa, Asia and Australia.

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