Archive - Monday, July 30, 2001

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NEW PACIFIC HAVENS PROPOSED TO PROTECT WHALES

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (July 29, 2001 – Christchurch Press/PINA Nius Online)---A network of South Pacific safe havens could be used to protect whales despite the rejection of a South Pacific whale sanctuary, New Zealand's Christchurch Press reported today.

French Polynesia and Tonga, which both have developing whale watching industries, are said to have already provided support for making their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones safe havens.

Last week, the International Whaling Commission blocked the sanctuary proposal put forward by New Zealand and Australia at its annual meeting in London, with a 20-13 vote in favor not attaining the 75% approval needed.

The only Pacific Islands country on the commission, Solomon Islands, abstained from the vote for reasons that still are not clear.

New Zealand Environment Minister Sandra Lee said the decision was disappointing, but alternative solutions would now be investigated, the Christchurch Press reported....

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THE FORUM’S EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF ACCOUNTABILITY;  PROGRESS TO DATE

PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT

Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS STATEMENT February 27, 2001

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL REGIONAL MEETING Tanoa International Hotel Nadi, Fiji Islands

July 25 – 27, 2001

Statement by Mr. W Noel Levi, CBE Secretary General Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

"THE FORUM’S EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF ACCOUNTABILITY; PROGRESS TO DATE"

Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me begin by thanking the organisers of this meeting for the invitation and in particular for giving me the opportunity to address this august gathering of representatives of the regional chapters of Transparency International. As you are all aware, the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum have given priority and emphasis to the debate on the issues relating to transparency and accountability for the past few years. This morning I want to share with you the Secretariat’s perception of the issue, a summary of what has been done to date,...

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NORMAN GEORGE SACKED AS COOK ISLANDS DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

ALOFI, Niue (July 29, 2001 - Niue Economic Review/PINA Nius Online)--- Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister Norman George has been sacked, according to reports from Rarotonga.

This follows revelations several weeks ago that an attempt to overthrow the Prime Minister, 66-year-old medical doctor Terepai Maoate, was being organized.

At that time George, a former Auckland police officer, made no bones about expecting to succeed Maoate.

But claiming he was unaware of any political pressure on Maoate, George said: "I'm saying his leadership is guaranteed."

George's sacking comes in the wake of alleged interference by top public servants in carrying out Government policies and a proposed merger between the ruling coalition groups, the Democratic Alliance Party and the New Alliance Party.

Political commentators in the Cook Islands say while George's sacking is likely to cause ripples in the political arena, Dr. Maoate is likely to make a quick appointment...

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UN TO SEND 40 OBSERVERS TO MONITOR FIJI ELECTIONS

SUVA, Fiji Islands (July 27, 2001 – Radio Australia)---The United Nations will send about 40 observers to monitor next month's elections in Fiji, aimed at restoring democracy to the Pacific island nation.

The General Assembly approved a resolution without a vote yesterday authorizing Secretary General Kofi Annan to establish the United Nations Electoral Observer Mission in Fiji.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said about 40 international staff from member states and the UN Secretariat will join observers from the Commonwealth and the European Union.

They will monitor the voting from August 25 to September 1.

Mr. Eckhard said they will also observe the counting of votes from September the 3 to 8 and remain in the field for five days after the results are announced to observe how the local population accepts the results.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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WEST PAPUA INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT TO CONTINUE UNDER MEGAWATI

JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya (July 29, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Independence campaigners in the Indonesian province of West Papua say last week's change of presidency in Indonesia will not slow down their efforts for self-determination and independence.

Radio Australia correspondent Richard Dinnen reports that the Papua Council Presidium has warned President Megawati Sukarnoputri not to seek a military solution in West Papua, also known as Irian Jaya.

"The Papua Council, or Dewan Papua, is a key player in the independence movement in Indonesia's eastern-most territory. In a statement released in Port Moresby, spokesman Franzalbert Joku welcomed the change of Indonesian president, expressing the hope that Indonesia will make a peaceful transition to democracy.

"There has been consistent speculation that Megawati may be inclined to take a hard line against the West Papuan independence movement. The Papua Council has warned the new President not to look for a military...

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NIUE ROW OVER REGIONAL INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CENTER PLAN

ALOFI, Niue (July 27, 2001 - Niue Economic Review/PINA Nius Online)---Leading opposition MP Terry Coe has questioned the Niue Government's capability to establish a regional information technology hub on the island.

"While the principle may be sound the reality is quite different," he said.

"The local telecommunications infrastructure is far from being sound. Telephone lines are noisy and it’s often difficult connecting to the e-mail and Internet services.

"We have a satellite link with the outside world and the rates for bandwidth are some of the highest in the world."

Mr. Coe was commenting on Premier Sani Lakatani's weeklong IT workshop conducted by Tongan consultant Taholo Kami. It is being attended mainly by public servants.

Mr. Coe said: "We are too far behind other countries that have access to dark fiber cable and should be concentrating on using the facilities and skill here we have to our advantage -- like creating web sites for...

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ARE LAST YEAR’S FIJI HOSTAGES FIT TO LEAD AGAIN?

ARE LAST YEAR’S FIJI HOSTAGES FIT TO LEAD AGAIN?

By Michael Field

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (July 27, 2001 – Agence France-Presse)---This is probably one of the most awkward questions facing Fiji today: Are the men and women who were held hostage in Parliament last year, some for up to 56 days, now mentally fit to lead Fiji again?

We don't know and this ignorance is a poisonous legacy of the late Fiji Red Cross director John Scott who prevented psychological counseling for the hostages.

This comes out in the "Report of the psychological interventions by the Fiji Trauma Recovery Team (FTRT) during the Fiji political crisis from May 19th - 29th July 2000" written by FTRT chair, Catholic priest and clinical psychologist Father Makario Waqanivalu.

These are his key points:

§ Fiji's political hostages never got the psychological counseling they needed.

§ The crisis at the Naboro Prison Complex was far worse and "a terrifying ordeal."...

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MARQUESAS WANT TO STAY FRENCH

PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (July 26, 2001 – Tahitipresse)---The French Secretary of State for Overseas Administrations, Christian Paul, visited the Marquesas Islands Wednesday, July 25th and Thursday, July 26th.

The Marquesas are located 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) to the northeast of Tahiti.

During Paul’s first stop Wednesday -- on the main Marquesan island of Nuku Hiva -- the mayor of the island, Lucien Kimitete, said that the people of the Marquesas wishes to remain French.

He added that the archipelago is always "forgotten " when money matters are discussed in Pape‘ete, Tahiti.

The call to remain within the French Republic comes at the same time the government of French Polynesia is asking for a new statute (POM for Pays d'Outre-mer, overseas country) for all the archipelagoes of French Polynesia.

The secretary said that France will continue to back up the Marquesas islands.

On Thursday, he went to Hiva Oa, in the south of the...

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IS WEST PAPUA AUTONOMY STILL ON THE AGENDA?

Radio Australia Pacific Beat Melbourne, Australia July 27, 2001

The accession of Megawait Sukarnoputri to the Indonesian presidency may yet reverberate throughout the Pacific.

The changes in Jakarta could affect the political aspirations of the mainly Melanesian province of Irian Jaya, also known as West Papua.

Former President Abdurrahman Wahid had offered the province greater autonomy.

But will that openness continue under the new administration?

Pacific Beat's Bruce Hill reports.

The red and white flag of Indonesia flies from Aceh on the Indian Ocean to Irian Jaya on the Papua New Guinea border - but for how long?

Separatist groups in both provinces are fighting for independence, East Timor has already been detached from the Republic, and other parts of the archipelago are torn by ethnic and religious violence.

The new President, the untested Megawati Sukarnoputri, has risen to power largely on the strength of being the...

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UPGRADED ÉFATÉ, VANUATU RING ROAD OPENS

UPGRADED ÉFATÉ, VANUATU RING ROAD OPENS

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (July 27, 2001 – Radio Australia)---A major upgrade of the 76-mile (127-kilometer) ring road around Vanuatu's main island of Éfaté, paid for with $5.9 million in Japanese aid funds, has been completed.

It was opened officially Friday by Prime Minister Edward Natapei and Japanese Ambassador Hisato Murayama.

The project included replacing a part of the old road that was too close to the sea and often was closed during periods of high waves.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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