Archive - April 1998

Thu
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Apr
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FIJI WATER CRISIS LOOMS

By Robert Matau

SUVA, Fiji (April 28, 1998 - Fiji Post/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---The water supply of Fiji's capital Suva is less than a meter away from crisis point -- at which level the reservoir at Tamavua will have to be shut off to prevent untreatable water getting through, the Daily Post reports.

When that happens, the water level at the catchment lake at Savura Creek will have dropped too low for any good water to be used from it.

Savura is the main catchment lake for Suva. It supplies the main reservoir at Tamavua which supplies the greater Suva area. Yesterday, the water level there was dropping to a record low.

Yesterday, too, the water level at Tamavua reservoir was 2.3 metres. When it drops to 1.5 metres, the reservoir will be closed down because too much untreatable dirty water will be getting through from Savura.

Works Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola yesterday declared Suva a severe drought area.

"According to levels of water in...

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Thu
30
Apr
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FORUM AVIATION POLICY MEETING COMMENCES

SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARIAT SUVA, FIJI

PRESS STATEMENT April 29, 1998

A major meeting of Pacific aviation interests commenced today at the South Pacific Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji.

Over 120 delegates from South Pacific Forum countries, adjacent territories and international organisations will be participating in six days of seminars and official meetings. Representatives from all levels of aviation interests have gathered, including airlines, air service providers and governments.

"There would appear now to be a window of opportunity for the region to benefit from the rapid changes taking place in (aviation) technology and markets," said Mr Tony Slatyer, Acting Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat.

The first issue on the agenda is how Forum members can best take advantage of the introduction of new satellite based communication and navigation technology, known as CNS/ATM.

Another focus of the meeting will be whether...

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Thu
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Apr
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COMPLETE FIJI CENSUS REPORT AVAILABLE IN JULY

SUVA, Fiji (April 27, 1998 -Sunday Times/Hulsen)---A complete report on Fiji’s1996 census will not be issued for another two to three months, but a preliminary analysis by Assistant Government Statistician Kishore Chetty says Fiji has experienced the lowest population growth rate between censuses since the 1901 count almost a hundred years ago.

At the end of 1991, Fiji’s population was estimated at 746,326, with almost half, 49.4 percent, indigenous Fijians. Fijians of Indian ethnicity totaled 45.6 percent, while Rotumans, other Pacific islands, Europeans, Chinese, and others accounted for some five percent of Fiji’s population.

The Sunday Times also reports that Fiji is becoming increasingly urban.

Suva, Nadi and other densely-populated areas, swelled by former mostly indigenous Fijian rural dwellers, now are home to 46.4 percent of the total population.

The preliminary statistics also indicate a decrease in the total number of Indo-Fijians, many of...

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Thu
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Apr
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COOK ISLANDS NEGOTIATING NEW FLIGHTS TO RAROTONGA

AVARUA, Rarotonga (April 27, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The Cook Islands government is negotiating with an international aviation charter company, Canada 3000, to operate flights to Rarotonga.

The Canadian firm has expressed interest in providing flights from North America for six months beginning in November, with the prospect of establishing a long term charter arrangement.

Air New Zealand currently is the only international airline serving the Cook Islands, and the government has long argued that other airlines would find the Cooks a profitable destination.

A formal announcement on the Canada 3000 deal is expected next month.

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Apr
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PRESIDENT TITO OF KIRIBATI INVITED TO TJIBAOU CENTER OPENING

TARAWA, Kiribati (April 28, 1998 - PACNEWS)---France's Prime Minister, Lionel Jostin, has invited Kiribati President Teburoro Tito to attend the official opening of the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center in New Caledonia next week.

Kiribati's Foreign Affairs Office says Tito has accepted the invitation, saying the visit will improve bilateral ties and understanding between France and Kiribati, Radio Kiribati reports.

Tito says it will provide him with an opportunity to discuss a variety of issues, including maritime surveillance.

Tito will leave for New Caledonia Thursday, accompanied by two government officials.

The cultural center honors Tjibaou, the Kanak leader who was murdered just after signing the Matignon Accords.

Coinciding with the opening of the center, the French Prime Minister and leaders of New Caledonia’s pro- and anti-independence groups will sign the agreement reached last week --the Noumea Accord-- on the future political status...

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Wed
29
Apr
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SOLOMON ISLANDS REDUCES SOME MELANESIAN FESTIVAL FILMING

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 28, 1998 - PACNEWS)---The Solomon Islands government has reduced the fee it is charging film makers interested in covering the Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival, to take place during July in conjunction with the country's 20th anniversary of independence.

In a report to media organizations, Festival organizers say they have reduced the fee for authorization to make documentaries by 50 percent, to $SI 2,500 ($US 534). However, in addition to the fee, a deposit of $SI 1,000 ($US 213) must be paid, although it is refundable provided three copies of the documentary are made available for use by the Solomon Islands government.

A $SI 1,000 fee for TV spot news coverage remains unchanged, and media representatives also will have to pay $SI 20 ($US 4.27) for accreditation passes.

The festival, to take place July 3-10, will feature dancers and artists from neighboring Melanesian countries --Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea and...

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Wed
29
Apr
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TINIAN DYNASTY HOTEL SEEKS ASIA AIR LINKS

By Cookie B. Micaller

TINIAN, Northern Mariana Islands (April 26, 1998)---The Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino is currently negotiating with airline companies the possibility of providing direct flights between Tinian and key Asian cities and increasing air service from Guam to the island municipality, its Chairman said.

Michael Kwan said in an interview that talks are underway with Continental Micronesia to fly directly to Tinian from at least nine major destinations in Asia to lure tourists and high-rollers into the hotel and casino resort, which opened its doors to the public Saturday.

Continental, the region's main air carrier, has cut down its flight service in the Asia Pacific region due to a downtrend in the tourism industry spawned by the region-wide currency crisis.

Airline officials last month warned commonwealth officials that they might further reduce service to Saipan if tourist arrivals continue to slide down in order to save the company...

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Apr
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NEW FIJI WORK STOPPAGE THREATENED FOR MAY 21

SUVA, Fiji - (April 27, 1998 - Sunday Times/Hulsen) The Fiji Trades Union Congress has threatened to stage another nationwide strike May 21, the Sunday Times reports, if the government does not make formal a draft accord drawn up last week on wage guidelines, lay-offs and union dues check-offs.

The announcement was made by Congress National Secretary Pratap Chand following a meeting of the organization’s General Purposes Committee Saturday.

The weekend session also condemned the government’s decision not to hold further talks on current labor issues with the Congress.

"The Congress will not be intimidated by government’s position," Chand said.

The one-day national work stoppage last Thursday by an estimated 50,000 workers resulted in a business loss of at least $US 5 million, according to Secretary to Cabinet Jioji Kotobalavu.

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Wed
29
Apr
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TONGA MAKES GOOD USE OF ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: LEVI

NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (April 26, 1998 - PACNEWS/Tohi)---The Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum Secretariat, Noel Levi, says he is pleased with the way Tonga is making use of various assistance programs provided through the Secretariat.

Levi, while on a familiarization visit in Nuku'alofa last week, said he sought the views of the Tongan government on ways the Secretariat could improve its own and its member countries’ relationships with donor nations and agencies, Radio Tonga reports.

During his Nuku’alofa visit, the Secretary General met with the Acting Prime Minister, Dr. Langi Kavaliku, Minister of Finance Tutoatasi Fakafanua and the New Zealand Acting High Commissioner, Dr. Jonathan Austin.

During his discussions with Tongan government leaders, Levi raised various development issues which are most likely to be considered at this year's Forum Meeting in Pohnpei, the Federated States of Micronesia, Radio Tonga reports.

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29
Apr
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NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT ALLOCATES OVER $US 617,000 FOR TONGA BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (April 28, 1998 - PACNEWS/Tohi)---The New Zealand government has earmarked just over $NZ 1.1 million ($US 617,000) for the development of state-owned enterprises and private sector businesses in Tonga.

Of the total, $NZ 500,000 ($US 280,300) has been allocated to the Tonga Development Bank and $NZ 315,000 ($US 287,600) to forestry projects. Smaller amounts have been committed to projects in the ministries of finance, fisheries, agriculture and tourism.

Overall New Zealand bilateral assistance to Tonga for Fiscal Year 1998-1999, commencing July 1, is $NZ 5.6 million ($US 3.1 million), Radio Tonga reports.

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