Archive - April 1998

Tue
28
Apr
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FOUR NATIONS COMBINE TO ASSIST TONGAN SCHOOL

NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (April 26, 1998 - PACNEWS/Tohi)---Tonga, New Zealand, Australia and France are combining resources in support of a joint project to rebuild classrooms at 'Alele'uta Primary School on Tonga's northern island of Niuafo'ou.

The classrooms were destroyed by hurricane Ron earlier this year, during January.

Each country will contribute up to 30,000 pa'anga ($US 19,700) to the project, the first Tongan joint-venture development assistance effort supported by all four countries.

The initiative symbolizes the desire of France, Australia and New Zealand to work together in assisting the development needs of the Pacific, a statement from the New Zealand High Commission in Suva says.

Three new classrooms, a library and a staff room will be built at the school by Tongan contractors.

The work, which is to begin soon, will be under the supervision of Tonga’s Ministry of Works.

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Tue
28
Apr
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LITTLE PROGRESS MADE ON SOLOMONS PALM OIL PROJECT

HONIARA, Solomon islands (April 26, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Moves by a Malaysian company to develop the largest oil palm plantation in the Solomon Islands --on Vangunu Island in Western Province-- has made little progress during the past two years.

The Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Dr. Steve Aumanu, said while the Alliance for Change government supports the project initiated by the Mamaloni government two years ago, no agreement has yet been reached with the developer, Kumpulan Emas Berhad of Malaysia.

Dr. Aumanu said the two parties have yet to come to closure on such matters as land rates, duty and taxation concessions and environmental impact issues, but, he adds, negotiations are continuing.

The Vangunu oil palm project is expected to cover 10,000 hectares of government land.

The only other palm oil project in the Solomon Islands, the Commonwealth Development Corporation plantation on the Guadalcanal plains, covers 7,000 hectares of land.

Palm...

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Tue
28
Apr
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AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNMENT BEGINS NEGOTIATIONS ON RETIREMENT FUND LOAN

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 26, 1998 - PACNEWS/Tohi)--- Negotiations have begun between the administration of American Samoa Governor Tauese Sunia and the Board of Directors of the Government Employees Retirement Fund for a government loan.

Earlier this month, Governor Tauese signed into law legislation which authorizes the government to borrow $US 13 million from the fund, to be repaid in 10 years at an interest rate of 8.5 percent.

The Governor says he will insist on getting the full $13 million that the Fono (legislature) approved, even though the Board has said that it will only consider a loan of up to $US 10 million.

Tauese earlier said that the Board's decision should be determined by the Retirement Fund Loan Law, as passed by the Fono.

The Governor said he hoped the Board would not let Board member and businessman Bart Judy vote on the loan request, as this would not be fair to the government. Judy is Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce...

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Tue
28
Apr
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BIKINI LEADERS SAY U.S. SUPPORTS RESETTLEMENT PLANS

MAJURO, Marshall islands (April 27, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The leaders of Bikini say they are confident the United States supports their plan to re-settle the Marshall Islands atoll.

Bikini was used by the U.S. as a nuclear test site, 1946-1958, and was left heavily contaminated by radiation.

A delegation of Bikini leaders has returned to the Marshalls from meetings last week with U.S. officials in Washington, during which the U.S. declared its commitment to support a clean-up of the atoll and eventual resettlement.

However, the Bikini delegation failed to secure assurances that current scientific data, which says Bikini can be made safe for rehabilitation, is accurate.

The Bikini leaders say they will continue working to get the U.S. Department of Energy to recommend a clean-up plan, which they want endorsed by U.S. President Bill Clinton.

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Tue
28
Apr
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GUAM ARTS AND HUMANITIES COUNCIL RECEIVES AWARD

HONOLULU, Hawaii (April 21, 1998 - PIDP/CPIS/Hulsen)---The Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities has been awarded a grant from the Washington-based National Endowment for the Arts in the amount of $US 266,100.

The new funding will be used to sustain and expand partnerships with other Guam agencies.

The Council supports creative projects in a variety of art fields as well as research and other activities in various humanities areas.

Preservation of Guam's indigenous Chamorro culture is among the Council's goals.

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Tue
28
Apr
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FOREIGN WORKERS SEEK BETTER LIFE IN NORTHERN MARIANAS

SAIPAN, Northern Marianas (March 24, 1998-Saipan Tribune/Benhur Saladores/ Ioane)---The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas has become an attractive destination for foreigners seeking a better life for themselves and their families, reports the Saipan Tribune.

The newspaper says people from the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China have come to the Northern Marianas to work in construction, tourism, garment and security industries. Most of these people left their families behind and send them money on a regular basis.

One such worker, Ric Santos of the Philippines, works with a construction company.

Santos, 38, describes his life on Saipan –the Marianas’ capital-- as comfortable. He says although he misses his family back in the Philippines, he needs work so that he can assure them a good future.

Ahmed, a security guard from Bangladesh, expressed similar sentiments.

"We just want to support our families in Bangladesh. The money we earn...

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Tue
28
Apr
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FUNAFUTI COUNCILORS ANGRY AT VIOLATION OF CONSERVATION AREA

FUNAFUTI COUNCILLORS ANGRY AT VIOLATION OF CONSERVATION AREA

FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (April 26 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---Members of the Funafuti Town Council have expressed anger at still another violation of the Funafuti Island conservation area project, which covers a third of the Funafuti lagoon and a chain of surrounding islets.

In a radio broadcast, Town Council President and former Prime Minister and Governor-General, Sir Toaripi Lauti, made another strong appeal to all residents on Funafuti to observe the area ban on fishing and bird hunting, Radio Tuvalu reports.

Sir Toaripi says project officials have found evidence of birds being shot and a number of groups fishing in the area recently.

He reminded the people of Funafuti that the conservation project was supported by international agencies, so that Tuvalu can achieve some degree of fisheries development and sustain endangered wildlife.

Legislation to enforce protection measures and to penalize...

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Tue
28
Apr
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FIJI GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT STRATIGIC TEXTILE PLAN

SUVA, Fiji (April 26, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Government officials, together with business leaders, are implementing a strategic plan to ensure the longtime survival of Fiji’s textile, clothing and footwear industry.

A task force has been appointed by the two parties to proceed with the plan, Island Networks Corporation reports.

President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara outlined details of the strategic plan when he opened the new United Apparel garment factory in Nadawa, outside Suva, last week.

The plan outlines four broad strategies aimed at ensuring the survival of the industry and assuring its future expansion. They are improving the business environment in which the textile, clothing and footwear industry operates, and improving its efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.

The plan also calls for improving worker skills and marketing activities.

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Tue
28
Apr
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THREE TUVALU PARLIAMENTARIANS MADE SPECIAL

MINISTERIAL ADVISORS

FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (April 26, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Another political precedent has been set by Tuvalu's new cabinet.

Three representatives of the 10-member government caucus in Parliament have been made special ministerial advisors, assisting the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, and the Deputy Prime Minister (also Minister of National Resources, Home Affairs and Rural Development), Radio Tuvalu reports.

This effectively puts the entire government caucus in some form of political office.

The lone government MP without a special portfolio is the former Speaker, Dr. Tomasi Puapua.

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Mon
27
Apr
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FIJI TO HOST DECOLONIZATION TALKS

SUVA, Fiji (April 22, 1998 - Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Fiji is to host a seminar on decolonization, the Fiji cabinet decided yesterday.

The Fiji Times reports that the recommendation was made by Foreign Affairs and External Trade Minister Berenado Vunibobo.

The seminar will be held in Nadi from June 8-10.

The United Nations Committee on Decolonization holds seminars on decolonization issues in member countries of the committee on an annual basis.

The venues rotate annually between the Caribbean and the Pacific regions where the majority of the remaining 17 non self-governing territories are found.

Papua New Guinea hosted the seminar in 1996 and last year the seminar was hosted by Antigua.

The seminar will be attended by about 60 participants.

All expenses for the seminar will be met by the Decolonization Bureau of the United Nations.

Government would, however, be expected to bear some of the costs of hosting a...

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