Archive - April 1998

Mon
27
Apr
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AUSTRALIA, JAPAN, EU LARGEST DONORS TO SOLOMON ISLANDS

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 26, 1998 - Radio Australia)---Australia, Japan and the European Union have offered to fund about 60-percent of this year's development projects in the Solomon Islands.

During debate in Parliament on the budget, National Development Planning Minister Fred Fono stated that 90 percent of the $AUS 43 million ($US 28.7 million) 1998 development budget will be funded from outside sources.

The Minister says most of the outside funding will come from the three main donors.

Mr. Fono says 30 percent of the total development allocation will go towards infrastructure improvements.

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Fri
24
Apr
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NEW ZEALAND WELCOMES NEW CALEDONIA ACCORDS,

FIJI NOT SO SURE

By Michael J. Field

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (April 22,1998 - Agence France-Presse)---Foreign Minister Don McKinnon said Wednesday New Zealand "warmly welcomed" accords on the future of the French colony of New Caledonia but Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka was less happy.

The pro- and anti-independence forces of New Caledonia struck a deal providing for a vote on autonomy later this year. They appear to have taken a big step away from independence.

The 200,000 inhabitants will vote in December on whether or not to give New Caledonia its own government and greater powers of autonomy.

The 20-year life of the Noumea Accords will see a progressive transfer of control from France to New Caledonia, although defense, justice, fiscal control, public order and some areas of foreign relations will not be excluded.

Executive authority will move from the French High Commissioner to a Local Collegiate Executive elected by the Legal...

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Fri
24
Apr
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BIKINIANS ASSURED OF NUCLEAR CLEANUP

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 23, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Washington has assured a delegation from Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands that it will continue its nuclear cleanup and resettlement effort after the initial United States-Republic of the Marshall Islands Compact of Free Association expires in three years.

Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt made the pledge after meeting with the delegation, headed by Bikini Mayor Tomaki Juda, on Wednesday.

The U.S. also agreed to provide funding to purchase a water making unit to ease the cost of obtaining potable water on Kili and Jaluit, the two main islands were the Bikinians live in exile.

The initial 15 year Compact that grants the Marshall Islands free association status with the United States is due to expire in three years. Formal renegotiations regarding a possible new Compact will begin next year.

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

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Fri
24
Apr
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FIJI'S ENVIRONMENT MINISTER ISSUES WARNING ON CORAL REEFS

NADI, Fiji (April 22, 1998 - Radio Australia)---Fiji's Environment Minister, Vilisoni Cagimaivei, says the well-being of people throughout the Pacific depends on sustainable use of coral reefs.

Mr. Cagimaivei was speaking at a meeting of delegates from 18 Pacific Islands region countries in Nadi, who are evaluating last year's campaign, the Year of the Coral reef.

The Minister says the campaign led to a re-awakening of people's understanding of the importance of coral reefs.

It also led to measures being taken across the Pacific to protect reefs, he added, and to utilize them in more sustainable ways.

This week's meeting is expected to develop a three year regional reef conservation program.

Activities last year included a wide range of public awareness activities, including coral reef-related competitions in dancing, singing, artwork, poetry and essay writing.

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Fri
24
Apr
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MAIANA, THE CLEANEST ISLAND IN KIRIBATI

TARAWA, Kiribati (April 22, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---Kiribati's Maiana island --the first island to the south of the capital, Tarawa-- has been declared the cleanest island in the country and was awarded a prize during National Health Day last Friday.

Takaeang village on Aranuka island won the prize for cleanest village, Radio Kiribati reports

The competitions were part of National Health Day celebrations, which were observed nationwide.

A variety of individual prizes also were awarded, covering personal health and hygiene.

The Ministry of Health provided for the awards.

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Fri
24
Apr
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ANZAC DAY TO BE OBSERVED IN HAWAII

HONOLULU, Hawaii (April 24, 1998 - PIDP/CPIS/Hulsen)---Australians and New Zealanders in Hawaii will observe ANZAC Day Saturday with a Day of Remembrance for the men and women of both countries who have died in war.

A special morning ceremony (11:00 a.m.) will take place at Punchbowl, the U.S. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Among those participating in the wreath laying and commemorative service will be the Consul-General of Australia in Honolulu, Ambassador Colin McDonald, and the Consul-General of New Zealand in Los Angeles, The Honorable Jim Howell.

ANZAC Day honors the dead of both nations, in all theaters, during the First and Second World Wars, and in Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and elsewhere.

ANZAC Day has been observed annually in Honolulu since 1973.

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Fri
24
Apr
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TONGAN PEARL INDUSTRY RECOMMENDED

NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (Apr. 22, 1998 -PACNEWS/Tohi)---Development of a pearl industry in Tonga is seen as a promising business venture.

The evaluation was made recently by consultants from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and the Australian aid agency AusAID, who reviewed the Kingdom's fisheries sector, Radio Tonga reports.

Eight specialists evaluated a number of new Tongan aquaculture endeavors and then concluded that pearl farming holds the most opportunity.

The Ministry of Fisheries already has some experimental farms under way, in the Vava'u islands and other areas.

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Fri
24
Apr
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FORMER FIJI ARMY COMMANDER TO BOUGAINVILLE

SUVA, Fiji (April 23, 1998 - Daily Post/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)--- Former Fiji army commander Brigadier Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has been contracted to oversee a smooth transition of military rule on Bougainville to a civilian government, the Daily Post reports.

A cabinet source said Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka had made the recommendation, which was endorsed at Tuesday's cabinet meeting.

Brigadier Ratu Epeli, who was the former Ambassador to the United Kingdom, returned to Fiji where he continued working for the army.

He was appointed in charge of a court martial into allegations of liquor smuggling by Fiji soldiers in the Middle East.

Efforts to get a comment from the Fiji Military forces failed yesterday.

Brig. Ratu Epeli is visiting Fiji troops in the Middle East, an army source revealed.

The Papua New Guinea government and Fiji government have been holding talks on a government-to-government basis.

Fiji's joining the Melanesian...

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Fri
24
Apr
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NIUEAN MP PLEADS GUILTY TO TRAFFIC DEATH

ALOFI, Niue (April 22, 1998 - PACNEWS/Tohi)---A member of the Niue Parliament has pleaded guilty in High Court of causing a traffic death while driving under the influence of alcohol.

Acting Minister Umuti Makani, was driving an official vehicle at the time of the accident, Radio Niue reports.

He also was charged with failure to stop after the accident, a charge to which he also pleaded guilty.

He is to appear in court later for sentencing.

Offenses of a similar nature in the past have resulted in a custodial sentence.

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Fri
24
Apr
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PACIFIC ISLANDS AFFECTED BY LOW SUGAR PRODUCTION IN FIJI

NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (April, 20, 1998 - PACNEWS/Tohi)---South Pacific Forum member countries are experiencing a shortage in raw sugar exports from Fiji mills.

The shortage has been caused by abnormal drought and wind conditions throughout the Fiji islands, Radio Tonga reports.

Due to the shortage, most supermarkets and major wholesalers in Nuku'alofa and other parts of Tonga have run out of raw sugar, and some retail stores are rationing sales.

The shortage is expected to last until at least June or July, when Fiji sugar production is expected to return to normal.

Meanwhile, consumers fear sugar price may go up, as some supplies now are coming from Australia.

Tonga imports almost 3,000 tons of Fiji raw sugar per quarter.

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