Archive - April 1998

Fri
24
Apr
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JAPANESE CONCERN OVER MALICIOUS ACTS IN SOLOMON ISLANDS

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 22, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---The Japanese Chargé d’Affairs in Honiara, Hideo Nomoto, has expressed concern over the malicious acts of some Solomon Islanders toward Japanese-funded projects in the country.Nomoto cited, as an example, damage to the Honiara Central Market House, which was funded by Japan, the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Company reports.

In another case, Nomoto said the handing over of the recently completed Honiara water supply system had to be delayed because of damages caused to one of the facility's wells.

Cooperation between the Solomon Islands and Japan, he suggested, is being wrecked by a few "heartless people."

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Fri
24
Apr
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SOLOMON ISLANDS TO NATIONALIZE LOGGING

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 22, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The Solomon Islands will nationalize logging and end the long domination of the industry by Malaysian companies.

Forest Minister Hilda Kari told Parliament the private logging industry has failed to ensure an improvement in the living standards of forest resource owners.

Ms. Kari said when the industry is nationalized it will be easier to ensure control and sustainability of the environment, adding that the government will help the industry with sensitive budgeting.

The Minister said forest owners will need financing to obtain logging machinery and equipment and they will need information and education on how to run and manage logging.

Asian companies, until this year, have been running logging operations throughout the Solomon Islands, leading critics to claim the tree felling was causing major environmental damage.

However, since the Asian economic collapse, the Solomons' logging...

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Fri
24
Apr
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PACIFIC ISLANDS TRADE CONFERENCE IN HONOLULU NEXT MONTH

HONOLULU, Hawaii (April 24, 1998 - PIDP/CPIS/Hulsen)---A two-day conference focusing on trade, business and investment opportunities in the Pacific Islands region will take place in Honolulu next month, May 27 - 29.

Workshops will be conducted in conjunction with the conference, says coordinator Daniel Foster, "to encourage small and middle-sized business to look beyond Hawaii and to become familiar with some of its nearest neighbors."

Five countries and territories have been invited to participate the first of what may become a series of conferences and workshops. They are the Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Samoa and Tonga.

Foster says participants will include government officials responsible for trade and economic development and private sector representatives, who will give presentations on their area's economies and businesses activities.

Among the conference sponsors are the United States-Pacific Island Nations Joint Commercial Commission (...

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Fri
24
Apr
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UN ENDORSES BOUGAINVILLE PEACE AGREEMENT

UNITED NATIONS, New York (April 23, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The United Nations Security Council has issued a political endorsement of the Papua New Guinea peace agreement which ended the nine-year Bougainville separatist war.

The 15-member Council adopted a formal statement introduced by Japan, welcoming the January 23rd Lincoln Agreement, which stopped the conflict involving the anti-PNG Bougainville Revolutionary Army.

The agreement asks the UN Security Council for support and to authorize the sending of a special observer mission to monitor the peace arrangements, which are to culminate in elections at the end of the year.

A formal peace treaty is to be signed in the old Bougainville capital of Arawa on April 30th.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Don McKinnon, said in Wellington yesterday that he was confident the truce would be signed despite recent opposition by rebel leader Francis Ona.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) quotes Western diplomats...

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Thu
23
Apr

50,000 FIJI WORKERS ON STRIKE

SUVA, Fiji (April 23, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Up to 50,000 workers in Fiji have begun a 24 hour nationwide strike.

Negotiations between trade union leaders and government officials in Suva broke up yesterday without agreement on several issues.

The strike was originally called to protest a proposed government order limiting wage rises, Radio Australia reports. But the government agreed not to implement the order.

The dispute now centers around three union demands, including the setting up of a committee to examine wage rises.

The strike will not affect Nadi International Airport and domestic airports.

Electricity, water and garbage services will be maintained.

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Thu
23
Apr
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ELECTION CAMPAIGNING BEGINS IN FRENCH POLYNESIA

PAPEETE, Tahiti (April 22, 1998 - PACNEWS)---By-election campaigning has begun for eleven of 41 seats in French Polynesia's territorial assembly, Radio Australia reports.

The by-elections were called after the 1996 election results were cancelled because of irregularities in voting and allegations of corruption.

Polling will take place May 24 for eight seats in the Leeward Islands and three seats in the Marquesas Islands.

Seven of the eight seats being contested were won in the 1996 elections by the Tavini Huiraatira Party headed by French Polynesia's President, Gaston Flosse.

All major parties are participating in the by-election.

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Thu
23
Apr
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NZ FOREIGN MINISTER CONFIDENT OF BOUGAINVILLE CEASE-FIRE

By Michael J. Field

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (April 22, 1998 - Agence France-Presse)---A cease-fire agreement on the war torn Papua New Guinean island of Bougainville will go ahead next week despite opposition of a rebel leader, Foreign Minister Don McKinnon said in a statement Wednesday.

McKinnon will be present for the April 30 signing at Arawa on Bougainville, along with the foreign ministers of Australia, Fiji and Vanuatu.

The cease-fire follows nine years of fighting on the Island, during which an estimated 15,000 people have died.

Last week Francis Ona, leader of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), rejected the cease-fire and said his movement was still dedicated to independence. He has not taken part in the New Zealand brokered peace-talks which have produced the existing truce on the island.

McKinnon doubted Ona could de-rail the peace process.

"Over the past two days I have had discussions with a number of key players on the...

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Thu
23
Apr
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AIR MARSHALL ISLANDS TO LEASE PLANE TO AIR VANUATU

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (April 21, 1998 - Radio Australia/PACNEWS)---Air Marshall Islands says it is about to reach an agreement to lease its SAAB 2000 aircraft to Air Vanuatu.

The lease would be a long-term arrangement, which would generate much-needed revenue for Air Marshall Islands.

The airline has been operating the 50-seat aircraft for almost three years, but a series of breakdowns has reduced profitability.

Air Vanuatu says it would use the aircraft on services to Fiji and New Caledonia.

Meantime, Air Vanuatu's new Boeing 737-300 plane is due in Port Vila on Friday. It is schedule to make its first official flight, to Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday.

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Thu
23
Apr
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DENGUE FEVER CASES DECLINING IN TONGA

NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (April 20, 1998 -PACNEWS/Tohi)---A decline in the number of people with suspected dengue fever symptoms has been reported by Nuku'alofa's Vaiola Hospital.

Dr. Siale 'Akau'ola says an average of 20 blood samples a week now are being taken from patients suspected of having acquired the mosquito-borne virus and seeking medical treatment.

This compares to between 30 and 40 blood specimens a week taken in March.

The samples, previously sent to Australia for testing, now are dispatched to a closer and less costly laboratory in Fiji.

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Thu
23
Apr
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WORK ON MELANESIAN CULTURAL VILLAGE IN SOLOMONS BEGINS

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 22, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---Work on the Melanesian Cultural Village has begun, as the Solomon Islands capital continues making preparations for July's Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival.

Village coordinator Frank Haikiu says construction of traditional houses, representative of those found in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the Solomons, is expected to be completed in the old Cenotaph area of Honiara by mid-June.

All four of the Solomons' Melanesian neighbors have confirmed their participation in the Festival, Haikiu says, with each planning to send a contingent of about 100 dancers and artists.

The Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival will take place in Honiara at the same time the Solomon Islands celebrates its 20th anniversary of independence.

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