Archive - April 1998

Thu
23
Apr
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WORKERS WALK OFF JOBS AT PNG'S LIHIR MINE

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 22, 1998 - The National/Map)--- Papua New Guinea’s new gold project on Lihir island, New Ireland province, experienced its first industrial strike this week as an estimated 200 mine pit workers walked of their jobs demanding better terms and conditions of employment, the National newspaper reports.

The miners, mostly pit workers employed by mining contractor Thiess Roche, walked off their jobs Monday demanding they should be paid risk allowances.

The miners claim they work in extremely hot and dusty conditions and breathe foul smelling fumes from the area's hot springs, all of which they consider to be potential health hazards.

One striker said public servants and expatriate employees working and living in Lihir already are paid risk allowances.

The workers have agreed to continue the strike until their employer and the Lihir Management Company agree to their demands.

Lihir Management Company Managing Director...

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Thu
23
Apr
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FIJI EXPERIENCES WORST DROUGHT IN 20 YEARS

SUVA, Fiji (April 21, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---Fiji's Public Works Department has described the current drought as the worst in the past 20 years, and principal engineer Paul Wilisoni says the situation is likely to continue for some time, Island Networks Corporation reports.

Since so many water catchments around the country now are completely dry, Wilisoni says, carting water already is proving to be very expensive. Maintenance costs for water carts and water tankers alone, he notes, total $F 20,000 to $F 27,000 ($US 10,300 to $US 13,900) a week.

Meanwhile, the department is making plans to deal with a potential widespread shutdown of the countries water supply system, possible if the current drought situation persists.

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Thu
23
Apr
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FIJI IN GRIP OF NATIONAL STRIKE

SUVA, Fiji (April 23, 1998 - Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Today's nationwide strike will go ahead after Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka last night dramatically intervened to halt talks between the unions and his ministers, the Fiji Times reports.

The unions expect 40,000 people to take part in today's protest.

The army will be on standby to ensure that essential services are not disrupted.

Areas of concern ate telecommunications, electricity, fire, water supply, health and education services.

After being briefed by the ministers who took part in yesterday's talks with the Fiji Trades Union Congress and the Fiji Employers Federation, Mr. Rabuka confirmed that there would be no further talks while the unions' strike threat was in force.

Earlier, the Fiji government team had brought to cabinet a draft unsigned agreement that called for the wage order to be abandoned, redundancies to be regarded as a last option only and the check off system to...

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Thu
23
Apr
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INVOLVE ONA IN BOUGAINVILLE PEACE MEETINGS: NARAKOBI

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 22, 1998 - PACNEWS)---The political opposition in Papua New Guinea said Tuesday night said that any meetings or negotiations in the future on the Bougainville peace process must include supreme rebel leader Francis Ona.

Opposition leader Bernard Narokobi said that Ona was the embodiment of the extreme position of the militants, and to achieve a common solution he must be the arena, not as an observer but as a leading player in the negotiations, The National reports.

"The cease fire agreement is an important initiative of the Bougainville people. It should not be frustrated by the disagreement between the various factions of the rebels or the government," Narokobi said.

He said a divided Bougainville would make it difficult to achieve a common solution. "Instead, all Bougainvillean leaders should be united in a common resolve to end the crisis."

He said it was his firm belief that the rebels must be united among...

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Thu
23
Apr
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FIJIANS AND TONGANS RANK HIGH AMONG OVERSTAYERS

IN AUSTRALIA

CANBERRA, Australia (April 21, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---Fijians and Tongans rank high among the number of people who are in Australia illegally.

Known as overstayers, Australian Immigration Department figures show that over 700 overstayers from Fiji were found living in Australia during 1996 and 1997.

During the same period, over 300 Tongan overstayers also were located and required to leave.

They included students, tourists, temporary residents, and others who were on working holidays.

New technology available to Australian government departments now is making it easier and quicker to find overstayers, many of whom seek long-term employment.

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Thu
23
Apr
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NAURU CONSIDERING GRIEVANCES OF I-KIRIBATI

PHOSPHATE WORKERS

TARAWA, Kiribati (April 21, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---Nauru's President, Kinza Clodumar, has assured his Kiribati counterpart, Teburoro Tito, that all outstanding grievances by I-Kiribati workers at the Nauru Phosphate Corporation (NPC) will be dealt with soon.

At a recent meeting of the two Presidents, Tito reminded Clodumar of the outstanding issues, which have not been dealt with because of frequent changes in the Nauru government, Radio Kiribati reports.

President Tito says salary is one of them.

He expressed concern that I-Kiribati NPC employees were being paid only $AUS .50 ($US .32) an hour plus rations. Tito asked for improvement in the pay rate, which is substantially below the minimum $AUS 1.35 ($US .87) an hour paid in Kiribati.

Transportation during recruitment and repatriation is another problem to be addressed. In the past, Tito said, the system sometimes worked perfectly well but, at other times, it was ignored and...

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Thu
23
Apr
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TINIAN CASINO OPENS SATURDAY

HONOLULU, Hawaii (April 22, 1998 - PIDP/CPIS/Hulsen)---The first major casino hotel in the Northern Mariana Islands will open to the public Saturday morning on the island of Tinian.

Officials expect the legal gambling to encourage tourism and contribute significantly to the U.S. commonwealth's economy.

Owned and operated by a Marianas corporation, Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investment, Ltd., the $US 200 million Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, will offer guests five-star facilities, the Saipan Tribune reports.

Ferry travel between nearby Saipan and Tinian will be provided six times daily, while Guam visitors will be able to fly to the island in about 30 minutes.

The casino will feature a variety of gambling games popular both in the West and in Asia.

It was on Tinian, in 1945, that the Enola Gay airplane took off for Japan and dropped the first atomic bomb used in warfare on Hiroshima.

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Thu
23
Apr
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NEW AMERICAN SAMOA LIBRARY DEDICATED

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 20, 1998 - PACNEWS/Tohi)---A long awaited building project, the Feleti Barstow Public Library, was dedicated last week.

The two story, 12,000 square foot building was constructed by Fletcher Construction at a cost of $US 1.7 million, using funds provided by the U.S. Department of Interior, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Although the facility has been dedicated, it will not be open to the public until furnishings are completed in early June.

The library is named after Fred (Feleti) Barstow, a philanthropist from Hawaii who fell in love with American Samoa after making several visits during his childhood.

When he died in 1931, while still young, his family established a foundation for American Samoa in his name.

The foundation has pledged $US 50,000 a year for three years to buy books for the new library.

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Wed
22
Apr
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PUBLISHER BOLEA QUITS FIJI DAILY POST

SUVA, Fiji (April 20, 1998 - Daily Post/Pacific Media Watch)---The publisher and founder of Fiji's first locally-owned daily newspaper, Taniela Bolea, yesterday announced he was quitting the company.

Mr. Bolea started the Post over 10 years ago with Wame Waqanisanini Jr. and three employees.

Mr. Waqanisanini quit soon after when things started to get difficult but Mr. Bolea, with a core of dedicated employees, persevered and persisted against what at times seemed insurmountable odds to build the company to its current staff complement of over 100 workers.

He said the staff of the Post should be proud of the fact that they had built the company from nothing into a vibrant and lively publication which was showing consistent profits and was hitting record profitability when he stepped down as managing director about two years ago.

Mr. Bolea stepped down after disagreements with the board of directors about the direction the company was taking.

It is...

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Wed
22
Apr
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TUNA BACK IN SAMOAN WATERS

APIA, Samoa (April 20, 1998 - PACNEWS/Tohi)---Samoa's fishing industry has picked up momentum again after recent improvements in catches, mainly yellow-fin and albacore tuna.

The pelagic or highly migratory species had been absent from Samoan waters for three months, pressuring some boat owners to put their vessels up for sale and encouraging others to opt for deep line fishing, Radio 2AP reports.

For most boat-owners, however, the lull in activity allowed fishermen to maintain their vessels and on-board facilities.

Indicating that the fish are back, one boat returned earlier this week with 40 good sized tuna.

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