Archive - April 1999

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100 CHINESE IMMIGRANTS SEIZED IN PACIFIC

TINIAN, Northern Mariana Islands (April 30, 1999 – Radio Australia)--- in the Northern Mariana Islands Governor Pedro Tenorio says the U.S. Coast Guard has seized a boat holding 100 illegal Chinese immigrants.

The group has been taken to a makeshift holding camp on Tinian Island, bringing the total of illegal immigrants being held at a tent facility to 400.

The Governor would not say whether the latest boat seizure was on the high seas or in waters around Guam.

The United States has invoked a new measure of taking illegal immigrants to Tinian, instead of Guam, where U.S. asylum laws do not apply.

President Bill Clinton has issued a memorandum allowing immigration services to hold undocumented Chinese found in vessels off the Marianas waters on Tinian, easing concerns in Guam they would seek asylum there.

Guam has been holding more than 500 migrants since January.

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Apr
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FIRST LOAD OF RELIEF SUPPLIES REACH FLOOD-AFFECTED PAPUA NEW GUINEA

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 30,1999 – Radio Australia)---The first load of relief supplies has reached flood-ravaged areas of Papua New Guinea's Western Province.

Heavy rain over the past few weeks has caused flooding along the Fly and Strickland Rivers, and around Lake Murray.

About 15,000 people have been affected, with food shortages in many areas.

Supplies have been sent in via aircraft chartered by the Ok Tedi mine, which is in the affected area, and villagers have been using dinghies to collect supplies from distribution points.

The Papua New Guinea Government has committed $300,000 dollars to the relief effort.

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Apr
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CANDIDATES AND CAMPAIGNS: PREPARATION FOR THE FIJI GENERAL ELECTIONS

By Dr. Sanjay Ramesh

The month of April started with the re-introduction of the debate over the Sunday ban. The Christian Democratic Party’s policy on Sunday observance provoked a strong reaction from the United General Party’s President, David Pickering.

On 29 March, Mr. Pickering lashed out at the Christian Democrats for promoting intolerance among Fiji’s multicultural community. However, a spokesperson for the Christian Democrats, Salote Qalo, defended the party’s policy, clarifying that the party manifesto encourages rest and family life on Sundays and if elected to government, the Democrats would ensure that essential services are maintained on the Sabbath.

Interestingly, there are two Indians vying for seats under the Christian Democrat banner. "Raymond Narayan Nair and Daven Singh will contest the election for the Christian political party. Nair is expected to contest for a Suva seat and Singh is likely to contest for a Ba seat (Fiji Village News, 29...

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Apr
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AN URGENT NEED FOR DOCTORS IN SOLOMON ISLANDS

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 29, 1999 – Radio Australia)---The Solomon Islands Government says the Pacific nation urgently needs to employ foreign doctors.

Radio Australia correspondent George Atkin reports from the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, the Solomons want to hire 25 medical practitioners:

"The Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dickson Warakohia says the doctors are needed to work in the national referral hospital in Honiara and provincial hospitals."

"He says so far three of the wanted foreign doctors have arrived in the country and are being deployed to the national referral hospital in Honiara. But Mr. Warakohia says provincial authorities keep arriving at his office to demand the deployment of their (regions) new doctors."

"He says the country is desperate to have the foreign doctors who are to be engaged from New Zealand, Australia and Asian countries."

"He accuses the Public Service Commission of the Prime Minister's...

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Apr
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BOUGAINVILLE INDEPENDENCE STILL ON AGENDA, SAYS REBEL LEADER

RABAUL, Bougainville (April 29, 1999 – PACNEWS)---Bougainville rebel spokesman Andrew Miriki says the push for independence for the war-torn island is not over yet.

He was reacting to the signing last week of the Matakana and Okataina Understanding in New Zealand.

"Nobody had pushed the issue of independence under the bridge," he said.

Miriki brushed aside remarks from the Leitana Council of Chiefs chairman Joel Latu Banam and Resistance Forces Commander Hilary Masiria, that the issue of independence was a non-issue following the signing of the agreement.

The leaders of the different factions (signatories to the understanding) had agreed to stop making media statements that would provoke unwanted statements, thus endangering the spirit of the understanding.

Speaking from Buin yesterday, Miriki said it was not his intention to go to the media. He was only responding to the two leaders (Masiria and Banam) who made public statements on the issue....

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Thu
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JAPAN FUNDING FOR FORUM SECRETARIAT

SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARIAT Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS STATEMENT April 27, 1999

Japan has provided US$ 408,000 to the South Pacific Forum Secretariat to help fund its 1999 development programme.

The funds were handed over to the Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum Secretariat, Mr. Noel Levi, CBE, by Japan's Suva-based Ambassador HE Hisato Murayama.

"Japan recognizes the important role that the Forum Secretariat plays in the development of the region and we are confident that this assistance will again be put to the best possible use for the benefit of Forum member states," Mr. Murayama said.

In response, the Secretary General said the region was very appreciative of the strong and growing ties between Japan and the South Pacific Forum not only in regional economic development but also in other areas such as in the closer collaboration at international fora.

"This is a further demonstration of Japan's commitment to the region's...

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Apr
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NEW AMBASSADORS TO FIJI PRESENT THEIR CREDENTIALS

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 27, 1999 - PACNEWS)---Fiji President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara has received diplomatic credentials from five new ambassadors recently accredited to Fiji.

They include:

The five ambassadors are based in the Australian capital of Canberra.

They were hosted at a lunch by Ratu Sir Kamisese in Suva, Fiji's capital.

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SOLOMON ISLANDS' UNIONS CALL FOR WAGE FREEZE

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 28, 1999 - Radio Australia)---Trade union leaders in the Solomon Islands have called for a wage and price freeze, following the government's announcement that pay increases no longer will be based on rises in the cost-of-living.

Earlier this week, the Honiara government announced that the criteria for pay raises now will be based on increased productivity and improved performance.

The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and the Chinese Association support the government's move. But, the General-Secretary to the Public Service Union, Clement Waiwori, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program that he wants price controls before he will agree to the wage restraints.

"You can freeze salaries now but that does not mean there is no inflation," Waiwori said.

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AUSTRALIAN MP URGES REDIRECTING OF AID TO PNG

CANBERRA, Australia (April 27, 1999 - Radio Australia)---Australian Minister of Parliament, Warren Entsch, says the latest Papua New Guinea flood crisis shows that financial aid to the country needs to be redirected.

Nearly 100 people from a Western Province village hit by the severe flooding have been seeking medical care on Saibai Island, off Australia's north coast.

Entsch says more of Australia's aid money to PNG should be used to set up health care facilities to take pressure off services in Australia's north.

"We certainly should be able to get considerable clout given the amount of aid that is given to Papua New Guinea.

"I think it's time that some of that money is put into those areas to ensure that those people at least have basic services. At the moment, they have absolutely nothing," said the Minister.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA CONFIDENT NO MORE PEOPLE WILL SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION ON AUSTRALIAN ISLAND

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April...

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FIJI TO CENSOR PORNOGRAPHIC INTERNET SITES

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 28, 1999 - PACNEWS/INCL)---Fiji's Telecommunications Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, has announced that the Government will soon put into place mechanisms that will bar children from surfing pornographic web sites on the Internet.

Ratu Inoke made the comment at the South Pacific Forum Communication Ministers meeting in the Fiji capital, Suva, but did not say exactly how the Government would accomplish the censorship.

He said his ministry was working on a strategy to ensure children and students are barred from pornographic sites.

Ratu Inoke said his Government shared the concerns expressed by other Governments on the unsuitability of such web sites.

In commenting about Fiji's Internet services in general, Ratu Inoke said there are plans to reduce access charges and to extend Internet connections to schools all over Fiji.

He also said that the Government would soon issue licenses to two local Internet providers to compete...

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