Archive - April 1999

Thu
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Apr
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COOK'S CHIEF JUSTICE THROWS OUT NEW CAMPAIGN LAW

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (April 28, 1999 - Radio Australia/PACNEWS)---The Cook Islands Chief Justice has declared the country's new Electoral Act, which forbade political campaigning except for five weeks prior to a national election, unconstitutional.

Radio Australia reports that the Chief Justice said he was unable to accept the Government's argument that the law was for the benefit of the public.

In his view, the Chief Justice said the new electoral act was so restrictive and so broad, it was clearly unconstitutional.

He said it would have achieved a restriction on almost any form of overt political activity in the Cook Islands for all time between elections.

Even the formation of new political parties would not have been allowed, except just before an election.

The judgement is a victory for the opposition Democratic Alliance Party that challenged the law. The party said it would start campaigning immediately for the elections, which are seven...

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA STOCK EXCHANGE OPENS

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 28, 1999 - PACNEWS)---Papua New Guinea's stock exchange was officially opened today in the capital of Port Moresby by Prime Minister Bill Skate.

To be known as the Port Moresby Stock Exchange, or POMSOX, it will trade shares in large national companies when fully operational, which is scheduled to be within the next four weeks.

In the meantime, POMSOX has started with limited trial trading of four of PNG's major companies -- Oil Search, Orogen Minerals, Lihir Gold and Steamships Trading, which are also listed on the Australian stock exchange.

The Chairman of POMSOX, Sir Anthony Siaguru, said that during the trial period the exchange will train staff on the electronic trading system and conduct awareness and educational seminars about the exchange's work.

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CAUSE OF TROUBLE AT AMERICAN SAMOA'S DAEWOOSA FACTORY CONTESTED

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 28, 1999 - Samoa News)---The claim that four Vietnamese women labeled as "troublemakers -- and now under the care of the American Samoa Government in a shelter -- were the instigators of the work stoppage at the Daewoosa Samoa garment factory has been contested by their lawyer.

"They were labeled troublemakers when these women went outside of the Daewoosa Samoa compound to find food to eat, because they were not fed for one day," said their attorney, Barry Rose, from the law firm of Rose & Joneson during testimony before the House Rules Committee yesterday.

Rose appeared before the Committee to tell his clients' side of the story in the second hearing ordered by the Speaker of the House following letters of concern from Congressman Eni Faleomavaega and Vietnam's U.S. Ambassador as a result of allegations of mistreatment of Vietnamese citizens at the Daewoosa Samoa garment plant in Tafuna.

In his...

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COOK ISLANDS PRIME MINISTER HENRY RESPONDS TO LIFTING OF CAMPAIGN RESTRICTIONS 

GOVERNMENT OF THE COOK ISLANDS
Prime Minister's Office
Rarotonga, Cook Islands

MEDIA RELEASE April 27, 1999

COOK ISLANDS PRIME MINISTER HENRY RESPONDS TO LIFTING OF CAMPAIGN RESTRICTIONS

The Cook Islands Prime Minister, Sir Geoffrey Henry, says while he does not accept the decision made by Chief Justice Peter Quilliam to lift restrictions on campaigning, he is willing to abide by the justice's decision.

Yesterday, Chief Justice Quilliam declared the Electoral Amendment Act, which restricted the political campaigning for this year's General Election in June to five weeks, invalid and inconsistent with the fundamental rights and freedoms of Cook Islanders.

The Chief Justice's decision followed an application filed by the opposition Democratic Alliance Party, or DAP, seeking a judgment on the Electoral Amendment Act, which they believed breached fundamental human rights and freedoms protected by the Constitution.

Sir Geoffrey...

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"KAVA IN THE BLOOD" PROVIDES INSIGHTS INTO FIJI COUPS

By Michael Field

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (April 28, 1999 - Agence France-Pressse)---A man who worked in Fiji's Government House during the 1987 military coups has revealed a key role Queen Elizabeth II had in saving Fiji and he says the country faces a much brighter future as it prepares for next month's general elections.

Peter Thomson, permanent secretary to Governor General Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau between the May and September 1987 coups, has revealed the roles in "Kava in the Blood" to be published on May 3.

In 1987 deputy military commander Sitiveni Rabuka overthrew the country's newly elected Indian backed government. At the time the country was roughly evenly divided between ethnic Indians and indigenous Fijians and Rabuka dumped the constitution to give supremacy to Fijians.

The racially biased constitution was condemned internationally and Fiji next month will hold its first elections under a new, multi-racial constitution.

Over the weekend...

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UPNG SHOCK: 90 PERCENT FLUNK LITERACY TEST

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 27, 1999 - Post-Courier)---Only 11 percent of first-year university students are literate enough to benefit from tertiary education.

An English test administered to first-year students at the Waigani campus of the University of Papua New Guinea produced these results, according to UPNG Vice Chancellor Rodney Hills.

Dr. Hills, who addressed members of the Papua New Guinea and Australian Business Council meeting, said the test was conducted with first-year students at the campus who studied a course called Foundation English.

He said: "Only 11 percent were judged sufficiently literate to benefit from tertiary education, on an objective test for English language ability." Dr. Hills said 60 percent fell into the fail category and the category just above that. He said the 60 percent group would be struggling. They would probably "be unable to cope with tertiary education unless they are provided with special tuition," the...

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FIJI MILITARY WHO SERVED IN CHRISTMAS ISLAND CAMPAIGN TO RECEIVE

PENSIONS

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 28, 1999 - PACNEWS)---Fiji soldiers and naval officers who served in the 1957-1959 Christmas Island Emergency Operation have finally been given financial assistance by the Fiji Government.

Yesterday, the Fiji Cabinet, under the caretaker leadership of Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, made the announcement at its last sitting before next month's national election.

Currently, these military personnel do not receive any form of assistance. Only soldiers who served in the Solomon Islands World War II campaign and the Malaysian War receive monthly pensions from the Fiji After Care Servicemen Fund.

A total of 262 navy and army personnel enlisted in the Christmas Island Campaign - called Operation Grapple - between 1957 and 1959. Most of these men have passed away.

The Cabinet decision now authorizes the Ministry of Finance to include those who served in Operation Grapple to receive financial assistance under the...

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TONGAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME IN PRINCIPLE

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (April 29, 1999 - PACNEWS/Radio Tonga)---The Tongan Government has approved, in principle, a proposal to adopt daylight savings time.

However, legal details pertaining to the proposal have been referred to the Crown Law Department for review before formal implementation of the time change plan is made.

The recommendation to adopt daylight savings time in the Kingdom came from Tonga's Director of Tourism and Secretary of the National Millennium Committee, Semisi Taumoepeau.

He recommended that Tonga adopt the change effective the first Saturday of October this year and maintain daylight savings time until March of next year.

The proposal to move clocks forward one hour during the daylight savings period will theoretically make the Kingdom the first country to see the dawn of the new millennium, although officials from several other nations -- including Kiribati, Fiji and New Zealand -- have indicated that their countries will be first...

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STILL NO IDENTIFICATION OF VIRUS THAT KILLED FOUR IN KIRIBATI

TARAWA, Kiribati (April 28, 1999 - PACNEWS/ Radio Australia)---Health authorities in Kiribati are confident that a still unknown virus that left four people dead has peaked and the epidemic is nearly over.

Two men and two children died and more than 500 people have been affected by the unidentified virus that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting.

Most of the persons affected live in the capital of Tarawa.

"We are essentially in the third week of this diarrhea epidemic. We think that it has peaked because fewer people are coming to our outpatient department at Tungaru hospital," said Secretary of Health Dr. Takieta Kienene.

He said health workers are still trying to discover the identity of the virus and expect a definite answer when blood samples sent to Australia are evaluated.

"Most of these cases respond to oral rehydration salts without actually giving them antibiotics. That's one of the reason why we are saying this is of a viral origin," Dr...

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CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA FROM AMERICAN SAMOA EXPRESSES

CONGRESSMAN ENI FALEOMAVAEGA American Samoa's Delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

News Release April 27, 1999

CONCERN OVER POTENTIAL U.S. SUPREME COURT RULING ON NATIVE HAWAIIANS CASE

Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has written Governor Tauese Sunia, forwarding to him a decision by a U.S. Court of Appeals upholding special elections in the State of Hawaii for trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, who must be Hawaiian. A different decision in the case would place in question not only the election of the trustees in Hawaii, but also the Samoan system of land tenure and chief titles.

"While I am pleased with the decision of the courts so far," said Faleomavaega, "last month the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, and that court can obviously overturn the decision of the lower courts."

The case was brought in federal court by a palagi U.S. citizen challenging the legality of the State of...

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