Archive - April 1999

Wed
28
Apr
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NEW ZEALAND TO PHASE OUT AID TO NIUE BY 2003

ALOFI, Niue (April 27, 1999 - PACNEWS)---New Zealand has announced that it intends to phase out its aid to Niue, a nation with a population of about 1,700 permanent residents, by the Year 2003.

The warning has prompted Niue’s newly-elected Premier, Sani Lakatani, to travel to Manila in search of alternative finances for his New Zealand-affiliated country.

Premier Lakatani will attend a meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), where he plans to seek membership in the organization and establish contacts.

A Government official said Niue expects to receive low interest loans from the ADB, if New Zealand follows through on its aid phase-out plans.

New Zealand has been reducing aid to Niue by a quarter of a million dollars a year for the last five years.

More Niueans live and work in New Zealand than live in the island nation itself.

The Government, under Premier Lakatani, has adopted new policies to encourage Niueans who live in New Zealand...

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Wed
28
Apr
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SOLOMON ISLANDS BISHOPS TO FACILITATE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS ON GUADALCANAL

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 27, 1999 - PACNEWS/SIBC)---The Council of Bishops of the Church of Melanesia has indicated that it is willing to facilitate peace negotiations in the Solomon Islands province of Guadalcanal.

The Council, in a statement, announced it was deeply concerned with the tension and violence on the island.

The statement said the bishops recognize the land rights of the indigenous people of Guadalcanal, and called for peaceful negotiations and reconciliation between the people of Guadalcanal and neighboring Malaita province.

They also said they deplore current militant activities on Guadalcanal.

The Council said it was particularly concerned about the recent attack on innocent students that resulted in the closure of secondary schools on the island. The bishops described the attacks as unacceptable.

They called on the Government of Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa’alu to compensate the people of Guadalcanal, who are seeking...

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Wed
28
Apr
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IONATANA NEW TUVALU PRIME MINISTER

FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (April 27, 1999 – Radio Australia/PIDP/CPIS)---The 12-member Tuvalu Parliament has elected Ionatana Ionatana, former Minister of Education, the Polynesian nation’s new Prime Minister.

Ionatana ‘s new Cabinet lineup includes Lagitupu Tuilimu as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Samuelu Teo as Minister of Works and Communications, Faimalaga Luka as Minister of Natural Resources and Home Affairs, and Teagai Esekia as Minister of Health and Education.

New Prime Minister Ionatana replaces Bikenibeu Paeniu, who was ousted from office earlier this month after a vote of no confidence.

The vote against Paeniu was supported by members of his own cabinet after accusations of misconduct in his personal life and for failing to complete government programs as promised when he came to office.

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Wed
28
Apr
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U.S. PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS BEGIN ORIENTATION IN TONGA

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (April 23, 1999 - Tonga Chronicle)---Seven U.S. Peace Corps volunteers began two weeks of language and culture orientation in Ha'apai on April 16 prior to taking up two-year posts in the Kingdom.

Messrs. Saimone Tupou of Felemea and ‘Ofa Puniani Koloi of Lofanga/Lotofoa are conducting the program.

Four of the volunteers are to work for the environment unit and three are teachers.

They are scheduled return to Nuku‘alofa late next week.

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Wed
28
Apr
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The Next Headache: Timor Plan Stirs Irian Jaya Separatists

FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEW April 29, 1999

By Dan Murphy in Timika and Jayapura

The women from the church brought traffic to a halt on the dusty streets of Timika, chanting hymns against the demon rum, breaking into warehouses and confiscating cases of beer and homemade liquor. They then turned their attention to the mostly military-run saloons and brothels of the Irian Jaya frontier town near the world's largest copper and gold mine, breaking down their doors and ordering the establishments closed. Soldiers, mostly from Java, stood by and watched.

This was more than just a temperance or anti-vice movement. It was a measure of the newfound political freedom that the indigenous people of Irian Jaya -- a Melanesian ethnic group -- have won since the fall of President Suharto. The military, which has killed hundreds during Indonesia's 37-year rule, has been reined in and the two local newspapers have enjoyed greater freedom.

Weeks later, Yosepha Alomang-...

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Wed
28
Apr
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FILMING OF NEW TOM HANKS MOVIE IN FIJI CANCELLED

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 26, 1999 - PACNEWS/INCL)---Fiji has lost out on an opportunity to be featured in the new Tom Hanks movie, Castaway.

Producers of the film are now shooting in Los Angeles instead of the film’s original location in the Mamanucas, a chain of islands in the western part of the country.

An Australian magazine, Women’s Day, reported that the producers cancelled Fiji filming plans, fearing the loss of "life and limb" of the Oscar-winning star.

The magazine said disaster struck in March.

Hanks plays an overweight, spoiled millionaire whose yacht is shipwrecked in the Pacific Ocean, and Hanks willingly performed most of his own stunts.

In one shoot he suffered a welter of insect bites as well as cuts and scrapes from sharp coral. Also, flooding in the region at that time, had spread bacteria and a small cut on his right leg developed potentially fatal cellulitis.

Despite treatment at a local hospital, he had to be rushed...

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Wed
28
Apr
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IRIAN JAYA, MALUKU DIVISIONS POSTPONED

JAKARTA, Indonesia (April 27, 1999 - Jakarta Post)---Minister of Home Affairs Syarwan Hamid has confirmed the impossibility of dividing Irian Jaya and Maluku into several provincial administrations before the June 7 general election.

"The expansion program will be based on laws which have yet to be made. It is impossible to carry (the division) out before the elections, because the House of Representatives, which is in recess until June 11, will not be able to process them.

"The House cannot deliberate the draft if we submit it now," he said, after meeting with governors, regents and mayors across the country on Monday.

Syarwan's statement modified an announcement by Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Feisal Tanjung on the government plan to split the two regions into additional provinces.

Following a meeting with his ministers last Thursday, Feisal said the plan would be carried out before the elections. Irian Jaya was to be...

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Wed
28
Apr
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VANUATU PM CONCERNED ABOUT LOW NUMBER OF FRENCH SPEAKERS IN PUBLIC SERVICE

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (April 27, 1999 - PACNEWS)---Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Donald Kalpokas has raised concern about the widening gap between the number of French and English-speaking ni-Vanuatu being employed in the public service.

Kalpokas raised the concern at a meeting with the outgoing French Ambassador to Vanuatu, Jean-Claude Moreau, in the capital, Port Vila.

Kalpokas said he was concerned that the number of qualified francophones leaving secondary schools and continuing their education was less than anglophones.

"If we want to solve the problem, we must make sure all secondary school leavers are able to achieve university entrance," he said.

The Prime Minister said he realized the issue of employment in the public service was about academic merit.

"We should have a baccalaureate equivalent for ni-Vanuatu that would enable them to study in francophone countries -- France, Belgium or New Caledonia.

Ambassador Moreau said further...

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Wed
28
Apr
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AIR NIUGINI RETURNING TO JAPAN

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 24, 1999 - Post-Courier)---Air Niugini is heading back to Japan, with charter flights to start in August.

Public Enterprises and Communications Minister Dr. Fabian Pok announced the move yesterday, signaling his desire that the Tourism Promotion Authority should take the lead in promoting PNG as a tourism destination.

Previous charters by Air Niugini were successful revenue raisers and brought 9,000 Japanese tourists to PNG, he said.

The minister said an air link between the two countries was in line with the government’s policy to encourage commence, trade, investment and other areas of cooperation between PNG and Asia-Pacific countries.

Air Niugini began operating scheduled services to Osaka in July 1997, after the signing of an Air Niugini agreement between the two governments in March 1997. However, with the general world recession, the Asian financial crisis last year and the downturn in PNG’s economy, Air...

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28
Apr
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COOK ISLANDS HOTEL INVESTOR ARRESTED IN JAPAN

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (April 27, 1999 - Radio Australia)---A Japanese businessman who was to have become the majority owner of the Cook Islands' biggest hotel project has been arrested in Japan and charged with embezzlement.

Radio Australia correspondent Florence Syme-Buchanan reports that Tsuneo Otake's company, Max Holdings, and the Castle Group of companies had committed themselves to spending more than thirty million dollars on buying and completing the Vaima‘anga Hotel.

"The money has failed to materialize and following reports of Otake's arrest in Tokyo the problem plagued hotel's future is again uncertain.

"Lawyers representing land and hotel owner, paramount chief Pa Upokotini Ariki, have served notice on Max Holdings and Castle Group stating they have defaulted on the terms of the sixty year lease agreement, as reconstruction hasn't started.

"The two companies now have thirty days to put things right or Pa Ariki will cancel the lease and re-...

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