Archive - April 1999

Wed
28
Apr
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30TH SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM MEETING DATES IN PALAU

SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARIAT Suva, Fiji

PRESS STATEMENT April 28, 1999

This year's 30th South Pacific Forum meeting of Forum Leaders will be held Tuesday 5th October, in Koror, the capital of Palau.

The Government of Palau, which is hosting the 30th Forum, confirmed the dates following consultation with the other 15 Forum member states.

The series of meetings in early October will begin on the 1st October with a two day meeting of the Forum Officials Committee. This comprises senior representatives from the member states and is the governing body for the South Pacific Forum Secretariat.

Sunday 3rd October will be the Official Opening of the Forum Leaders meeting, followed by the Leader's Retreat the next day where the Leaders meet in closed session to discuss regional issues of common concern.

The formal 1999 Forum session will be held on the 5th October. At this session, Leaders usually endorse a Forum Communiqué outlining the region's...

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Wed
28
Apr
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SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARIAT

FORUM COMMUNICATION POLICY
MINISTERIAL MEETING
Suva, Fiji Islands
April 26, 1999

ACTION PLAN

1. Ministers responsible for communications from Forum member countries met in Suva on April 26, 1999 to consider a range of communication and information policy issues. The rapid growth of the Global Information Infrastructure (GII), convergence of media, communication and information technologies provide opportunities to reduce the costs of telecommunication services and for new forms of economic and social development in which traditional disadvantages of remoteness and small size could be less relevant.

2. Ministers recognized the critical importance of telecommunications in economic and social development, and acknowledged the constraints imposed by the relatively high cost structures of telecommunication networks for island countries. In that context they also recognized the clear direction given by Leaders in economic reform, as enunciated in...

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Wed
28
Apr
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TARIFF PRIVILEGE IN NORTHERN MARIANAS NEEDS PROTECTION: LEGISLATORS

By Benhur C. Saladores

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (April 27, 1999 - Saipan Tribune)---Stunned by yet another attempt to amend the Covenant, legislators yesterday lashed out at proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress that would remove trade privileges granted the Northern Marianas, saying it will spell economic disaster for the islands.

They vowed to oppose the proposal sponsored by Senators Spencer Abraham (R-Michigan) and Ernest Fritz Holling (D-S. Carolina), including lobbying efforts in Washington to protect the interests of the commonwealth government. The measure is expected to be introduced this week.

Likewise, local leaders tied the move to an ongoing plan to establish free trade zones in the CNMI, noting that removal of the privileges provided under Headnote 3(a) of the Covenant will discourage potential foreign investors attracted by the quota-free, duty-free provisions.

Rep. Melvin Faisao, Chair of the House Federal and Foreign...

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Wed
28
Apr
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FIJI AUDITOR GENERAL INVESTIGATES MPS’ TAX RETURNS

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 27, 1999 - PACNEWS/INCL)---The Auditor General’s Office in Fiji is investigating recent tax returns filed by Members of Parliament.

Auditor General Michael Jacobs said there was nothing sinister about the investigation.

He said the audit of Parliamentarians’ tax returns is a normal activity conducted by his office every year.

Jacobs denied reports the investigation was related to the May 8-15 general election.

He has also warned Cabinet Ministers not to abuse Government vehicles and public funds for political campaigning.

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka recently announced that Cabinet Ministers could use ministerial vehicles to travel to campaign rallies around the country.

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Wed
28
Apr
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RURAL DEVELOPMENT KEY TO TACKLING PAPUA NEW GUINEA CRIME: SKATE

By Jack Metta

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 27, 1999 - The National)---The National Government is placing greater emphasis on rural development in a bid to address the deteriorating state of law and order in the country.

And the money for this project is to come from the savings made from the present reforms in the public sector, Prime Minister Bill Skate told the heads of Evangelical churches at a luncheon here yesterday.

"The law and order problem is basically an economic management problem," the Prime Minister told the church leaders at the Islander Travelodge.

"To expect an overnight solution to law and order is simply unrealistic.

"Law and order problems have their base in many areas -- the economy, employment, family values, community cohesion and many other aspects that are important in our modern day society.

"In handing down the national budget last year, my Government stressed that a key priority must be the development of...

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Tue
27
Apr
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GUADALCANAL MILITANTS ANNOUNCE SUSPENSION OF HARASSMENT

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 26, 1999 - PACNEWS/SIBC)---The Premier of Guadalcanal province, Ezekiel Alebua, says he welcomes the announcement by the militant activists on Guadalcanal that all lawless activities on the island will be suspended to allow negotiations to proceed.

Premier Alebua today said although he had not been contacted directly, he believes in the sincerity of the militant activists.

He said the call by the activists on their followers and supporters to stop harassing people and the police is a sign of their sincerity and willingness to cooperate.

At the same time, Mr. Alebua said the public, the government and the media must cooperate and make use of the chance to allow for normalcy on the island.

He said police must stop harassing and intimidating the innocent village people of northwest Guadalcanal.

Meanwhile Premier Alebua said the province is now ready to negotiate and is waiting for the central government to indicate a...

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Tue
27
Apr
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MALLOCH BROWN NAMED NEW UNDP ADMINISTRATOR

UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

PRESS RELEASE Suva, Fiji Islands April 27, 1999

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced on 23 April 1999 that the General Assembly has confirmed Mark Malloch Brown as the new Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Mr. Malloch Brown will succeed James Gustave Speth, who is leaving UNDP to become Dean of Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

"In looking for a successor to Gus, I had three main criteria in mind," Mr. Annan said.

"I wanted a person with experience of management in a major organization which has to change and adapt as the world changes around it, continuing and building on what Gus has done. I wanted a strong and effective advocate of United Nations development activities and ideas, not only with donor governments, but in the wider public debate. It seemed vital to me that we establish a close working relationship between UNDP and the World Bank."...

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Tue
27
Apr
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KIRIBATI WANTS U.S. ISLANDS IN THE LINE AND PHOENIX GROUPS

TARAWA, Kiribati (April 27, 1999 – Radio Australia/PIDP/CPIS)---Kiribati has received overwhelming support from Micronesian countries for its plan to take control and ownership of islands in the Line and Phoenix groups now administered by the United States.

The islands include unpopulated Howland, Baker and Jarvis islands.

About 4,000 Kiribati nationals live on several Line and Phoenix (LINNEX) group islands east of the capital, Tarawa. The most populous is Kiritimati (Christmas) Island.

Kiribati President Teburoro Tito said the Micronesian countries gave their support during an informal discussion of the issue at a summit meeting of Micronesian chief executives in the Marshall Islands last week.

President Tito said his government would like to see the U.S. islands come under Kiribati's jurisdiction, because they are geographically part of the nation.

Senior officials from Micronesian countries will study the issue in detail, he said, before it...

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Tue
27
Apr
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ANOTHER CHINESE IMMIGRANT BOAT DIVERTED TO TINIAN

By Cookie B. Micaller

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (April 26, 1999 - Saipan Tribune)---Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio said Saturday the continuing influx of illegal Chinese immigrants has filled the immigration holding centers in Guam, forcing authorities from the neighboring island to divert to Tinian a boat carrying at least 157 persons also believed to be from mainland China.

This is the second time in a week that a vessel attempting to enter Guam illegally was brought to the island municipality, bringing to over 300 the undocumented aliens being temporarily sheltered by the CNMI government.

Last week, 147 Chinese nationals from Fujian province arrived at the San Jose Harbor on Tinian after their boat was interdicted by the U.S. Coast Guard in international waters 80 miles from Guam.

The stream of Chinese immigrants, many of whom are escaping poverty at home, has posed security and economic problems for U.S. authorities.

Tenorio said in an interview...

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Tue
27
Apr
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FIJI PEACEKEEPERS IN SINAI STILL THE BEST

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 27, 1999 - Radio Australia ---Fiji's peacekeepers again have been judged the best in the world, following a skills competition among military units from all nations serving with the multinational force in the Sinai Desert.

The competition, held twice a year, tests the combat and life saving skills of the soldiers, pushing them to the limit of their physical endurance and combat fitness.

A unit of the Fiji army's Second Infantry Regiment, which won the last round, retained the Force Commander's trophy again this time after once again winning the competition.

The competition was attended by Multinational Force and Observers in Sinai Director General Aurthur Hughes and senior Israeli and Egyptian military officers.

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