Archive - April 1999

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PASSPORT FEES INCREASE IN THE FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA

PONHPEI, Federated States of Micronesia (April 23, 1999 - PACNEWS/V6AH Radio)---The cost of Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) passports has increased approximately 230%.

The fee for a ten-year passport now is $US 50. Previously, passports valid for five years cost $US 15.

The FSM Congress approved the new fee on April 17.

According to a Department of Immigration and Labor spokesperson, the new ten-year passports are of better quality and contain more security features.

The materials used are much stronger and more durable, he said.

Also, he noted, the new passport security features are easily readable by scanners and hard to counterfeit.

Funds raised from passport fees go directly into the Passport Revolving Fund established by the FSM Congress.

The FSM Government has printed 9,000 of the new passports. The spokesperson said that this supply is sufficient to last nine years.

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FIJI AUDITOR SLAMS POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENTS

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 23, 1999 - Pacific Media Watch/Daily Post/Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Campaign advertisements by Fiji’s ruling party, including personal attacks on a leading political journalist, have come under fire by parties contesting next month’s general election and the country’s auditor-general.

According to the Daily Post on April 23, 1999, the Auditor-General, Michael Jacobs, said government advertisements should not directly attack or scorn the views, policies or actions of others, such as the policies and opinions of opposition parties or groups.

In a report on Fiji Television on April 22, Jacobs was quoted as saying that party political advertisements should not be funded by the government.

In a full page advertisement in the Daily Post on April 13, unsigned but apparently booked by the government of Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, the newspaper’s news editor and political columnist Mesake Koroi was the target of a bitter personal...

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KAVA IN THE BLOOD

TANDAM PRESS Auckland, New Zealand,

News Release April 22, 1999

A Personal and Political Memoir from the Heart of Fiji
By Peter Thomson

ISBN 1 877178 54 3

In early May, Fijians of all ethnic backgrounds will go to the polls in the first general elections to be held under Fiji’s new constitution -- a constitution that enshrines power-sharing and nationhood for all.

Yet just 12 years ago Fiji was embroiled in bitter inter-racial conflict.

Author Peter Thomson was permanent secretary to Fiji’s governor-general between the two dramatic coups d’état in 1987.

In KAVA IN THE BLOOD: A Personal and Political Memoir from the Heart of Fiji he reveals the inside story of the governor-general’s efforts to restore parliamentary democracy and the rule of law. He examines why Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka and the indigenous Fijians acted in the way they did during 1987 and why, when all the conditions seemed to point towards it, Fiji did not go...

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Apr
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GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE SECTOR WAGE FREEZE IN THE SOLOMONS

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 24, 1999 - Radio Australia)---The Solomon Islands Government has announced that there will be no wage increases in the Solomon Islands this year.

Radio Australia correspondent George Atkins reports:

"The Solomons Government has confirmed that there will be no pay raises despite opposition from trade unions. The wage freeze will affect both government and private sector workers.

"A government statement says the Trade Dispute Panel has been told to support only pay awards based on increased productivity and improved performance.

"The Government, the Solomon Islands Chinese Association and the Solomons Chamber of Commerce have agreed not to raise the prices of goods and services, with the government controlling price increases and monitoring the wage freeze throughout the year.

"George Atkins for Radio Australia in the Solomon Islands."

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DRUG ABUSE ON THE RISE WITH PAPUA NEW GUINEA KIDS

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 22, 1999 - The National)---Children in the six to nine years age group are already becoming drug addicts, according to Narcotics Bureau officer Peter Kila.

Mr. Kila, who addressed a group of high school leaders here on Monday, told the story of a youngster he saw at Popondetta recently.

"I spotted him at Siroga market. Oblivious to the large crowd that had gathered to see and hear my fight against drugs, he kept puffing on his cigarette.

"He was unkempt, dirty, had glazed eyes and an unhealthy scrawny figure. His body odor was as bad as his betelnut-stained teeth.

"He was part of the crowd, yet his mind seemed far away.

"Although concerned, his parents couldn't control him. He was a rebel.

"And if that is not bad enough, he is only six years old!"

Mr. Kila said he was told that school did not interest the youngster. His peers, who introduced him to marijuana, were the only things that matter to...

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ANOTHER ASIAN MIGRANT VESSEL INTERCEPTED OFF GUAM

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (April 23, 1999 - PIDP/CPIS/Hulsen)---U.S. Coast Guard cutters have intercepted another vessel that is suspected of attempting to smuggle undocumented Asian migrants into the United States through Guam.

This latest in a series of recent similar incidents took place Friday in international waters about 130 miles southwest of Guam’s neighbor, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The cutters Galveston island and Sassafras -- home ported in Guam -- intercepted the vessel, which was sighted by a Coast Guard plane on routine patrol.

A team from the Sassafras found more than 100 people aboard.

The vessel’s registry and the nationality of the people aboard -- and their disposition since the boarding -- have not been announced by the Coast Guard.

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UPDATE: DIRECT NIUE FLIGHTS FROM COOK ISLANDS WITHIN 18 MONTHS

By Florence Syme-Buchanan

ALOFI, Niue (April 16, 1999)---Within the next two weeks Niue Premier Sani Lakatani will have a proposal on his desk outlining how Air Rarotonga and Island Hopper expect direct flights from the Cook Islands to work.

The proposal was requested by Lakatani following talks between the Premier, Air Rarotonga’s Ewan Smith and Robert Skews of Island Hopper earlier this week.

Direct Niue flights is part of Air Raro’s plan to bring a bigger, 30 seater pressurized turbo prop aircraft to service growing Aitutaki tourism and the northern islands group.

Smith said, "We have to a have a whole package, so we are working with Island Hopper to come up with a coherent marketing strategy that includes the development of a new tourism product."

Smith does not think the tourism industry here will be put out that their proposed operation may take tourists away from the Cooks to Niue.

"It means adding some more options for tourists. It...

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AITAPE TSUNAMI HERO HONORED

SYDNEY, Australia (April 23, 1999 - Post-Courier)---An army surgeon whose team performed 250 operations in 10 days after PNG’s horrific tidal wave disaster last year was honored yesterday with the Australian Army’s highest commendation.

Reservist Lieutenant Colonel John Crozier, a vascular and trauma surgeon at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney, was presented with the Chief of Defense Force (CDF) Commendation by Major General Jim Connolly.

The giant tidal wave on July 17 last year killed an estimated 2,000 - 3,000 people in villages mainly along Sissano Lagoon, in the West Sepik Province of PNG.

Lieutenant Colonel Crozier’s commendation read: "Despite maintaining a busy surgical practice at Liverpool Hospital, you responded immediately to a request to deploy to the tsunami disaster site in PNG.

"Under your leadership and working through the night, you operated on numerous casualties, including a number of small children, successfully saving a number of lives...

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NO FIJI COUP: POLICE COMMISSIONER SAVUA

By Ashwant Dwivedi

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 25, 1999 - Daily Post/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Fiji's Commissioner of Police Isikia Savua said he had no intention of plotting a coup, the Daily Post reports.

And Mr. Savua warned if anyone was planning a coup then the Fiji Police Force would resist it.

"If somebody is planning to or intending to plan a coup let me tell you out there that I, being the Commissioner of Police, and the Fiji Police Force will resist any such move by any person," Mr. Savua said.

Mr. Savua was responding to recent allegations by former police officer Naipote Vere that there were plans within the police department to stage a coup.

Mr. Savua will not reveal details of what form of resistance the police would adopt.

"The form of resistance is for me to know and would be for the coup makers to find out," Mr. Savua said.

He said his job as the commissioner of police is to maintain and safeguard law and order in the...

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TINIAN’S NORTH FIELD TURNS INTO TENT CITY FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS

By Cookie B. Micaller

TINIAN, Northern Mariana Islands (April 23, 1999 - Saipan Tribune)---The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is considering retaining the newly-built "tent city" on Tinian for future Chinese nationals who may be caught attempting to enter Guam without proper documents, as it noted a growing number of incursions into the neighboring island by illegal immigrants.

While INS has yet to decide what to do with the temporary holding area in the Northfield area of the island municipality once the current Chinese illegals detained there are deported, the plan to maintain it is "under consideration," according to Don Mueller of the INS public affairs office in Washington.

Immigration officers in Guam have been grappling with the influx of illegal immigrants from mainland China in recent weeks and have found it difficult to find temporary shelter for the Chinese nationals whose papers are being processed.

Over 500 Chinese...

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