Archive - April 2001

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FIJI PARTY NAMES PRISONER GEORGE SPEIGHT AS ITS LEADER

By Matelita Ragogo

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 29, 2001 - The Fiji Times/PINA Nius Online)---George Speight returned to haunt civil society over the weekend when Vanua Levu’s Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party decided to appoint him party president.

And another key figure with Speight in the May 19 coup last year, former army Special Forces leader Ilisoni Ligairi, was appointed campaign manager.

Both men are held in a temporary prison on Nukulau Island off Suva and charged with treason following the coup.

During the coup, the government of Fiji's first ethnic Indian prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, was taken hostage and ousted.

Electoral Commission chairman Ratu Josua Toganivalu, in a radio interview last week, said Speight could contest the August elections, which will return Fiji to parliamentary government. This is because Speight has not been convicted. But he warned that if convicted, Speight would have to relinquish any seat he wins...

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MARA IMPLICATES RABUKA, SAVUA IN COUP

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 29, 2001 – FijiLive)---Former President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara told Fiji TV last night that he had told former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and Police Commissioner Isikia Savua that they had something to do with George Speight's attempted coup on May 19 last year.

Mara said he made the comments on May 20 in the presence of Rabuka, Savua and acting army commander Colonel Alfred Tuatoko.

Asked about the two's reaction, Mara said: "You could see it on their faces."

He said Rabuka said something about being at the army camp on May 14, the anniversary of the 1987 coup.

Rabuka had called Mara on the day of the coup, saying he was ready to help. He had asked him to see him later that day.

Savua, he said, was at a meeting with Jioji Konrote, the permanent secretary for Home Affairs, on the Thursday before the march, but he didn't see a heavy police presence at Parliament or on the streets during the march.

Mara said the...

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ANOTHER LEGAL CHALLENGE WITHDRAWN IN SAMOA ELECTIONS, EIGHT REMAIN

APIA, Samoa (April 29, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Another legal challenge to a general election result in Samoa has been withdrawn, leaving eight cases to be dealt with by the Supreme Court.

After the March 2 election, petitions were filed against 10 of the winners, who were accused by their rivals of bribing voters.

One of the losing candidates, Laupua Sili, withdrew his petition against current Public Works Minister Faumuina Liuga.

Laupua's lawyer said the two agreed that the decision was in the best interests of justice and national unity.

The first election petition now will be heard before the court this week.

The seats of five parliamentary under secretaries are under threat from petitions, which could possibly change the makeup of Parliament.

The Human Rights Protection Party currently holds a seven-seat majority

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to Pacific Islands Report News/Information Links: radio/TV news/...

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LETTER

April 27, 2001

In reference to your April 26 posting, "RAINBOW WARRIOR ARRIVES IN MARSHALLS FOR ANTI-STAR WARS CAMPAIGN" (see: http://pidp.ewc.hawaii.edu/pireport/2001/April/04-26-03.htm): 

The Greenpeace spokesman is quoted as stating they are campaigning for an end to "Star Wars" (U.S. missile defense program) but not for the closure of Kwajalein Missile Range in the Marshall Islands, which employs 1,200 Marshallese.

Of course, Greenpeace and any other reasonable observer understands that if "Star Wars" ends, Kwajalein Missile Range will likely close, or at a minimum, greatly reduce staffing in response to greatly reduced operational requirements.

Greenpeace is silent at their Web site (see: http://www.greenpeace.org/);  the last update posted is for April 5. I have heard a rumor that, in fact, the Rainbow...

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CARIBBEAN SUPPORT FOR

GREENPEACE PACIFIC Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS RELEASE April 27, 2001 Sydney, Australia

SOUTH PACIFIC WHALE SANCTUARY

A week after Pacific Island countries declared their unanimous support for the proposed South Pacific Whale Sanctuary, a new poll (1) shows Eastern Caribbean people also support the proposed Sanctuary by a margin of four to one.

The poll result flies in the face of Caribbean government votes against the South Pacific sanctuary at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Adelaide last year.

People living in the six Caribbean members of the IWC were asked whether or not their countries should support the establishment of a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary. The MORI poll found over half (54%) support the Sanctuary, and only 13% oppose it (2).

Last year the IWC failed to support the Sanctuary proposal, largely because Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines...

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SUB COLLISION COULD BECOME POLITICAL ISSUE IN JAPANESE

ELECTIONS

HONOLULU (April 26) -- The U.S. Navy's decision on Cmdr. Scott Waddle drew heated criticism from Japan's main opposition party this week, intensifying public scrutiny of the U.S. military at a time of political change in Japan, an East-West Center researcher said.

"This marks the possibility that the Japanese government's handling of the issue will be politicized," said Sheila Smith, a Japan specialist at the East-West Center. "It could be the Democratic Party of Japan trying to mobilize public support for the coming election."

The DPJ released a statement saying the decision to give Waddle administrative punishment instead of making him face a court-martial could arouse intense anger among the Japanese toward the U.S. Navy. The DPJ also suggested that the decision on Waddle, the captain of the submarine that caused the death of nine Japanese, may also undermine the U.S.-Japan military alliance.

Smith said that until the party's statement was...

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ONLY ONE BID TO BUY PAGO PAGO'S RAINMAKER HOTEL

Pago Pago, American Samoa (April 26, 2001 - Samoa News/PINA Nius Online)---An American couple was the only party to submit a bid by deadline to purchase the American Samoa's Rainmaker Hotel, the Governor's legal counsel Henry Kappel said.

The same couple made two separate offers last year to purchase the money-losing, government-controlled 180-room hotel.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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NEW BOOK RECORDS NIUEAN SERVICE DURING WWI

ALOFI, Niue (April 25, 2001 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---A new history book about the 150 Niue volunteers who served during World War I was published this week.

The 195-page book, written in English and Niuean, sold out at a government function organized by the Niue Returned Servicemen's Association.

The book, "My Heart is Crying a Little," was written by Margaret Pointer, wife of former New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue Michael Pointer.

Mrs. Pointer said Niuean volunteers served as pioneer troops with the New Zealand Maori contingent, which was running short of men after the Gallipoli campaign.

"(The New Zealanders) were having a difficult time in 1915," she said. "I believe at that moment they remembered that the year before, Niue and the Cook Islands had offered troops," she said.

Although the Niuean contingent had a difficult time, she said perseverance kept many of them alive.

"A majority of them spoke no English. So the...

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SOLOMONS PORT WORKERS END STRIKE

Honiara, Solomon Islands (April 26, 2001 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---Striking workers from the Solomon Islanders Ports Authority returned to work after the company’s management agreed to meet their demands.

The 250 workers in Honiara and Noro, Western Province staged a sit-in strike to protest delays by the company to give workers pay raises, long service benefits and danger allowances.

General Secretary of the National Union of Workers Tony Kagovai said the deal includes a wage increase of 4 percent effective from October 1, a long-service benefit scheme and a lump sum of $1,000 danger allowance to Noro workers.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org...

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APPEAL TO THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL TO REVIEW THE RESULT OF THE

LETTER

ACT OF FREE CHOICE OF 1969 IN WEST PAPUA

April 21, 2001

Mr. Kofi Annan Secretary-General United Nations

Dear Secretary-General:

On behalf of the Papuans of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches of Irian Jaya (West Papua), I would like to draw your attention to social and political development in West Papua. We fear that, because of the unwillingness of the Government of Indonesia to enter into a meaningful and peaceful dialogue with the people of West Papua, the situation has reached a deadlock.

Since May 1, 1963, when the UNTEA transferred the West Papua territory to Indonesia, the people of West Papua have been the victims of systematic human rights violations at the hands of the Indonesian Government and army. These abuses include arrest, arbitrary detention, rape, torture, intimidation, killing and other egregious injustices.

The Papuan have suffered for over thirty-eight years (1963 to 2001) as a result of the fraudulent...

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