Archive - April 2001

Thu
26
Apr
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RAINBOW WARRIOR ARRIVES IN MARSHALLS FOR ANTI-STAR WARS CAMPAIGN

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (April 13, 2001 – Marshall Islands Journal)---The arrival of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior in the Marshall Islands is part of an international campaign against the American missile defense program.

But, say Greenpeace officials, the organization is not campaigning for closing the Kwajalein missile range.

Greenpeace nuclear campaigner Mike Townsley said that the issue is the so-called "Star Wars" anti-missile program and the negative impact it will have on global security and arms control treaties, not the overall operation of the base at Kwajalein, which employs about 1,200 Marshall Islanders.

"Missile defense is bad for global security," said Greenpeace campaigner Melanie Duchin. "We’re not campaigning for closure of Kwajalein." She said it was unrealistic in a campaign to just call for closing down an industry that would put a lot of people out of work, leaving them in a vacuum.

While in Majuro, the Rainbow Warrior opened its...

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Thu
26
Apr
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APIA BRIDGE WORK DELAYED BY FLOODS

APIA, Samoa (April 25, 2001 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---Reconstruction work on the Lelata Bridge on the east side of Apia and Tuaefu Bridge on the west side has been disrupted because of the flash floods on Easter Sunday night.

The raging floodwaters ripped up the foundation work already in place at both sites, leaving only gaping holes and protruding beams.

It means completion dates are being put back by months and the jobs will become more costly.

Both bridges were one-lane facilities originally built during colonial German times.

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

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Thu
26
Apr
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RELEASE OF CHINESE MEDITATION LEADER ON GUAM CAUSES SPECULATION

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (April 24, 2001 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---The unexpected release of Chinese religious sect leader Zhang Hongbao has left some wondering whether the recent cooling in Sino-American relations may be reverberating around the Pacific.

Zhang, the leader of the Chinese Zhong Gong meditation group, was released from custody last week by the Immigration and Naturalization Service from Guam’s Department of Corrections facilities.

He later traveled to Washington, D.C.

Hongbao, who claims to have 38 million followers worldwide, fled China in the wake of a government crackdown on the activities of another meditation group, Falun Gong.

China claims Hongbao, who had been in Guam since February 2000, is a suspect in a criminal case. As a result, he was denied political asylum in the United States.

"There were political sensitivities, and it’s somewhat speculative to question why it took so long for them to grant the parole. I do believe...

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Thu
26
Apr
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PACIFIC WANTS OUT ON OZONE DEPLETING SUBSTANCES

SOUTH PACIFIC REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME (SPREP) Apia, Samoa

PRESS RELEASE April 23, 2001

International and regional environment groups, at an Apia meeting this week, are encouraging Pacific Island countries to cut the use of ozone depleting substances (ODS) in the region.

Following earlier evidence of holes appearing in the ozone layers above both the Artic and Antarctic circles, chloroflurocarbones (CFCs) were banned in many industrialized nations.

Now hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) commonly used in household refrigerators and aerosol cans, and at first thought to have been relatively harmless, have also been identified as having a negative impact on the ozone layer.

In response the international community has called on nations to sign the Montreal Protocol that requires HFCs to be eventually phased out. So far 11 Pacific nations have responded. Of those, eight will be at the three-day meeting this week to encourage other countries and...

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Thu
26
Apr
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FIJI'S CARETAKER GOVERNMENT MOVES TO ESTABLISH PEARL INDUSTRY

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 24, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Fiji's caretaker government is pursuing efforts to establish a pearl industry in the country.

As Radio Australia correspondent Ofa Kaukimoce reports, the government is also trying to privatize its black pearl farm at Savusavu on the northern island of Vanua Levu.

"An American company is currently considering helping the government establish a pearl industry.

"A feasibility study is being conducted.

"Agricultural Secretary Peniasi Kunatuba says the industry could be established over the next 18 months and could be worth 10 million Fiji dollars (US$ 4.4 million) a year.

"He says the ministry has identified various sites for pearl farming around the country.

"The pearl farm at Savusavu has been costing the government at least 100,000 Fiji dollars (US$ 44,000) a year to maintain.

"Ofa Kaukimoce, Radio Australia, Suva."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to...

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Thu
26
Apr
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ROAD DAMAGE POSES THREAT TO PNG HIGHLANDS ECONOMY

By Korugl-Kumugl

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 25, 2001 – The National)---Traffic is coming to a halt on the Okuk Highway, threatening the country's economy and social services in the Highlands region, business leaders have warned.

Frequent heavy rains in recent weeks coupled with the lack of a drainage system have seen landslides occurring in several parts of the notorious Daulo and Kassam passes which connect Mount Hagen in Western Highlands province, Kundiawa in Chimbu province, Goroka in Eastern Highlands province and Lae in Morobe province.

Existing potholes have deteriorated while countless new ones have appeared. Trucking firms operating between Lae and the Highlands have scaled down operations, giving rise to fears that fuel supplies would run out soon along with goods and services.

A company executive at East West Transport in Mount Hagen said yesterday that none of their vehicles have arrived from Lae and those bound for Lae remain...

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Thu
26
Apr
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NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS ENVIRONMENT DIVISION TAKES ON PENTAGON

By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (April 25, 2001 - Marianas Variety/PINA Nius Online)---The U.S. Department of Defense is being held potentially liable for the Tanapag polychlorinated biphenyl contamination in the Northern Marianas Islands.

This follows implementation of newly adopted Northern Marianas Harmful Substance Cleanup Regulations.

Acting Division of Environmental Quality Director Antonio I. Deleon Guerrero wrote to the Pentagon’s Office of the General Counsel, informing him of the Defense Department’s liability.

This is the first concrete action pursued by the Northern Marianas government since the emergency adoption of the cleanup rules on harmful substances.

PCBs are a cancer-causing man-made chemical. There has been continuing controversy over the presence of PCBs in the Tanapag area on Saipan and the chemical’s effects on local people.

The United States Department of Defense is alleged to have used PCBs in...

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Wed
25
Apr

DECISION ON TAIWAN ARMS SALE UNLIKELY TO CAUSE CRISIS

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (April 24, 2001 – East-West Wire)---The Bush administration's middle-of-the-road decision to sell arms to Taiwan but exclude the Aegis system was expected, East-West Center researchers said today. Although the sale will raise strong opposition from Chinese, who could have made a tactical error in focusing too much on Aegis defense, the move will not become a crisis in the overall relationship.

Christopher McNally, a China specialist at the East-West Center, noted that some Chinese analysts believe Beijing committed a tactical mistake in overemphasizing the sale of the Aegis system to Taiwan. "This opened the door for the Bush administration to sell a potent package of arms to Taiwan without being seen as directly challenging Beijing," McNally said.

McNally said he had expected the United States to defer the sale of the high-tech Aegis battle management system because it would take 10 years to deploy, and Pentagon officials had doubted whether the...

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Wed
25
Apr
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WEST PAPUA, NEW CALEDONIA ENVIRONMENTAL HEROES RECOGNIZED

SAN FRANCISCO, California (April 24, 2001 - PINA Nius Online)---The Pacific Islands has won two of the six awards in this year's Goldman Environmental Prize, one of the most prestigious conservation awards in the United States.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Pacific Islands winners are:

*- Yosepha Alomang, a spokeswoman for the Amungme, a tribe opposed to a gigantic copper and gold mine in Indonesia’s West Papua (Irian Jaya).

*- Bruno Van Peteghem, an Air France crewmember who is resisting proposed mining activities on New Caledonia.

In West Papua, Alomang campaigned against the giant mine owned by Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc., of New Orleans, the San Francisco Chronicle said.

The mine has removed 400 feet from the summit of a mountain sacred to the Amungme. Under its permit with the Indonesian government, Freeport dumps about 200,000 tons of tailings daily into local watersheds, polluting lakes and rivers.

...

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Wed
25
Apr
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JAPAN WILL NOT ATTEND ASIA-PACIFIC FISHERIES CONFERENCE

TOKYO, Japan (April 24, 2001 – Asia Pulse/Asia Times Online)---Japan's Fisheries Agency said on Monday it will not attend the Preparatory Conference for the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, being held in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Masayuki Komatsu, spokesman for the agency, said: "Japan is concerned that the convention as adopted last year does not adequately provide for the conservation of these stocks in the region but unfortunately, New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific Island states have rejected our proposals to have discussions on how to improve the convention and to allow participation of all states with a real interest in the fisheries of the area. That is why we will not attend the conference."

Japan and Korea voted against the convention, and China, France and Tonga abstained at its adoption at the seventh conference session held last September.

"Japan is a...

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