Archive - April 2002

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GUAM GOVERNMENT MAY BORROW US$ 40 MILLION

By Steve Limtiaco

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (April 27, 2002 – Pacific Daily News)---The government of Guam could borrow as much as $40 million from banks to pay for tax refunds, welfare programs and public education.

Administration officials have said the General Fund is expected to fall $71.3 million short of cash by the end of this fiscal year, which would cause some bills to go unpaid.

The governor already has the authority to borrow as much as $6 million, and senators plan to add another $34 million in borrowing power to help make up the cash shortfall.

The legislative Committee on Ways and Means held a public hearing yesterday morning on Bill 305, which would allow the government to borrow $24 million to pay tax refunds, and Bill 311, which would allow the government to borrow $10 million for welfare programs and the Department of Education.

The bills were debated on the session floor yesterday afternoon and placed into the Legislature's voting file....

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SAMOA CRACKS DOWN ON FOREIGN MONEY EXCHANGES

APIA, Samoa (April 26, 2002 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---The Central Bank of Samoa reports that it has "stopped all foreign exchange dealings" by two money exchange companies operating in Samoa.

Bank governor Papali‘i Tommy Scanlan said: "I took these steps because of breaches of their foreign exchange licenses after they had accepted foreign currency far in excess of the WST$ 10,000 (US$ 2,885) limit per person per day, without the approval of the Central Bank."

He said they were alerted to the matter when ANZ Bank wanted to find out how much they were legally allowed to cash into Samoan tala for a customer. The Central Bank of Samoa was told that the told amount to be cashed was US$ 500,000.

Money exchanges have become an increasingly popular way for Samoans overseas to send money home to relatives.

For additional reports from the Samoa Observer, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa Observer.

Pacific...

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SOLOMONS EXPORTS ECO-TIMBER

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 25, 2002 - SIBC/PINA Nius Online)---A shipment of Solomon Islands eco-timber, part of a project to combat widespread uncontrolled logging, will soon leave Honiara for overseas markets.

Solomon Islands Development Trust's Felix Narasia said villagers involved in the project have successfully been producing and marketing eco-timber for the past few years.

Eco-timber is managed in a way that causes minimal damage to the forests, he said.

The Solomon Islands Eco-Forestry Project is a joint initiative of Greenpeace, the Solomon Islands Development Trust, the Foundation for the People of the South Pacific and the New Zealand Imported Tropical Timber Group.

The project helps local communities manage, maintain and market their own natural resources in sustainable ways while protecting their own environment and culture.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT...

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VIEWPOINT: THE POLITICS OF PEACE IN THE SOLOMONS

By Dr. Tarcisius K. Tara

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 29, 2002)---In September 2001 I was in Honiara for the review of the implementation of the Townsville Peace Agreement (TPA). Two things that occurred during that trip convinced me of the need to reassess the Solomon Islands peace processes.

The first was the assault, on September 19, 2001, of a Civil Society leader by a senior officer of the Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIP). The incident occurred during lunch break and was witnessed by about a hundred people, including the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for National Unity, Peace and Reconciliation; other senior police officers; senior government officials; representatives of provincial governments; members of Civil Society; and other prominent citizens. The police officer was in uniform and cheered on by other officers (who were yelling, waving their fists in the air, acting invincible, and maybe imagining themselves to be Rambos).

The second...

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MURDER CHARGES OVER KILLING OF KANAK YOUTH IN NOUMÉA

NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (April 28, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Police in New Caledonia have arrested three suspects whom they believe were involved in the fatal shooting of a Kanak youth last week.

The young man died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head.

The suspects, who have not been named, claim the shooting was an accident.

One of the three has been charged with homicide and remanded in custody for trial.

A local radio station said the shooting is not thought to be related to the recent ethnic unrest between indigenous Kanaks and Wallisian settlers in the Nouméa suburb of St Louis.

But the station says it does raise questions about the number of weapons being carried by local residents.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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FRENCH POLYNESIA CABINET INCREASES LOCAL FUNDING FOR AIR TAHITI NUI

PAPE‘ETE, French Polynesia (April 25, 2002 - Oceania Flash)---French Polynesia's government has resolved to boost funding for its international flag carrier Air Tahiti Nui (ATN) by an additional one billion French Pacific Francs (close to US$ 8 million), its Cabinet announced on Thursday.

The financial assistance was earmarked some months ago as part of an increase in ATN's stock, but was not expected to be implemented until later this year.

The aid also consists of a cash flow advance (442.6 million CFP), which the government said would be "necessary to finance ATN's public service operation."

The final part of the territorial support is to "guarantee ATN against financial risks" it could incur as a result of the recently-opened bi-weekly Pape'ete-Los Angeles-Paris route, especially with regard to the need to increase its flights frequency during the high season in France (June-October).

ATN plans, during the peak period, to add two flights a week...

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PALAU REPRESENTS PACIFIC IN UNESCO’S SMALL ISLANDS VOICE PROJECT

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 26, 2002 - PINA Nius Online)---Palau has been selected to represent the Pacific Islands in the start up of UNESCO's inter-regional Small Islands Voice initiative.

Ensuring the voice of the general public in small islands is heard and becomes a driving force in island development is the initiative's goal.

It is supported by UNESCO's CSI (Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands) program. The focus is on small islands in the Caribbean, Pacific, and Indian oceans.

Activities have commenced in:

Committees are being established in each of these three start-up countries.

They include representatives from government, non-governmental and community-based organizations, media, private sector, and ordinary citizens representatives.

They are to organize and coordinate activities on-the-ground.

One of the first actions is to conduct a geographically representative interview survey to determine...

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PACIFIC MEDIA LEADERS AT WORLD MEDIA AND TERRORISM CONFERENCE

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 26, 2002 - PINA Nius Online)---Two senior Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) members will participate in an international conference on Terrorism and Media as part of UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day celebrations.

Terrorism and Media is the theme of this year's World Press Freedom Day, marked around the world each year on May 3.

To attend the UNESCO conference in Manila, Philippines, are:

Themes to be debated at the Manila conference, the main international celebration of World Press Freedom Day, include:

Journalists from around the world whose daily work exposes them to the dangers of terrorism and violence will take part.

So will representatives of leading international professional organizations and non-governmental civil rights bodies.

Participants are expected to adopt recommendations concerning press freedom and the safety of journalists working in violent environments.

Philippines President...

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PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY IN GUAM: MEASLES

By Mark-Alexander Pieper

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (April 27, 2002 – Pacific Daily News)---The Department of Public Health and Social Services yesterday declared a state of public health emergency after the agency confirmed sixteen cases of measles on island.

"This declaration is not an independent action from Public Health Guam. This has been done in conjunction with (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in) Atlanta," said Public Health Director Dennis Rodriguez.

"It was strongly suggested to us that we declare a public health emergency so that we can mobilize all our resources to contain this, and we are doing so by having the clinics."

The last significant measles outbreak on Guam was in 1994 when the health agency confirmed 224 cases of measles, said Ronald Balajadia, immunization program supervisor. Two infants and a 22-year-old man died in that outbreak, he said.

Red, blotchy menace

The illness is characterized by fever, cough, watery...

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"WITHOUT A GUN" PEACE-KEEPING IN BOUGAINVILLE

By Michael Field

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (April 26, 2002 – Fiji Times)---Fiji’s often maligned military have won for themselves some rare praise for their work in an almost forgotten peacekeeping operation.

And the way it all happens suggests their skills may be needed for the next regional conflict -- between Australia and New Zealand. But, it seems, Fijian soldiers find their Australian and New Zealand comrades vulgar and hedonistic.

The tributes come in a new book, "Without a Gun," which tells of the peacekeeping operations in the Papua New Guinean province of Bougainville, scene of a bitter civil war between 1988 and 1997.

Some estimates put the death toll at between 15,000 and 20,000 and while the book, published by the Australian National University (ANU), tends to downplay the size, it says the impact of the conflict was incalculable.

The breakthrough came when New Zealand diplomats engineered a truce in October 1997. Quickly a Truce...

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