Archive - April 2002

Fri
26
Apr
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MARSHALL ISLANDS COMPACT REQUEST FROM UNITED STATES: $68 MILLION A YEAR

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (April 19, 2002 – The Marshall Islands Journal)---What is the Marshall Islands asking for in the current Compact of Free Association negotiations with the United States?

In its request to the U.S., the Marshall Islands is seeking $68 million annually in funding over a 15-year period.

The funding is broken down as follows, with all figures annual:

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: journal@ntamar.com  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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Fri
26
Apr
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AUSTRALIA QUERIED ON PAPUA NEW GUINEA DRUG SUPPLY FIASCO

By Jack Metta

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 25, 2002 – The National)---Health Minister Tommy Tomscoll is to seek an explanation from the Australian aid agency, AusAID, about the shortage of medical drugs in the country.

He said the PNG government did not budget for the cost of medical supplies because AusAID had made a commitment of K 30 million (US$ 8,292,000) for that purpose.

"We have not budgeted for the supply of drugs to public hospitals this year on the understanding that AusAID will take care of this function," Mr. Tomscoll said.

He said he did not know why this undertaking had not been honored, leading to widespread drug shortages in public hospitals throughout the country.

The Australian High Commission and AusAID officials will be asked to comment on Mr. Tomscoll's statement.

"There is some serious explanation to be made and I will be demanding such from the appropriate people in Port Moresby," he said yesterday.

"...

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Thu
25
Apr
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RARE STARFISH DISCOVERED IN SAIPAN LAGOON

By John Ravelo

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (April 24, 2002 – Saipan Tribune)---The CNMI’s marine monitoring team has discovered a rare type of starfish in Saipan Lagoon. If they become in abundant, they would make a very special underwater tourist attraction.

The starfish, which has a diameter of 25 centimeters or close to a foot, is dark purple in color and has bright yellowish belly scales.

"It’s a very odd sea star," said John Starmer, a marine biologist at the Coastal Resources Management Office (CRMO).

Starmer said the starfish is believed to be Pentaceraster cf. multispinus, a species that is rare to the Marianas. He said he is in the process of verifying its identity.

He said this is the first time that such a starfish was found in the Saipan Lagoon. Recently, another one was found in waters off Guam.

"It’s rare to the Marianas. As far as we know, that’s only the second one that’s been found.

"As far as we know, that’s...

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Thu
25
Apr
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NIUE GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP STRUGGLE

ALOFI, Niue (April 24, 2002 – Niue Economic Review)---Intense political jostling by three political factions on Niue is delaying the selection of a speaker and premier in the island's 20-seat Legislative Assembly.

It could be next week before lobbying is completed.

Political commentators report that the current situation is a result of party politics in the world's smallest state.

There were no Legislative Assembly seat changes in the weekend general election. All sitting members were returned to office.

Earlier this week, the Alliance of Independents team met with highest common roll poller Toke Talagi in a bid to overthrow the Niue Peoples Party. However, sources say personality differences put a damper on that coalition, which would have seen Mr. Talagi become the country's leader with a majority of one.

The ruling Niue Peoples Party is believed to be in turmoil as previous Premier Sani Lakatani is reported to be facing a challenge from his...

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Thu
25
Apr
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FIJI EDUCATION BUDGET UP BY F$ 39 MILLION

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 23, 2002 - The Fiji Times/PINA Nius Online)---Fiji's Education Ministry budget for 2002 has been increased to F$ 217 million (US$ 96,521,600), according to Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

This is believed to be the highest funding ever given for education.

Mr. Qarase said it represented an increase of $39 million (US$ 17,347,200) over last year's budget allocation and was the largest budget increase for any government sector.

Speaking at the launch of the Global Action Week-Education for All by 2015 project, Mr. Qarase said a collective effort would see educational progress in the country.

"The government, the school-owning authority, the parents, education administrators, teachers and the community at large all have a role to play,'' he said.

Mr. Qarase said the poor state of mainly indigenous Fijian schools in rural areas and outer islands posed a challenge for the government.

"The run-down condition of these...

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Thu
25
Apr
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FRENCH POLYNESIA'S ECONOMY WEATHERED SEPTEMBER 11 EFFECTS WELL: PRESIDENT

FLOSSE

PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (April 12, 2002 - Oceania Flash)---French Polynesia President Gaston Flosse said this week that he believed the French Pacific territory's economy was "doing well," seven months after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. and its global repercussions.

Flosse told the Territorial Assembly that in spite of the global recession the attacks had caused, especially in the transportation and tourism sectors, investors seemed to remain confident.

Four resorts are currently under construction for a total investment value of some 13.3 billion French Pacific Francs (close to 100 million U.S. dollars). This will add an additional 384 rooms to the current capacity and comes in addition to upgrading and renovation work on existing resorts, which will bring a further 572 rooms to French Polynesia's hotel capacity "by the end of 2002."

By 2004, the total investment value is expected to reach 70 billion CFP, Flosse said...

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Thu
25
Apr
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DRUGS WASH UP ON BIKINI

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (April 24, 2002 – The Australian)---SCUBA dive operators at Bikini Atoll discovered 25 plastic bags containing an estimated 32 kilograms (70.5 pounds) of cocaine washed up on a deserted beach, police said here today.

Marshall Islands officials were notified of the discovery on Monday and a police narcotics officer flew out on this morning's once-a-week flight to the distant atoll to collect the narcotics that have an estimated street value of US$ 750,000.

Bikini, a former nuclear test site for 23 U.S. atomic explosions, is now a high-end scuba dive resort where a fleet of World War II battleships and submarines sunk in 45 meters (about 150 feet) of water attract divers from around the world.

Divers visiting Bikini went out on Sunday for a picnic on uninhabited Aeomen, one of the 23 islands in Bikini's necklace of low-lying coral islands, where they discovered the "bricks" of white powder heavily encased in plastic sitting on the beach...

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Thu
25
Apr
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PORT MORESBY HOSPITAL OUT OF DRUGS

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 24, 2002 – Post-Courier)---The Port Moresby General Hospital is critically short of drugs.

Medical superintendent Dr. Chris Marjen is hoping and "praying’’ the government will bail the hospital out.

"We don’t have drugs that can put you to sleep during an operation and wake you up again. We need antibiotics,’’ Dr. Marjen said, adding that only emergency surgery and laboratory tests are being carried out.

"There are no anesthetic drugs and laboratory reagents. Please try not to get sick because there is no medicine across the board, as I can only hope and pray the government will bail us out," he said yesterday.

Dr. Marjen renewed his call for assistance from the business houses yesterday after receiving more than K 26,000 (US$ 7,213) worth of medicine from Trade Link International Pty Limited.

He thanked Trade Link director Robinson Namaliu for assisting the hospital and said the donation came at a time when...

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Thu
25
Apr
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WHY PNG'S ECONOMY IS GOING NOWHERE

By James Chin

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 18, 2002 – Canberra Times)--Papua New Guinea's economy has been on a downward spiral since 1994, when the kina was floated. Currently the kina/US rate is about 0.26 c, with little prospects of going any higher.

This year real GDP growth is expected to be flat or a modest 0.7 percent. The official GDP for the whole economy is about US$ 3.57 billion and per-capita income is only about US$ 700.

The mainstay of the economy continues to be the mineral resources and agricultural sectors. In 2000, mining and petroleum accounted for over a quarter of GDP and three-quarters of total exports.

At the same time, agriculture, forestry and fishing, a source of income for more than 85 percent of the population, contributed over a quarter of GDP and almost 15 percent of exports, excluding manufactured agricultural products.

But these figures do not give the true picture of the PNG economy. There are several...

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Thu
25
Apr
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RABI ISLAND BURIES ITS LANDSLIDE VICTIMS

By Raijieli Kikau

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 24, 2002 – Fiji Times)---A father yesterday told of his anguish when he woke up to find his children buried by a landslide in his home.

"I will never forget that day. Everything happened so fast and when daylight came, my children were all dead,'' said Iriemia Panian as he laid his four children to rest at Baukanikai Village in Rabi.

Florisa Ieremia, a Class Six student; Tarai, Class Four; Patrick Form Four; and Felix, Class Five, died with their aunt Wewe Tuongo when a mountainside came down on their concrete home early Monday morning. Their neighbor, Eneti Samuela, was also buried alive in his home.

Mr. Panian looked lost and had an injured eye with a few bruises on his cheeks while his wife's leg was in bandages after an iron rod pierced it when she tried to flee the landslide.

He said everything looked bleak because his children's deaths were like a "'bad dream come true that has left a pain no one...

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