Archive - April 2003

Wed
30
Apr
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MORE "DOUBLE DIP" RESIGNATIONS ON GUAM

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 30) - Former
legislative Speaker Tony Unpingco no longer works for the governor's office.

Unpingco, a government of Guam retiree who also worked as one of
the governor's advisers, decided to resign yesterday in response to the
governor's ultimatum against double dipping, said governor's spokesman John Dela
Rosa.

Soledad Chargualaf and Lydia Cooper also opted to resign from
the governor's office yesterday, Dela Rosa said, leaving the fate of several
other double dippers in the hands of Gov. Felix Camacho.

A double dipper is someone who has retired from the government
of Guam but is rehired as an unclassified employee, receiving a retirement check
as well as a paycheck.

The governor's office incorrectly identified Alvin Lorenzo, who
worked for former Gov. Carl Gutierrez, as a double dipper. That leaves six
employees of the governor's office who missed...

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Wed
30
Apr
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PALAU WON’T CLOSE DOORS ON SARS "HOT SPOTS"

PALAU WON’T CLOSE DOORS ON SARS "HOT SPOTS"

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, April 30) — Palau will not close
its borders to visitors from high-risk SARS areas.

Dr. Caleb Otto, Palau’s public health director, said the
country has already implemented measures to prevent the entry of SARS.

Michael O’Leary, a physician from the Centers for Disease
Control, has said that closing borders is not the most important prevention and
control strategy, according to Otto.

He said President Tommy Remengesau, lawmakers and doctors have
discussed the issue and agreed that imposing a travel ban on the entry of people
from high-risk areas "is not the best thing to do at this time."

Although the people’s health is more important than economic
benefits, it is not necessary to close the borders as the government continues
to conduct "strict surveillance," Otto said.

Airlines, hotels and tour operators are cooperating...

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Wed
30
Apr
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INDONESIA TO TURN BACK BOAT PEOPLE

SYDNEY, Australia (ABC Online, April 29) - Indonesia's Foreign
Minister has suggested his country will intervene in the future when boats enter
its waters trying to reach Australia.

The comments came at the opening of a ministerial conference on
people smuggling in Bali.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda opened the conference by
criticizing Australia over what he called the unfortunate unilateralism that
brought a new level of suffering to Iraq and shunted aside forums like the
United Nations.

But on the issue of boat people transiting Indonesia's waters,
Wirajuda suggested Indonesia is now likely to intervene and call in the
International Organization for Migration, as it did with one Vietnamese vessel
in Batam last week.

He said the best result would be for boat people to be swiftly
returned to their country of origin.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said he could not
...

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Wed
30
Apr
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CHAUDHRY THREATENS SUIT IF FIJI ALLOWS TV MONOPOLY

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 30) - The Fiji Labor Party
has threatened to launch a High Court challenge if the Qarase government
overturns a Commerce Commission decision and gives Fiji Television a monopoly
license.

The Labor leader, former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, says
Fiji TV has benefited immensely from its monopoly over the years and therefore
should stand on its own feet and welcome opposition.

Chaudhry says there have been expressions of interest from
overseas companies to set up competitive television services in Fiji, which
would be the basis for a legal challenge.

The Commerce Commission had given Fiji TV 14 days to respond to
its initial determination that the monopoly license should be rejected based on
overwhelming public opposition.

Fiji TV did not respond but has sought until the end of May to
make further submissions.

Meanwhile, the company’s chief...

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Wed
30
Apr
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FIJI RAISES AIRPORT DEPARTURE TAX TO US$15

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI April 30) - All air passengers
departing Fiji will have to pay an extra US$5 starting tomorrow.

This will increase the existing departure tax charged by
Airports Fiji to US$15.

The additional charge has been attributed to the need for extra
airport security since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. and last
year’s bombing in Bali, as well as the upgrading of airports.

The executive chairman of Airports Fiji, Viliame Leqa, said the
security component is expected to increase as checks are further upgraded with
the purchase of high tech equipment.

April 30, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/ 

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Wed
30
Apr
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CNMI OKS MILITARY USE OF REMOTE MARIANAS ISLAND 

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, April 29) - The Marianas Public
Lands Authority Board of Directors has granted the U.S. Navy's request to use a
portion of an inactive volcano crater on the remote island of Anatahan for
personnel combat, search, and rescue training for one year.

Anatahan is a small island – six miles long and two miles wide
– in the Norther Marianas chain. Located 75 miles north of Saipan, the
mountainous island is believed to have fewer than 30 residents.

MPLA Commissioner Henry S. Hofschneider said the board made the
decision during its regular meeting last Thursday following an assurance that
such an activity would not harm the public and the environment.

"The board decided to give them temporary revocable permit
for one year. We're working on the authorization now," Hofschneider said.

The military exercises may take place as soon as the permit is
released. "This is part of their...

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Wed
30
Apr
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FRENCH ARMY CALLED TO NEW CALEDONIA DENGUE EPIDEMIC

SUVA, Fiji (Oceania Flash, April 29) - The French army based in
New Caledonia has been called in to help control a serious epidemic of
mosquito-transmitted type 1 dengue fever, which has killed eight and infected
some 1,600 residents since January this year, RFO's Télé-Nouvelle-Calédonie
reports.

The epidemic has been aggravated by the cyclone Erica on March
14, which created widespread debris.

An awareness campaign was stepped up last week with mass
spraying by small aircraft.

The army is now operating teams that are called in to clean and
disinfect suspicious larvae-breeding areas.

"The aerial spraying is using an 'adulticide', a product
that kills flying adult mosquito, while on the ground, what is used is larvicide,
which targets the larvae," Territorial Health Preventive Services head Dr
Bernard Rouchon said.

This week, New Caledonia's government has introduced a new,
graphic...

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Wed
30
Apr
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CNMI TARGETS U.S., EUROPE TRAVEL MARKETS IN WAKE OF SARS

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, ) - With the plight of tourism
still bleak at April's end, the Marianas Visitors Authority yesterday disclosed
plans to strengthen markets on the U.S. mainland and Europe as Chinese arrivals
continue to be seriously affected by the suspension of flights from China to the
CNMI.

MVA chairman Dave Sablan said that arrivals from China, which
used to be the Commonwealth's surging market before the outbreak of SARS, has
practically zero arrivals this month.

"We have no one coming from China except for U.S.
citizens," Sablan said. "There is nothing we can do but comply with
our government."

The CNMI government has decided to indefinitely suspend China
Southern Air's flights from China to Tinian as a precautionary measure to
prevent the entry of SARS into the Commonwealth.

Sablan also said the impact on international travel by the
U.S.-led war against Iraq is expected...

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Wed
30
Apr
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LITTLE GLITTER IN GUAM’S "GOLDEN WEEK"

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 30) - Japan's Golden
Week holidays kicked off yesterday, but it's not expected to translate into
golden opportunities for Guam tourism businesses this time around.

''It's not going to be golden this year with bookings projected
to be very low,'' said Monte Mesa, chairman of the Guam Visitors Bureau's Japan
Marketing Committee and general manager of Guam Premier Outlets.

Guam's share of Japanese visitors during the Golden Week travel
season is projected to drop as steeply as 50 percent below last year's figures,
in part because fears of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, have
prompted many Japanese to spend vacations within their country, according to
Mesa.

''Golden Week now is not what is used to be,'' he added.

Golden Week officially began with Greenery Day yesterday, which
commemorates the late Emperor Hirohito's birthday, and ends within a week on...

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Tue
29
Apr

AMERICAN SAMOA COLLEGE GETS $500,000 U.S. GRANT

Correction

 

Applications for the position of Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum will remain open until May 30. A story by Pacnews, which ran in Pacific Islands Report on Friday, incorrectly reported that the deadline for applications had expired.

April 29, 2003

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