Archive - April 2003

Tue
29
Apr
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MARSHALLS WATER PROGRAM PRAISED

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 29) - A water expert
working in the North Pacific says Majuro in the Marshall Islands is far ahead of
other island nations in Micronesia because it has a separate and functioning
water utility company.

Tim Scheidt, who is the water operations manager for Yap’s
Public Service Corporation, said in most islands, water utilities come under
power companies or don’t exist at all.

Scheidt said water is an important issue for islands in the
region, but waste water problems are likely to become an even bigger issue in
the future.

He said people in Majuro are used to water shortages as they
rely on rainwater and only receive supplies three times a week.

But he warned that people still need to take care with their
drinking water because while the rainwater is bacteria free, there was often a
build up of contaminants in pipes and tanks.

April 29, 2003

Radio...

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Tue
29
Apr
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NEW ZEALAND, FRANCE IMPROVE RELATIONS

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 29) - New Zealand's Prime
Minister Helen Clark and French President Jacques Chirac have welcomed an
improvement in bilateral ties between their countries.

Clark told reporters after talks with President Chirac in Paris
that the relationship between New Zealand and France is in very good shape.

Ties between the two countries suffered after the French secret
service bombed the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, in 1985 and France resumed
nuclear testing in the South Pacific in 1995.

The two leaders discussed a variety of issues, including their
support for multilateralism, after both opposed the war in Iraq.

However, they remain far apart on the question of farm policy
with Clark saying that European Union countries such as France must do more to
slash farm subsidies.

April 29, 2003

Radio Australia: http://abc.net...

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Tue
29
Apr
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EMPTY FIRE TRUCK ARRIVES, CHUUK TOWN BURNS

CHUUK, FSM (Marianas Variety, April 29) — In the middle of
this month, a fire, blamed on a candle, totally destroyed a three-year-old
handicrafts market in the heart of downtown Weno.

The administrative island of Weno recently experienced power
generation cut-off, prompting the islanders to use candles.

A Chuuk State government fire truck was called to contain the
water. The fire department is about three-fourth of a mile from the market. The
fire truck arrived promptly but it could not rescue the market for it had no
water.

The U.S. Air Force was then called upon and only then was the
fire contained.

A reliable source also advised this reporter that the
government-run fire trucks assigned to the airport normally do not have water.

In the past, this was proven when the fire trucks rushed to some
fires to do its job only to find out that its tanks were empty.

In a similar situation, a...

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Tue
29
Apr
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FIJI JUDGE SLAPS KOREAN FISHERMAN WITH FINE

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 29) - The master of a South
Korean vessel found guilty of fishing illegally in Fiji waters has been fined
US$6,600.

Suva high court judge Justice Nazhat Shameem said the fine for
the offence should have been more than US$15,000.

But she cut the penalty by more than half, saying Jang Dong
Myeong, who was the master of the vessel Southern Star, could not afford to pay.

To make up the shortfall, Justice Shameem ordered that the
proceeds from the sale of the illegally caught fish, amounting to US$25,000, be
forfeited to the state.

The vessel was found to have fished illegally in Fiji waters on
12 separate occasions in April and May of last year.

April 29, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com 

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Tue
29
Apr
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FRENCH CONTRACTOR ABANDONS TAHITI HOSPITAL PROJECT

PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, April 27) - Bouygues Bâtiment, a
French construction company, has decided to abandon work on a new French
Polynesia hospital at the end of June, French daily newspaper Les Nouvelles de
Tahiti reports.

According to the newspaper, Bouygues apparently is willing to
risk court-assessed damages from a Tahiti government lawsuit charging the French
company with illegally canceling the contract.

"We’re leaving June 30," Michel Hochet, head of
project, told Les Nouvelles. "Management has had enough. Tahiti’s
government has lost this contract due to its incompetence," he said.

Work on the project stopped at the end of 2002 after a year of
legal battles between Bouygues Bâtiment and Tahiti’s government. Work was
scheduled to resume at the end of April.

French Polynesia president of government Gaston Flosse presided
at groundbreaking ceremonies for the hospital on Jan. 18,...

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Tue
29
Apr
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SOLOMON TELEKOM PROMISES BETTER SERVICE

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (SIBC, April 28) - Work is underway to
meet demands of people in rural areas to have quicket and easier access to the
Internet.

In its monthly publication, Solomon Telekom says that it is
taking the action following complaints from businesses of long waits before they
are able to connect to the internet.

This is because of the limited number of lines available to
provincial exchanges which makes it hard to make trunk and international calls
as well as connections to the Internet.

The publication, "Nius blong Telekom," says that Buala
and Munda office complexes will be opened by the middle of this year.

It says these centers will provide additional internet and
e-mail services.

The Auki Business center is also undergoing expansion with the
aim of giving additional quality services to its customers there.

April 29, 2003

Solomon Islands Broadcasting...

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Tue
29
Apr
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DWINDLING NIUE CONSIDERS ANNEXATION

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 29) - An opposition
member of parliament in Niue says the island may have to seriously consider
becoming part of New Zealand, because its population has dropped below
sustainable levels.

Veve Jacobsen says she is not particularly happy about the
prospect of Niue losing its independence.

But with fewer people remaining on the island each year, lack of
business activity, and little prospect of investment; it may be the only viable
option, she said.

April 29, 2003

Radio Australia: http://abc.net.au/ra

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Tue
29
Apr
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AMNESTY GROUP RAPS AUSTRALIA’S "PACIFIC SOLUTION"

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 29) - Amnesty International
has criticised Australia’s policy against asylum seekers at a regional
conference on people-smuggling on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Australia runs detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea
under what it calls its "Pacific Solution" to unwelcome asylum
seekers. But Amnesty International says Australia’s approach threatens the
principle of international solidarity on which international refugee protection
depends.

Amnesty says states are duty bound under international law to
protect those seeking asylum irrespective of whether people have been smuggled
or made their own way to a country to seek asylum.

Amnesty says the Australian policy of operating offshore centers
creates two classes of asylum states.

They are the rich and the powerful states that select whom they
will accept as refugees, and the rest who are compelled to...

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Tue
29
Apr
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CANDIDATES LINE UP FOR NAURU ELECTION

NAURU (Radio Australia, April 29) - Some of Nauru's most senior
current and former public servants are candidates in Saturday's national
elections.

The head of Nauru's Foreign Affairs Department is amongst those
who have nominated.

Foreign Affairs Secretary, Angie Itsimaera, is standing in the
largest electorate on Nauru, Uabanide.

The electorate returns four Members to the eighteen seat
Parliament.

Itsimaera is one of a number of women candidates.

Another is the former Health Secretary, Marleen Moses.

The vast majority of those contesting the elections are men.

The former Chief Secretary, Matthew Batsiua, has nominated.

He resigned last year in protest at what he says was a lack of
commitment by the then Rene Harris led government to economic and financial
planning.

Nauru’s parilous economic plight is a major campaign issue.

April 29, 2003

Radio Australia:...

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Tue
29
Apr
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CNMI OCEAN THERMAL PROJECT BACK ON TRACK

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, April 29) - Sea Solar Power
International has reconsidered its earlier decision to suspend indefinitely a
plan to build a $50 million ocean thermal energy conversion facility in the CNMI.

In a letter to Gov. Juan N. Babauta, Sea Solar President Robert
J. Nicholson III, said the project will be "a most successful and rewarding
project for all."

The Maryland-based company said it is willing to work with the
CNMI’s "responsible government."

Under the memorandum of understanding Sea Solar signed with the
governor, the company will also set up a $20 million-$30 million resource park.

"I will do everything possible to coordinate with you and
other CNMI officials," Nicholson said. "This will allow your islands
to benefit from Sea Solar Power’s advanced OTEC technology and take advantage
of the no-risk funding program which we had originally proposed to you," he
added....

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