Archive - April 2003

Tue
29
Apr
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PNG GOVERNOR SAYS PACIFIC WAY OF LIFE THREATENED

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 29) - Papua New
Guinea's Governor General, Sir Silas Atopare says Pacific island cultures and
tradition are increasingly coming under serious strain due to economic and
political globalization.

He says the globalization process will continue to impact on
communities in the Pacific region unless Pacific Forum countries can come up
with an effective mechanism to cushion the negative impacts.

Atopare was speaking at a welcome ceremony for the region's
Parliamentary Speakers to the 3rd Forum Presiding Officers Conference at PNG's
Parliament complex.

Atopare says for many years, the region has been regarded as a
paradise where peace and tranquility dictated the people's way of life.

But he says Pacific cultures are increasingly facing the
prospect of extinction because of the seemingly endless exposure to foreign
influence and commercialization.

...

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Mon
28
Apr
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MARSHALLS CHIEF JUSTICE TO HEAR CHARGES

MAJURO, Marshall Islands — The suspended American chief justice
of the Marshall Islands High Court gets his day in court today.

Charles Henry, who has been suspended since last October, will
be arraigned on 30 criminal charges, most of which relate to allegations that he
misused government travel and housing money. He is also facing one libel charge
that claims that he falsely accused the Marshall Islands of human rights abuses
in a letter to American Sen. John McCain that subsequently received coverage in
the Baltimore Sun and other U.S. media.

Henry was originally charged with seven counts of cheating,
three of which were subsequently dismissed. The Marshall Islands earlier this
month filed an amended complaint increasing the charges to 30.

Palau’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Arthur Ngiraklsong is
hearing the case against Henry.

The Marshall Islands sought to have Ngiraklsong find that there
...

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Mon
28
Apr
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PNG SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS ELECTIONS UNDER WAY

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Radio Australia, April 26) - In
Papua New Guinea, crucial elections for the country's southern highland's
province begin today.

The contest for six seats are a re-run of elections abandoned
last year because of widespread violence and interference.

The oil and gas rich southern highlands province is meant to
have nine seats in the national parliament, but results in six were declared
invalid during last year's general elections.

A massive security operation has put more than 2,000 police
officers and soldiers on the ground to deal with any problems.

Police Commissioner Sam Enguba is confident things will go well.

Voting starts in the Koroba, Lake Kopiago electorate and
election teams will move progressively through the province over the next
fortnight.

April 28, 2003

Radio Australia:
http://www.abc
...

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Mon
28
Apr
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UN AGENCY CALLED WEAK ON EAST TIMOR ABUSES

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 28) - The United
Nations Commission on Human Rights has been criticized by two human rights
groups for failing to demand justice for victims of atrocities in East Timor.

Amnesty International and the East Timor Action Network have
described as weak, a recent statement from the commission about Indonesia's
trials of suspects accused of taking part in violence in 1999.

Amnesty International said the statement should have condemned
Indonesia for failing to bring perpetrators to justice, and should have called
for alternatives measures, such as an international tribunal.

The US-based East Timor Action Network says the commission has
turned its back on East Timorese people.

There was an organised campaign of intimidation before East
Timor voted for independence in August 1999, and a revenge campaign afterwards.

At least 1,000 people are estimated to have died...

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Mon
28
Apr
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BOOK DETAILS MIRACULOUS SURVIVAL AT SEA

PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, April 24) - A 57-year-old
Tahitian fisherman who miraculously survived 118 days drifting between French
Polynesia and the Cook Islands in an eight-meter (26-foot) fishing boat, has
published a book about his adventure.

" Si loin du monde " (So Far from the World) is the name of the
book published by Tauaea Raioaoa, better known as Tavae, who tells how he set
out from Tahiti on March 15 and miraculously ended up safe and sound on the
island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands on July 10.

A quote from famous adventure novelist Jack London illustrates
the cover of Tavae’s book: "The most beautiful tales always begin with
shipwrecks."

Tavae writes: "During my long life as a fisherman, my boat never
broke down. I couldn’t imagine what it was like. But at that moment I wasn’t
worried. Since I was born, I spent more time on the ocean than on land, and when
the sea tried to...

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Mon
28
Apr
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CNMI SENATOR CONVICTED, SPECIAL ELECTION EYED

CNMI, SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, April 28) - The
Commonwealth Election Commission and the Attorney General’s Office said there
may be a special election for the replacement of Sen. Ricardo S. Atalig, who was
convicted Friday for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 26 counts of wire
fraud.

"Because he completed less than half of his four-year term,
there may have to be a special election," Assistant Attorney General James D.
Livingstone told Variety on Friday.

Atalig, R-Rota, was first elected in 1993 and was re-elected in
1997 and in 2001.

Election Commission Executive Director Gregorio Sablan said the
Senate Committee on Rules has to declare a vacancy and, in writing, request Gov.
Juan N. Babauta to announce a special election.

"Thirty to 60 days after the issuance of the governor’s
proclamation, the special election will be held," Sablan told Variety.

Livingstone said the Senate...

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Mon
28
Apr
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SOLOMONS LAYS OUT AMBITIOUS REFORMS

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (SBIC, April 27) – The Solomon Islands
government is set to work on what it considers the five pillars to economic
recovery of a shattered economy devastated by the ruins of two years ethnical
violence.

Addressing a seminar by the Economic Association of Solomon
Islands in Honiara on Friday, Minister for National Reform and Planning, Nollen
Leni, said these pillars will form the basis of full economic recovery under
government's National Economic Recovery and Development Plan 2003 to 2005.

They include the restoration of law and order, good governance,
fiscal and financial stability, public sector reform, support for productive
sector and infrastructure development and provision of social services.

Leni said that government's 2002 national economic recovery
plan, which was presented at the government and Donor countries meeting in June
last year wa, hampered by constraints....

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Mon
28
Apr
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PAPUA HIGHLANDS ELECTIONS CALM

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 28) - The deployment of
more than 2,000 soldiers and police has ensured a calm start to polling in Papua
New Guinea’s Southern Highlands.

The high level of security has been put in place after last
years elections in the region were declared void because of violence,
intimidation and ballot box interference.

Half of the country’s police force is involved in running the
supplementary elections in six of the South Highlands nine seats.

The final ballot boxes from the Koroba-Lake Kopiago electorate
have already arrived in the provincial capital, Mendi for counting after polling
started on Saturday.

Officials are attempting to avoid tampering with ballot boxes by
flying them under security to be counted in one place.

They are also using officials from outside the province to
overcome local pressures.

Voting in one of the areas worst hit by violence last...

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Mon
28
Apr
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AMERICAN SAOMOA SEES LITTLE IN TRADE AGREEMENT

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 28) - Officials in American
Samoa say the territory may not have much to gain by participating in the
Pacific Island Countries Free Trade Agreement.

The agreement, which has been in effect for just over a week,
promotes free trade among island countries by removing all barriers such as
import duties, quotas and other tariffs.

The Director of Commerce, Ali’imau Jnr Scanlan, says since
American Samoa does not have any exports to send to neighboring countries, the
free trade agreement would be a limited value.

But he says many of the signatories of the trade agreement
already export tons of food, building materials and other products to the
territory.

He said if American Samoa was to become part of the trade
agreement it would lose out on taxes paid by these exporters.

Meanwhile, it has been suggested that fishing licenses for U.S.
tuna boats operating in...

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Mon
28
Apr
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PALAU LAWMAKER SUED TO REPAY GOVERNMENT MONEY

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, April 28) — House Vice Speaker
Antonio Bells was sued by the Office of the Special Prosecutor to compel him to
return government money spent on trips.

The special prosecutor filed four counts of civil complaint
against Bells for travel expenses not related to the lawmaker’s official duties.

The complaint stated that starting in 1997, Bells received
lumpsum payments from the national treasury that he certified as spent on
official trips.

The complaint added that since Bells spent the money for private
use he should be held responsible for its repayment.

The special prosecutor also asked the court to impose civil
penalties up to $10,000 for each violation against Bells.

Earlier, several current and former members of the national
legislature entered into a settlement agreement with Special Prosecutor Everett
Walton concerning their travel expenses.

April 28,...

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