Archive - April 2003

Mon
28
Apr
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SOLOMONS REBEL KEKE BLAMED IN 21 RECENT KILLINGS

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 26) - Church officials in
Solomon Islands say that the rebel warlord Harold Keke may have killed 21 people
in the past month.

In a statement the Melanesian Brotherhood, confirmed that one of
their brothers, Nathaniel Sado, was killed a month ago on the remote Weather
Coast of Guadalcanal.

Earlier this week it was reported that Keke had killed nine
people at the end of March, including a member of the Brotherhood.

Police have not been able to confirm those deaths.

The Brotherhood says it now has witness reports that Brother
Sado was badly beaten by Keke and others acting on his orders, and died after
three days.

The Brotherhood also says it now has additional reports that a
total of 20 of Keke’s followers have been killed in the past month.

The church group says members of Keke’s family and other
followers have run away fearing they could also be...

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Fri
25
Apr

CORRUPT GUAM GOVERNOR MADE HISTORY IN 1720

By Tony Sanchez

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 25) - The first and highest official to be prosecuted for corruption and abuse was Spanish Gov. Juan Antonio Pimentel. He was a Peruvian-born illegitimate son of the Viceroy of Mexico, the Marques de Mancera. The 65-year-old governor took office Aug. 22, 1709.

In 1720, Gov. Gen. Fernando Bustillo Bustamante initiated the judicial proceeding of Pimentel in Manila, primarily because of his favorable treatment (in 1710) of English pirates who had seized the Manila galleon off the coast of Mexico. The pirates later put into port in the Marianas for supplies with the renamed captured vessel.

Before the judicial proceedings were over, local charges were added against Pimentel, made by Jose de Quiroga y Lozada ("The Tyrant"), the notorious commander responsible for the near genocide of the Chamorros. He died in December 1720, a month after Gov. Luis Antonio Sanchez replaced Pimentel. Quiroga lived on Guam for 40...

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Fri
25
Apr

TIME TO PRIVATIZE GUAM’S INEPT WATER AGENCY

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 25) - If the Consolidated Commission on Utilities gets its way, Guam Waterworks Authority customers will be paying for the ineptitude and poor management decisions of the water agency and previous administration for a total of nine years.

In September 2001, the Public Utilities Commission passed an 11.5-percent water surcharge, for a period of seven years, to pay $15 million in past-due power bills. Implementation of the surcharge, which is expected to generate about $3 million a year, was put off at the request of senators, who then issued a moratorium in May 2002, delaying the surcharge for a year.

Now, the CCU wants to extend the surcharge another two years to also pay off a recent $9 million settlement resulting from a 1999 lawsuit.

The real injustice of this is that Waterworks customers are being forced to shoulder the burden for these costs.

None of this additional money will go toward improving the water or...

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Fri
25
Apr
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SAIPAN BANK SUES NAURU FOR UNPAID LOAN

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, April 25) - The International
Commercial Bank of China has filed a lawsuit against the financially strapped
Nauru government for non-payment of loan and its interest now amounting to $12.8
million.

ICBC also named as co-defendants Nauru Council, Eigigu Holdings
Corp., Dhana Marie Villanueva, Maria Lourdes Ocampo, and an unnamed person.

Nauru Council and Eigigu are agents and instrumentality of the
Nauru government. Villanueva and Ocampo are CNMI residents who claim an interest
in the mortgaged property.

The unidentified defendant is a tenant of the mortgaged property
with a recorded interest, according to the complaint.

ICBC, through attorney Thomas E. Clifford, asked the court to
order Nauru to pay $12.8 million in damages, late fees, and interest as of March
3, 2003. It also demanded attorneys’ fees.

The bank requested that the amounts be paid into the Registry...

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Fri
25
Apr
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FUEL PRICES DROP, MATSON LOWERS SHIPPING SURCHARGE

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 25) - Island residents
who transport goods via Matson Navigation Company will see some relief when the
ocean carrier reduces its fuel surcharge for Guam and Hawaii services beginning
May 4.

Matson announced yesterday that its fuel surcharge will drop
from 7.5 percent to 6.5 percent because of what it calls ''the current downward
trend in fuel prices.''

''As is Matson's practice relative to fuel price adjustments, we
are acknowledging the recent trend in fuel prices and feel that a reduction is
warranted at this time,'' according to a statement from Paul E. Stevens, Matson
executive vice president.

The reduction represents a 13 percent decrease in the dollar
amount customers are paying for a fuel surcharge, he added.

''It is important to note that while high fuel costs adversely
affect many businesses, as well as consumers, transportation companies are...

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Fri
25
Apr
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MELLSOP TAKES OVER AS UNICEF CHIEF IN PACIFIC

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 25) - The newly
appointed United Nations Children's Fund Representative for the Pacific, Gillian
Mellsop, has presented her credentials to Fiji's Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Kaliopate Tavola.

Mellsop, who will be based in Suva, replaces Nancy Terreri, who
completed her term last month.

In her new role, Mellsop will represent UNICEF in 14 Pacific
island countries.

Before joining UNICEF Pacific, Mellsop worked for the Australian
aid agency, AusAID managing development cooperation programs in Papua New
Guinea, Bangladesh, Laos, India, Nepal, and the Philippines.

As one of her first tasks in the new position, Mellsop will
accompany a delegation of Pacific government officials to the 6th Ministerial
Consultation on Children in Bali, Indonesia next month.

April 25, 2003

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

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Fri
25
Apr
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GUAM GOVERNOR SETS UP OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY

HAGATNA, Guam (Marianas Variety, April 25) - Gov. Felix P.
Camacho has signed an executive order establishing the Office of Homeland
Security within the Office of the Governor of Guam.

The newly created office will be managed by the governor’s
special assistant for homeland security who is responsible for working with
local and federal agencies on the development, coordination and implementation
of a comprehensive plan to protect island residents from the threat of
terrorism.

Frank Blas Jr., the governor’s special assistant for homeland
security, has been named to head the Office of Homeland Security.

"With the world rapidly changing around us," said
Camacho, "the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security allows Guam
to meet any threat of terrorism on our island."

The special assistant for homeland security will coordinate all
activities pertaining to terrorism-related issues and conduct...

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Fri
25
Apr
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COOKS SIGN "MILESTONE" EU TRADE AGREEMENT

SUVA, Fiji (Pacnews, April 24) - Cook Islands Prime Minister
Robert Woonton signed an historic agreement with the European Union, allowing
the islands to access millions of dollars of aid over the next 20 years.

Woonton met with Frans Baan, the head of the delegation of the
European Commission, to sign agreements known as the country strategy paper and
the national indicative program.

The agreement will offer $2.24 million for health and education
to the outer islands for the next two years, but they could see the Cooks
benefit up to the tune of $3.37 million, providing the country meets EU
standards of financial supervision.

A further $674,000 has also been offered to government for
"unseen events" such as emergency aid and debt-relief contributions.
Some of this EU aid will be available for non-governmental organizations to
access.

The Cook Islands is one of 78 countries in Africa, the...

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Fri
25
Apr
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GUAM TO HOST 2,000 ASIANS AMIDST SARS CONCERNS

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 25) - Next month,
hundreds of would-be certified public accountants will fly to Guam from across
Asia in hopes of passing the biannual CPA exam.

According to Mack Ezzell, Guam Board of Accountancy executive
director, an estimated 2,000 visitors will arrive from Japan and Korea, with a
few from Hong Kong, to take the exam May 8 and 9.

With the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, commonly
know as SARS, local public health officials are concerned about an influx of
visitors from SARS-prevalent countries, but have taken precautions.

As of yesterday, about 261 people from six countries have died
from the mysterious illness, and more than 4,300 people have been infected since
the disease was first detected in China last November, according to The
Associated Press.

In neighboring Saipan, government officials last week banned
flights from China on...

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Fri
25
Apr
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REMOTE SOLOMONS ATOLL GETS EMAIL SERVICE

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 25) - The remote
atoll of Ontong Java in Solomon Islands has gone online.

The Solomons' People First Network, or PFNet, has established a
community e-mail service at the primary school on the islet of Pelau.

Ontong Java, one of the world's largest atolls, is the
northernmost island group in Solomon Islands, about 500 kilometers north, north
west of Honiara.

The people are Polynesian, unlike most Solomon Islanders who are
Melanesian.

Now, thanks to PFNet, the Ontong Java community is online.

The system operates via a high frequency radio signal and so
their connection is slow - about two kilobytes per second. But it is up and
working.

The People First Network, which gets support from the United
Nations Development Program, says it will be holding an open day soon for people
from Ontong Java living in Honiara at which they'll be shown how to use...

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