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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 1) – The Marshall Islands parliament has launched public hearings on a proposed US$146.3 million budget for fiscal year 2006.

If approved, it would be the largest budget in the nation’s 26-year history.

Two thirds of the budget is funded by United States government grants, trust fund contributions and rental payments for use of the Kwajalein missile testing range.

Taiwan, with which the Marshall Islands has had diplomatic ties since 1998, is injecting an additional US$10 million.

In line with a renewed focus on education, just over US$42 million, or nearly 30 percent of the total proposed budget, would be devoted to school-related programmes.

The second largest allocation is almost US$18 million for health services.

September 2, 2005

Radio New Zealand International:

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