Today's Pacific News - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thu
16
Feb

U.S. Government Accountability Office Reviews CNMI Debt Levels

 

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is currently reviewing the CNMI’s public debt with the goal of avoiding another Puerto Rico, which is suffering from an ongoing financial crisis since 2005. Three other U.S. territories—American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—are also included in the review. In 2013, the CNMI had a $354.7-million long-term debt. That amount now stands at $471,758,182, with $88,840,077 owed to bonds payable, while claims and other judgments stand at $43,682,326.

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Thu
16
Feb

Solomon Islands PM To Develop Anti-Corruption Strategy Before Introducing Bill In Parliament

 

The Anti-Corruption Strategy will be implemented before work on the Anti-Corruption Bill is completed and brought before parliament. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare told parliament on Wednesday that the need to look at the strategy must come first before “we progress further to have the bill passed”. He said this strategy encompass the Whistle Blowers Bill, Ombudsman Act, Leadership Code Act and the Anti-Corruption Bill.

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Thu
16
Feb

Suspension Of Fiji's National Federation Party Upheld By High Court

 

The Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem was correct in suspending the National Federation Party (NFP) last year. The High Court in Suva today ruled in favour of Mr Saneem's decision to suspend the party. In his judgment, Judge Justice Lyone Seneviratne said that NFP's appeal was dismissed and the appellants have been ordered to pay the Registrar of Parties $2,000 as costs of the appeal within 14 days from today.

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Thu
16
Feb

Australia High Commissioner To PNG Visits Remote West Sepik Region

 

The Australian Government will now make its presence felt more in border districts of Papua New Guinea. Australian High Commissioner to PNG Bruce Davies led all divisional heads of politics, infrastructure, Defence, and two others flying into remote Telefomin District of West Sepik yesterday and spent the whole day visiting projects in the area. With the new challenges in regional political landscape, the visit does speak volumes at Australia’s renewed interest.

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Thu
16
Feb

American Samoa Third Graders' Results On Reading, Math Tests 'Below Basic Level'

 

With data showing below basic level test results in Reading and Math for third grade students over the last two years, Education director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga has urged principals to work together with teachers and parents to make a difference in the public education system. This was one of the issues discussed during Matagi-Tofiga’s first meeting with elementary and secondary school principals — except for Manu’a schools — held Monday this week at the ASDOE conference room at the main office in Utulei.

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Thu
16
Feb

Pacific Freedom Forum Says Media Access To West Papua Remains Limited

 

The Pacific Freedom Forum says Indonesia is yet to deliver on its promise of full and free access for journalists to West Papua just months out from Jakarta hosting World Press Freedom day. Indonesia opened access to West Papua for foreign journalists in 2015, more than 50 years after annexing the territory from the Netherlands.

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Thu
16
Feb

Cook Islands Teachers Lauded For Work To Improve Internal Assessments

 

Cook Islands teachers have been recognised for the high standard of work completed in NCEA Mathematics with Statistics and Cook Islands Maori. As part of NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) students take part in a mixture of external assessment (end of year exams) and internal assessments which are projects, practical work and other assessments across the whole year of learning. 

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Thu
16
Feb

Vatican Tribunal In Guam To Take Witness Statements About Alleged Sexual Abuse

 

A Vatican tribunal sent to Guam as part of Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s canonical trial heard from some witnesses Thursday, but didn't directly hear from one of Apuron’s alleged sexual abuse victims. Deacon Steve Martinez, a former sexual abuse response coordinator — whom Apuron reportedly fired for raising concerns about the archdiocese’s mishandling of sex abuse allegations for several years — was among those deposed by the tribunal. Apuron has denied all sex abuse allegations against him and hasn't been charged criminally, although he’s facing multiple civil lawsuits.

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Thu
16
Feb

Tonga Adopts Geolocation Technology To Create Formal Postal System

 

The Kingdom of Tonga is getting a formal postal system for the first time. The Pacific island nation has joined several other developing countries in adopting new geolocation technology developed by a British company to give everyone an address, just not one involving traditional street names or numbers. The company, What3Words, developed an algorithm that can provide accurate location anywhere on Earth down to nine square metres.

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Thu
16
Feb

PNG Chief Secretary Blames Department Heads For Failing To Pay Utility Bills

 

Mismangement and diversion of utility funds by departmental heads have resulted in accumulating bills owing to state-owned service providers that have pulled the plug on their services. And Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari said this has been the problem faced for many years, adding that from initial discussions, some agencies have not been paying for their utility bills even though budget for these had been allocated and disbursed.

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