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FIJI PETITION AGAINST WATER PRIVATIZATION

SUVA, Fiji (July 30, 1997 - PACNEWS)---Fiji's Coalition Against Water Privatization has gathered over 2,000 signatures on a petition opposing commercial ownership of Fiji's water and sewer services.

The Coalition, which is made up of non-government organizations, says the petition and the full listing of signatures will be presented to Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka in September.

The NGOs strongly oppose Fiji's water privatization plans and are seeking public support to ensure that the government continues to provide its citizens with water, which they say is a basic essential.

Coalition spokesman Aisake Kasimira announced that a meeting will be held later this week to discuss ways to expand the signature-gathering effort. The group's initial target, he says, is 100,000 signatures.

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SOLOMON ISLANDS NATIONAL ELECTION AUGUST 6

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (July 30, 1997 - Radio Australia)---Solomon Islands national election day, August 6, has been declared a national holiday.

The declaration was signed by a Ministry of Home Affairs official in the capital of Honiara, representing the Solomon Islands government's current caretaker administration.

Polling stations in the Solomons will open at 7:00 a.m. August 6, with closing time scheduled for 5:00 p.m.

 

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CHARGE SOLOMON ISLANDS NOT ENFORCING PARROT EXPORT BAN

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (July 29, 1997 - Radio Australia)---The Solomon Islands government has been accused of not enforcing a ban it imposed on the export of endangered wild parrots.

The Director of the Solomon Islands Development Trust, Abraham Baeanasia, says although the government officially banned the export of parrots earlier this year, it has not been monitoring the parrot trade or enforcing the ban. As a result, he says, parrots are disappearing from the Melanesian country's forests.

Baeanasia says Solomon Islanders with licenses to export parrots and other wildlife have been sending the birds and animals primarily to South Africa, Holland, Japan, China, Britain, and the United States.

The total legal parrot export trade from the Solomon Islands last year was valued at $750,000 (Australian).

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31
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EIGHT-DAY SAMOAN FLAG DAY FESTIVAL IN HONOLULU

By Mele Laumanu Petelo

HONOLULU, Hawaii (July 30, 1997 - PIDP/CPIS)---An eight-day Flag Day Festival, commemorating the establishment of American Samoa as a United States territory in 1900, kicks off this weekend in downtown Honolulu's Tamarind Park.

It will the mark the 32nd annual celebration by Hawaii's growing Samoan community of the first time the American flag was raised in the South Pacific territory's capital of Pago Pago.

The eight day festival's opening event on Saturday will feature a traditional kava ceremony and musical entertainment by groups from Salt Lake City and Hawaii's Polynesian Cultural Center. In addition, there will be tapa making and weaving demonstrations. Samoan food will be on sale.

Following the Tamarind Park opening, the remainder of the week-long festivities will take place at Keehi Lagoon Park, where there will be food booths, arts and crafts displays, sports events, tattoo demonstrations, and musical competitions.

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AMERICAN SAMOA CONCERN OVER WESTERN SAMOA'S NAME CHANGE TO SAMOA

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (July 28, 1997 - Samoa News)---Two American Samoa Senators have raised concerns about Western Samoa officially changing its name to Samoa.

Senator Levu Solaita asked Senate President Pro-Tem Moaali 'itele Tu'ufuli if the Fono, particularly the Senate, will issue an "opinion" regarding Western Samoa's name change.

"Are we going to respond to Western Samoa's name change?" asked Senator Levu. "There are people who are against the change, since it now sets the tone to look like there is only one Samoa."

Senator Tuana'itau Tuia pointed out that the Fono needs to meet to discuss this "important matter."

"I'm sure there are many people who would like to voice their views over the issue," he added.

The proposal to change Western Samoa's name to simply Samoa originated with Prime Minister Tofilau Eti Alesana, and Parliament voted its approval last month.

Tofilau said the country already is known by various organizations...

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Wed
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TONGAN SQUASH PUMPKIN GROWERS PETITION PARLIAMENT

By Mele Laumanu Petelo

HONOLULU, Hawaii (July 30, 1997 - PIDP/CPIS)---The finance sub-committee of Tonga’s Parliament is studying a petition from local squash pumpkin growers, seeking compensation of five million pa’anga (approximately $US 4.5 million), including bank loan repayments.

The request for funds results from last year’s squash pumpkin market price slump, which saw prices drop more than a third compared to 1995.

Prices offered by Japanese importers last year were the lowest ever since the once-lucrative squash pumpkin trade began between Tonga and Japan more than ten years ago.

More than 800 growers on the main island of Tongatapu and the Ha’apai group, two of the three main squash pumpkin growing areas, signed the compensation petitions submitted to Parliament.

The Parliament took two days to deliberate over the matter and then decided to refer the petition to the finance sub-committee, which has been requested to report back with...

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EUREKA, CALIFORNIA GROUP GIVES LAND TO SAMOAN CHIEFS

APIA, Samoa (July 29, 1997 - PACNEWS)---Samoa's Council of Chiefs in the United States has been given a 100-acre plot of land in California.

The gift comes from the Samoan Council of Eureka, an area north of San Francisco which includes a small coastal town named Samoa.

Samoans in the area plan to develop the 100 acres into a Samoan and Polynesian activities center, similar to the Polynesian Cultural Center in La'ie, on Hawaii's island of Oahu.

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JAPAN TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGED WWII ATROCITIES IN PNG

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 29, 1997 - PACNEWS)---A Japanese team will visit Papua New Guinea's East Sepik Province next week to investigate alleged atrocities committed by Japanese military personnel during World War II.

The team members, representing a group known officially as The International Coalition in Conjunction with Papua New Guinea Association for Redress of Asia Pacific War Victims, will be in the East Sepik area August 8 - 13. They will conduct interviews with victims and witnesses of the alleged wartime crimes.

The information gathered will be used to determine if the Japanese government owes any Papua New Guinea victims and their survivors compensation for the wartime deeds.

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PNG PRIME MINISTER SKATE RE-EXAMINING MERCENARY CHARGES

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 29, 1997 - PACNEWS)---The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Bill Skate, has directed that all charges against PNG Defense Force personnel involved in the Sandline mercenary crisis be withheld pending a new inquiry into the affair.

The Prime Minister's announcement --and the release from house arrest of the Commander of the Defense Force, Brigadier General Leo Nuia-- followed a meeting Monday among parties to the dispute.

Reports from Port Moresby say the action has defused tension in the capital.

Earlier, armed soldiers from the Defense Force had released, from the main Boroko police cell complex, the officer who was in charge of the operation to expel the Sandline African mercenaries last March, Major Walter Enuma.

He was arrested by Port Moresby police last weekend, and was being held in custody for a planned court appearance.

When released by the soldiers from imprisonment, Enuma was taken to the PNG...

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INCREASED DEMAND FOR SHIP FUEL IN AMERICAN SAMOA

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (July 28, 1997 - Samoa News)---There has been an unexpected increase in the demand for fuel in American Samoa by foreign fishing vessels.

According to BHP petroleum official Willie Sword, fishing fleets that normally refuel in Fiji now are rerouting to American Samoa.

"Suddenly, the demand has jumped up by almost 50 percent," Sword said.

Apparently due to El Nino weather conditions, fishing has been surprisingly good, causing fishing fleets to turn around, unload, and refuel more often.

Caught by the surprise increase in fishing vessel requests, Fiji has been unable to meet the sudden fuel demand, and ships now are traveling to American Samoa to re-supply.

Generally, they only partially refuel, however, because fuel costs in Pago Pago are substantially higher than at Fiji's ports.

Petroleum in (Western) Samoa, however, is reported to be still higher, costing twice as much as it does in American Samoa and three...

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