Hello, ampoule thank you for joining us for this weekend’s news report for March 2nd, 2012. My name is Blaire Philips and these are the news highlights for the week for the region.
Japanese chef stabbed to death in Ngerbeched
Norikazu Kobayashi, 44, a Japanese Chef of B’s Izakaya’s Restaurant was stabbed to death in a brutal killing on Sunday, February 26, 2012 around 11:30 p.m. when he was taking out the trash. The restaurant, which is located in Ngerbeched, is owned by Baret Ridep and managed by Masae Umemoto, a former JICA volunteer. Ridep hired Smiley Matsuoka as the night security guard for the restaurant. Smiley was interviewed by OTV on February 29, 2012. Smiley said he was working the night of the murder and was at the front of the restaurant, but the stabbing occurred at the back of the restaurant. Smiley says he “heard nothing and saw nothing.” Smiley described the victim as a strong Japanese male. Smiley described the crime scene as “blood everywhere.” Smiley says the victim was bleeding excessively from his stomach, but was still alive when police arrived. The restaurant has been closed since the incident, but Smiley is still reporting to work as night security. Ridep was interviewed by Island Times and explained that co-workers at the restaurant did in fact hear Kobayshi shouting for help that they even saw the assailant running and brandishing a knife. Ridep claims that the neighborhood has been largely ignored by police patrol. Ridep claims he requested that Koror State put up additional street lights to deter crime, but no action had been taken by the time of the incident. Ridep will close the restaurant until after Kobyashi’s funeral and anticipates his business will suffer from news of the murder. Sources claim that Mr. Kobyashi was stabbed more than 5 times. Sources reveal that a young Palauan male was arrested in connection with the stabbing murder of a Japanese chef behind B’s Izakaya’s Restaurant in Koror, Palau on Sunday Night. The assailant is said to have made a confession. OTV will continue to follow closely this case as the facts are released.
Man attacked on Lebuu street
A Filipino worker was attacked on Lebuu street last weekend. We spoke with the victim about the incident.
Senators’ Demand Appointment of Special Prosecutor in the Wake of Presidents’ Executive Order Exerting Its Domination Over the AG’s Office
The news of Palau’s Presidential Executive Order 306 banning the Attorney General from giving a legal opinion directly to those outside of the Office of the President and his Ministers first set off alarms across the Pacific raising the attention of the Pacific Freedom Forum, Radio Australia and Radio New Zealand. The Executive Order was referred to as a “gag order” – a characterization dismissed by Palau’s President. The Executive Order requires the AG to first consult with the President and the Minister of Justice before issuing any legal opinion. The President’s Office defended the Order claiming that any complaints about the Order were coming from outside of Palau by those unfamiliar with the way things work in Palau. Yet, this same Executive Order now has raised the concern of some of Palau’s leaders. Certain Palau Senators have expressed their concern that the recently issued Executive Order removes any pretense that the AG’s office is independent of the Office of the President. Because of this some Senators argue that the appointment of a Special Prosecutor is even more critical since no longer can the prosecution of public officials for abusing their position be investigated with independence.In fact, on the heels of this Executive Order, the AG’s Office announced that it is assigning Assistant Attorney General Brentley Foster the task of reviewing all of the investigative files and prosecutions formerly handled by the dissolved Special Prosecutors’ Office. Some fear that with the new Executive Order in place all of the highly sensitive and protected documents about Palau’s former and current leaders will be in the hands of the Office of the President since the report and recommendation regarding those cases will be shared with the President.
Dramatic Changes In New Communications Act Proposed by Senator Ueki
Proving it can act fast when it wants to, the Palau Senate passed on first reading a new Communications Act, Senate Bill 8-231. Less than a week after Senator Alfonzo Diaz was charged by the AG with failure to provide requested tapes to the Division of Communications, Fellow Majority Senator Paul Ueki introduced a bill to do away with any criminal penalties, fines or suspension for the same crimes Diaz has been charged with and formerly convicted of. The new Senate bill also eliminates the ability of the Attorney General or any aggrieved person to enforce the law where the requested taped show is not produced. Under the new bill, the Division of Communications can issue a citation, but all penalties have been stripped from the law. In addition, the bill eliminates broadcasting by foreign companies and local companies with foreign ownership effectively taking both Oceania Television Network OTV and Radio Australia Broadcasting off the air. In the Senate session, Senator Ueki said the reason for his introduction of the Bill was to eliminate foreign radio, but made no comment on the impact of the bill on local television.
A similar bill was introduced in 2009 by Senator Diaz to eliminate OTV from the market , but that bill never made it past 2nd reading. Senate Bill 8-231 has been referred to the Committee on Resource Trade and Development. We will continue to update you on this story.
Armed robber makes bail in Palau
Andrew Mesubed, who was arrested last month for leading a series of masked, armed robberies in Koror has been released on bail. Meanwhile, at least one of his Palauan counterparts in the theft remain imprisoned in the Koror Jail. Mesubed, 31 years of age, and three other Palauan males were charged with armed robbery last month when they entered the residence of a co-worker and tied his wife up while they proceeded to steal $30,000 from a safety deposit box. The Bureau of Public Safety was contacted for comment but have not responded as of the time of this broadcast.
This week Sonsorol held its state elections. Here are the unofficial results. Jacob U. Yangilmau leads ihe gubernatorial race with 78 votes against his opponent Prisco T. Iergo who has 33. And here are the results for the other seats.
PCS Meets with Palau Council of Chiefs
On Tuesday, February 28, 2012, The Palau Conservation Society met with the Palau Council of Chiefs to discuss the status of Palau’s Fish Stock. Dr. Yim Golbuu from the Palau International Coral Reef Center and The Nature Conservancy’s Steven Victor were also there presenting data and analysis showing how Palau’s fish stock is declining. Issues as to why the fish stock is declining were said such as night fishing when fish are asleep bringing a drastic drop in parrot fish numbers among other species of fish. PCS Director Elbuchel Sadang along with PICRC and TNC stressed that imperative policies and management should be put in place and urged the Chiefs join the effort by revisiting traditional policies and re-introducing them in their respective states to strengthen fish stock conservation in Palau. Another agenda at the meeting was to create an association of fishermen to set guidelines and procedures in the local fishing industry as well as data collection and monitoring. The association would help the local fishing industry dictate the price of fish instead of the market.
President meets with AusAid representatives
President Johnson Toribiong met with AusAid representatives on current and future assistance from Australia. AusAid provides funding and technical assistance to Palau in the areas of public health, finance, ordnance removal and education. Seen here in the picture withthe President from left to right is Leah Briones who from AusAid Pohnpei and Erin Magee and Sophie McKinnen from AusAid Canberra.
GUAM PUBLIC HEALTH COMPACT-IMPACT COSTS
The population of people from the freely associated states on Guam has nearly tripled in the past 12 years. Services to regional migrants cost the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services about 15 million dollars last fiscal year, almost double the cost five years ago. According to a GovGuam report that was released last month, the population of regional migrants has grown from 11,000 to nearly 30,000. Although Chamorros remain at the top of the list for the most served group at Guam’s public health, in recent years the Chuukese population has overtaken the Filipino population as the second most served group. The cost of regional migrants to Guam’s Public Health and Social services has been on the rise since 2004 and has cost nearly 80 million dollars. However, the biggest expense to the local government is for education. Last year, the local government spent more than $38 million to educate students from the freely associated states. The costs include bus operations and money for students who attend Guam Community College and the University of Guam.
Japanese NGO for UXO Removal Visits Palau for Preliminary Research
The advisor and vice president of Japan Mine Action Service visited Palau from February 20th to 25th to conduct preliminary research on the possibility of supporting the removal of Unexploded Ordnances or UXOs, in the country. During their visit Mr. Takayasu Kakehi and Mr. Akira Nara met with the Minister of State and the director of Domestic Affairs as well as Cleared Ground Demining, the British NGO who has been actively removing UXOs and raising public awareness of the issue in Palau since 2009. JMAS is a non-governmental organization registered in Japan that specializes in UXO removal and has conducted UXO and landmine removal in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Angola. The organization is interested in supporting UXO removal in Palau as well as the island is heavily contaminated with explosive remnants from World War II.
Protestors march against missile launch aimed at Kwajalein
On Friday February 24th, over 30 people held a peace vigil in Los Angeles outside the Space and Missile Systems Center at the El Segundo Air Force Base. They were protesting the midnight launch of a first strike, nuclear capable ICBM Minuteman III missile aimed for the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The protestors held signs and banners and sang songs of peace and life. The missile went off around 2 a.m. Saturday as part of the decades long ICBM Minuteman III testing program at Vandenberg Air Force Base. At midnight, another crowd gathered outside the front gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base on the coast of California. Protestors there condemned the use of the Marshall Islands as a target and the hydrogen bombs that remain on hair-trigger alert, ready to kill millions at a moment’s notice. Fifteen people, including Ellsberg, were arrested at midnight in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience for walking onto the Vandenberg base to protest the missile launch.
Pacific Islanders Encouraged to Fish Small, Not Big
Pacific Islanders are being encouraged to “fish small, not big”, as the effects of climate change take a grip on their islands. A fishing platform or bagan is a fishing technology used extensively in Indonesia that will teach fishers to change their fishing effort from large reef fish such as groupers and snappers, to small open-sea fish like sardines and anchovies. The platform was launched and tested on Tuesday February 28th in Majuro to demonstrate a fishing practice suitable for fishers across the Pacific. The fishing demonstration ran from February 21-25 in the Marshall Islands with inputs from the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority, SPC Fisheries Development Section and two Indonesian experts.
PCS Environmental News update And now heres Yalap Yalap with this weeks PCS report.
Peter Adelbai nominated to be Ambassador to ROC Taiwan
We’d like to make a correction to a story we reported in this week’s Chais er Belau report. President Toribiong nominated Peter Adelbai to be Palau’s ambassador to the republic of china Taiwan – not Japan as it was reported. Dr. Minoru Ueki is currently the Ambassador to Japan.
Gender mainstreaming must be taken seriously in RMI government
Gender mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy of evaluating the impact of a policy for both women and men. This strategy was emphasized in the RMI this week by Mr Peter Wallace, Acting Secretary in the Ministry of Internal Affairs when he opened a two-day training session on gender mainstreaming and renewable energy interventions in Majuro.?’The gender and energy training provided the opportunity to mainstream gender, taking into consideration traditional roles of the men and women of RMI,’ said Mr Wallace. ‘Interventions through renewable energy projects can change gender roles both in positive and negative ways, and the potential social impacts of such interventions should be considered.’ The project is also providing co-financing of gender mainstreaming training/workshops to be delivered in the three countries in the next two weeks.
Lab Partners with Native American Researchers to Help Support Marshallese Resettlement
The United States Department of Energy is looking at using ancient Amazonian technology to reduce the effects of radioactive fallout in the Marshall Islands. Long lasting radioactive chemicals left behind from the 66 nuclear bomb tests conducted on the inhabited Bikini and Enewatek atolls between 1946 and 1958 are still present. As diabetes and NCDs have become so rampant in the Micronesian Islands due largely to poor diets consisting of unhealthy processed foods, many islanders are now supporting increased local food production and consumption. For many residents in the RMI however, this initiative is even more difficult because of the contaminated soil. Terry Hamilton, the head of the LLNL’s Marshall Islands Program stated of the technology, also known as Cpryo, “We envision that this work will ultimately support food security and economic development of island communities, and provide added assurances on radiation safety and health.”
Marshalls senator calls for eliminating non-resident postal votes
A Marshall Islands senator wants to do away with postal voting rights for citizens living in other countries. Ebon Atoll Senator John Silk, the former Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, has introduced legislation to parliament to amend the Elections and Referenda Act. His move follows two national elections in which controversies about postal ballots ended up in court challenges. Four losing candidates have pending legal challenges in the High Court that question the legality of postal ballots submitted in the November national election. In the November 2011 election, more than 2,500 Marshallese living outside the country submitted postal absentee ballots — about 10 percent of the total ballots cast in the election. The bill was passed on first reading and assigned to the Judiciary and Governmental Affairs Committee chaired by Kwajalein Senator Jeban Riklon.
Shiprider agreements “dramatically changed” Pacific law enforcement
Establishment of “shiprider” agreements between the United States Coast Guard and eight Pacific nations has “dramatically changed law enforcement” in the Pacific region, US Coast Guard Commander Rear Admiral Charles Ray said in Majuro this week. The US Coast Guard established a “shiprider” agreement with the RMI in 2008 for marine patrols in the RMI 200-mile zone, and has since expanded these agreements to include eight nations in the Pacific. This week, US Coast Guard cutter Jarvis, a 378-foot vessel based in Honolulu, spent two days in port Majuro before picking up Sea Patrol officer Jerry Aneo and fisheries officer Kyle Aliven to begin patrolling Marshall Islands waters. After Marshall Islands, the Jarvis will continue to other parts of the Pacific for patrolling.
Chuuk State Chamber of Commerce first annual state Pool Tournament
The Chuuk State Chamber of Commerce sponsored its First Annual Chuuk State Pool Tournament between January 24, 2012, and February 9, 2012. Ten local business and government entries participated in this fundraising event at the Hard Wreck Café. 77 games were played over three evenings which resulted in the championship game between Harry Rain and Larry Gouland. Harry Rain won the tourney taking the best 4 of 7 games. Congratulations to Harry Rain and all participants.
Finnish Ambassador makes courtesy call on President Mori
His Excellency Heikki Hannikainen, Ambassador of Finland to the Federated States of Micronesia, and Mr. Pasi Patokallio, Finlands Ambassodor for UN Council matters, were received by President Manny Mori on February 17, 2012. Ambassador Hannikainen is Finlands first ambassador to the FSM after the establishment of diplomatic relations on May 4, 2010. Ambassador Hannikainen and Mr. Patokallio visited the Federated States of Micronesia as part of their tour to the North Pacific Region, arriving in Pohnpei on February 16, 2012.
Kostka makes Chief
Pohnpeian national Thomas F. Kostka was promoted to Chief Petty Officer E-7 aboard the Coast Guard vessel Kukui in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 31, 2012. Chief Petty Officer is just two ranks below the highest ranking for enlisted personnel. Above Chief Petty Officer are the ranks Senior Chief Petty Officer and Master Chief Petty Officer. Thomas Kostka is the brother of Willy Kostka, the Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust. Congratulations to CPO Thomas Kostka on his new rank!
FSM prepares for its Consultative Group of Donors Meeting (CGM)
FSM President Manny Mori sent an alert memo to all Department and Agency Heads on February 27, to focus on planning for the meeting of Group of Donors to FSM. The President has designated the SBOC Office to be the lead coordinator for the meeting with support from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Finance and Administration and the Department of Resources and Development. The President wishes to have the meeting during the first week of June and expects details in the very near future, pending inputs from other stakeholders.
PUC generator rebuild plans extended until first week of March
Pohnpei Utilities Corporations General Manager, Feliciano Perman, confirmed today that the rebuild of PUCs number 9 generator is taking longer than expected. PUC originally planned for repairs to be completed by Friday, February 10th but once the mechanics tore into the system they found unanticipated problems. PUC now says that it plans to complete the rebuild of that generator by the first week of March. The rebuild of the number 9 generator, an old Daihatsu donated from Japan, is being funded by the Japanese government. The Japanese government also sent a retired Daihatsu engineer to supervise the rebuild. Additionally unexpected problems with the number 8 and number 7 generators caused unexpected outages for several hours on Valentines day and most of the following day. As a result, the previously announced plans for power load shedding will be in place until the repairs are completed on the number 9 generator.
Meyuns Elementary launches “School Farm Project”
On Wednesday February 9th the staff and students of Meyuns elementary school formally launched the MES School Farm project. The ROC Taiwan embassy was there for the launching and donated 200 pounds of taro from the Nekken Demonstration Farm operated by the Taiwan Technical Mission. The ROC Embassy also donated a gif of fifty jump ropes to the school.
Lost Treasure Sent to Spain
Over 200 years after being lost at the bottom of the ocean, 17 tons of silver and gold coins were flown to Madrid Spain on February 25. The treasure worth 500 million dollars was lost when the ship Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes sank off the coast of Peru after being attacked by a British warship in 1804. Odyssey Marine Exploration discovered the wreck and began recovery in 2005 but the Spanish government challenged Odyssey’s ownership in U.S. District Court relying on documents from its naval archive that listed Mercedes as a naval warship, which protected it from treasure hunters. The court then first ruled that U.S. courts didn’t have jurisdiction, and ordered the treasure returned. Peru continues to pursue legal claims for the treasure stating that the gold came from their land and that Peruvian merchants had owned the shipment. 200 sailors are also believed to have been lost when the ship sank.
Yap Day 2012
On March 1st the 44th annual Yap Day celebration was held in Colonia at the Yap Living Museum. Activities held that day included multiple demonstrations of various arts and crafts, a cooking presentation, Micro all around tournament and performances by local artists and dancers along with other activities that will take place throughout the two day celebration.
Thank you for watching the OTV weekend report. Have a safe weekend 😉