Illegal Fishing leads to 1 death and 3 missing
It has been nearly one week since the ongoing tragedy began which has included the death of a Chinese fishermen and 25 more in custody, a sunk mother ship and a missing plane with three souls onboard. What started as a small boat chase to catch illegal fishermen has now become an international incident grabbing the attention of the global media. Here is a brief recap of the events:
Last Friday a Kayangel fisherman spotted a suspicious vessel nearby but officials were unable to catch the foreign fishing boat.
On Saturday, the Marine Law officers went to Kayangel’s conservation area where a boat chase occurred and Police fired at the boat’s engines in an attempt to disable the vessel. A Chinese fishermen was hit and later died of blood loss. The patrol boat Remeliik then gave chase to the mother ship whose crew set her on fire to avoid capture.
On Sunday April 1st, Palau’s Criminal Investigation Officers Earlee Decherong and Willy Mays Towai and Cessna Pilot Frank Ohlinger took off at 3:25p to photograph the site where the Mother ship sank 175 miles Northwest of Palau. At 3:25p the aircraft departed again with a scheduled return of 5pm. The aircraft missed the scheduled rendezvous point and broken communication indicated that the planes navigational system was not working. Emergency vehicles went to the highest points in Koror and turn on their flashing lights and Angaur State was notified to turn on as many lights as possible.Just after 8:00p, the two police officers on board the aircraft were able to contact the police personnel on the ground via the Police VHF radio for approximately three minutes prior to their final total loss of communication with the aircraft around 8:15 p.m.The last transmission by the pilot indicated that they were traveling “north” at an altitude of 6,000 feet at 65 knots. The plane was out of gas and gliding. Monday morning a fullscale search and rescue effort was launched with the U.S. Coast Guard, two helicopters from the visiting Yacht the Octopus, the Patrol boat Remeliik and numerous local assets. The US Coast guard in Hawaii suspended their efforts on Thursday and the Octopus left Palau however a C130 from Guam and Palau officers and individuals are continuing the search, which will continue through Sunday.On Thursday night officials from the Chinese government who are based in the Federated States of Micronesia arrived in Palau to begin diplomatic talks and support the incarcerated fishermen.
Candle light vigil held for three men lost at sea
On Friday April 6th at 8pm the Ministry of Justice will hold a candlelight vigil at Bethlehem park for those 3 men lost at sea after their plane went down Sunday. People were encouraged to bring any pictures, poems, and/or prayers to share and to bring candles and unite as a nation with the power or prayer and comfort one another, especially those closest to the three brave men.
Appellate Court rules on alien registration fee case
The Palau Appellate Court issued its long awaited opinion on the alien registration act. There were two issues on appeal. The first was whether the $25 fee was constitutional. The second was whether the alien registration act violated the equal protection clause in excluding citizens from the U.S., Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia from the registration requirement. As to the first question, the Appellate Division found that the $25 fee assessed by President Toribiong was unconstitutional because it was tax and only the OEK can levy a tax. As to the second question, the Appellate court did not make a final ruling on the merits and sent it back to the Chief Justice for further review. The appeals court explained that the Executive Branch should be given flexibility in responding to immigration matters so the trial court should have used a less strict standard of review when analyzing the President’s regulation. The Appellate Court instructed the Chief Justice to analyze the facts under an “intermediate” test; that is, whether the alien registration act is “substantially related to an important government interest”. Again, the issue of the $25 fee was found unconstitutional, a ruling that is unfavorable to President Toribiong and favorable to Bernadette Carreon and all of those unnamed foreigners in this class action suit.
Palauan Traditional leaders involved in car accident in Pohnpei
Last week, Palau traditional leaders Ngirakebau Roman Bedor and Ngirmang Moses Uludong were representing the Palauan Traditional Leaders to the Micronesian Traditional Leaders Conference in Pohnpei. During the trip they were both passengers in a car where the driver lost control. Both sustained injuries, but have safely returned to Palau for treatment. OTV sends its wishes for a speedy recovery.
Senates terminates American Lawyer and hires lawyer from Philipines
Senate legal counsel Ryan David Zinchefsky is an American lawyer licensed to practice in California. Mr. Zinchefsky attended McGeorge School of Law and the University of the Pacific School of Law. He has been SLC for the 8th OEK for well over a year, but was recently terminated from the Senate in early March, 2012 and given 60 days notice to find new employment. The reasons for his dismissal have not been released. The Senate has already hired another lawyer as Senate Legal Counsel. The new Senate lawyer is from the Philippines. Unlike Palau and American jurisprudence, which is based on common law, the Philippine legal system is based predominately on civil law elements derived from its 300 year colonization by Spain. Its Spanish, civil law is codified in the New Civil Code of the Philippines. This is the first time the Palau Senate has hired a lawyer from the Philippines to act as its legal counsel.
2012 Pacific Media Summit held in Fiji
The Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) hosted the 2nd annual Pacific Media Summit last week in Suva, Fiji. The theme of this year’s summit was Building a healthy and responsible Pacific media culture. The event was attended by many key players in Pacific Media and was honored with an opening speech from Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Josaia Banimarama. The Prime Minister noted the importance of the continued development of a locally grown, effective and responsible media industry in the region. Summit presentations and discussions included issues such as “building public trust in the media”, “the struggle of staying afloat in the modern media culture”, “reporting corruption responsibly” and “the power of sports in communicating vital issues” amongst others. I attended this event along with regional media partners, development partners as well as students from the Pacific including a group of student journalists from the Reporters Academy in Australia as well as students from the University of the South Pacific and the University of Fiji. The mix of seasoned professionals and up and coming journalists provided and ideal opportunity.
WHO, NZ & AU donate to Fiji flood disaster
Unfortunately that week a severe flood hit Fiji resulting in the Government of Fiji to declare a state of natural disaster for most of the country’s western division after widespread flooding killed seven and affected 150,000 people. To date, 12,000 people are seeking shelter in 170 evacuation centres. Air Pacific cancelled its flights for three days leaving many tourists stranded. The World Health Organization offered technical support to the Ministry of Health following the widespread flooding in most of the western parts of Fiji. WHO also assists in developing public messages on food safety in evacuation centres, enhanced surveillance for leptospirosis and typhoid fever. Neighbouring country New Zealand donated over four hundred thousand dollars to help flood relief efforts, and Australia contributed one point zero four million U.S. dollars on Monday.
Palauan girl suffering from bullet wound released from hospital
Amina Kocer-Bowman, the Palauan third-grader who was critically wounded when a gun in a classmate’s backpack accidently fired, was discharged from a Seattle hospital on Tuesday. She walked out of the hospital on her own. Amina underwent five surgeries after the Feb. 22nd shooting that shattered her elbow and ripped through internal organs. The bullet was fired from a .45-caliber handgun in the backpack of a 9-year-old classmate who brought it school. The gun went off when he dropped his backpack on a desk. The County’s prosecutor charged the boy’s mother and her boyfriend with felony assault for negligently allowing the boy access to the gun. They have pleaded not guilty. The boy recently wrote Amina a handwritten letter of apology which was a requirement of the boy’s sentencing when he pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges stemming from the shooting, which police say was an accident.
Police Blotter Highlights
Here are the highlights of the police blotter for the past week:
On March 30th Central received a report that R.E. Udui Barracks in Techemding, Koror had been burglarized. Suspects had pried open a padlock, entered the barracks, and had taken two laptops and two cell phones. The case is under investigation.
On April 1st, Central received a request for police assistance at the PCC dormitory. Officers responded and reported back that two male Chuukese had been involved in a knife fight. Dorsett Berdon, 23, was arrested for Attempted Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon.
And on April 2nd, Central received a report from Best Mart Store in Medalaii, Koror. According to the report, two male PHS students purchased food items with a counterfeit $5.00 bill. The case is under investigation.
PCC Telethon & Gentlemen’s Gourmet
Palau’s first ever telethon will be broadcasted LIVE from the OTV studios on Sunday April 15th from 4pm to 8pm to raise money for the PALAU COMMUNITY COLLEGE SENATE ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIP FUND. The four hour event will feature music acts, magic, comedians, cooking demonstrations and dances from Palau, the FSM and the RMI. In case your unfamiliar with how a telethon works, A telethon is a fundraising event broadcast on television that lasts many hours or sometimes even days, the purpose of which is to raise money for a charitable, political, or worthy causes. So tune in to OTV on Sunday April 15th from 4pm to 8pm and call in with your monetary pledge to support the PCC college senate fund.
AND DON’T FORGET on APRIL 21ST, THE 4TH ANNUAL GENTLEMEN’S GOURMET FOOD TASTING EVENT will be held AT the NGARACHAMAYONG CULTURAL CENTER. There’s always great food and raffles prizes and if you want more information call PCC at 488-2470.
And now here is Toni Soalablai with the weekly environmental update
Kayangel Declares 12 Nautical Miles of Nearshore Marine as Managed Area and Creates a Network of Protected Areas. O30th March, Governor Edwin Chiokai signed into law the Kayangel Conservation Act of 2012. The Act designates the entire tterritorial waters of Kayangel a managed area. The designation of its territorial waters and Ngkesol Reef Now expand from the Ngeruangel Marine Reserve previously designated in 1996. On land, the Act designates Ngeruings Important Bird Area as a Bird sanctuary. Through this Act, two of Kayangel’s natural sacred sites are designated as wildlife preserves. Further, the Act creates the Kayangel State Department of Natural Resources and Enforcement Services. The newly created department will be primarily responsible for implementing the Network’s management plan with the ability to enforce rules and regulations of the protected areas. The main island of Kayangel and Ngeruangel are two of the only three atolls in Palau, the third atoll being Helen Reef. All of the islands of Kayangel contain atoll forest that make up only 1% of Palau’s forest cover therefore are very unique habitats. Ngeriung is home to Palau and Micronesia’s largest population of the endangered Micronesian Megapode, on a single island. Kayangel reefs are traditionally known as productive fishing grounds and foraging grounds for turtles although recent observations indicate decrease of seagrass for reasons still unknown. this area is also an important nesting ground for Sea Turtles. The sand spit on Ngeruangel is also an important nesting site for terns. Kayangel’s natural features make the atoll a stunningly beutiful place with great potential for a thriving high-end low impact tourism industry if developed with caution. This recent move by Kayangel is a significant milestone for Palau in sustaining the nation’s valuable but limited natural resources. Thank you for watching this awareness and outreach for the protection pf Palau’ and Micronesia’s natural resources.
Delegation from Bikini Atoll visit Washington, DC for Meetings
A delegation from Bikini Atoll of the Marshall Islands was in Washington, DC for four days this past week to meet with various U.S. government officials regarding resettlement and financial issues related to Bikini Atoll. The delegation met with U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, to discuss the status of the resettlement of the people of Bikini. The Bikinians were awarded $563 million by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal in the Marshall Islands in 2001, but because of a lack of funding this claim has yet to be paid. The Bikinians’ lawsuit against the United States that attempted to enforce the Tribunal award was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011. ?The group also held a series of meetings with their attorney, Jonathan Weisgall, regarding numerous outstanding issues the Bikinians have with the US government.
Rapporteur Calin Georgescu speaking in Majuro
More than 50 years after United States ended its nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands, test-affected islanders in the Marshall Islands continue to “feel like ‘nomads’ in their own country,” said a United Nations Special Rapporteur after finishing a four-day visit to Majuro. Calin Georgescu said the governments of both the Marshall Islands and the United States, which tested 67 nuclear weapons at Bikini and Enewetak from 1946-1958, “bear the responsibility to find effective redress” for islanders affected by Cold War period weapons testing. Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Phillip Muller said after Georgescu’s press briefing in Majuro that his report will give momentum to Marshall Islands appeals to the United States for additional compensation, medical treatment programs and clean up of nuclear affected islands. Georgescu’s fact-finding mission for the United Nations Human Rights Commission will result in a report to the UN Human Rights Council in September.
Delegation from Bikini Atoll visit Washington, DC for Meetings
Namdrik Atoll has been recognized by the United Nations as a model for self-sufficiency, local food security and adaptation. It was honored by the United Nations Development Program’s Equator Initiative that recognized 25 programs from 133 nations. Namdrik is one of only seven chosen for recognition in the Asia and Pacific region. The UN is providing a $5,000 prize and inviting one representative to attend the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil in June to receive the prize. “This is truly a proud moment and great honor for our community to be singled out among the 800 contestants from over 133 countries, so we are still overwhelmed by the recent announcement,” said Namdrik Senator Mattlan Zackhras. “As small as we are, Namdrik Atoll is even more proud of the fact we in the Marshall Islands are among the first to have received such an honor.” The two other places in the Pacific recognized by the UN were in Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
The Philippines Now has Access to a Tuna Paradise
The 25 member-states of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission have lifted a two-year ban on some of the world’s prime tuna-mating waters. The commission approved a request by the Philippines to send its tuna fleet back into a section of the ocean called Pocket 1 and Pocket 2, as defined by the commission, as long as they report their catch and limit the fleet to 36 boats. The proposals by South Korea and the European Community to declare the pockets a free-for-all fishing zone were turned down. The ban was initially implemented in 2010 to stem the depletion of bigeye tuna, who call Pockets 1 and 2 home.
Adoption of MPAs Monitoring Protocol for Palau signed
On Monday April 2nd Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism, Harry Fritz signed the adoption of the MPAs Monitoring Protocol for Palau. We stopped by PICRC and spoke with the Minister and PICRC’s CEO Sandra Pierontozzi.
Niue Lights up the Pacific
An international agency is planning on using the tiny Pacific Island of Niue as the test location for a new advertising technology called ‘Cloud Painting’. The technology uses high powered spotlights with logos attached to the lights to project shapes onto a cloud filled night sky. Much in the same way the ‘Bat Signal’ lights up the skies over Gotham City, the testing of this technology will point the way to this Pacific Paradise and will be seen by thousands. The agency is currently on Niue Island and started testing on April 1st.
World’s Fattest Country Unveils New Tourism Slogan
The tiny South Pacific Island of Nauru, known for its spectacular beaches and obese residents unveiled a slick new marketing campaign designed to boost tourism yesterday. The new motto, “Feel Thin in Nauru,” refers to the fact that 94.5 percent of the country’s citizens are overweight. Nauru’s Minister of Tourism Hoku Detemano said that the campaign was primarily targeted towards Americans, since nearly 75 percent are overweight. Nauru even has hotels that are offer special gastric bypass weekends and their national airline offers an all-you-can eat deal on ribs, and an in-flight magazine called ‘Gigantic Asses.'”
Happy Easter and Happy Passover
The Jewish faith celebrates Passover this year on Friday evening, April 6, 2012. Passover is always on the first full moon after the Equinox, so its a celebration of springtime. You can also think of Passover as celebrating the Jewish people’s “Declaration of Independence” 3,300 years ago from their slavery in Egypt to freedom. Passover is the most celebrated Jewish holiday.
Passover lasts for 7 days. Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages, the words for “Easter” and “Passover” are homonymous. Happy Easter to everyone celebrating Jesus’s resurrection, which occurred three days after his crucifixion and Happy egg hunting!
And now here is Mike Fox with this week sports recap.
PFA final regular season games
Team bangladesh defeated biib strykers 7-2, goal scorers for team bangladesh: nijam – 1 goal (5th min.), malakai bitu – 4 goals (6th, 9th, 24th, & 36th min), lokman – 1 goal (23rd min), & samim – 1 goal (34th min) goal scorers for biib strykers: tiger – 1 goal (10th min) & leo mendiola – 1 goal ( 55th min)
In game 2 kramers f.c. defeated taj 3-0. goal scorers for kramer f.c.: noe campos – with the hat trick!
The Palau Football Association wraps up it’s 2012 regular season with two key matches this Sunday April 8th.
6 pm Kramer’s Football Club versus Belau Kanu Club and
7 pm The Taj versus Team Bangladesh
The top 4 teams advance to the playoffs and with seedings on the line it should be a competitive night of football action so come on out to the PCC track and field and cheer on your favorite team!
Insanity is back! The popular extreme fitness program fittingly titled “Insanity” resumes at PNOC gym Monday, April 9th at 4:55 pm. For more information contact Baklai at 488-6562 or 775-7662.
UEFA latest to expand Oceania coverage
In regional sports, The Union of European Football or UEFA just concluded a number of media rights deals to broadcast the UEFA EURO 2012 football championship in Asia and Oceania. Fiji TV has secured exclusive media rights in Fiji and Papua New Guinea and non-exclusive rights in the Pacific Islands and will show all 31 matches live across its pay-TV channels Sky Pacific World and Super Channel and eight matches on their free-to-air channels, Fiji One in Fiji and 31 games broadcast on EM TV in Papua New Guinea.
Female beach volleyball players allowed more clothing
And closing out this report with some Olympic news.
Female beach volleyball players will have the option of wearing less revealing uniforms at the London Olympics in an attempt by the sport’s governing body to respect the cultural beliefs of various countries.
The International Volleyball Federation says it will allow shorts and sleeved tops at the Olympics, in addition to bikinis and body suits already permitted.Oceania was already one the qualifying countries that allowed the clothing rule.If future outfits that might be more appropriate for the Pacific could be included then perhaps some day we’ll see Oceania Olympians feature ensembles like these.
If you have any other suggestions, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for watching the OTV weekend report. Have a safe weekend. J