The national government failed in its effort to stop the implementation of Koror State government’s new rock island and jellyfish lake fees. On Thursday May 31, case Associate Justice Alexandra Foster denied the national government’s motion to stop the implementation. Earlier reports shows that the Attorney General’s office filed a motion in court seeking a temporary restraining order against the increase. The national government filed the case arguing that there will be unspecified economic loss because tourists will travel elsewhere in light of the heightened fees. The court stated that nowhere in its briefing does the national government explain that this loss is not compensable by monetary damages. Because the national government failed to show irreparable harm the court denied its application for a temporary restraining order. The court also set a hearing on June 8th concerning the preliminary injunction. On June 1st, ailment the Koror State Government implemented the new jellyfish lake and rock island fees.
Japan pledges over $500M of assistance to the Pacific
Pacific Island leaders and government of Japan concluded the Pacific Alliance Leadership Meeting (PALM 6) in Okinawa. During the summit, Japan proposed an assistance plan in which Japan Prime minister Noda committed to making a maximum effort to provide assistance of up to $500 million to the Pacific over the next three years. The new funding assistance will address the five key issues discussed during the summit such as natural disasters, environment and climate change, maritime issues, sustainable development based upon human security and people to people exchanges. In response to natural disasters, Japan committed to improving Pacific Tsunami warning and mitigation in cooperation with the United States and other development partners. A catastrophic-risk insurance program initiative by the government of Japan in cooperation with the World Bank is also underway to assist the Pacific with natural disaster recovery. Japan will also hold an international conference this summer on disaster risk reduction. Pacific Island leaders and the government of Japan also agreed to strengthen its relationship and cooperation in terms of the environment and climate change, sustainable development, human security and maritime issues. The Pacific Alliance Leadership Meeting is a triennial event hosted by the Government of Japan.
Asia-Pacific must adopt policies to sustain growth and reduce poverty
Asia-Pacific nations must adopt low carbon policies to reduce poverty and sustain economic growth, according to a United Nations roadmap launched this week. The roadmap titled “the ESCAP Low Carbon Green Growth Roadmap for Asia and the Pacific: Turning resource constraints and the Climate crisis into economic growth opportunities puts forward a series of strategies to help Asia-Pacific countries deal with climate change and drive sustainable development. It proposes a five-track path of change with several policy options and examples, also calls for economic reforms in terms of regulation, governance, and infrastructure such as energy and transport. UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Executive Secretary said that if the region is to sustain the high economic growth that is needed to achieve development goals, then we must shift to a different growth trajectory. She further stated that the countries of Asia and the Pacific should lead the process by generating the regional momentum necessary to move towards a green economy capable of lifting people out of poverty and achieving inclusive, resilient and sustainable development.
Male suicide higher than Female in Palau
Male suicides are relatively higher than female suicides according to a statistics report from Criminal Investigation Division. Nearly 30 people have committed suicide from 2005 to May 2012 with a small percentage of them being female. Out of that number, only two were non-Palauan. According to the report, 2011 had the highest suicide incidents from the past years. However, since the beginning of the year three lives have been taken from suicide. Many factors contribute to the reasons why people commit suicide. According to Doctor Jasmine Vergara a psychiatrist from the Belau Hospital these factors include marital problems, lack of coping skills, a stressful family life or even a history of family suicide. Vergara stated that community intervention can reduce suicide cases and also said that if any suicidal symptoms are identified they must be addressed immediately.
Pacific has the most Expensive Internet in America
Most Americans enjoy internet through fiber to the home, high-speed cable service, and even 4G wireless broadband. However, studies show that this is not the case for US Pacific territories that suffer high prices and slow download speeds. Pacific territories have earned the distinction of having the most expensive Internet access in America. The best way to compare the services is the price of a megabit per second. Of the three U.S. Pacific territories, Guam is the most fortunate. It sits at the intersection of several major undersea telecommunications cables, so the DSL connection in Guam is similar to the prices paid by customers on the mainland. The Northern Marianas Islands are only 100 miles north of Guam, yet their Internet is much slower, and their prices are nearly five times higher than those in Guam. In American Samoa, the situation is far worse. It cost $175 for 768 kilobytes, which is still considered dial-up speed for businesses, making American Samoa the most expensive Internet in America. Studies show that slow connections and unaffordable pricing strangle economic development and prevent US residents in the Pacific from engaging in e-commerce, online learning, and telemedicine. Please submit the cost of internet from your island to OTV, so we can report on most and least expensive internet prices in the Pacific nations.
Fuel Prices falls in the Pacific
Fuel prices in the Pacific have reduced following the recent drop of world crude oil prices. In Palau, prices remained over $5.30 on average, but since the price decrease of crude oil, motorists can now tank on fuel as low as $5.19 in local gas stations. Since the beginning of this year, gas prices in Palau have remained over $5 a gallon. Fuel prices in Guam has also dropped anywhere from 10 to 20 cents per gallon according to online reports. In Palau, the community has been burdened with the increasing rate of water and power services, as well as cost of food and fuel. However with the recent decrease of local fuel prices people can are now able to save a few bucks at the pumps.
Bluefin Tuna caught in the U.S. reveal Radiation
Scientists and researchers found radioactive contamination carried by a bluefin tuna that was caught in US waters. According to reports, the bluefin tuna carried radioactive contamination leaked from Japan’s nuclear plants. The levels of radioactive chemicals found were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the coast of California in previous years. Previously, smaller fish and plankton were found with elevated levels of radiation in Japanese waters after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that damaged the Fukushima Nuclear reactors, however scientists did not expect the nuclear fallout to linger in big fish. According to scientists, big fish can metabolize and shed radioactive substances unlike smaller fish. During the research, scientist found that Fukushima was the source of this contamination. They found that blue fin tuna absorbed radioactive chemicals from swimming in contaminated waters and feeding on contaminated prey. They also found that even though they shed some of the radiation through metabolism they weren’t able to completely flush out all the contamination from their system. Researchers and scientists are planning to conduct another study to find out how radioactivity affects tuna populations this summer. Blue fin tuna are prized in Japan and its meat is popularly used in sushi.
Palau President meets Japan Prime Minister
Palau President Johnson Toribiong held bilateral talks with Japan Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Tokyo shortly after his arrival for the Sixth Pacific Leaders Meeting, which Japan hosted in Okinawa. During the exchange between the two leaders Japan Prime Minister welcomed President Toribiong to Japan and stated that he hopes that the four electric generators that Japan donated to Palau in order to respond to the recent power shortages there will help to resolve this problem. Prime Minister Noda further informed Toribiong that his government would be considering funding for the remaining request for power generator. The request, which President Toribiong personally appealed to Japan consists of 2-units of 5M engines that will give Palau additional 10MW electric power generation capacity. Prime Minister Noda also stated that he intends to make an effort to strengthen the friendly relations between the two nations.
Palau National Election Update
A couple of people have filed their nominating petition for the upcoming election, one of them ran during the 2008 national election while the other is a newcomer. Here’s Rolynda with more.
Current Senator Paul Ueki has also announced through a local newspaper that he will be running this year for the 9th OEK. Senator Ueki is the first of the incumbent Senators to announce his bid for another term in office.
Two states go to the polls for their State Elections
Kayangel State is the latest state to conduct its state election. Two people vied for the gubernatorial seats namely Esichang Moses and Jeff Titiml. The current eleven legislators including several new candidates were vying for the legislative seats. Unofficial results from the Election Commission shows Jeff Titiml leading the by 149 votes for the gubernatorial seat. Meanwhile several current legislators were voted back into office. New candidate Ricky Ngiraked received the most votes at 182. Aside from Ngiraked, three other new candidates were also voted to office according to the unofficial results. In the Hatohobei state election, Thomas Patris led with 48 votes for the gubernatorial position followed by Dominic Emilio. Jacqueline Victor, who was the only candidate for the office of the lieutenant Governor, received 77 votes. For the legislature at-large seats there were 11 candidates, with small number several each candidate. William Andrew received the most votes at 72. There are nine available seats for the legislative position. Like the Kayangel results, Hatohobei’s results are also unofficial and will be made official in a week or so.
Failed Guam buildup project creates new housing units
The decision to trim down Guam’s military buildup has weakened the demand for worker housing which has led some companies with related investments to adjust their business plans. For instance, Core Tech International Inc has opened affordable housing units, a commercial complex and a school facility instead of its original housing project plans. According to online reports, the company’s initial housing project was intended to accommodate over 8,000 temporary workers expected for the Guam military buildup. The draft environmental impact statement originally projected the influx of about 25,000 workers, which would require about 11,800 housing units in 2014. But since the number of marines to be relocated to Guam has been slashed by nearly 50 percent the plan was revised.
The Rufous Night-Heron is resident species in Palau. The adult is almost two feet tall with reddish brown feathers, light belly, yellow eyes and legs, and a dark crown. At low tide, Rufous Night-Herons can be seen flying toward coastal areas where they come down to walk or stand in shallow water to hunt for sea creatures that are exposed by the receding tide. They hunt by day or night. In the tidal flats, Rufous Night-Herons will eat almost anything that they can catch and swallow. They prey on fish, crabs, worms and occaisionally, small birds. Because of their varied diet, Rufous Night-Herons are a reliable index of the productivity of coastal waters. If the coastal marine ecosystem is healthy and productive, there will be ample food to attract Rufous Night-Herons. If productivity is reduced by climate change, over-harvesting, pollution or sedimentation, the Rufous Night-Herons leave the area and will not return unless productivity is restored. Occasionally, Rufous Night-Herons are found inland near ponds and swamps where they hunt for insects and other invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, small birds and rodents. It is not unusual to find groups of Rufous Night-Herons at landfills and aquaculture farms. These birds are probably waiting fir evening to hunt for mice, toads, cockroaches and other nocturnal pests. During breeding season, the legs, and sometimes the eyes, of an adult Rufous Night-Heron may assume a pink color, a signal that the bird is ready to mate and breed. Also during the breeding season, two or three white nuptial plumes appear on the head. Rufous Night-Herons build their breeding nests in trees near water. Young Rufous Night-Herons look very different from the adults. The body is smaller and covered with mixed brown and white feathers. Like the adults, young Rufous Night-Herons fly to coastal areas at low tide to look for food. When they arrive at the coast, the young birds will prey on the same sea creatures as the adults and are equally reliable indicators of the productivity of coastal marine ecosystems. Belau National Museum regularly monitors all shorebird and seabirds, including Rufous Night-Herons, at ten coastal stations established for the National Program for Monitoring Forest and Coastal Birds. Stations where sedimentation is high attract only one or two birds at most. Stations where the waters are pristine and productive may attract 60 or more Rufous Night-Herons at low tide. This study is called the National Program for Monitoring Forest & Coastal Birds. More information about Rufus Night-Herons and other coastal birds can be found in the State of Palau’s Birds book available at the Belau National Museum and Palau Conservation Society.
Thank you for watching this outreach program to increase awareness of species diversity and biodiversity for Palau and Micronesia. This was prepared by the Natural History Section of the Belau National Museum.
U.S. Labor Orders CNMI’s Casino to pay over $191K in Penalties
The U.S Department of Labor has ordered the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino, possibly the only Casino in the Pacific to pay over $191,000 in civil money penalties for violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act overtime provisions. On May 48th, San Francisco Administrative Law Judge granted a motion for summary affirming the penalties assessed by the Labor Department against Hong Kong Entertainment Investments Limited, company which owns the Casino and its President. According to reports, the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division investigated pay practices at the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and found that the employer withheld overtime earnings from over 300 employees. The Division also found that the company owed the CNMI government $30 million in unpaid taxes as of last year. The unpaid overtime wages were subsequently paid in full after the initial investigation.
Pacific Featured on SCUBA diving magazine issue
Scuba diving magazine, an international magazine known for its dive spots featured several sites from the Pacific in its May 2012 issue. Papua New Guinea, Palau and Solomon Islands were featured on the magazine this month with unique diving site, which are unknown to the diving world and possibly its citizens. In Palau, the Chandelier Cave was featured on the issue describing the location as an iconic dive site that gives divers a chance to view Palau’s limestone from the inside. The magazine also featured Mirror Pond Mane Island in the Solomon Islands, which is bursting with bumphead parrotfish to pygmy seahorses, and even saltwater crocodile. The magazine also features several diving sites in Hawaii, Florida and other areas.
Japan Government provides Grant to the Marshall Islands
The Japan government will provide a grant aid of up to $16 million to the Republic of Marshall Islands for improving domestic shipping services in the country. According to reports, a cargo passenger vessel and a landing craft vessel will be procured with the grant. Improving transportation services is one of the crucial development issues in the RMI. During a ceremony in Japan on May 23, Japan’s Minister Koichiro Gemba and RMI Minister Phillip Muller exchanged notes for the grant. Government of Japan is hoping the grant project contributes to the sustainable prosperity of the RMI, and enhances partnership and friendship between both countries.
Kiribati accesses PEC Fund for Solar project
Kiribati will be accessing $4 million from the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) fund to supplement its electricity supply through solar power generation. The Kiribati Solar Photovoltaic Grid Connected Project will involve the installation of a 400 kilowatt solar PV system that will be directly connected to the South Tarawa electricity grid, which will be the first of its kind in the country. The power generated from the solar PV system will contribute to the supply of approximately 3.7 percent of the total electricity production of Kiribati’s Public Utilities Board. Kiribati and FSM are the latest countries to access the PEC Fund. FSM is currently finalizing financing agreement on their PEC Fund projects before implementation begins.
Pacific prepares for Regional Conference
Representatives from various Pacific Island nations including CNMI, Guam and FSM were recently in Palau for a two-day meeting to prepare for the upcoming regional women’s conference, the 2012 inaugural Micronesian Summit in August. During the meeting, the representatives including President Toribiong and US Ambassador Helen Reed-Rowe discussed several matters and issues pertaining to the upcoming conference. Among the matters was the U.S Department of Interior of Insular Affairs grant, agenda topics, potential speakers and potential Pacific island women’s group participants. Also on the agenda is the establishment of the Women of Micronesian Exchange Network. Before departing Palau, the representatives participated in a dinner hosted by the Mechesil Belau and another by the Office of the President.
New Health center to Open up in Palau
The Ministry of Health and the Palau Health Center Board are preparing to open the newly constructed Palau Central Community Health Center. Here’s Rolynda with more.
Australia helps reduce dozens lost at sea
Dozens of people from the Solomon Islands, which included women and children, were rescued on Sunday May 27, after drifting on life rafts for nearly four days. The Australian authorities where reportedly called in to help with the search operation when the vessel that the group were traveling on failed to arrive at port. The Royal Australian Air Force spotted the passengers who were on five life rafts on the second day of the search. All those on the vessel had survived. The search operation was both conducted at sea and on air.
Titiml to represent Palau in a musical performance at 2012 Summer Olympic
Kendall Titiml has been invited by the Wantok Musik Foundation to represent Palau in a joint Pacific musical performance at the 2012 Summer Olympic games in London, England. Titiml will join 19 other musical talents from across the Pacific including talents from the Marshall Islands, FSM, and Guam. The show will musically demonstrate the unique culture and tradition in the Pacific. David Birdie, who is musically directing the show, stated that the performances will show off the diversity in Pacific Island culture and unite the region. It will also be dynamic in the areas of music, costume and dance. Will group will travel to London where they will rehearse and perform two shows in the lead up to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Titiml recently participated in the Global Voice of McDonald’s musical contests. He was one of two musicians who represented the United States.
Palau National President’s Day Celebration
Today Friday June 1st is Palau’s National President’s day, a day to honor past and present Presidents. Here’s Rolynda with more.
PML Playoff Game
In the PML playoff news, Airai has officially made it to the Championship round by defeating Team Koror. Team Koror has one last shot at redemption if they can beat Team Ngerbeched in a do or die, win and your in game tonight June 1st at Asahi Field, starting weather depending at 6pm.
Oceania Football Confederation Nations Cup kicks off June 2, 2012
Oceania Football Confederation Nations Cup officially kicks off tomorrow at Lawson Tama Stadium in the Solomon Islands. The OFC Nations Cup is an eight-team tournament that will decide which four teams advance to the next stage of World Cup qualification. Host Solomon Islands will also be joined by 2008 OFC Nation’s Cup winner New Zealand, in addition to Fiji and Papua New Guinea forming one pool and Tahiti, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Samoa rounding out the other group. A lot more than a shiny trophy and bragging rights is riding on the tournament as the winner of the Nations Cup also qualifies for next year’s Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Guam celebrates 25 years of ONOC announces 3 Olympians
This year the Guam National Olympic Committee will celebrate it’s 25th anniversary of becoming a full and independent member of the global Olympic family. Guam will also be able to proudly say they will host at least three Olympians at the games when Ric Blas Jr. became the first local athlete to officially qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. That is one big judoka, but you have to be to compete in the 100-plus-kilogram weight division. He previously qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Dunn, another Guam Olympian from the 2008 Games, was awarded a tripartite allocation for the sport of female wrestling in the 68-kilogram weight division rounding out the trio, Derek Horton qualified in the mountain bike event with Horton’s last appearance representing Guam was at the 2000 Olympics Games in Sydney, Australia.
USA Junior College Scholarship Available through ONOC
All you young athletes who aspire to be future Oceania Olympians! The USA Junior College Scholarship Program is being offered to all National Olympic Committee’s in Oceania. The applications process starts June 1, 2012 with Scholarships initially being available for the sports of athletics and swimming, but an exceptional candidate outside of these sports may also be considered. For local Palauan athletes who want more information, stop by the Palau National Olympic Committee Office or call Marcy Tellei at 488-6562. Application must be submitted to Palau NOC before July 31st .
Final Earthrace 5 Year Flashback. “Where are they now?”
May 2nd-31st 2007, the bio-diesel fueled trimarron affectionately known then as Earthrace, had to remove it’s bid to break the world record for circumnavigating the globe by power boat, when a leak was discovered in the hull off the coast of Malaga, Spain. For the past month we’ve been taking a walk down memory lane going through never seen before footage taken by yours truly and local Palauan Jennifer now known as Koskelin Gibbons. So what’s changed in the five years besides Jennifer’s last name. Well in most all of our cases, a lot! Jennifer is now a proud mother of two and happily retired from her sea-faring adventures. And Capt Pete? Well, you can say his life is a bit dramatically different. Earth race or Ady Gil lies somewhere beneath the Antartic Sea, Capt. Pete has a new love interest in the sexy new Sea Legs, a boat that can traverse both water AND land. According to the Earthrace.net website, Pete and his crew of eco- warriors are running missions with Sea Legs down in South Africa in an effort to discourage illegal fishing.You can follow along Pete’s adventures at earthrace.net. myself well, I’m still trying to finish my epic Earthrace documentary and at this pace, I’ll have it ready in time for the 10 year anniversary! But seriously, it’s still in the works and will be hopefully be making it’s debut very,very soon.
Rising Stars of the Sea
Out this sports wrap with one last it of self promotion, my other great passion besides sports is Music. And I am proud to have been a part of this little CD, Rising stars of the Sea performed by the very talented young women and men of Maris Stella. This is a fundraising CD support not only Maris Stella but one of the very few afterschool music programs in Palau, led by the extremely talented Tamara Okabe. Our very own Malo Paulis contributed as well as up and coming superstar Taka Emeschiol. It’s only $10 and you can find it at PCC bookstore in addition to the Maris Stella school and Sacred Hearts church for a limited time. Support the arts! and if you see this CD pick it up!!!