Hello thank you for joining us for this week’s news report, treatment I’m Blaire Phillips and these are the news highlights for the week.
Senator Baules Sentenced to 90 days in jail for Criminal wrongdoing
In our breaking news, Senator Baules found himself today in Court for his sentencing on charges stemming from criminal assault and battery, verbal assault and sexual assault, including unwanted touching of his female employees at Fuji Restaurant. His criminal conduct is said to have begun as far back as 2006 and went on for years. Six former employees stood before Judge Foster today at the sentencing hearing and spoke of the suffering they endured while working for Senator Baules. Senator Baules’ private attorney from Guam told the Court that the Senator was prepared to immediately undergo anger management and sexual harassment treatment. Senator Baules spoke on his own behalf admitting to his wrongdoings but telling Judge Foster that he “loved” his employees. He also submitted a written statement to the press that his behavior toward foreign workers in Palau “fell short” of what they deserved and that he hopes that his case serves as a reminder to other employers to treat foreign workers properly. Both the Republic and Senator Baules asked the Judge for a suspended jail sentence, but Judge Foster instead imposed 90 days of incarceration with the remaining 3 years suspended plus a lengthy period of probation to follow.
Pacific to feel impact of global stock market falls
Pacific nations such as Kiribati, Palau, FSM and the Marshall Islands will be hit by the latest fall on the global stock markets according to the World Bank. Since the beginning of May, stock markets in Australia, US, Europe and Asia have all seen major falls and according to the World Bank small Pacific nations who rely heavily on trust fund revenue will be impacted. World Bank Principal Pacific Economist Vivek Suri in an interview with ABC Radio Australia says that because most of these trust funds are invested partly in stock markets, the decline in stock markets will not only have a direct hit in the capital value of the fund, but also the return that countries get out of it. Suri also stated that since these returns are important part of the budgets for these Pacific countries, they could feel some budgetary pressures. It may be very difficult for Pacific countries to protect their funds from what’s going on globally, however Suri states that a review of the trust funds portfolio might be a sensible option for some of the countries to take.
Asia-Pacific will contribute 40 percent of CO2 by 2015
Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions globally and will contribute around 40 percent of global carbon emissions by 2015 according to a United Nations report. The Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5) launched ahead of the Rio+20 UN Summit on sustainable development, which assessed 90 of the most important environmental goals found that significant progress had been made only in four objectives. According to the report, rapid economic growth over the past 20 years, particularly in larger economies in the Asia-Pacific region has been accompanied by increasing emissions of greenhouse gases and degradation of natural capital. It also states that the world continued to speed down an unsustainable path despite over 500 internationally agreed goals and objectives for sustainable management. The goals include eliminating production and use of substances that deplete the ozone layer, increasing access to improve water supplies and research to reduce pollution of the marine environment. Little or no progress where detected for several goals that included climate change and drought. According to the UN, if current trends continue, governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation.
MOH struggles to operate decompression chamber, KSG proposes annual donation
Thousands of divers travel to Palau each year for its spectacular diving spots, however if divers suffer from decompression illness commonly known as bends they won’t be able to find treatment on island. Although the Belau National Hospital is equipped with a hyperbaric chamber, an equipment that provides treatment for such illness it is currently not operational. According to reports, the chamber is not operational not due to mechanical problems, but due to lack of medical personnel to operate it. There are no medical personnel that are dedicated to operating the chamber reportedly due to financial constraints. PVA Managing Director has written to OEK urging them to reconsider the Ministry of Health’s budget to appropriate funding for the operation of the chamber. Meanwhile, the Koror State Government who has recently implemented a new increase in rock island and jellyfish lake fees are trying to address the issue by proposing to donate 10 percent of fees collected annually to the MOH for the operation of the decompression chamber. The proposal was introduced by Speaker Eyos Rudimch on June 5 and is now pending in the committee of Ways and Means. At the meantime, the chamber is still not operational and without a dedicated staff to do so.
Palau launches photojournalism book on climate change
In collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Southern Illinois University, the Ministry of Health launched a photojournalism book showcasing the public health impacts of climate change in Palau. To raise awareness about public health impacts of climate change, SIU Journalism instructor and three journalism students created an ad campaign, created and designed a photojournalism book and also launched a website. During the course of their research in Palau, the students captured thousands of photos displaying salt-water intrusion in taro patches, sea level rise, fishing, and other climate change impacts. Interviews with locals who are indirectly or directly impacted were also conducted and can be viewed online. The project was undertaken to raise awareness to the community about the impacts that climate change have on public health, culture and the overall livelihoods of Palauans. According to MOH, the book and the website are tools that can be used to address climate change and raise awareness locally and internationally.
Diabetes on the rise in the Pacific
The widespread presence of diabetes and deaths as a result of the disease are rising in the Pacific region according to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. SPC Non-Communicable Disease advisor says diabetes is on an increasing trend, with highest death rates in the Marshall Islands, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. According to SPC, in Fiji alone, the rate of diabetes-related amputations has almost doubled over the last five years. In 2010, the Pacific Islands Health Officers Association declared a regional state of health emergency due to the epidemic of non-communicable disease in the Pacific. Diabetes, heart disease and other NCD’s where recognized by health officials as the main cause of deaths in the Pacific. However, SPC notes that diabetes-related deaths have continued increasing over the last few years. Health experts has also expressed that those who are diabetic are more susceptible to tuberculosis, which is also another issue. According to the World Diabetes Foundation, non-communicable disease including diabetes accounts for 60 percent of all deaths worldwide. The Palau Ministry of Health is currently conducting a nationwide survey on NCD’s to develop strategies to prevent and control chronic illnesses and improve existing interventions on island.
ADB and Australia approves $2.6M aid to the Pacific
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $2.6 million regional technical assistance project, supported by the Government of Australia, to boost aid coordination in the Pacific by expanding ADB’s field presence in the region. The new assistance will allow ADB to continue to operate existing ADB Development Coordination Offices in Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. The second phase will establish similar offices in Cook Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. In these countries, ADB has been supporting infrastructure planning and services; water supply; renewable energy and energy policy; public financial management; and public sector reform. The Australian Agency for International Development grant will also fund the recruitment of an infrastructure specialist for the Development Coordination Office in Solomon Islands, and an administrative assistant in the World Bank Country Liaison Office in Kiribati to support ADB operations in country. ADB will be the executing agency for the technical assistance, which will be implemented over two years.
Palau nominated for international policy award
Palau is on the list of nominees for this year’s Future Policy Award its Protected Areas Network Act and Shark Haven Act. Palau joins 21 other countries across the globe with nominated policies ranging from national ocean policies, integrated coastal zone management plans to policies regulating fisheries. Some of the countries that are also on the list of nominees include Kiribati, Japan, New Zealand and the US. The Future Policy Award celebrates policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations. The award is granted by the World Future Council, an international policy research organization that provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. The winning policies will be announced at the UN headquarters in September of this year followed by an award ceremony in October convened by the World Future Council in partnership with the UN Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Global Environment Facility and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Four Palauans face criminal charges for taking dugong
Four Palauans are facing several criminal charges for taking dugong and berried lobsters. According to court records, the four defendants are facing at least 13 counts of criminal acts ranging from taking, possession, aiding and abetting or export of dugongs and female-berried lobster. Last year, Palau Division of Fish and Wildlife received reports of possible sighting of dugong skins and intestines at the Ngatpang State Dock. After investigating, Fish and Wildlife officers found a dugong head and various other parts inside a yellow sack. Further investigation and reports from a confidential informant who witnessed the defendants unloading the dugong meat at the Ngatpang dock gave authorities additional information to identify and charge the suspects. The suspects reportedly admitted to killing, possessing and consuming dugong. Dugongs are endangered species and are prohibited from killing or taking according to Palauan law. Female-berried lobster is also illegal to take or kill. Dugongs usually give birth to one calf every 3 to 7 years, which is why they are highly protected around the world.
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More and more candidates are now filing their nominating petition with less than two months left until it’s closing on August 8. There is only 77 days left before the closing of the registration to vote and filing of nominating petition for candidates of this year’s general elections slated for November 6, 2012. The election registration and the filing nominating petition of candidate closes on August 8th. And so far there are 14 people who have officially filed their nominating petition with the election office. Five people have filed in their nominating petition for the office of senate, 9 people turned in their petition for the House of Delegates. Two people namely Caleb Otto and current senator Joel Toribiong have filed their petition this week and also this week for the HOD the current delegate of Angaur state Horace Rafael and current delegate of Ngatpang state Jerry Nabeyama also filed their nominating petition with the election office. And also for this week the Minister of Health Dr. Stevenson Kuartei has declared his candidacy to run for the vice presidential office along with the current Vice President Kerai Mariur, and Jackson Ngiraingas also filed their nominating petition for the office of vice president. Once again there aren’t much campaign going on, however there are reports that there are house to house campaign. The current president Johnson Toribiong and presidential candidate and senator Tommy Remengesau Jr. celebrated the 2012 Palau Presidents Day in Portland, Oregon hosted by the registered voters themselves and palauan citizens residing there. Where Johnson Toribiong and Tommy Remengesau Jr. did their campaign and spoke to the citizens during the event. OTV will keep you up to date with more election update and if you want a quick update you can go to oceaniatv.net and click on the 2012 general election updates.
US DOI awards Pacific students scholarship for 2012 Junior Statesmen program
The US Department of Interior has awarded several high school students in the Pacific a full scholarship to participate in the 2012 Junior Statesmen Summer School, the 2012 Presidential Election Symposium and the JSA Diplomat Summer School in Beijing, China. Outstanding students from the Pacific including the Marshall Islands, Palau, Guam and FSM were awarded with the DOI scholarship, which covers all tuition costs and transportation. Several other students were also granted admission, but did not receive scholarships. In Palau, five students were awarded with a full scholarship including Dildanges Sumang from Palau Mission Academy who will be participating in the 2012 JSA Diplomat Program in Beijing. Seventeen other students from Palau were granted admission. The JSA program brings students from across the US and the Pacific to partake in a summer school program that provides advance college curriculum in Government and Speech where students can develop and polish their leadership skills. JSA Summer School sessions are conducted in Stanford, Princeton and Georgetown University. This year, some of the students from the Pacific will participate in the Beijing JSA Diplomat program where they will have a hands-on experience with Chinese culture and develop leadership skills on political, economic and social issues through interaction with Chinese officials.
Bureau of Arts and Culture participates in visual anthropology workshop
An Anthropologist from the University of Florida recently concluded a 3-week visual anthropology workshop with staff at the Bureau of Arts and Culture. Dr. Alan Burns had been conducting a training course with the staff at the office of Cultural and Historical Preservation on the visual anthropology, photography, video and editing. The training was a success a lot of people were able to catch up on doing still photography, lighting and composition, adjusting sound levels, went to archeological sites, did oral history interviews, and visited the senior citizens doing their weavings. Everything they have gathered will be edited and documented for future purposes.
Futuristic Warship for Asia Pacific
A super-stealthy warship that is being developed for the U.S. navy’s China strategy seems to be out of a science fiction movie. At more than $3 billion per ship the futuristic vessel will be able to sneak up on coastlines virtually undetected and pound targets with electromagnetic “railguns”. With the first of the new ships to be delivered in 2014, the stealth destroyer is being heavily promoted by the Pentagon as the most advanced destroyer in history. It has been called a perfect fit for what Washington now considers the most strategically important region in the world — Asia and the Pacific. The DDG-1000 features a wave-piercing hull that leaves almost no wake, electric drive propulsion and advanced sonar and missiles. The U.S. Defense Department is concerned that China is modernizing its navy with a near-term goal of stopping or delaying U.S. intervention in conflicts over disputed territory in the South China Sea or involving Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province. China is now working on building up a credible aircraft carrier capability and developing missiles and submarines that could deny American ships access to crucial sea lanes. The U.S. has a big advantage on the high seas, but improvements in China’s navy could make it harder for U.S. ships to fight in shallower waters. The stealth destroyers are designed to do both.
And here’s Yalap of PCS for this environmental update.
Palikir community faced with poor water quality and unfair fees
The community of Palikir in Pohnpei is faced with poor water quality and unfair water service fees. In 2005, the FSM national government turned over the water system to PUC, where they begun installing meters and adding new water services to the area. The water is now supplied by a well ran by an electrically powered pump. However, in the event of a power outage, water is muddy brown. The water situation has even caused students from Palikir Elementary School to miss school due to stomach aches and diarrhea possibly from water contamination. Water meters are also another problem as some of the residents are metered while others aren’t. Apparently, some residents or property owners have chased PUC employees with machetes in the past, which is why some areas are not metered. The residents are also concerned about water pipe leakage and quality of water in the rivers. Expressing their concerns about these issues, the community members then met with a PUC representative, who promised to bring their concerns to PUC for a solution. However, the community members have not heard anything from PUC since the meeting. A community representative contacted PUC for a follow up, but was told to write a formal letter.
Two mariners rescued near Chuuk
Two mariners who were lost at sea were rescued on Tuesday July 6 after a Marine Corps aircraft spotted them 60 miles northwest of Chuuk. Search and Rescue efforts were sparked after the mariners were overdue for their arrival in Chuuk by two days. The US Coast Guam in Guam and visiting Marines joint efforts in the search for the two men on board a 23-foot skiff. After the Marine aircrew spotted the mariners, they dropped a life raft containing an aviation radio, food, water, flares and signaling devices for the two mariners while they waited for a rescue vessel to arrive. Two hours after they were spotted, the Marine vessel Solar Africa took the mariners on board. A Chuukese fishing vessel then transported them back to Chuuk. The Marines who volunteered to help in search were in Guam and Tinian participating in the 2012 Exercise Geiger Fury.
Ocean robots dropped near Kiribati for research
A total of thirteen ocean robots will be dropped over the equator near Kiribati to monitor the ocean. The high-tech versions of Argo float, an automatic ocean sensing robot will help scientists monitor and understand the ocean processes behind El Niño and La Niña events. The latest generation of Argo floats is upgraded with satellite phones, which allow the data to be transmitted back to shore in minutes compared with older versions, which took hours. The floats will collect temperature and salinity data between 6000 feet depth and the ocean surface. The data are also available in near real-time to be used for oceanographic research, climate research, fisheries research, weather prediction, and education. Scientific crew from NOAA has dropped a total of nine to date near Kiribati’s Phoenix Island group. The remaining four will be deployed soon near the Line Island group.
New Sonsorol Governor visits the Southwest
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With assistance from various organizations, Governor Yangilmau of Sonsorol and the members of his administration visited the Southwest for a few days. Governor Jacob Yangilmau along with various organizations such as PPUC, EQPB, and PCS visited Sonsorol state to check on the solar system, which is found in Sonsorol, Pulo Ana and also Merir. So they went down and assessed the household and also members of EQPB went there to collect trash that drifted from other countries and landed on the shore of Sonsorol. Members of PCS and help of EQPB also went to Pulo Ana to remove the fishing net from the Klarissa II fishing vessel, which the boat is found abandoned on the reef. They also found out that the dispensary in Sonsorol needs to be renovated, and Pulo Ana needed a dispensary as soon as possible. Governor Jacob Yangilmau would like to thank those who put a lot of effort to making this trip a success and hopes the government could also join to help better and assist the people of Sonsorol state and Pulo Ana.
Palau is a new member of the International Labour Organization
Palau has become the 185th member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) following receipt of letter in Geneva stating that Palau accepts the obligations of the Constitution of the ILO. ILO is an international organization that is responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards. It is the only tripartite United Nations agency that brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to jointly shape policies and programmes promoting decent work for all. Other ILO members include Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, and Vanuatu.
Lunar Eclipse Causes Concern
On the evening of June 4, 2012 Pacific islanders across Micronesia witnessed a partial lunar eclipse. Most were not aware of this phenomenon prompting calls to a variety of government and news agencies. The partial eclipse which is caused by the shadow of the earth falling on the moons surface was partly visible from western United States and Canada while people in Hawaii, Micronesia, New Zealand, and central and eastern Australia witnessed the entire event. The eclipse, which occurred over a three-hour period, obstructed nearly half of the moon at its peak.
Cases of cannibalism in US impends zombie apocalypse
Humans eating other humans has prompted the US Federal Government to issue a statement through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that “CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms),” in a statement from spokesperson David Daigle in an email to the Huffington Post. In the last 3 weeks, 3 cases of cannibalism have spurned speculations of an impending “zombie apocalypse”. In Miami, police shot and killed 31 year old, Rudy Eugene, for attacking and eating the face of a homeless man. The victim survived but doctors have had a hard time figuring out how to put the man’s face back together. Another disturbing incident involved a Maryland college student, Alexander Kinyua. Kinyua admitted to killing his roommate, eating his brain and heart and then disposing of his other body parts in his parents’ basement. A third flesh-eating crime occurred in Canada where police are searching for Luka Rocco Magnotta, a low-budget porn actor who reportedly killed and ate a male victim and then mailed parts of the victim’s body to Ottawa. These recent reports caused ‘zombie apocalypse’ to be the 3rd most widely searched Google term as of last Friday. Max Brooks’ “Zombie Survival Guide” defines Zombies as an ‘animated corpse that feeds on living human flesh’. The book also states that a virus called Solanum is responsible for turning corpses into Zombies. To date, scientists have yet to discover the isolated virus in nature. Miami police believe the violent attacks to be related to a hallucinogenic drug commonly known as “Cloud 9”.
Man suffers second degree burn from sunscreen
A Massachusetts man is still recovering from second-degree burns when the sunscreen on his skin was set on fire by a grill. Brett Sigworth was grilling on his deck when his body suddenly caught on fire. Sigworth sprayed onto his skin a Banana Boat spray-on aerosol sunscreen immediately before lighting the grill, when the flames from the grill set his skin on fire. His burns showed up in the areas where he had sprayed. He says he doesn’t plan on suing the company. However Banana Boat did address the incident saying that they are taking the matter very seriously and will begin a prompt investigation. Sunscreen is not flammable in its usual form, but when sprayed out of an aerosol can particles that remain in the air can set fire.
Miss USA Crowned
A 20-year-old cellist from Rhode Island has won the Miss USA crown and will represent the United States in this year’s Miss Universe pageant. Oliva Culpo won after voicing her support for transgender beauty queens. Cuplo faced with the most difficult question of the night: “Is it fair that a transgender woman wins the Miss USA title over a natural-born woman?” Culpo said “there are so many surgeries and so many people out there who have a need to change for a happier life, I do accept that because I believe it’s a free country,” An organizer said that Cuplo was having a rough time, but she came out on top. The pageant in Las Vegas had three competitions: swimsuit, evening gowns and an interview question.
Palau hosts Transpacific Nature Preservation event
Hundreds of students from Palau, Japan and the Republic of China-Taiwan this week participated in the 2012 Transpacific Nature Preservation Program event. On June 2nd, 2012, at the Palau national track and field where there are students from Japan Izumi High School, and students from Dai Young Senior High School of China, along with Palau students from Palau High School, and Mindszenty High School representing Palau in this Transpacific Nature Preservation Program. These students are here to perform various types of performances from singing and dancing both traditional and modern, and also teaching each other different languages such as Palauan, English, Japanese and other types of presentation. Here’s a quick highlight of the event.