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$40M Taiwan Stimulus missing or unused?
In our top story this evening, more about on June 6, link Senator Chin submitted his report to the Senate President noting a balance of $40.3 million from the Republic of China- Taiwan stimulus grants covering 2002 to 2009, the entire administration of then President Tommy Remengesau that has now prompted controversy on whether the funds are missing or not.OTV spoke to Senator Chin about his findings and this is what he said:
[CAMSEK CHIN]: You used the term “missing” it’s not missing it’s not missing. If you see my report it says remaining balance. Remaining is totally different from “missing”. Remaining says here’s what was authorized and this is what remains. My report is based on the 2009 Audit report. In order to find out more information about the remaining balance, you’ll have the 2010 and 2011 Audit report. When we were using a grant from another country, it’s not necessary to spend that same year. For example, if we use a grant from the Taiwan government for a road project, let’s say in Iyebukel. It may not be completed in that same year, sometimes it’s two or three years after we received authorization from the donor country. This report only shows the total grants we have received, how much we’ve spent and how much remains. It could be pending a report for payment or the project has not been completed. During the last session, I submitted my report to all Senators including the Senate President. The Senate President assigned the Chairman of the Ways and Means to look into those things. To find out if the $40 million has changed. To determine if projects has been completed or we have passed the second phase and need payment. For example, Surangel company needs to finish the first phase, then asks the Republic of Payment. First you need to complete the first phase of the project, then ask for payment and inform the donor country before we can move on. That is process.
OTV also contacted the Embassy of Republic of China-Taiwan in Palau where they stated that as per records there are no missing funds; they also stated that the ROC government does not release funds until projects are completed.You can watch Senator Chin’s full interview on OTV.
Senator Baules Asked to Resign
On June 12, a day after Senator Hokkons Baules submitted himself to the Koror Jail to serve a 90 day sentence, Senator Joel Toribiong sent him a letter expressing his respect for the services that he has provided as a Senator, however as a fellow Senator and relative, Senator Toribiong believes that it is in the best interest of the Republic, the Senate and the OEK that Baules resigns immediately. He further stated that he believes that by resigning immediately it will be beneficial to his future political career. Senator Baules is serving a 90-day jail sentence for charges stemming from criminal assault and battery, verbal and sexual assault of his female employees at Fuji Restaurant. In additional to the jail term, Senator Baules will also serve 2 years and 9 months of probation following his release, pay fines and restitution as well as enroll in sex harassment and anger management counseling. He was also ordered by Judge Foster to write a written apology to all of the victims. While serving his sentence, Senator Baules will not be part of the work release program.
Sugiyama appointed as temporary Managing Director and CEO deemed improper
The appointment of Board Member John Sugiyama to the temporary Managing Director and CEO has been deemed improper.In a letter responding to PPUC Director Jennifer Gibbons, the law firm of Dengokl, Dimitruk and Nakamura issued a legal opinion regarding PPUC resolution 2012-02 to appoint Mr. Sugiyama. The opinion points to law which states that the board must delegate powers to the General Manager and that the GM and CEO must be a non-voting board member.
MOH seeks action to address threatened services
In efforts to seek immediate action to resolve ongoing budgetary and human resource issues that continues to threaten health services, the Ministry of Health has once again submitted an appeal to the Office of the President. On June 6, a letter was sent from the Bureau of Hospital and Clinical Services through the Minister of Health, which highlighted the critical need for financial support and commitment in order for the Ministry to fulfill its minimum personnel needs. The Ministry is reportedly seeking an additional $350,000 to hire and support various positions to maintain essential services. The letter also requests for a permanent funding allocation for the operation and maintenance of the decompression chamber. Due to ongoing financial constraints, the Ministry of Health has not been able to hire replacements for medical personnel who has either retired or resigned. This limitation has resulted with a significant decline in the number of medical staff at the Belau National Hospital.
Uighur issue to be discussed in August
In 2009, Palau agreed to temporary resettle six Uighurs after their release from Guantanamo Bay Prison. Today, the Uighurs continues to reside in Palau until they can be permanently resettled elsewhere. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell through a letter to the President informed him that he will be arriving in Palau in August discuss many bilateral issues including the Uighur issue. In his letter, Campbell noted that Special Envoy Daniel Fried continues to pursue permanent resettlement options with multiple countries on behalf of the Uighurs in Palau. Back in June, Campbell was scheduled to visit Palau to discuss and update the Republic regarding the Compact review that is still pending in the US Congress among other issues, but due to a scheduling problem he was unable to make the trip. In his letter, Campbell further stated that while efforts continue for the Uighurs permanent resettlement, it is important that they continue to take responsibility by demonstrating their willingness to be productive and self-sustaining members of the community.
Serbia Minister President of UN General Assembly, Palau named VP
The United Nations General Assembly has elected Serbia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremic as President of it’s 67th General Assembly and named Palau as one of its 20 Vice Presidents. According to the UN, Serbia’s Minister was voted as President by a secret ballot, a move that has not been done in more than 20 years. Following the election, the incoming President said that his country of Serbia is a small, developing country that belonged to no military alliance or political union. He further stated that, he is humbled to have received confidence of so many nations from all over the world to preside over the main deliberative, policy making and representative organ of the United Nations. Palau and other countries such as the Russian Federation, China, and the US were named as Vice Presidents, however election of an additional Vice President from among the African States would take place later.
Pacific voices to be heard at Rio+20 Summit
A time and date for the upcoming 67th General Assembly has not been announced yet. A Pacific Side Event at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil will be highlighted by messages from five Pacific Island Leaders.The side event, which is jointly run by regional UN agencies based in the Pacific, and Pacific Island countries and territories aims to highlight two main issues for the region: ensure oceans are firmly on the agenda, and to maintain the special case for small island developing states or SIDS. Ocean issues are being brought forward at the event by highlighting the Pacific Oceanscape, the first regional initiative that looks at ocean governance and management. In addition, the special case for SIDS has been in force since the first Rio Summit in 1992, however it was reinforced in Johannesburg in 2002. It is important an issue for the Pacific to ensure that it stays and allows for understanding that the challenges of sustainable development faced in thePacific remains the same, or in some cases has grown bigger over time. At this event, there will also be an opportunity for Micronesian Challenge countries to showcase their initiatives that have been put in place over the years in terms of setting up and managing marine protected areas. Melanesian countries through the Melanesian Spearhead Group will also showcase their initiatives in the areas of environment and climate change. The Pacific side event will be held on Tuesday June 19.
MOU to establish EducationUSA Advising Center signed
On Wednesday June 13, a memorandum of understanding was signed at Palau Community College for the establishment of the EducationUSA Advising Center in Palau. The MOU was signed by the United Sates Ambassador Helen Reed Rowe, PCC President Patrick Tellei, First Lady Valeria Toribiong, and EducationUSA regional coordinator Rosie Edmond. Under the signed MOU, the PCC shall provide a library space designated as the EducationUSA Advising Center. The EAC will house a collection of books, magazines, CD-ROMs and other prints and electronic reference resource materials about higher education in the US.
RMI upset over US College Scholarship cuts offs
The Republic of Marshall Islands officials are upset over the US government’s announcement of a three year phase out of funding for colleges scholarships. According to reports, the US Supplemental Education Grant, which provided up to $800,000 annually for the countries Scholarship Board will now be cut to $500,000 for the upcoming school year, and reduced to $300,000 and then $150,000 in each of the following years. RMI’s Minister of Education Dr.Hilda Heine said the Marshall Islands government is surprised by the US’s announcement as she understood that the issue was to go for a final decision at a joint US-Marshall Islands budget consultation in August. However, Nikolao Pula, US Interior’s director of the Office of Insular Affairs and Chairman of the Joint Economic Management and Financial Accountability Committee (JEMFAC) said the point of cutting back funding is to focus US money on strengthening basic education in the Marshalls. JEMFAC reportedly agreed to reduce US funding to college scholarships when a Marshall Islands report showed that only 14 percent of those receiving scholarships had graduated.
Pacific Countries to Benefit from Fiji Volunteer Scheme
The North Pacific may soon be receiving the assistance of specialized civil servants from Fiji.Representatives from Pacific islands including The Marshall Islands and Federated states of Micronesia met with the Fijian Ministry of Foreign affairs to discuss a plan that would provide retired Fijian volunteers with skills including teaching, nursing, agriculture, Administration, security and disaster management. The Fijian government stated that it has more than 2000 retired civil servants and three universities producing sufficient graduates every year how can participate in the Fiji Volunteer Scheme.
2012 Election Update
So as each week passes by we get more closer probably the most important decision making of the year of the general election on November 6th. This campaigning season is somewhat silent unlike the previous election years and aside from internet dialog there hasn’t been a lot of public discussions about candidates this far. However candidates have now set up their headquarters. In Meyuns, Koror Dr. Stevenson Kuartei had set up his headquarter who’s running for the Vice Presidents office. Another vice presidential candidate Jackson Ngiraingas had set up his headquarters in Topside, Koror. This week the election commission has not yet received any new nominating petition or registrations those who are interested in running this year’s election. Mr. Antonio Bells had already announce to run for the Vice President’s office through a local news paper.
OTV will keep on updating registrated voters and Palauan citizens of what’s going on in the election corner and counting the days until the general election.
And now here’s Yalap of PCS for this week’s environmental update.
Alii to all viewers in Palau and to all viewers in Micronesia. What are invasive species and why do we need to eradicate them? Invasive species are animals and plants including its seeds, eggs, spores, or other biological material capable of propagating that species, that is not native to that ecosystem; and whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. Monkey species in Angaur, Palau, are the Long-tailed Macaque Monkey. This species of monkey has a wide distribution around the world. These monkeys were introduced to Angaur and have become invasive species. The monkeys of Angaur are descendants of a pair of monkeys brought by German phosphate miners in the early 1900s. In just a 100 years, the monkey population has exploded. With abundant food source in Angaur island, they are able to multiply with just 5 months gestation period. The exploding population of monkeys in Angaur has huge negative impact on the island biodiversity and the environment, negative impact on small scale agro-farming, negative impact to the economy. A huge population of the Long-tailed Macaque Monkey carry the B-virus which is lethal to humans. So why the need to eradicate macaque monkeys in Angaur, Palau? The people of Angaur are not happy with the presence of the macaque monkeys. Sustainable farming is impossible far from the homes and outside the village, because the monkeys eat and destroy food crops and cash crops. According to the PCS led nation-wide Bird Survey in 2005, Angaur has the lowest bird diversity in Palau. This is because the monkeys eat bird eggs and sometimes eat the young. Here are pictures of some of the crops and fruits that are eaten or destroyed by monkeys. There is a law from the Palau National Code that prohibits transferring monkeys from one island to another island in Palau. Please respect and adhere to this Palau law. A lot of monkeys were taken out of Angaur as pets. This practice is against the law. Some pets have escaped to the forest in Babeldaob, Koror and the Rock Islands. If the macaque monkeys establish themselves in Babeldaob, it will be a recipe for loss of Biodiversity. The eradication of the long-tailed macaque monkey in Angaur has began. The people of Angaur and the government of Angaur, Palau Conservation Society, Island Conservation, and the Palau National Government are working together to implement this enormous program. Everyone must be aware and know information about this project, and gain knowledge and understanding about this very invasive long-tailed macaque mokey. In other news By executive order no. 12-01 from Governor Vicky Kanai, dated May 17, 2012, to create a State Resource Management Planning Team for Airai state. On the same day Governor Kanai wrote Palau Conservation Society to assist the team develop the Resource Management Plan for Medal Ngediull Conservation Area. The team had their introductory meeting on June 14 at Palau Conservation Society.
Thank you for watching this outreach program from Palau Conservation Society, that srtives to protect biodiversity of Palau and Micronesia.
ADB and Japan support safe port operations in FSM
In FSM news, work has begun for a port project that will improve the efficiency and safety of port operations in the country, which will ultimately lead to increased trade and improved access to public services.The project will reportedly address critical concerns for economic growth in the country.It will also improve domestic and regional connectivity to facilitate trade and access to markets, health and education services as well as support the fisheries sector.According to Asian Development Bank, the 600,000 grant from the ADB administered Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will lay the groundwork for the Pohnpei Port Development Project by conducting a transport sector stakeholder workshop, consultation meetings with FSM national and state governments as well as representatives of Congress. Acting Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration stated, the project will support efforts to ensure port operations meet international standards.
Sweden Ambassador presents credentials to FSM President
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden Lars Vargo recently presented his credentials to President Mori of FSM as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sweden to the FSM. Although Sweden and the FSM are two countries that are geographically far apart, Ambassador Vargo pointed out that both countries interests and policies in areas such as democracy, respect for human rights, economic growth and gender quality are very close. He further spoke of the necessity for FSM and Sweden as active members of the UN to cooperate in solving pressing issues of common concerns such as climate change and its devastating consequences. Ambassador Vargo is based in Japan is also accredited to the Republic of Marshall Islands and Palau.
Weather Interrupts Power in Palau
A huge tree had fallen on a power line at the Ikelau hamlet causing power outages in the area and in other areas in Koror. Workers of PPUC and PNCC are now repairing the power lines and other damages, and also clearing debris from cutting the trees. The incident was caused by a typhoon like weather consisted of strong wind and heavy rain. For those in Palau if you see trees or any type of debris disturbing the power lines please contact PPUC to take care of the problem, so there won’t be any power disturbances in the future.
Marshall Islands power utility to receive grant
The Republic of the Marshall Islands is reportedly receiving much needed help with their power company.The country’s debt stricken power energy company is said to receive $2.3 million in US grant for a major overhaul of one of its generators. According to the company’s general manager, in addition to the grant, the US Rural Utilities Service is providing the Marshalls Energy company with $2 million debt deferral that will allow the company to pay off fuel and other obligations. The US grant will only cover the overhaul of one of its two six-megawatt engines. The engine is reportedly several years beyond its deadline for an overhaul.
President Loeak mets with the Flying Doctors of America
The government of the Republic of Marshall Islands is currently looking into developing a long-term relationship plan with Flying Doctors of America (FDoA) as a result of lack of medical in the country. President Loeak and the members of the cabinet met with the President and Founder of FDoA to purse the possibility of bringing in US Board certified volunteer medical doctors to RMI on a three to four month rotating. According to reports, discussions has begun with the Ministry of Health on the long term relationship with the goal of concluding an agreement when the FDoA mission takes place in January 2013. The FDoA were in the RMI on a pre-mission trip that included visits to various areas in the country. FDoA is a nongovernmental organization based in Georgia that brings together specialized health professionals to conduct medical missions around the world.
PICRC Monthly Update
This month we’ll talk about sea cucumbers. Sea cucumbers are marine animals found on the seafloor worldwide. About 1,250 different sea cucumbers are found worldwide with the greatest numbers found in the Asia Pacific region. Sea cucumbers serve a useful purpose in the marine ecosystem as they help recycle nutrients. Sea cucumbers have male and female and during spawning season, usually in June, July and August, sea cucumbers travel to the top of the reef structures and release their gametes into the surrounding currents. Once the fertilization occurs in the water column, the fertilized egg develops into a free-swimming larva after three days of development. It swims about 10-40 days before settling on the bottom and the metamorphosing into a baby sea cucumber. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the sea cucumber nourishes the blood and vital essence, treats disorders of the kidney system, including reproductive organs, and moistens dryness, especially of the intestines. It has a salty quality and warming nature. Common uses include treating weakness, impotence, debility of the aged, constipation due to intestinal dryness, and frequent urination. Sea cucumber is traditionally served in the form of a soup. For nutrition, sea cucumber is an ideal tonic food with higher protein (at 55%) than most any other foods except egg whites (at 99%), and it is lower in fat than most foods (less than 2%). For modern applications, the dried or extracted sea cucumber is useful as a nutritional supplement, prepared in capsules or tablets. The fully dried material has a protein concentration as high as 83%. From the Western medical viewpoint, the sea cucumber is valuable as a rich source of the polysaccharide condroiton sulfate to reduce arthritis inflammation. It is said that as little as 3 grams per day of the dried sea cucumber has been helpful in significantly reducing arthritis. Sea cucumbers are harmless. Unfortunately, they are good to eat and are considered a delicacy by many cultures. Did you know that a ton of dried sea cucumbers will fetch as much as a million dollars in some countries? This has lead to uncontrolled exploitation of sea cucumbers around the world. In some places they have almost completely disappeared. Several projects (e.g Solomon Island) are currently underway to start growing sea cucumbers in aquaculture farms to try and reduce the fishing pressure on sea cucumbers. Sea cucumbers are seriously endangered in many parts of the world. As all other marine creatures, it is essential to protect both the Sea Cucumbers themselves and their environment to ensure the continuing survival of diversity in the oceans.
Saluda County Library donates to Mogmog
Moving on with more news in the region, children as well as adults in Mogmog will now have additional reading material at their community library with the generous donation of books from South Carolina. Director of the Saluda County Library Kayla Haynes led a joint effort with Friends of the Saluda County Library, a non-profit organization to put together a donation that consists of dozens of fiction books bound for Mogmog, Ulithi in the Federated States of Micronesia.The donation will be sent to Mogmog by the Habele Outer Island Education Fund, a South Carolina based charity established by a group of former Peace Corps volunteers who served as librarians and teachers in the FSM.The books will add to Mogmog’s community library as a source of education and excitement as the community has a very limited access to new literature.Other outer islands of FSM have also received book donations from Habele in the past years.
Palau Red Cross Honors Blood donor Heroes
June 14 marked the World Blood Donor Day and Palau recognized the day by holding a blood donation drive and honoring donor heroes of the year. And this year’s theme is ” Every Donor is a Hero”.
Palauan Soldier receives Unsung Hero Award
One of Palau’s Staff Sergeant Vanessa Kyota of Palau,39th Mission Support Group knowledge operations managers of the US Air Force received the Unsung Hero Award on Thursday June 7 at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. According to the Incirlik Air Base website the Top 3 presents the award monthly to Airmen who demonstrates superior job performance and exceptional leadership. Kyota is said to be the daughter of Palau’s Ambassador to the US Hershey Kyota.
The Japan Embassy donates to “judogis” Judo for Kids program
The Judo for Kids program received a donation of Judogis (judo uniforms) from the Japan Embassy this past week.Japan Ambassador Sadaoka presented the donation to the Palau Judo Federation with Minister of Justice John C. Gibbons accepting on behalf of the PJF.
PNOC Introduces Olympians
PNOC proudly introduced their Olympians this past week in a short intimate ceremony with parents and coaches. The athletes discussed logistics of the upcoming games and among the topics was dealing with the media. OTV put that to the test and it’s seemed that the palauan Olympians are a bit overwhelmed and yet excited to take on the challenge in participating the 2012 Olympics.
Also presented a check $30,000 to support the PNOC on their Olympism efforts.
Tahiti crowned Kings of Oceania
One team’s history is another teams misery. Tahiti’s 1-0 win over New Caledonia in the Oceania Nations Cup, marked the first time in the tournament’s history a Pacific Island country not named Australia or New Zealand ‚claimed Oceania’s biggest prize. The historic triumph was made possible in the 10th minute of the Finals, when a Lorenzo Tehau cross was flicked on by brother Jonathan and found its way to Steevy Chong Hue, who chested it down and volleyed for the score. Now Tahiti has a chance to add to the record books as they will compete with the world’s greatest football clubs at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil. New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert is taking considerable heat for the All Whites’ humbling third place finish, which they narrowly secured by defeating host country Solomon Islands 4-3. The result cost New Zealand a spot at next year’s Confederations Cup but, by making the top four, the team retains a chance of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Pacific Lifters Dominated Oceania Championships
The 2012 Oceania Weightlifting Championships and Continental Olympic Qualifications came to an end with Olympic bids on the line. In the men’s division only five spots out of nineteen countries were given to the Oceania continent. They are:
1st Australia with 148 points
2nd Kiribati with 142 points
3rd Fiji with 141 points
4th New Zealand with 139 points
5th PNG with 127 points
In the women’s division, only the top four countries received one spot each for the London Games. They were:
1st Samoa with 106 points
2nd PNG with 103 points
3rd Fiji with 98 points
4th Australia with 98 points
Manuel Minginfel, FSM, qualified for his 4th Olympics
Yap’s own three-time Olympian, Manuel Minginfel from the FSM, qualified on his own merit in the 62kg category and therefore he will be competing in London for Micronesia in his fourth Olympic Games. His performance in Samoa was called “brilliant,” and his total of 280kg placed him as the best pound-for-pound weightlifter in the tournament. Another Olympian, Itte Detenamo from Nauru also qualified on his own merit and therefore he will represent Nauru in his third Olympics. To qualify on your own merit you need to place in the top 15 in the world.
The 2012 Yap Games starts June 15th to June 24th
The 2012 Yap Games start today with their first two events, Baseball and Wrestling will begin shortly after the opening ceremony. Events include Soccer, Baseball, Basketball, Canoeing, Softball Fast Pitch, Tennis, Beach Volleyball, Volleyball and Wrestling. The Games will continue throughout next week and end on Sunday, June 24th, 2012.
That’s all we have for this week. Happy Father’s day and have a safe weekend. See you next week for more news.
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