Wheldon Gideon found Guilty of Bank Robbery
In our breaking news, price On Friday, page June 29th Weldon Gideon was found guilty in the robbery case of Asia Pacific Commercial Bank that took place in May 2011. Judge Foster handed down a guilty verdict on one count each of robbery, grand larceny, conspiracy, money laundering, false arrest, assault, and malicious mischief. He was also found guilty in another case for obstruction of justice for intimidating a witness; however, he was found not guilty of burglary and malicious mischief in the break-in at the Ministry of Finance office. A sentencing date has yet to be set.
Ban on Micronesia mail packages lifted
The United States Postal Service, United Airlines, FSM, Marshall Islands and Palau officials were blindsided this week when the U.S.Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) ordered a new regulation, implemented immediatelyrequiring all packages over one pound to be x-rayed. Postal and airline officials said they were given no notice by TSA, and an initial request by United Airlines to delay the directive was rejected by TSA. Because FSM, Palau and RMI currently have no capacity to meet TSA’s requirements to screen packages, it forced an abrupt halt to package mail delivery essentially threatening the viability of local post offices and businesses. But thanks to the quick actions made by the U.S Embassy, mail delivery will continue to flow as normal. Although services will continue without further interruptions, its temporary while necessary training and provision of equipment happens.
Koshiba proclaims “the integrity of the Senate is on the line”
Joshua Koshiba was first elected to the Palau Senate in 1980 and served the Senate for a record number of terms. After more than 30 years as a lawmaker, in 2008 he was proclaimed Dean of the Senate in recognition for his service to the nation. Former Senator Koshiba has now spoken out and in a letter dated ,June 26, 2012 and warns the Republic that the integrity of the Senate is at stake. His letter calls for the resignation and expulsion of Senator Baules and Senator Remengesau. As for Baules, he refers to hiscurrent incarceration for assault while he continues to receive his Senate salary. As for Senator Remengesau, Koshiba points out that Remengesau suffered a criminal conviction for failure to disclose information regarding his assets and particularly his property ownership. Koshiba argues that Remengesau is in debt to the Republic to the tune of $156,000 from the fine imposed by the trial court and upheld on appeal. Finally, Koshiba cites the Appellate Court’s findings that Remengeasu tried to cover up a cash for land transaction which took place in prison with the prisoner who assassinated President Haruo Remeliik in 1985. Koshiba’s letter is focused specifically on members of the Minority and makes no mention of the prior criminal convictions of al least three other Senators in the majority.
Senate President Asks for Report on Senators Baules and Remengesau
At the 17th Senate Session on June 26, 2011, the Senate body did not take action to discipline Senator Baules as some had suggested. Instead, the Senate President assigned the, Floor Leader, Senator Oilouch, to report on the matters of Baules and Remengesau . The exact task for the report is unclear and there was no deadline given for when the report should be completed. According to the Senate Journal, the Senate President explained that we are not here accusing anyone and the public should see that the Senate is working together and not hurting or setting up each other.
Palau Court upholds freedom of expression
On June 26, 2012, Associate Justice Foster issued a 62-page decision upholding Palau’s Constitutional right of free expression in Marbou vs. Koror State. In a landmark decision, the Court held that you cannot be punished in the workplace for openly and publicly supporting a political candidate. Koror State Government and Governor Adachi were sued by Alan Marbou, Darvin Inabo, Lamp Minor, Cleoffas Iyar and Misia Orrekum following AdachI’s successful re-election. Each of these Koror State employees openly supported Adachi’s opponent, Alan Seid, in the 2009 governor’s race and all suffered termination or demotions after the election because of their pro-Seid political support. The Court found that Governor Adachi’s retaliatory actions violated the law. At the weeklong trial, Adachi testified that his adverse employment actions against Plaintiffs were based on his efforts to save money for the Koror State budget, but the Court found his justification unconvincing. In fact, the Court called Adachi’s excuse a budget smokescreen and not credible in light of the fact that he took no action to save the budget with respect to the 300 pro-Adachi Koror State employees. The Court determined that Governor Adachi impermissibly punished Plaintiffs for political reasons because they voted for Seid and expressed their political views publicly. The Court awarded Plaintiffs lost wages and reinstatement of their former positions, along with fringe benefits such as pension, medical, social security payments and unused leave.
PALARIS struggles to maintain operation due to lack of funding
With only two full time employees and a third employee, whose employment contract is in jeopardy, and lack of funding, the Office of the PALARIS under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce is in the verge of shutting down completely. In an email plea to several Palauan Senators, government and non- governmental agencies including friends and associates, SLM Project Coordinator Madelsar Ngiraingas who has worked jointly with the PALARIS office for the last four years asks for support, advice, and guidance to improve the situation that the office is facing.Within the last year, the office has lost five employees. Now the office employs only two workers who are both GIS Assistant Analysts. Ngiraingas further noted that for the last four years, the SLM project has been supplementing the operational costs of the office along with other small partnership grants. PALARIS’s budget over the past years has not been able to support even personnel salaries. The office faces a critical challenge with the SLM project coming to close at the end of this month.
Palau highest number of Marijuana users
The Republic of Palau has the highest rate of marijuana users according to the World Drug report published by the United Nations. The report states that nearly a quarter of people in Palau aged 15 to 64 smoked pot in the last year. Although Palau takes first place in list of countries with the highest annual prevalence of marijuana use, other Pacific territories also had high. CNMI is rated second with 22.2 percent, two percent below Palau with Guam following at 18.4 percent. Surprisingly, developed nations such as United States and Canada where further down the list. Though plans to legalize marijuana use in Uruguay is under debate, the country’s users are rated at 5.6 percent.
Presidents Sends Back Maternity Leave Bill to Senate
Palau President Toribiong has referred the Maternity Bill back to the Senate for drevision. In his letter to the Senate President Toribiong stated that I must agree with the Palau business community that Palau’s economy and employment pool is not mature enough at this time for such a generous maternity leave policy to be imposed on the private sector. The business community who is already struggling with increased operational costs has largely welcomed the referral. The Bill would have required for both parents to receive a minimum of two months paid leave for birth, adoption, and caring for a child regardless of the childs age, parents status, job position or work status.
Rio declaration endorsed by world leaders
More than 100 world leaders has put their stamp of approval on the new United Nations declaration on sustainable development titled the Future We Want at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. Endorsing the consensus decision with some reservations, the US, Canada and Venezuela, announced at the final plenary that they will submit their specific concerns to the UN after the conference. The declaration isn’t legally binding, but a framework of commitment for countries to work towards sustainable development. For the Pacific, the new declaration is celebrated because it reflects most of the positions of the Pacific and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Ambassador Collin Beck of Solomon Islands said the Brazilian Presidency steered the negotiations to its successful outcome. It means a lot in the sense that we were able to come out with an agreement.Prior to that, it was not possible to see an outcome.During the negotiations only 37 percent of the text was agreed. That speaks of the divided interests in the negotiations. Another important milestone in the declaration is the inclusion of oceans in the declaration.
Philippines Fisheries eyes fish catch hike in the Pacific
The Philippines Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is eyeing to increase fish catch this year after the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) allowed the entry of Filipino fishing vessels in the high seas. irector Perez said the bureau is expecting to regain around 70,000 to 80,000 metric tons of tuna before the year-end. Filipino fishermen can start fishing in the high seas pocket 1 in the Pacific Ocean by September this year.The High Seas Pocket covers the high seas bounded by the exclusive economic zones or EEZs of the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, Perez said. he Philippines in December last year sent a team to Palau to negotiate with officials of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission for the reopening of High Seas Pocket 1 which was closed to address the overfishing of various types of tuna such as big-eye, yellowfin, skipjack, and South Pacific albacore. According to reports, international body allowed the country to fish in the Pacific after proving that the Philippines is a spawning ground for tuna.
Supreme Court search for new Associate Justice
In light of Associate Justice Foster’s resignation, the Supreme Court of Palau and the Judicial Nominating Commission are in search of a new Associate Justice. Alexandra Foster has been employed by the Supreme Court as its Associate Justice for nearly four years, however in May she tendered in her resignation as a result of a family decision to move back to the United States. The Judicial Nominating Commission, Chaired by Chief Justice Arthur Ngiraklsong is now seeking a replacement and asking candidates to turn in their application by August the meantime, Foster’s resignation will go into effect on July 10. The new Associate Justice will receive an $80,000 salary, including housing and relocation costs for off-island appointee. The Court has a total of three Associate Justices, all women.Once Foster leaves, the court will be left with two namely Kate Salii and Lourdes Materne.
Apple App store to launch in the Pacific
Apple’s App store will be extending its reach to the world including the Pacific. At the recent Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the Apple store would be hitting another 32 countries. According to Apple Insider online, countries where App store will be launched will include the Pacific countries such as Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Solomon Islands. Apple users in the Pacific will be able to access the App store more easily when launched by the end of the month.The App store is Apple’s official online application distribution system for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Users will be able to download games, movies, music, books, magazines and other applications or products provided by the App store.
Palau-Japan signs $22M grant for generators
On June 27, Japan Ambassador Sadaoka met with President Toribiong to formalize the provision of two 5-megawatt generators under a grant from the Japanese government worth $22 million.The generators will help stabilize electricity will be placed in Aimeliik Power Plant. Last month, Japan handed over four emergency generators to the Malakal Power Plant. The Japanese government has provided power or energy-related grants or technical assistance to Palau within the last three years.According to the Japan Embassy in Palau, stabilization of the power situation in Palau is one of the focus areas of Japan’s development assistance to the country.
Number of Marshallese deported from US increasing
The Republic of Marshall Island citizens who are facing deportation from the United States are in need of help that the government of the Marshall Islands is reportedly not providing, according to Riem Simon, recent deportee.Simon a Marshallese man who served seven years in a US Federal prison thinks the RMI government should pay more attention and respond to the needs of its citizens who are serving time abroad. According to Simon, about 10 Marshallese men are currently in US jail are now in the process of deportation but does not know how to fight for their rights. Simon further revealed that 99 percent of Marshallese men in jail don’t speak English.He further stated that crimes committed are normally alcohol-related such as assaults or public intoxication nothing serious such as drug related crimes or murder, but are still enough for deportation. According to RMI Ambassador to US Charles Paul, if a foreigner is convicted of a felony in the US, deportation is virtually guaranteed, however if a foreigner is convicted of a misdemeanor, deportation depends on whether or not the misdemeanor is classified as a crime of moral turpitude. The number of Marshallese deporting from the US is a development that Paul believes reflects from the coordination between state and federal enforcement law agencies in the wake of 9/11.
Marshall Islands trial composting toilets
The Republic of Marshall Islands is looking into ways to conserve water and prevent septic pollution. Currently, a Tuvaluan expert on composting toilets is assisting the RMI government in constructing composting toilets to see how effective they are at reducing septic pollution and conserving water. The dry eco-san composting toilets reportedly uses very little water and have the twin benefits of both conserving water and preventing sewage from leaching out of septic systems and into the surrounding environment. The toilets have already been successfully trialed on where 40 toilets have been constructed.Tuvalu’s experience has also sparked interest in other Pacific island countries such as Tonga and Nauru.
RMI receives education medical initiative funding
The initiative is part of a regional Global Environment Facility funded Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) demonstration project to build the capacity of Pacific Island countries to manage water resources. The Republic of Marshall Islands is set to receive two technical assistance in a form of grants toward education and medical initiatives in the country. The U.S Department of Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Tony Babauta has authorized two technical assistance grants for the College of Marshall Islands for a new Student Information System and another to create a partnership between RMI and the Flying Doctors of America. The new Student Information System, which acts as an internal tool will allow the college the ability to measure the school’s efficiency, maintaining accreditation, and understanding the effectiveness of school program among others.The funding, which will support partnership between FDoA and RMI will help bring in medical experts to work with RMI in improving the quality of healthcare in the country. Young Pacific Leaders from Pacific Island countries with diplomatic ties to the Republic of China-Taiwan will be participating in a two week camp in Taipei. Participants include young leaders from Palau, Marshall Islands, and Nauru just to name a few. During the camp, participants will be attending several workshops and briefings regarding introductions to the development of Republic of China-Taiwan. Last year, Palau’s delegation, which included OTV’s Spis Gordon and Rolynda Jonathan participated in the program. This year’s delegation will have the opportunity to visit various government agencies, non-profit organizations and major infrastructures in Taiwan as well as interact with Taiwanese young leaders. Palau and the Marshall Islands are both sending a delegation of five for this program, which is set for July 7-20.
Palau attends 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in Solomon Islands
Palau’s delegation includes Sonsorol Governor Jacob Yangilmau, Meked Besebes – BNM Ethnographer, Lekelong Secharraimul – OEK PIO, Rodney Babul – House Status Table Clerk and Rhine Remoket from the Division of Media. Palau’s delegation to the 2012 Pacific Arts Festival left this week to the Solomon Islands. Pacific island countries will participate in the festival and over three thousand visitors from all walks of life are expected to witness the festival in the Solomon Islands.
Last of Oceania athletes to be added by July 8th, 2012
As the Olympics quickly approach, National Olympic Committee’s all over Oceania are frantically working to get their remaining athletes qualified before July 8th which is the deadline for athletes to earn their Olympic bids. The Solomon Islands National Olympic Committee announced it’s fourth and final athlete, female weightlifter, Jennilyn Wini who will now team up with the three other athletes, Pauline Kwalea, Chris Walasi and Tony lomo are currently attending a pre-training camp in London. Two of the Papua New Guinea’s leading track athletes Toea Wisil and Nelson Stone, both of whom have been on Olympic scholarships since 2010, have less than two weeks to attain Olympic standard times for the 100m and 400m.Wisil is close, posting a best time of 11.49 in the 100m.The women’s qualification time is 11.38. The men’s 400m qualification time is 45.90 and Stone’s best time this year is 47.0. Wisil and Stone hope to join the six confirmed athletes already on Team PNG.
Guam adds three Swimmers and two Runners, total 8 Olympians
Guam added three swimmers and two runners making a total of eight athletes bound for the London.Chris Duenas who swam the 100-meter sprint for Guam in the Beijing Olympics, returns for another shot at Olympic glory.Chris along with Pilar Shimizu earned ”universality” slots filling the one male, one female spots automatically granted to each participating country.The third swimmer, Benjamin Schulte, earned his way into the Games by picking up an unused qualifying slot by New Zealand at an Olympic qualifier in Portugal. Universality allotments for track and field go to Derek Mandell who also ran in Beijing and Amy Atkinson who will be competing in the 800-meter run.
Oceania Football REMATCH! Sept. 7th New Zealand vs. New Caledonia
In Oceania Football news, New Zealand will get it’s first chance at revenge when it faces New Caledonia in the third stage of Oceania regional qualifying for football’s 2014 World Cup begins on September 7.Caledonia beat New Zealand 2-0 earlier this month in the semifinals of the Oceania a Nations Cup, the second stage of qualifying in the Pacific-based Oceania Confederation. Tahiti then beat New Caledonia in the final to claim Oceania’s place in the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil. Four semifinalists from the Nations Cup progressed to the third stage of World Cup qualifying which involves home and away matches played between Sept. 7th and March 26.
Special Report – Table Tennis in Palau
This past week I was introduced to International Table Tennis Federation officer, Michael Brown, who was in Palau on a sort of goodwill mission promoting Table Tennis throughout the North Pacific. We caught up with Michael over at the Palau National Gym to find out more about this fast rising sport. Table tennis’s popularity in Oceania will be on display in October when Guam will become the first Oceania country to host a world title table tennis event, the World Cadet Challenge. It will be televised by five regional networks as well as streamed over the internet.
June 28th, 2012 marks 41st day Olympic Torch relay
June 28th marked the 41st day of the famed Olympic Torch’s journey to the opening ceremony which signals the official start of the 2012 London games.On this rainy day, the torch passed such notable landmarks as the Sherwood Forest of Nottingham, which if that sounds familiar was the setting for Robin Hood’s infamous adventures.
Right in the middle of all the excitement is young man from Ngaraard, Jack Uri Jr. who is making history as a torch bearer representing Palau. In an excerpt from an upcoming special feature on Palau’s Olympic athletes, heres Jack describing what it feels like to be a part of the Olympics. Stay tuned to OTV to find out more about Jack’s story and the 5 Palauan athletes participating in the games, in an upcoming special feature brought to you by PNOC. Just a quick reminder to the public, PPUC has scheduled power outage this Saturday from 2 to 6 am affecting the entire Koror and Babeldaob areas.That’s all the news we have for this week.Have a safe weekend.