Weekend Report Jun. 29th, 2012

Posted on by Oceania TV News

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Hello, ambulance thank you for joining us for this weekend report. Now here’s the news  highlight for the week.

Wheldon Gideon found Guilty of Bank Robbery

Asia Pacific Commercial 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”

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

17th Senate Session

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

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

Palau-Japan signed $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.

Mike-ro Sports

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.

Olympic Torch Relay

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.


One Response to Weekend Report Jun. 29th, 2012

  1. Navigator says:

    Palauans should be ashamed of themselves for having the highest rates of marijuana use in the world! No wonder we have criminals such as murderers, drug dealers, and sex offenders in congress.
    The Palauans who are responsible for thia disgusting statistic are mainly those stuck in Palau and will never feel the international implications of their actions.

    As a Palauan who lives both in Palau and overseas, it is embarassing to know that your country is increasingly becoming known as a poor, decrepit, intoxicated island nation, among the likes of other failed states such as Jamaica and Haiti.

    So for all you Palauans who are part of this UN statistic, it is hopeless to ask you to change but at least be aware that you’re responsible for things you yourselves will never have to deal with, such as the international reputation of the Republic of Palau.

    For those drug-free Palauans, the future of Palau depends on you now more than ever.