Weekend Report July 06, 2012

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Micronesian heads of state meet in Majuro

price Marshall Islands President: Christopher Loeak, FSM President: Emanuel Mori” src=”http://www.oceaniatv.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/120710-micronesian-leaders-300×200.jpg” alt=”Micronesian Leaders meet in Majuro” width=”300″ height=”200″ />

Micronesian presidents agreed to pursue a “debt swap” strategy for climate change mitigation together with exploring ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) as key measures to combat the global carbon emissions problem that is threatening these small island nations with rising seas. “We cannot afford delays” in climate change action, said Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak Thursday, who was joined by Palau President Johnson Toribiong and Federated States of Micronesia President Emanuel Mori at the 12th annual Micronesia Presidents’ Summit held in Majuro. The communiqué signed Thursday July 5 by the three presidents agreed to collaborate on the debt swap proposal and to participate in a workshop in the Marshall Islands scheduled for October that is being facilitated by The Nature Conservancy. The Presidents also discussed air service opportunities with Nauru’s Our Airline and Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines. They also called for a meeting with high-level officials in United Airlines, which has recently taken over service connecting the Micronesia area with Guam and Hawaii through its merger with Continental Airlines amongst other issues.

Essential services and employment threatened

The national government may need to lay off employees and find other means to keep the government afloat until the budget is passed according to a directive from the Vice President. Earlier in the week, the Ministry of Health asked for the President’s assistance in seeking funding for essentials drugs and medical supplies as the Ministry’s requisition has been sitting in the Ministry of Finance for weeks waiting for approval. In addition, the Bureau of Public Works asked for funding to purchase chemical supplies for water treatment and funding to continue other services. With OEK concerns regarding over expenditures, the President instructed Ministry of Finance Budget and Planning Director Dennis Oilouch to observer strict austerity measures. However, on July 3rd, the President directed Oilouch to immediately pay the MOH’s RQ. According to Director Rengulbai of Public Works, on Friday July 6 they received some funding to cover chemical supplies for two weeks. And according to the hospital’s Administrator, the MOH’s RQ’s are being worked out by the Finance Ministry.

Senator Diaz found liable for copyright infringement

In legal news, the Palau Court of Appeals handed down a landmark copyright decision in favor of artists, poets, musicians, writers and performers in Roll ‘em Productions v. Alfonso Diaz. The Appellate Court found that the Chief Justice misapplied the plain and unambiguous language of the copyright act when the three-judge panel found in favor of Roll ‘em. The Court explained that the “statue and sound public policy” demands that the artist retain the copyright to his work unless there is a written agreement. Kassi Berg, Roll’ Productions attorney said that this is a long awaited victory. She further stated that the Appellate Court’s decision restored the original intention of the Copyright Act, as the Act was meant to protect creative artists. The amount of damages that Diaz will be required to pay for his unlawful conduct includes costs of suit and attorney fees, all of which will be determined at the trial set for November 30, just after the general election in which Diaz is again seeking for a senate seat. In 2008, Roll ‘em Production sued Senator Diaz for airing a video it created for the Government that Diaz aired on his TV station without consent from Roll ‘em Productions. This decision by the appellate court is final and therefore cannot be any future appeals.

Palau Court prepares for first Jury trial

On July 2, Palau Supreme Court began jury selection in preparation for the country’s first trial by jury. The trial in which the Court is preparing for is of Amador Misech, a teenager who is accused in the stabbing death and attack of Virginia Ventura Galo last year. Although the case is still sealed, Misech is likely facing first-degree murder charge, related charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and others. At the meantime, the Court has issued summonses for jury duty where the Trial Division in consultation with the lawyers involved in the case is expected to empanel six jurors and two alternate jurors. In this case, Assistant Attorney General Victoria Roe represents the Republic, while attorney Siegfried Nakamura represents the defendant.

Palau Rock Islands carved on UNESCO World Heritage list

UNESCO World Heritage

Palau made history when the country’s Rock Island Southern Lagoon was inscribed UNESCO’s World Heritage List this week. According to the Director of the Bureau of Arts & Culture, Palau has been working on inscribing the site to the coveted list for many years. Fortunately during the recent World Heritage Committee session, Palau’s site was inscribed as a mixed natural and cultural site. The Rock Island’s Southern Lagoon is Palau’s first property to be inscribed on the list, however other Pacific Island countries are also on the list including the Marshall Islands Bikini Atoll and Kiribati’s Phoenix Island Protected Areas.

Pierantozzi observer of East Timor election

The East-West Center in Hawaii, which is supported by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor invited PICRC CEO and Presidential candidate Sandra Sumang Pierantozzi as a member of the election observation team for the East Timor general parliamentary elections. East Timor, a new sovereign country requested international observation during the election, which prompt countries to dispatch teams of observers for the July 2nd election. South Korea, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and other countries all sent an observation team for the country’s elections. In 2010, Pierantozzi and Tutii Chilton of PCC were part of the US East West Center observation team to the general parliamentary elections in the Solomon Islands.

Delta Plans for Palau

On July 27, 2012, Delta Airlines top management for the Asia region visited Palau at the invitation of Belau Tourism Association to present their future plans for Palau. Jeff Bernier, the Managing Director for Asia Pacific, proclaimed Delta’s commitment to Palau and announced that Delta has gone from seasonal service in Palau to all year round service 3 times every week.  Delta boasts the highest profit margins of any international airline exceeding both United Airlines and US Airways. Delta has seen a 30% growth in the Asian market over the past 3 years and will continue to invest in this region. They are improving their services to include flatbed seats in Business class and Wi-Fi on all International flights by 2013.

Festival of the Pacific Arts

On Tuesday July 2nd the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts grand opening ceremony was held in Honiara, Solomon Islands with delegations from twenty Pacific island countries that marched through Lawson Tama Stadium to greet an audience of thousands.  A fleet of seven traditional canoes that’s been traveling all over the pacific also arrived over the weekend to join the festival.  Despite all the excitement and festival buzz, controversy surfaced after many felt that the opening ceremony emcee’s attempt at making humorous remarks were in bad taste.  Some, however, such as the head of New Zealand’s delegation, disagreed and said in a Solomon Star article that it was a natural pacific humor and that they were there to share cultures, cultural humors and to learn from each other and that it was part of the uniqueness of this festival.  Other criticism also rose over the failure of the organizing committee to provide an official program to relevant dignitaries in order to follow the activities lined up for the two-week event.  Since 1972 the festival of pacific arts has brought together twenty-seven independent pacific nations to a different host country every four years.  Unfortunately, countries not participating this year include the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, CNMI, Wallis and Futuna, Tonga and Tuvalu.  The 12th Festival will be hosted by Guam in 2016 and Hawaii has officially presented its bid to host the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts in 2020.

PCS Update

The 2011 Annual Report of Palau Conservation Society is now available. Electronic copies are available in CD for members of PCS. The Ngerel a Biib Newsletter for the months of May and June are available for the membership in electronic format. Members can call PCS office at 488-3993 for their copies. An announcement to all youths in Palau this summer to come to a Youth for Conservation Concert. The summer interns of PCS are organizing a Youth for Conservation Concert to held at the Bethlehem Park on Friday, July 13th, from 9am to 4pm. Come and join the Youth for Conservation Concert and sing the turtle song, fruit dove song, Palauan songs, along with good messages to strengthen conservation programs in Palau. Mr. Ron Dizzle will be the Master of Ceremony. The Youth Conservation Concert will feature young singers such as Neil Fisher, Kimie Ueki, Ewette Demei, Iwang Blesam and many more young Palauan artists. Ticket on sale is only $5. Please come and join and listen to the messages from the youths of Palau. Come to Bethlehem Park on July 13th, from 9am to 4pm, and join the Youth for Conservation  Concert.

Pacific vulnerable to threat of cybercrime

The more people are dependent on technology particularly computers and the internet both for personal and professional purposes, the more people are susceptible to become victims of cybercrime. Cybercrime is a global problem and the Pacific region is vulnerable to its threat according to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Areas of concern involving cybercrime include child pornography, cyber-bullying, and theft of money by stealing bank account numbers and even credit card details. In Tonga, legislation has been established making the use of information and communication technology for illegal purposes as a criminal offense. Other Pacific countries are also beginning to address cyber threat, however according to SPC’s Pacific ICT Outreach Programme, the legislations does not appear to be sufficient to effectively block illegal activities.

$2.2M expedition to Kiribati to solve Amelia Earhart disappearance

$2.2M expedition to Kiribati to solve Amelia Earhart disappearance$2.2M expedition to Kiribati to solve Amelia Earhart disappearance The First Woman ever to fly acoss the Atlantic Ocean

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to ever fly across the Atlantic Ocean and the first woman to attempt to fly around the world in 1937.  She disappeared in the Pacific between New Guinea and Howland Island.  Seventy-five years later, fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day.  The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) departed from Hawaii for Nikumaroro Island in Kiribati this week, in a bid to establish whether Earhart might have survived the apparent crash of her aircraft. The 2.2 million dollar expedition will use state-of-the-art technology including a mzulti-beam sonar to map the ocean floor.  A cargo ship carrying the equipment and a crew of about 20 scientists departed Hawaii to explore over 10 days both the island and an underwater reef slope at the west end of the island.

Marshallese man arraigned on murder charge

Marshallese man arraigned on murder charge

A Marshallese man accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death was arraigned on one count of murder at Oregon’s County Court on Monday June 25th. Lujar Philippo was witnessed by at least two neighbors of stabbing his 31 year-old girlfriend Kiorinta Edmond on the lawn in front of their apartment complex over the weekend. According to court records, the victim appeared to have stab wounds to the chest and the upper torso. She was reportedly non-responsive except for a slight gurgling sound when officers were called to the scene. When investigators went inside the couple’s apartment after the murder, they found a chair with what appeared to be stab and slash marks and a knife in the sink that appears to have blood on it. Several hours before the tragic attack took place, police officers had been dispatched to the apartment complex where they questioned the victim about a hit and run incident that Philippo may have been involved in, however the victim did not mention anything about being in danger.

Diabetes out of control in RMI

Diabetes in the Marshall Islands has reached epidemic levels according to data from the country’s Ministry of Health. Blood screening conducted the local diabetes wellness center showed that 79 percent of senior citizens who participated had blood sugar levels about 200, confirming they have diabetes. The epidemic is further confirmed by the Ministry’s quarterly report to the U.S, where it describes diabetes as the number one cause of death or hospital admissions. The report further highlighted that diabetes also accounts for more than 50 percent of the Ministry’s budget. Diabetes is also causing the number of other diseases in the country to rise. According to reports, 90 percent of all patients who relapses from tuberculosis commonly known as TB are diabetic patients. Co-infection of TB and diabetes is also increasing in population. In a more serious and pressing concern is that the younger generation is now being diagnosed.

America is not number 1

In a recent CNN article by Todd Leopold which explores America’s shortcomings, you might be surprised learn that America has lost its place as number 1 in the world in all categories. America is 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, No. 4 in labor force, and No. 4 in exports. Today, Finland is regularly ranked as having the best education system in the world. New Zealand ranks No. 1 in the world for ease of starting a business. And Germany ranks as the worlds leading exporter.

PICRC Monthly Updates

The Achievement of Capacity Enhancement Project for Coral Reef Monitoring (CEPCRM). Coral Reefs are important resources for people in Palau and other tropical islands. However, coral reefs are suffering from dergradation due to human activities. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been increasingly established to manage and conserve resources. Monitoring MPAs is essential for effective and adaptive management. In July 2009, the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) started ” Capacity Enhancement Project for Coral Reef Monitoring” (CEPCRM) as a three-year technical cooperation project. The purpose of CEPCRM is for PICRC to enhance its technical capacity in monitoring required for management of MPAs. What was achieved is the developed system to support monitoring on MPA , compiled information on management status of existing MPAs, selected target MPAs and four pilot MPAs for monitoring were selected. The Ebiil Conservation Area in Ngarchelong state, Ngemai CA in Ngiwal state, Ileyakl Beluu in Ngardmau state, and Teluleu CA in Pelelu state are the four selected pilot MPAs that have prepared the monitoring plan. Monitoring objectives, indicators, and methods were determined and that the Monitoring plan was approved. The provided training on monitoring for; PICRC staff, Rangers from states where pilot MPAs are located monitored the selected MPAs, monitoring was started at 4 selected MPAs in Palau. The Monitoring Method was shared with counterparts from MPAs in the FSM and RMI through collaboration survey on their MPAs. They constructed a database to appropriately input, store and output monitoring data. Developed the monitoring protocol tthe monitoring protocol will guide the process of planning and implementation of coral reef monitoring. It includes ecological and socioeconomic monitoring methods, frequency, site selection, sampling design data management for MPAs. The protocol was officially approved by the Ministry of National Resources, Environment and Tourism of Palau Enhanced partnerships between PICRC and other international initiatives, Micronesia Challenge jurisdictions and relevant agencies. Disseminate information on the progress of the project through various media. Published ReefTalk newsletters, created CERCRM website, that have published 35 issues of project news on JICA webpage made oral and poster presentation at local, regional, and international conferences. Broadcast monthly PICRC news reports to Micronesia region since June 2011, has published more than 30 articles on local newspapers, and 4 kinds of brochures. Disseminated information on the current situation of the MPAs published reports on monitoring results was presented at the International Coral Reef Symposiun at Australia in July 2012, through national, regional, and international meetings with the Palau Conservation Consortium, MC Measures Group, Ramsar 5th Oceania Regional Meeting. Also along with the Koror State Legislaors, Koror Traditional Leaders, and the Communities of MPA states.

That’s all we have for this month PICRC monthly update until next time.






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