Weekend Report July 20, 2012

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Senate Committee recommends Senator Remengesau & Baules issue be put to rest
prescription Right: Sen. Tommy Remengesau Jr.” src=”http://www.oceaniatv.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/120723-baules-remengesau-300×225.jpg” alt=”Senate Committee recommends Senator Remengesau & Baules issue be put to rest” width=”300″ height=”225″ />
On July 16, the Senate Committee gave their report to the Senate President on the matters of Senators Tommy Remengesau Jr and Hokkons Baules recommending that no further action be taken against the said senators. The Committee reports that according to the constitutional provisions the Senate as an entity is the sole judge of its members and has the authority to suspend, expel or discipline a member provided that a member is guilty of disorderly behavior, neglect of duty or violation of the oath of office. The committee further reported that the main issue to address was if whether or not there is any constitutional or statutory provision that requires any Senator convicted of any crime to resign his seat, the committee reported that there is not, citing two separate legal opinions issued by Senate Legal Counsel Ridpath and Calubag. The Committee however noted that Senator Baules’ incarceration prevents him from performing his duties as a Senator and therefore leaves the matter to the discretion of the Senate President.
$4M released to NDBP for fiber optic cable
On Thursday July 19, the Ministry of Finance released $4 million of the $16 million loan from the Asian Development Bank to the National Development Bank of Palau for the purpose of purchasing underwater fiber optic cable. According to reports, the funds will be used by NDBP as a loan to PNCC for the purchase of the existing Guam-Philippine fiber optic cable. The President stated that the process was earlier approved by the OEK through a resolution. Earlier records shows that in February, the Council of Chiefs expressed their concerns to the President regarding the use of the ADB loan for the fiber optic cable stating that the protection of our people’s health and the environment is our first priority and responsibility. The $16 million loan was negotiated by the Republic to support the establishment of the Palau Water and Sewer Corporation and to reform the water and sanitation sector. Out of the $16 million loan, $6 million will be used for the water sector improvement program. Palau has struggled to maintain its sewer and sanitation systems over the years mainly due to lack of funding.
MCT first NGO eligible for federal campaign
The Micronesia Conservation Trust has become the first Micronesian non-governmental organization to participate in the fiscal year 2012 Combined Federal Campaign or CFC. CFC is the only authorized solicitation of employees in the Federal workplace, which raises millions of dollars annually through national and international campaigns. Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs Tony Babauta’s wrote to Rear Admiral Bushong about the news of MCT’s inclusion stating that, “With its inclusion in the CFC, MCT is now eligible to receive pledges from the many Federal employees and military personnel who are from the region, currently stationed there, or have an interest in the insular areas. I highly encourage other NGO’s in the insular areas to explore their eligibility for the CFC.” The campaign season runs from September 1st to December 15th. MCT supports biodiversity conservation in Palau, FSM, RMI, Guam and CNMI.
Millions wasted for construction of RMI hospital
The Marshall Islands government is expected to terminate the contractor who was hired five years ago to design a new hospital. In an interview with ABC Radio Australia, Marshall Islands Journal Editor Giff Johnson revealed that more than $2 million in U.S funding has been spent on a hospital design that is far from completion. The Guam based contractor reportedly does not have any experience in hospital designs and reportedly designed a hospital with many violations. The current hospital is 25 years old and portions of it are in bad conditions mainly due to lack of maintenance. The RMI cabinet reportedly talked about terminating the current contractor, hire a new one and start over, however a meeting has been scheduled and nothing has been made official in terms of what the government will do to address the issue.
Summary Judgment granted to Koror State Government
Chief Justice Arthur Ngiraklsong on July 17th granted Koror State Government’s motion for summary judgment. According to the order, the court found that Koror State Government provided the Republic with the statutorily required detailed description of the purpose of the increased rock island and jellyfish lake fees. The judgment was entered without trial after Koror State Government and Governor Adachi, the Republic and Minister of Justice both filed lawsuits against each other. The court found that there was justification in the law for the uses of the additional fees including monitoring and preserving marine resources. The fees went in effect on June 1st.
Helicopter crash leaves pilot dead
Helicopter Crash leaves Pilot Dead
A helicopter crashed in California on May 9th resulted in one dead and one injured.  Fish n’ Fins owner Navot Bornovski was taking helicopter pilot lessons four miles from French Valley Airport in Murrieta California in preparation for bringing a helicopter to Palau.  The Robinson R22 helicopter was performing a hovering excessive when it rolled onto its side and crashed at 10:17a killing the veteran pilot Carl Nurmi, while student pilot Bornovski escaped with minor injuries.  Fish ‘n Fins is reportedly bringing a helicopter to Palau in November of 2012 for tours and will be located next to the Palau International Coral Reef Center. The Instructor Pilot, Carl Nurmi also known as Johan, held national and world records and was the vice president and owner of USA Academy of Aviation.
US House Subcommittee passes Compact Agreement
The United States House of Representatives Subcommittee approved the stalled Compact of Free Association for Palau. This represents another step forward in the languishing process, which still needs approval by the full house of representatives and the President.  While gap funding has been approved on an annual basis since 2009, the compact approval process has become a hot political topic with the upcoming election.  Compact ambassador Joshua Koshiba has gotten tough with the U.S. threatening to secure ties with China and Arab states if the U.S. cannot move forward. While others have stated that now is the time to stand with the U.S. and show them the same patience that the U.S. has shown Palau. The compact has been delayed under a new U.S. law that requires offsets in the budget to be shown in the amount of the compact before it can be approved. OTV’s political analysis believes that approval of the compact before the election is unlikely.
BNH’s Chief of Nurse passes away
BNH’s Chief of Nurse passes away
Ministry of Health’s Chief of Nursing miss Joaquina Ulengchong passed away this morning Friday July 20th. Ulengchong worked for the Belau National Hospital for more than 30 years and was a strong supporter of Nurse’s rights. She most recently led a peaceful assembly with Belau National Hospital nurses on Nurse day to raise awareness about issues that nurses continue to face over the years. She was a hard working member of the hospital, who was pushing for the validation of nursing as a profession and salary increase for all nurses. We at OTV would like to send our deepest condolences to Joaquina’s friends and family.
Adelbai new Palau Ambassador to Taiwan
Adelbai new Palau Ambassador to Taiwan
On July 18, Peter Adelbai swore in at the Capital Building as the new Palau Ambassador to the Republic of China-Taiwan. Adelbai was previously Charge de Affairs at Palau’s consulate office in Japan, which he served for many years. In 2010, Jackson Henry the previous Palau Ambassador to Taiwan resigned stating that his “integrity has irreparably damaged by the false advertisements placed by Morris Davidson in the Palau newspapers.”
Photojournalism book on climate change official launch
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Southern Illinois University is officially launching the first photojournalism book showcasing the public health impacts of climate change in Palau. The purpose of the book is to raise awareness about public health impacts of climate change in the Republic. Photos displaying salt-water intrusion in taro patches, sea level rise, fishing, and other climate change impacts were taken on location in Palau by SIU students. The launch will take place on Wednesday July 25 at 10 am at the Ngarchamayong Cultural Center. The first 200 participants will receive a free copy.
Marshalls NTA to sell satellite bandwidth to Solomon Islands
The Marshall Islands National Telecommunications Authority has signed a deal with a Solomon Islands telecommunications company that will bring NTA significant revenue according to Radio New Zealand. BeMobile of Solomon Islands will buy excess satellite bandwidth from the Marshall Islands government’s NTA telecom. Two years ago, the Marshalls company installed an underwater fiber optic cable linking it to Guam, ending its need for most of its satellite bandwidth for communications. But the National Telecommunications Authority was under contract for long-term satellite use. With the deal with the Solomons telecom company, NTA will be generating revenue from this excess satellite capacity.
RMI express support to Fiji
Republic of Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak recently met with Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe to foster diplomatic ties and enhance bilateral relations. During the meeting, Loeak told the Bainimarama that the Marshall Islands “will continue to rely on Fiji’s leadership on many important issues in the region such as climate change”. During his meetings, he also presented a $5,000 check towards Fiji’s Flood Relief Fund that will assist Fijians who were affected. Another area that was discussed looked at the idea of pursuing the options of direct flights between both countries.  Last year, Fiji and the Marshall Islands signed a memorandum of understanding on development cooperation, which is also used as the framework for enhancing bilateral ties. Loeak attended the three-day climate change meeting that was held at the University of the South Pacific. During his trip he also met with other Fijian leaders such as Fiji’s President.
Marshall Islands to open fisheries training school
A new fisheries and nautical training school in the Marshall Islands is expected to open before the end of the year. The RMI Marine Resources Authority in collaboration with the College of the Marshall Islands is working on establishing a new training program that aims to increase the ranks of Marshall Islanders who are employed on fishing and other types of vessels. The Authority previously ran its own training center, however it closed three years ago. Fisheries Director Glen Joseph stated that the Marshalls urgently need more trained observers to place on purse seiner fishing boats. The authority currently only have 30 observers, however Joseph said 100 is needed as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement or PNA requires that all purse seine fishing boat have an observer to monitor the fishing catches. The CMI and the Authority is aiming to recruit Marshallese with at least a high school diploma for the training program, which will be offered in both short term and long term courses.
FSM piggery project to manage waste
The Japan government recently handed over grant assistance worth a little over $60,000 through the Grant Assistance for grassroots human security project to the Pohnpei State government and the Piggery Advisory Council in efforts to manage piggery waste. The grant will be used to purchase two tow behind wood chippers as the basis for a Dry Litter Piggery Support Project. During the handover ceremony, Japan Ambassador Eiichi Suzuki stated that one of the main topics at the recently PALM6 is how to protect human security in the island countries. The dry litter system is a desirable model to enhance human security with simple approaches using low cost local resources. One of the wood chippers will be used at the training farm at the College of Micronesia FAM campus where farmers will be able to learn the dry litter piggery management method. The other will be maintained by the Pohnpei Agriculture Department.
MOU entered in Yap to develop cooperation
The Yap State Public Auditor Office and office of the Attorney General recently signed and entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to work collaboratively and mutually when it comes to criminal investigations relating to government finances and resources. The office of the Yap State Public Auditor’s Compliance Investigation Division receives allegations of fraud, waste and mismanagement where they conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine whether or not there is justifiable suspicion to refer the matter to the Office of Attorney General. Pursuant to the MOU, all parties agree to work together to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The MOU is a commitment between the parties in their efforts to fight fraud and corruption within government.
Pacific Youth participates in Youth Speak! Conference
Youth leaders from the Pacific who are participating in the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in Solomon Islands also had the opportunity to participate in the Youth Speak! Workshop. The workshop, which was hosted and supported by various international organizations, sought views from youth on cultural issues. A key issue that was discussed during the three-day workshop was on the impact of climate change on environment and culture. Elsei Tellei of Palau and Palau’s Minister Faustina Rehuher-Marugg and other representatives participated in the workshop. With more knowledge on cultural issues, Tellei plans to file her report from the workshop to Palau youth council stating that it really inspires me to preserve culture so that people in the future can have the same experience as we did at the Festival.
Palauan enlist in Marine Corps for his family
Palauan enlist in Marine Corps for his family
Micronesians all have different reasons as to why they enlist in the United States military. For Private First Class Jared Dylan Jamila his family particularly his 2-year old daughter was the inspiration behind his decision to join the U.S Marine Corps.  “It makes me homesick, being half way around the world. My mother was struggling to take care of our family, and it was hard to leave with her struggling like she was. I didn’t want her to suffer, so I decided to enlist. Everything I do is for my family and most importantly for my daughter said Jamila in an interview published by the Marine Cops Recruit Depot online. According to the senior drill instructor Jamila shows perseverance and motivation, and although he stands at 5’2” and weighs 105 pounds, he’s a force to be reckoned with. Jamila is currently undergoing recruit training in San Diego, California.
Presidential and Vice Presidential debate confirmed for August
The Presidential and Vice Presidential debate have been confirmed to take place in August sponsored by the Palau Bar Association and the Palau Chamber of Commerce. The Vice Presidential debate is schedule for August 14 followed by the Presidential debate at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center. Both events will be covered LIVE on radio and television. Starting this week OTV will be airing its election update separately. Watch the full election update after the news on OTV.
Hoax or Ghost?
Paranormal activity in the Belau National Hospital
Couple of images has been circulating around the island leading people to believe that paranormal activities exist in the Belau National Hospital. The images were reportedly taken randomly at the nurse’s station at the Medical Ward after nurses smelled perfume. According to information obtained by OTV, the ghost on the photos is apparently someone who died at the hospital a few years back. However some who have inspected both photos believe that the entire story is a hoax courtesy of Photoshop, an image editing computer software, as the ghost appears to be in the same exact position and angle on both photos In order to prove how easy it is to manipulate images with today’s technology and computer software’s, OTV staff and Blanche Salii of Penthouse created their own version of ghost caught on camera. There’s also an apple application for iPods, iPads and other Apple products that also enable users to edit images.
Sand Masters Palau to air on OTV
Sand Masters
Earlier this year, the series Sand Masters, which airs on the Travel Living channel in the U.S., filmed an episode on location in Palau. OTV will exclusively premiere that episode tonight, July 20th at 9 pm on Channel 23. The Palau episode was produced by Painless Productions in association with Roll ‘em Productions. Rollem would like to thank Palau Pacific Resort, the Palau Shark Sanctuary, Palau Visitors Authority, Sam’s Tours and the CAT team for all their support during the production. Be sure to catch it on OTV channel 23!
OTV would like to remind all viewers in Palau to watch OTV2 channel 29 weekly for the election update.