Weekend Report Aug. 24, 2012

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2010 Audit Report is Out
The audit report for the Fiscal Year 2010 has finally been released. Although there were some areas of weakness and shortage over financial and major programs noted, pills Palau is said to be in the clear. The report indicated an increase in liabilities of $14 million and current liabilities for 2009 stood at around $22 million. The 2011 audit is expected to begin with the completion of the 2010 audit. Delay in the 2010 audit caused for the delay in implementing the2011 audit. If the delay did not occur the audit for 2011 would have been finished by June 30 of this year.
Jury Selection for Hacker
Palau’s first jury trial began its selection process for potential jurors this week.   Amador Osima Misech will stand trial for the brutal murder of 43 year old Philippine national Virginia Ventura.  On June 29, 2011 Ventura was walking in Ngerbeched when then17-year-old Misech approached her and asked for money.  When she refused to give him money, Misech inflicted fatal wounds on Ventura’s arms and  fractured her skull.  She was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.  Misech’s trial starts in September.
Senators visit Palauan community in Saipan
Three of Palau’s senators were in Saipan for a campaign rally held in Garapan on August 18th. Senator Remengesau was accompanied by his wife and daughter along with Senators Oilouch and Whipps, Jr. plus three other supporters.  Saipan is home to roughly six hundred Palauans and Remengsau vowed to re-open the Palau consulate office should he be re-elected in order to help serve the Palauan community there.  President Johnson Toribiong, who is currently in the Cook Islands for the Pacific Islands Forum, visited Saipan last year to campaign for his re-election.  Former vice-president Sandra Pierantozzi is currently in Palau.
23rd APIPA Take a Bite out of Corruption
Take a Bite out of Corruption
The 23rd annual Association of the Pacific islands Public Auditors conference at the Ngarachamayong cultural center concluded Friday August 24th that included over 350 public auditors from 11 countries of the pacific region. This year’s conference slogan was, Take a bit out of Corruption”.  The conference was hosted by the Palau  Office of the Public Auditor headed by acting Public Auditor, Satrunino Tewid. The Participating Countries were Palau, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Guam, CNMI, the Marshall Islands, American Samoa, and Western Samoa, and representatives from the United states Department of Interior.
PNG’s Morobe has devastating floods
Flood in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea’s, Morobe is extremely damaged due to the flood on Monday. Riverbanks had burst damaging homes, farms and roads as well as bridges, cutting access to schools and hospitals in the affected areas. Hundreds have been left homeless and without food, as Nawae and Menyamya districts were affected by the flooding and landslides, Sialum district was the worst affected with over 8,000 families left homeless and would run out of food in just a days. Children have been restricted from going to school as many roads have been cut off, as well as those in need of medical attention have not been able to go to health facilities. Officers of the provincial and disaster officials’ have gone to asses the situation and assist in any way possible, they also have been organizing relief supplies including food, fresh water and medical supplies to the affected areas.
FEDERAL DRUG TRAFFICKING arrests in CNMI include current & former law enforcement officers
A U.S. Attorney for the districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, announced that on August 22nd federal and local law enforcement executed search warrants and arrested 10 suspects for the offenses of: Distribution of Meth, Conspiracy to Distribute Meth, Distribution of Meth Near Schools or Colleges; Using or Carrying a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime; and/or Possession of a Firearm by a Felon. Those arrested include current and former law enforcement officers.  The arrests came about after a two year long  Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces investigation by federal and local authorities.  The names of those arrested have not been released yet.
The FSM Office of Statistics, Budget & Economic Management, Overseas Development Assistance and Compact Management or SBOC received a draft report on the recently concluded Survey of FSM Migrant Households in the US. In March 2012, the Office of SBOC hired two consultants to conduct a sampling of emigrant Micronesian households in the CNMI, Guam, Hawaii, California and six other U.S. states. The survey was designed to gauge the economic wellbeing of the emigrant households, the degree to which they depend on US federal and/or local State government support and their contributions to their local communities as well as to their home in the FSM. 400 households were targeted in Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland and 200 in CNMI, accounting for more than 10% of the total estimated FSM migrant population. Final results of the survey will be posted on the FSM Office of SBOC website (www.sboc.fm) by the end of August. For further information on the survey, please contact the Division of Compact Management at (691) 320-6260 or email slowe@sboc.fm.
Arrest Warrants issued to one Palauan and two Chuukese in CNMI
Many Arrests warrants were issued in the CNMI this week including to one Palauan male and two Chuukese men. 40 year old Marvin Tewid was charged with burglary and theft of business in Garapan.  His bail is set at ten thousand dollars.  Dusty Nisarafach, a 45 year old chuukese male was charged with possession of a controlled substance.  His bail is set at five grand.  And 19year old Jerry Ray, also from Chuuk was charged with burlary and theft.  His bail is set at ten thousand dollars.  CNMI’s Deputy Commissioner says his mission is to keep the community safe and is working closely with DPS Criminal Investigation Bureau Detectives to crack down on crime in an effort to make the CNMI a safer place.
National Development Bank of Palau
On Thursday August 23, 2012 at the National Development Bank of Palau conference room in Ngetkib Airai State, the National Development Bank of Palau, represented by their new President and CEO, Sandra D. Mincer and Palau Housing Authority represented by their Executive Director, Frida Delmau, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to extend the RETRO-Energy Efficiency Subsidy Program (RETRO- EESP) to include the Palau Housing Authority customers in the program.This important event was witnessed by the National Development Bank of Palau board of directors, Carol Ngiraidis and Apolonia Ngirchechol. The RETRO-EESP is a subsidy of up to $3,000.00 that can offset a part of a Micro Finance renovation loan when specific energy efficient measures are incorporated into the renovation project.  The RETRO-EESP subsidy program is offered at NDBP under the Micro Finance Loan Program that has a maximum loan amount of up to $10,000.00, with a 6% interest rate, and a loan term of up to 5 years.  RETRO-EESP subsidy of up to $3,000.00 will offset part of the loan when specific energy efficient measures are incorporated into the renovation project. The RETRO-EESP subsidy program is funded by the European Union under the NorthRep project.
Palau attends 12th International Coral Reef Simposium in Cains, Australia  
Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, Adelle Lukes Isechal, Shirley Koshiba, and Jacques Idechong of Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), along with others from Palau, recently attended the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) in Cairns, Australia from July 9-13, 2012.
12th International Coral Reef Symposium
The ICRS which is sanctioned by the International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS), is an event in which the world’s leading natural scientists, resource managers, conservationists, and economists come together to share their latest scientific findings and to progress coral reef science. Attended by over 2000 participants from some 80 countries, the ICRS is a major international scientific conference that is held every four years, with the previous ICRS taking place at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA in 2008.
This spectacular event was carried out by plenary sessions from leading scientists, followed by subsequent presentations from resource managers, educators and graduate students. Representing Palau in presenting some of Palau’s latest scientific findings were Adelle Lukes Isechal and Jacques Idechong of Palau International Coral Reef Center. Ms. Adelle Isechal and Mr. Jacques Idechong presented results of studies that have been undertaken in Palau in recent years.
PICRC will continue to work it with various organizations and agencies in Palau to  provide valuable scientific research to the local and international community in the quest to protect Palau’s and the world’s Coral Reefs.
Pacific Islands to benefit from Information and Communication Technology
Pacific Islands benefit from Information and Communication Technology
The Pacific islands are benefiting from the Information Communication  Technology program. Siaosi Sovaleni, Manager of the Pacific Information Communication Technology Outreach Program, at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, says that the program will allow developing countries to easily communicate and adopt to the techno world. The pacific is becoming more up-to-date technology wise, fifty percent of the pacific has been recognized to have a cell phone, which means that fifty percent of the pacific is accessible through their cell phones. More and more Pacific countries have adopted the use of the Internet, often referred to as e-Government, to deliver government services. Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea have substantial e-government projects yet Samoa and Tonga are still discussing their plans for an e-government with partners. The first phase of the Fiji and Vanuatu Projects were both over  $30 million.
Peace Corps swearing-in ceremony held at Airai Elementary
On Wednesday August 15th, the Peace Corps Palau held a swearing-in Ceremony for its newly arrived volunteers: Elisa Phillips, Jacob Duvall, Melanie Rudolph, and Natalie Smerkanich seen here wearing their colorful grass skirts. US Ambassador Helen Reed- Rowe graced the occasion as the keynote speaker and officiated the Swearing-In ceremony while President Johnson Toribiong gave the Special Remarks followed by Director of Education Administration—Mr. Emery Wenty giving the official welcoming. The newly installed volunteers were also given a chance to give special comments and perform traditional chants towards the end of the program. Peace Corps has been serving the Micronesia and the Republic of Palau since 1966, and since then there has been a total of 4,230 volunteers assigned. This group is fondly identified as Micronesia – 78.
2012 Taiwan Scholarship Recipients
Eight Palauans received this year’s Taiwan Scholarship at a ceremony held in the Koror State Government Assembly Hall.  This prestigious and highly competitive award is a scholarship scheme for international students who possess prior excellent academic performance and good moral character.  The Third Secretary of the ROC Wendy Lee, gave the orientation on the Taiwan Scholarship, while Ambassador Tien and Vice President Kerai Mariur presented the scholarships to each recipients. The program began in 2004 as the jointly established Scholarship Program of Taiwan funded by the government of the Republic of China’s Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and National Science Council of the Executive Yuan.
The Taiwan Scholarships were awarded to the following individuals:Leilani Buck, Ives Morei, Jodean Remengesau, Najwa Sadang, Takeichi Gushiken and Symone Ubedei. And the Huayu or Mandarin Enrichment Scholarships were awarded to Janee Kloulchad and Edson Chiokai.  Congratulations to all recipients.
Royals to Tuvalu
British Royals visit Tuvalu
The British Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to visit the small island of Tuvalu next month. Prince William and his wife Catherine will be staying overnight on the small atoll of Funafuti. Assistant Secretary for foreign Affairs, Pasuna Tuaga, says their itinerary is still being finalized but will include an insight of how the island is affected by climate change, as well as their culture and traditional way of welcome, they will also have sometime to be taken out to the public, enjoy showcases of Tuvaluan sports, canoe racing and also visit some of the coastal erosion sites. Tuaga says that the last visit from the British Royal family was in 1982 by Queen Elizabeth II. Tuvalu will be able to take advantage of the media spotlight during the Royal couples visit.
Palau Airways Announces Student Tickets and Expansion
Palau Airways that launched on May 6th 2012 has announced expanded routes beginning November 1st.   The new route from Palau to Hong Kong is expected to increase tourism from mainland China.  Palau Airways also discounted ticket prices for Palauans pursuing their studies in Taiwan.  The airline will be sponsoring students from Palau with a free annual round-trip ticket. Additional routes are in the works including Seoul, Korea and Manila, Philippines.
2012 Presidential Debate a Success Affirming the Integrity of Event to Inform Voters
The Palau Chamber of Commerce and the Palau Bar Association, who were the sponsors of the 2012 Presidential debate, issued a press release this week stating that the questions for the debate were allegedly offered to Presidential candidates prior to the debate for a fee of a thousand dollars; however, both the Chamber of Commerce and Palau Bar Association would like to inform the public that at no time were the debate questions offered for sale to any candidates or any individuals by any member or agent of Palau Chamber of Commerce or Palau Bar Association. The sponsors investigated the matter prior to and after the Presidential Debate and determined it to be unfounded. The Palau Chamber of Commerce and the Palau Bar Association are voluntary organizations whose members have the opportunity to participate in many aspects of supporting the continuing development of the community and the economy.
Cook Islands Running Out of SUVs for US Diplomats
The Cook Islands are preparing for the Pacific Island Forum with the expected visit of the U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.  Clinton is the biggest dignitary to arrive in the Cooks since Queen Elizabeth II nearly four decades ago.  Clinton usually travels with a staff of 90 and so Clinton’s arrival is posing problems for a government that owns just three small SUVs.  The government now needs to borrow cars from residents to create a proper motorcade.  To date, the government has only been able to borrow six small SUV’s from locals despite the US’ request for larger SUV’s.  The government has also been training government workers and private volunteers to act as chauffeurs for the leaders by doing training laps around Rarotonga, which has a total road circumference of just 20 miles.  Clinton’s attendance foreshadows a US policy shift as it builds its military presence in the Pacific to counterbalance the rise of Asian nations including China.