New charges filed against defendants in hacking murder case
New charges has been filed against persons involved in the tragic hacking murder of Rdiall Bells and assault against Nolan Rebluud that happened in the early morning hours of September 3rd in front of MJ Burger Hut. According to court documents, store Ngirachelbaed Ease Oiterong is facing new charges of second degree murder for taking Bells’ life, attempted second degree murder for hacking Rebluud, voluntary manslaughter, two counts of aggravated assault, and two counts of mayhem in an attempt to maim and disfigure Rebluud including counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Ngirasechedui Andres who faces several counts of aiding and abetting assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is now also facing a new charge of violation of duty to report wounds or death. Johnston Etpison, a new defendant in this case according to the superseding information filed on October 4th is also facing charges related to his involvement. Etpison who has been released from jail after posting a $5,000 bond is facing charges of aiding and abetting assault and battery in addition to violation of duty to report wounds and deaths. The three defendants are facing charges for their involvement in the violent attack against Rdiall Bells and Nolan Rebluud. Bells died from the wounds he sustained from the attack while Rebluud sustained extensive injuries including the loss of limb.
U.S haunted house asked to change theme based on RMI’s nuclear history
A haunted house in Maryland has received a lot of criticism especially from the people of the Marshall Islands, after the company Hallow Inc. based its production on the country’s nuclear testing history. The Warehouse: Project 4.1, a new zombie-themed haunted house reportedly portrays a private company conducting testing and experiments on the nuclear fallout victims, eventually creating zombies. Many find the theme disrespectful including Laura Sunblad who lived in the Marshall Islands for two years. “Thinking about [the nuclear testing] as a joke or something that can be exploited is really, deeply disrespectful,” said Sunblad. “This is a real tragedy with real consequences for real people.” Not only has the story of the nuclear themed haunted house offended those who have lived in the Marshalls and seen the tragedy first hand it has prompted others particularly Marshall islanders in Hawaii to join together on a Facebook page called United Against Hallow Inc.’s Haunted House including a online petition signed by over a hundred people asking Hallow Inc. to rebrand its haunted house. Since making international news, Hallow Inc. posted a disclaimer on its website, saying that the haunted house’s story is focused on a fictional pharmaceutical company conducting genetic testing on people. “The premise of our attraction is mad scientists, and the zombies are not representations of the actual Marshallese people,” the disclaimer says. “Hallow Inc. in no way intends to exploit this tragedy or its victims.” According to the disclaimer, Hallow Inc. is working to join efforts with RMI Ambassador Charles Paul and support the victims of this tragedy including donations to organizations in the Marshalls. However, Paul claims that Hallow Inc. have never reached out to them and the Ambassador’s efforts to contact them have been fruitless.
Greenpeace set to assist Palau in enforcing laws against IUU fishing
Greenpeace international and the Republic of Palau has entered into an agreement, allowing Greenpeace to assist Palau in enforcing laws against illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing. According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed on Friday November 2nd, Greenpeace’s vessel the MY Esperanza will begin its expedition in Palau on November 4th until November 24th. One law enforcement officer and one fisheries observer will embark with Greenpeace officials during the exercises. Additionally, Greenpeace and the Palau government will maintain close and transparent communication and information sharing during and after the said exercise. At the brief signing ceremony, President Toribiong thanked Greenpeace for assisting Palau in protecting its fisheries stocks and enforcing its laws. This is the second joint effort by the Government of Palau and the Greenpeace International in enforcing Palau’s laws against IUU fishing.
AG’s office files tobacco smuggling case
The Attorney General’s office has filed a case in court against three foreign nationals and a Palauan citizen in relation to a tobacco smuggling stint. At this time there are no detailed information as to what the defendants involvement is in the matter set forth by the Attorney General’s office. According to court procedures, information regarding the said case cannot be released for public’s view until all defendants of the case are properly served. However sources say that the said case involves a six-figure tobacco smuggling operation. OTV will follow up on this story when more information becomes available.
American incarcerated and deported in record time
Within six days, the AG’s Office arrested, charged, convicted, and escorted American Steve Remy to the airport with unprecedented speed of prosecution in the history of Palau’s judicial system. The charges filed against Steve Remy alleged eight misdemeanors that date back to January 1st of this year from complaints filed by his domestic partner, Assistant Attorney General Sarah Bloom. Remy explained that the police sought to arrest him three times last Friday, October 26thand each time they tested his blood alcohol level. Eventually he was arrested while he was sleeping at a friend’s house in Ngermid. He was then held in Palau’s Behavioral Health ward without bond. After five days of being confined to behavioral health, Remy was brought before the court where he waived all of his rights. The Court did not ask him if he was on medication or if 5 days of being locked up in behavioral health may have affected his state of mind when pleading. Remy, who has no prior criminal record, plead guilty plea to one count of disturbing the peace. For disturbing the peace, he was sentenced to six months in jail, which was suspended on the condition that he leaves Palau. He was permitted only one hour of supervised release, accompanied by a Palau Marshall, to pack his personal belongings. Before his departure, the Palau Government presented Remy with a bill for his incarceration in the Behavioral Health unit. He was also expected to pay the departure tax upon his exit. In the past the AG’s office has proven unresponsive to similar cases involving both Palauans and foreigners despite credible evidence.
Newly appointed American Honorary Consul to Palau
Julian Padilla, a 52-year old businessman and world traveler of Carlsbad, was appointed honorary council general of Palau, after being approached by the President, during a business trip to Palau. He hopes to spread the word on Palau’s tourism and industries in San Diego County. He accepted the offer for his non-paying job as it offers him a chance to exercise public relations and diplomacy skills, and build relationships with other countries. Padilla quotes that the main things he will do is promote trade, tourism, and business investments in Palau.
Candidates selected for the first regional TV field reporters training
Six candidates from across Micronesia have been selected to attend the first Television Field Producers Training organized by Oceania Television Network (OTV). Candidates will receive training on how to research, write, film and edit stories including presentations from Pacific Island news publishers, editors and how to report on issues of climate change. The workshop is aimed to create producers from across the region that can contribute stories and news segments to a regional television program. Kassi Berg, one of OTV’s founders said, “This is an unprecedented opportunity for Micronesians to be a part of a growing base of contributors to our regional television programming. This is part of OTV’s ongoing effort to train media and support the creative arts in the Pacific region.” Due to lack of qualified candidates from Chuuk and Kosrae, two candidates were selected from Palau, as well as one each from Yap and Pohnpei. The trainings will take place in Palau and Majuro beginning on November 12, 2012, which was made possible by funding from PACMAS, ABC International and AusAID.
Dead whale and foreign FAD floating in Palau waters
On United Nations Day, a day recognized by the Palau government as a national holiday, some local fishermen while out at sea discovered a dead whale floating near the shore. According to eyewitnesses, the whale was floating approximately 4 to 5 miles off the coast of Koror and Ngchesar. From their observation, the whale seemed to have been death for two or three days judging from the smell. The eyewitnesses also saw three other whales reportedly swimming away in the opposite direction. During the same day, the fishermen also discovered a debris floating at sea that looks like a Fish Aggregation Device (FAD). “We … noticed a huge FAD or big cylinder shaped object also floating in the waters, but closer to Koror/Ngchesar, about 2-3 miles out, “ said one of the fishermen. The Marine Law Enforcement said they did not receive any reports of a floating dead whale or FAD, however they did say that these sightings should be reported for their removal to ensure the safety of boaters. The whale is said to be ten meters long.
India appoints ambassador to Palau
The government of India has appointed Shri Amit Dasgupta as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Palau. Dasgupta who is the current Ambassador of India to the Philippines has been concurrently accredited as the Ambassador of India to Palau with residence in Manila. The Ministry of External Affairs said that he will be taking up his assignments shortly. He was also recently appointed as Ambassador to the Marshall Islands.
Japan airport reopens after a bomb discovery
After discovering a 550-pound bomb in the runway, the Sendai Airport in Japan reopened for service with the bomb still intact in the runway covered with hundreds of sandbags. According to reports, a construction worker rebuilding the draining system at the airport on October 29, uncovered the bomb, believed to have been dropped by U.S forces during WWII. Since the discovery, bomb disposal experts ordered the construction of three-meter high concrete walls, supported by soil up to the same to protect the bomb while authorities wait for military experts to defuse and remove it once legal and logistical details are worked out. “The work to defuse it will start after we discuss the matter with local municipalities and residents,” said Japan’s transport ministry official. According to authorities, the airport resumed operations using one of its two runways after having cancelled all 92 domestic and international flights. Today, unexploded ordnances and military equipments from WWII can be found in Japan and around the Pacific region 70 years after the war. Experts anticipate that will take years to remove unexploded ordnances from a single country such as Japan.
Hurricane Sandy affects millions
The impacts from the storm of the century continue to affect the lives of millions. Huricane sandy has left in its wake massive destruction and over 40 dead across the east coast of the united states. While relatively low in wind speed, the massive size of the storm along with high tide, and other meteorological factors gave it devastating power. The entire board walk and countless homes were washed away along New Jerseys coast, wile New York was brought to a screeching halt. As the blackout entered its fourth day for some New Yorkers, officials said power would be restored by Saturday to lower Manhattan. Turning the lights back on will take a little longer in other areas. About 650,000 people remained without power Thursday. Crews prepared Thursday to pump out the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, flooded to its ceiling during the worst of the Monday’s night storm surge, as attention turned toward undoing the damage done along the East River. Bodies of the victims are being recovered in multiple states including two boys who were swept out of their mothers are by the floods and an elderly couple who drowned in their car when it was engulfed by the waves. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue and cleanup efforts continue.
IFJ and Pacific Freedom Forum condemns violent attack on PNG journalist
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined with the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) in condemning the violent attack on a journalist in Papua New Guinea. On October 13, Michael Koma, PNG correspondent for the Post-Courier newspaper was viciously attacked after his report inquiring into high-level local government appointments in the Highlands province of the country was published. PFF reports that four men approached Koma while he was at a relative’s house, questioned him about his story then beaten him up until he was unconscious. Koma was rushed to the hospital and has since recovered. Many have gone to the media condemning Koma after the violent attack. “The use of violence to silence and intimidate journalists is both deplorable and criminal, and we commend Koma and the Post-Courier management for reporting this to the authorities,” said PFF co-chair Titi Gabi. A police investigation into the attack is reportedly underway.
MIMRA to expand domestic coastal fisheries by 2013
As a member of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, the Marshall Islands is benefitting greatly from the vessel day scheme, a program that has brought additional revenues to the country. The additional revenue has influenced the Marine Resources Authority to expand the country’s domestic coastal fisheries by 2013. Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) Director Glen Joseph says he wants to expand local fisheries conservation and development efforts throughout the remote outer islands, but needs to hire more personnel to work on the project. Joseph hopes to get the project going with marine science graduates. “If you are a marine science graduate living in California, I want you, “ Joseph said. “Come home with your degree and work with us.” Joseph is hopeful that more money will be invested for outer islands conservation, management and development: an area that he terms “coastal fisheries.” “Our aim is not to go to the outer islands to tell people what to do,” he said. “The goal is to engage with all the different atolls.
Marshalls coconut replanting scheme to bring economic opportunities
A coconut replanting and removal scheme set to launch in the Marshall Islands is expected to provide a significant economic opportunity for people in the country’s outlying islands. Marshall Islanders are well known for their unique handicrafts and Alson Kelen of the Canoes of the Marshall Islands organization hopes to train and equip many Marshallese in the outer islands how to create these handicrafts using coconut lumber for revenue. “It’s been my dream to do something with coconut logs,” said Kelen. “The canoe program will do training on replanting and how to use the coconut lumber from the senile trees that are cut down.” The scheme, which is part of a three-country pilot project in the Pacific that provides food security and job creation, will commence in five remote atolls in the Marshall Islands in the upcoming months. The $1.2 million dollar project is funded by the Japan’s Fund for Poverty Reduction and the Asian Development Bank.
London Professor appointed as SOPAC’s new Director
The Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has appointed a London professor as the new director of the Applied Geoscience and Technology (SOPAC). Professor Michael George Pettersen of the UK is expected to take up the position in January 2013. “I commend Professor Pettersen to the staff of the SOPAC Division, whom he will lead, the broader SPC staff that he will be part of, the Pacific Community that he will serve, SPC’s development partners and stakeholders with whom he will work, and STAR, to which he will contribute, “ said SPC Director-General Dr. Jimmie Rodgers after Pettersen’s appointment. Professor Pettersen will take the baton from Dr. Russell Howorth, the current SOPAC director whose tenure ends in January.
FSM VP Alik chair session at ITU summit
Vice President of the Federated States of Micronesia Alik L. Alik recently led FSM’s delegation to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Dubai where he also chaired and moderated the session on “Saving Lives With ICT”. During their participation, Vice President Alik and the FSM delegation were able to engage in a meeting with ITU Secretary General regarding several initiatives including the National Emergency Telecommunication Plans to establish comprehensive systems for early warning, business continuity plans, management of the radio frequency spectrum amongst others. The summit, which was held from October 14-18th, was attended by other heads of governments, Ministers, Organizations, Regulatory authorities, Industries and others with the purpose of providing unparallel opportunity for international leaders to engage in positive dialogue with the principal stakeholders in the global ICT community to achieve meaningful solutions for the betterment of life of all citizens.
Tons of family friendly Halloween activities and events were organized all around Palau giving families more options on what to do on Halloween night. Dozens of kids and parents donning all kinds of costumes from super heroes to cartoon characters took part in the trick or treating activities for sweets including taking part in several different kinds of activities at Bethlehem park and enjoying the night’s festivities. In addition, the Civil Action Team also organized their yearly Halloween Hunted House event in Airai’s old elementary school over the past weekend. Adults also joined in on the Halloween fun at Kramer’s Bar and Grill.