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Palau Weekend Report

Koror, Palau, Micronesia (Oceania Television Network, Oct. 29, 2010)

Happy Halloween!



TRO granted in the case of Asanuma vs. Chin

On October 27, Associate Justice Alexandra Foster issued a Temporary Restraining Order against Miriam Chin and the alleged new board. The TRO was filed after Chin allegedly tried to occupy Red Cross office earlier this week as she was reportedly reinstated by the new board that was elected through a special general membership meeting last week. The alleged new board disclosed in a press release that a resolution was unanimously adopted to terminate the board membership headed by Santy Asanuma. However, Associate Justice Foster stated in the order that Red Cross cannot operate under the condition where staff is afraid to come to work, does not know who is in charge and fears for their job security. Until further order of the court, the defendants, Miriam Chin, Camsek Chin, Father John Paul Ililau, Norbert Yano, Adora Nobuo, Maria Rehuher and their officers, agents, employees, trial counselors, attorneys and those in active concert with them are barred from claiming publicly or privately that they represent Red Cross. A preliminary injunction was set on Thursday October 28th. We will continue to follow the story and update our viewers.

Palau declares marine mammalís sanctuary at biodiversity conference

The Republic of Palau, through Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism Harry R. Fritz declared the entire economic zone as marine mammal sanctuary during Oceanís day at the 10th Convention to Parties on biological diversity . OTV sat down with Honorable President Johnson Toribiong to find out the importance of preserving, conserving and protecting marine mammals.



Senate appoints news legislative counsel

During their last session, the Senate of the eight Olbiil Era Kelulau appointed attorney Ryan Zinchefsky as the new Senate Legislative Counsel. Zinchenfsky's appointment was formalized and passed unanimously in the Senate earlier this week. Zinchenfsky attended the University of Rochester in New York where he graduated with a BA in political science and history. He then attended the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law where he conferred his JD degree. He is a member of both the California bar and the San Francisco Bar Association. Prior to his appointment, Zinchefsky worked as Deputy Public Defender at the San Francisco public defender's office. As the legislative counsel, he will act as the Senate's legal counsel. Other responsibilities will also include the drafting of bills and resolutions.

Bill proposed to extend term of line of credit

President Johnson Toribiong has proposed a bill on the current extension of the term of line of credit from its current year to five years. The national government, according to the President is unable to utilize the current law due to the fact by the end of the fiscal year payment on all draw downs must be paid in full. The law authorizes the President to negotiate for and obtain a revolving line of credit with a lender for a yearís period in the maximum amount of $3 million. Under the bill, the President also proposed that all payments on all draw down must be current on or before October 1st when the new fiscal year begins.

Bill to require vehicle owner to get insurance

A bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Hokkons Baules to require all motor vehicle owners to obtain vehicle insurance. Under the proposed Motor Vehicle Insurance Act of 2010, every owner of a motor vehicle shall be required to obtain and maintain motor vehicle insurance before it is able to be used on the public roads. In addition, the insurance policy must insure up to $30,000 for injuries or death and up to $5,000 for damage of property as a result of the accident. According to Senator Baules, failure to carry motor vehicle insurance has left the victims of traffic accident to burden the finances of the accident rather than the person at fault. The bill is assigned to the Senate committee on ways and means for review.

House passes statute of limitation bill

Earlier this year, Delegate Jonathan Isechal introduced a bill to eliminate the statute of limitation on rape and sex crimes against children. Currently, the statute of limitation prevents prosecution of any crimes, except for murder. Most cases, victims of such crimes are unable to testify or name their abuser, however, with this bill victims of sex crimes particularly children, will be able to face the crime and report it even years later. The bill was passed in the House of Delegates on third and final reading and is now in the hands of the Senate.

Bill to increase visa and entry fees proposed in HOD

In the House of Delegates, Delegate Lentcer Basilius has introduced a proposal to increase all visa and entry permits by 5% as additional source of fund. In addition, Basilius also proposed to amend the law, which standardize the penalties paid in case of overstaying foreigners. Under the proposal, any foreigner who is unlawfully staying in the country shall be subject to maximum penalty of imprisonment no more than two years, which will also include a fine of $20 per day for both the alien and the employer for the duration of the time the alien remains without a visa.

Existing foreigners may now apply for HCF refund

On October 1, the Health Care fund act was implemented, which began deductions of 2.5% contribution from each employee's paychecks, including foreign employers. An announcement was released stating that all foreign workers who are permanently existing Palau at this time may apply for a refund of the balance in their Medical Savings Account to date before April 1st of next year. However, in order to receive full refund, the workers must turn in necessary documents to the Division of labor office before Social Security releases any funds. Workers who are eligible to receive refund are urged to call Social Security office at 488- 1823 to find out more information before applying.

President declares November as diabetes awareness month

With over 800 cases of diabetes and obesity in Palau, President Johnson Toribiong has declared the month of November as diabetes awareness month. He urges the public to take part in the observance and activities designed to prevent and control diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. The month of November also marks the 14th World Diabetes day, which was initiated by the US International Diabetes Federation and the WHO as an education and prevention initiative concerning the rising number of people with diabetes in the world. The President went on to advice the community to engage in daily workout to prevent such disease.


Let's go to Yalap for this week's environmental news



Palauan community in Saipan asks President to reopen consulate office

The Palauan Community in Saipan is making every effort to convince President Toribiong and the Olbiil Era Kelulau to reopen the Palau Consulate office in Saipan. According to the group leader Rufino Aguon, the Palau Youth Organization in Saipan has sent letters to President Toribiong expressing the importance of the office. Aguon states that they have not received information from the government nor the President as to how the government will be able to extend services to them. More than 2,000 Palauans in Saipan will be denied of services such as the process of passports if the Consulate office remains closed. The Palau consulate office in both Guam and Saipan were ordered to close on December 31st due to lack of funds, however, the government appropriated funds towards the Guam location in the 2011 budget.

UN General Assembly condemns US Cuba blockade

On October 26th, similar to last year, 187 nations voted to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuba. For 19th consecutive year, the UN general assembly approved the Cuban resolution demanding the United States to repeal and invalidate the blockade. During the vote, two nations, which include the United States and Israel opposed, while Palau, Micronesia and the Republic of Marshall Islands abstained. The 50-year old blockade has caused economic losses totaling over $700 billion. In his address to the assembly, the Foreign Minister of Cuba denounced the US policy as a violation of human rights condemned under international law. He went on to state that the US government has continuously failed to even acknowledge Cuba's proposal for dialogue.

US Embassy temporarily suspends non-immigrant visa services

The US Embassy has announced that beginning October 27th through December 13th, they will be suspending their non-immigrant services. However, during which time anyone needing to apply for a non-immigrant visa during the temporary suspension period may apply online through the US Embassy in Manila. Services will resume again on December 14th. For more information visit manila.usembassy.gov

Coalition for a Tobacco Free Palau meets with Min. Kuartei on FCTC obligations

This week, the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Palau representing civil society, met with the Ministry of Healthís Tobacco program staff and the Minister of Health Dr. Stevenson Kuartei to discuss agenda items on the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) that will be held in Uruguay in November. Among several agenda items, there will be discussions on draft Guidelines for Article 12 on education, Article 14 on cessation, Articles 9 and 10 on product regulation and disclosure as well as a discussion on Article 6 on price and tax measures. Article 6 of the FCTC obligates Palau to implement tax and price policies on tobacco products so as to contribute to the health objectives aimed at reducing tobacco consumption. Of all available tobacco control measures, raising prices through raising taxes is the single most effective method of reducing tobacco consumption. Raising taxes will increase revenue, even while reducing tobacco consumption.

Rubekul Belau attends first conference on traditional leadership

Palau's Council of Chiefs called upon all traditional state and village leaders to attend its first traditional chief conference held on Monday at the Ngarachamayong cultural center. The conference brought leaders together to address their leaderships role, duty and authority under the traditional law and the modern system of today. The conference is expected to be held annually as to help all traditional leaders to better address matters of culture and customs, as well as their roles within the growing society. Only traditional leaders of hamlets, villages and state were allowed to attend the conference.

EQPB approves permits

During their regular board meeting this month, the board members of Palau's Environmental Quality Protection Board approved four residential permits to renovate or construct a new house, and three other projects such as the Koror State Waste Segregation Stations phase II project. The project seeks to facilitate waste collection station in the hamlets of Idid, Ikelau, Iyebukel and Medalaii, however, due to the close proximity to the roads and residence, the board asked the operator to keep in mind the health and safety of the residence. The board continues to assist developers and contractors through its permits, and regulations in reducing impact to the project surrounding while allowing the desired development to take place.

SOPAC encourages seafloor mining

With the success of seafloor mineral exploration and research in Papua New Guinea, the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission or SOPAC are now encouraging Pacific Island countries to explore minerals within their economic zone. SOPAC's Aggregate Geologist Akuila Tawake spoke during the STAR meeting in Nadi last week, where he listed three major marine mineral deposits. The minerals are listed in three groups; Seafloor Massive Sulphites, which includes minerals such as gold, silver, zinc and lead. Second group is the Cobalt-rich crusts, which includes cobalt, nickel and platinum, and lastly the Manganese nodules, which includes manganese, iron, nickel, cooper and cobalt. According to Tawake, before any mining operation can be considered, significant investments and detailed exploration is required. Research in Papua New Guinea began in 2005 by a Canadian mining company called Nautilus Minerals. Operations are expected to begin in its Solwara site in 2012, where they will mine Seafloor Massive Sulphides. Nautilus has begun exploration of minerals in Tonga and Solomon Islands, however, it could take up to five years before evidence is produced that a mine is feasible. SOPAC is now preparing a number of brochures as a guide to promote mineral potential in the Pacific for possible investors.

Palau Community College honors Dr. Mau Pialug

On October 28th, the Palau Community College and the Micronesian Voyaging Society came together in a memorial service to honor the great Grand Master Navigator Dr. Mau Pialug. As the Grand Master Navigator, Mau sailed the historic voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti, and from Yap to Palau all in the efforts to re-introduce traditional navigation methods. In 2007, Mau presided over the scared Pwo ceremony where he initiated his son Sesario as Master Navigator. During the memorial service, Ambassador of the Republic of China-Taiwan Maggie Tien presented a $1,000 check to the Micronesian Voyaging Society in honor of Mau and in its recognition of their ongoing work to educate the people in Austronesian traditional voyaging knowledge and skills. President Toribiong, Chief Reklai, Chief Ibedul, and Alan Seid were among the attendees, who paid tributes to Mau. Mau passed away in July 12 of this year at the age of 78. He left a legacy through his son, Sesario who teaches the same methods at PCC.

Ayana Rengiil goes to Junior Championship in New Calendonia

Ayana Rengiil is dominating the 12 under category in tennis championships around the Pacific region. She began playing tennis at 5 years under her mom, Ernestine Rengiilís influence. Since then, she has been making a name for herself in the world of sports. Recently she took home first place at the Oceania championship in Fiji, which secured her a spot in the upcoming Junior Championship in New Caledonia. OTV reporter spoke to 10-year old Ayana on her love of sports...


Bethania Alumni Association fundraiser

The members of Bethania Alumni Association put together a yard sale fundraising event on Monday UN day to raise funds for Bethania High Schoolís upcoming 55th Anniversary. For affordable prices the group are selling clothes, books and accessories. OTV stopped by Ekei Market, where the sale is taking place to talk to Grace Yano for more information on the fundraising...


Swing by Ekei Market at the Bethlehem Park this Sunday or every Sunday between 1:00 pm- 5:00 pm up until November 27 to support the Bethania Alumni Association.

Happy Halloween from all of us here at OTV!


Thank you for watching OTV's weekend news!

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