Archive for June 2011

GW students conditionally support status quo

June 30, 2011
by Krystal Paco

Guam – The George Washington Geckos are no stranger to overcrowding. Previous meetings have discussed four likely options for the upcoming school year: redistricting up to 700 students to Southern High, double-session, extended day, or to remain in status quo. The school’s capacity is 2100 students, but expects 2,800 students for the upcoming school year.

According to Acting Principal Darlene Roberto, students are showing favor to remain in status quo, on the condition that classrooms have working air conditioning units and enough equipment. Roberto adds that some parents have offered to donate folding chairs and tables. Roberto stresses that in order for students to complete the scheduling process, they will need a mayor’s verification and utility bill with their parents’ names to ensure they are in the correct district.

To ease conditions for the future, Roberto asks that legislation focus on building another central high school.

Scholarships offered during Taiwan visit

June 30, 2011

Marshall Islands Journal – June 24, 2011


By invitation of President Ma Ying-jeou, President Jurelang Zedkaia (pictured) is in Taipei, capital city of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and was greeted by President Ma Ying-jeou and First Lady Ma at the Presidential Palace last week prior to bilateral discussions and a formal luncheon hosted in honor of President Zedkaia and his delegation.

During the bilateral discussions, President Ma commended President Zedkaia on the successful climate change conference jointly hosted by the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Columbia University. Among other topics touched upon were ROC’s vocational training program in the Marshall Islands which President Zedkaia said was hugely successful, along with the youth ambassadors program, the Laura Farm and other agricultural initiatives, the sister city relationship between Majuro and Taipei (established in 1998 when President Ma was mayor of Taipei City and President Zedkaia was a Majuro Senator), other cultural exchange programs, and the upcoming Marshall Islands November general elections.

The same day, President Zedkaia and delegation attended a formal evening dinner hosted by Minister of Foreign Affairs, C.T. Yang and his wife. At dinner, Foreign Minister John Silk sought his counterpart’s assistance for approval of a permit that has been held up and would enable the release of a fishing vessel slated for Marshall Islands. Minister Silk also brought up the possibility of a loan by Marshall Islands Development Bank for assistance in the housing development programs of the Marshall Islands government.Minister Yang promised to look into the two issues. Yang proposed ROC’s assistance to provide help in the form of scholarships for two medical students of the Marshall Islands.

His proposal was warmly welcomed by President Zedkaia, who said that one of the main stumbling blocks for Marshallese students in pursuing longer educational programs overseas was their home-sickness. Minister Yang responded by saying that ROC’s scholarships would be used for schools in the region. Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides 600,000 Taiwan dollars to the Ministry of Health which is equally divided among three sectors: medicine and equipment, doctors’ salaries (including bringing in qualified doctors from abroad), and the education of local doctors.


June 29, 2011



Palau Pacific Energy to explore the remote northern isle

By Bernadette Carrerion

KOROR, Palau (Marianas Business Journal, June 20, 2011) –The Kayangel State government has authorized the Palau Pacific Energy Inc. to conduct oil exploration drilling in at the waters of Velasco Reef until Dec. 31, 2012. Although the state legislature previously failed to grant the extension after the May 15 deadline, Kayangel Gov. Edwin Chokai approved the company’s request for extension. The agreement between PPE and Kayangel State authorizes the governor to either approve or deny the extension request.

[PIR editor’s note: Kayangel is an island state located in the far north of Palau, above Babeldaub.]

According to recent reports, PPE has not been able to drill, citing “circumstances beyond its control” such as world economic recession. The company also reportedly blamed the previous administration at the national level for the delays in the venture. PPE stated that with the extension, oil exploration can proceed with adequate time to conduct the test well-drilling research. The test drilling seeks to determine if commercial quantities of oil and gas are present in the sub-surface of the Velasco Reef.

PPE had a license agreement with the national government and Ngarchelong State which expired this year. However, it intends to re-negotiate the agreement if oil or gas is discovered in Kayangel State. PPE added that it will be negotiated under the terms and condition set by the petroleum bills currently pending before the Palau Congress.

Velasco Reef, located just 20 miles north of Kayangel, is touted as a treasure trove of marine life.

Marianas Business Journal
Copyright © 2011 Glimpses of Guam Inc., All Rights Reserved

Micronesia concerns over human trafficking

June 29, 2011

Radio Australia News


The US State Department has marked down the performance of the Federated States of Micronesia on its watch-list for international human trafficking.

The move demonstrates Washington’s concern about trafficking in the FSM.

The island nation, which is now ranked at tier three, faces a cut-off of US assistance if it is found to be unresponsive in fighting trafficking.

The State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report says Micronesian waters are seen as easy for traffickers.

No inquiry

But it says no figures are available as the government in the Federated States of Micronesia has not conducted any investigations into the problem.

Papua New Guinea also remains at tier three.

Fiji has been removed Fiji from the list, as have the Philippines, Singapore and Laos – confirming their efforts to halt trade in humans.

But the report indicates abuses are still occurring elsewhere, with Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam remaining on the watch-list.

University of the South Pacific goes mobile

June 29, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 12:00AM Press Release
SUVA (Pacnews) — The University of the South Pacific will spend up to $100,000 to set up a gateway for mobile learning.

Head of pure and applied sciences Dr. Anjeela Jokhan said with mobile phones being the most common medium of communication, students will soon be able to enroll through mobile web or access grade books.

“Each project may take up to $5000 to have the functionality trialed, tested and added to the gateway,” she said.

“Once developed and implemented, there will be the usual cost of texts.”

Jokhan said similar to e-learning where web technologies are used to aid in teaching and learning, m-learning will allow USP to make use of mobile technology.

The scope, she said, is huge.

“For example, classroom assessments (formal and/or informal) can be facilitated using mobiles,” she said.

“Students can access grade books via SMS, enrollments can be through mobile web, important alerts can be sent to students via SMS.”

Palau voters reject casino gaming

June 29, 2011

In the casino gaming referendum on Wednesday , the NO votes got a vote of 3,349 and the YES votes 1,085.

Voters had to answer the question “Do you approve of the
establishment of casino gaming in the Republic of Palau?” with yes or

If majority of votes cast on the referendum are affirmative, the
Olbiil Era Kelulau may proceed to enact legislation establishing a
Casino Gaming Commission including but not limited to its
organization, authority, function, responsibilities and duties.

If majority of votes case are negative, the OEK will not again
consider the establishment of casino gaming here.


Trochus harvest

June 29, 2011


As of Sunday, at least 84 tons of trochus have already been collected and sold by locals following the opening of the harvest season on June 15.

Hanpa is the sole company on island buying the harvested trochus at $1.55 per pound this season.

Compared to the previous trochus season, which was in 2008, Hanpa observed that the harvests this time seemed lower. Hanpa disclosed that in 2008, at least 150 tons of trochus were bought by three companies from Hongkong, Japan and Korea.

Hanpa sees the bad weather at the opening of the season as the main factor affecting the amount of harvests this time.

Locals have until June 30 to harvest trochus. Under the executive order issued by President Toribiong in May declaring the trochus season, harvesting from Ngerukewid Islands Wildlife Preserve is prohibited. States also retain broad powers to prohibit or limit taking of trochus within its waters.

It is not allowed for any person to harvest trochus by means of any kind of underwater breathing apparatus other than snorkel.

It is prohibited to harvest trochus that is less than three inches in diameter at the base. The Bureau of Marine Resources, which is tasked to ensure that trochus harvesters are in compliance with the size, assured that those being sold are not less than the allowed size.

The Olbiil Era Kelulau earlier pushed for the open season of trochus believing that a limited season will provide income to Palauan families without depleting the resources.


New solar-powered resort to open in Rock Islands

June 26, 2011

Marianas Business Journal, Mon, Jun 6th 2011

KOROR, Palau – A new resort that seeks to promote ecotourism will open in one of the isles that make up Palau’s famous Rock Islands.
The Ngellil Nature Island Resort will be run by solar power, according to its owner, Donald Haruo.

Ngellil is an eight-room resort that was built to accommodate and entertain visitors in a way that is minimally intrusive or destructive to the environment. Construction began in 2010. The new resort facility, which is a 10-minute sail from Airai State, will open in July.

“The resort promotes eco-tourism. The main goal of its development is to protect the environment and blend both the culture and environment, both of which are important to Palau,” Haruo said.

Haruo said 90% of the resort’s power needs will be operated by a solar system while the rest will be run by generator. This will be the first resort in the Rock Islands to use solar power.

The resort will cater to both high-end and local markets, specifically those who want to get away from the busy life in the city.

Haruo said the resort targets tourists from America, Europe and Japan. It offers canoeing, kayaking, night fishing, diving and snorkeling – all unique ways to spend time in Palau which is known for its pristine waters and untouched environment.

A trail on the resort leads to the Yapese Stone Money site, which will be an attractive feature for those who like hiking.
The resort is staffed by six people who will be available round-the-clock.

Haruo noted that prior development has only been focused on Koror, leaving out the Rock Islands, which he said is one of Palau’s main attractions. Building a resort there, he said, will open doors for its vast potential.

The islands, numbering between 250 and 300, are mostly uninhabited but are famous for their beaches, blue lagoons and the peculiar umbrella-like shapes. The Rock Islands and the surrounding reefs make up Palau’s popular tourist sites such as Blue Corner, Blue Hole, German Channel, Ngermeaus Island and the famed Jellyfish Lake, one of the many marine lakes in the Rock Islands that provides home and safety for stingless jellyfish found only in Palau.

Palau’s new tourism school to open in August

June 26, 2011

Marianas Business Journal, Jun 20th 2011

The new Palau Tourism and Hospitality School of Excellence is set to open when classes begin on Aug. 17, according to Victoria Maui, an associate professor at Palau Community College.

The new tourism school, which will be located on PCC campus, was conceptualized 10 years ago in response to the growth of Palau’s tourism and the local students’ increasing interest in the industry.

“Tourism and hospitality programs have been part of the PCC since 1998. There were only two students at that time,” Maui said. “Enrolment has since grown and continued to increase. An average of 10 students graduate from the program every year. About 80 to 90 students are enrolled in the program every year.”
The tourism school is housed at two old PCC buildings that have been refurbished at a cost of $500,000. The project was funded through local fundraising efforts and grants from Australian government. Each classroom is designed to simulate a real hotel environment.

Although the project was first conceptualized 10 years ago, plans did not take off until 2009, Maui said. “Three stakeholders – PCC, the Ministry of Education and the Belau Tourism Association – came together and decided to take action. They came up with a solid business plan.”

The establishment of a local tourism school, Maui said, is also aimed at reducing Palau’s dependence on foreign workforce. The industry is currently filled mostly with hospitality workers from the Philippines, Japan and Taiwan.

“We have a limited number of locals working in the industry. It’s time we train our own people and allow them to participate in the growth of Palau’s tourism,” Maui said.

The school will include courses under three major categories: hospitality, hotel and tour operations, and culinary art.

Assistant Secretary Campbell’s Travel to the Pacific Islands

June 24, 2011

U.S. Department of State
Media Note

Washington, DC
June 23, 2011

Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt M. Campbell, accompanied by U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Patrick M. Walsh, USAID Assistant Administrator Nisha Biswal and Office of the Secretary of Defense South/Southeast Asia Principal Director Brigadier General Simcock will travel to the Pacific Islands June 26 – July 1, 2011.

This unprecedented high-level trip demonstrates the United States’ enduring strategic commitment to the region and underscores the whole-of-government approach to enhancing our bilateral political, economic, and security relations in the Pacific. In addition, the delegation will engage in discussions on enhancing the U.S. role and support for the Pacific Island Forum, and steps that the U.S. can take to enhance opportunities for American businesses seeking to invest in the Pacific.

The delegation arrives in Kiribati on June 27, where they will meet with President Anote Tong and other senior officials to discuss issues including climate change and economic development prospects. The group will also participate in a wreath laying ceremony. The delegation will continue on to Samoa, recrossing the dateline to arrive on June 26, to meet with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and other senior officials to discuss issues affecting South Pacific nations, including regional environmental programs and our common efforts in international organizations. They will also meet private sector members and civil society representatives.

On June 28, the delegation travels to Tonga, to meet with King George Tupou V, Prime Minister Tui’vakano, and other senior officials. They will acknowledge the important contribution of Royal Tongan Marines in Afghanistan. In the Solomon Islands, the delegation will meet with Prime Minister Danny Philip and representatives from Solomon’s Foreign Ministry on June 29. Besides holding talks on current issues affecting our two countries, the delegation will lay wreaths at the World War II Guadalcanal American Memorial and conduct talks with the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

On June 29, the delegation arrives in Papua New Guinea to meet with Acting Prime Minister Samuel Abal and Foreign Minister Ano Pala. Talks in Port Moresby will be particularly extensive, given PNG’s major roles in various international and Pacific fora. The delegation will also meet with American business officials who play an important part in the development of PNG’s energy sector. The group will depart the next day for Palau to meet with President Toribiong and his senior officials to discuss our common views on global issues, and climate change and development issues. They will also take the opportunity to meet with various civil society and business representatives.

On July 1, the delegation will travel to the Federated States of Micronesia to meet with President Emanuel Mori, tour Pohnpei State Hospital, and hold roundtable discussions with civil society groups. On the same day, the delegation will travel to the Republic of the Marshall Islands where they will meet with senior leaders and members of civil society for talks on various economic developments, climate change, and other transnational issues. The delegation will express its appreciation for the service of Palauan, Micronesian, and Marshallese citizens in the Armed Forces of the United States, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The delegation returns to Washington, D.C. on July 2.


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