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.


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