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Palau

PHS Class of 2022 inspired to dream

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 3:54am

Palau High School class of 2022 received an earful of sage advice from their special guest speaker, former President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., as they marked the end of their high school years on a high note.

Salutatorian- Udui Former Pres. Tommy Remengesau Valedictorian- Skebong PHS Class of 2022 looked sharp in their new color blues. First to graduate in the beautifully renovated gymnasium. Air-conditioned and indoors away from the increment weather.

“Let imagination be the driving force towards our limitless future,” reads the 2022 Graduating Class AIM. 

“The future is what you make.  It’s you, individually, that imagines and makes it happen,” You have to imagine, you have to dream, you have to have a plan…no one else can do it for you but you!” said former President Remengesau to the Class of 2022. “What happens today determines and shapes tomorrow.”

Urging the students to be proud of who they are, as Palauans, Remengesau said that the Palauan culture of respect, and the extended family support system “gives us a quality of life” to be proud of.

The 104 graduating seniors had chosen former President Remengesau Jr. as their keynote speaker noting the qualities that led to their decision to invite him as their keynote speaker.  2022 Class Salutatorian Miss Adiva Kerdeu Udui, introducing the 2022 Class keynote speaker said that they chose him because he was a humble man, an epitome of a Palauan.

PHS Class of 2022 Valedictorian Miss R-Jane Idub Skebong delivered the valedictory address recognizing those that contributed to their class’s successful journey.

“Don’t stop here.  Don’t let any failures get you down.  Pick yourself up and move on!,” advised former president and chief Madrengebuked Remengesau Jr.

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Categorie: Palau

Koror State seeks $15 million loan from nat’l gov’t

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 3:53am

Koror State Government is seeking a 15 million dollar loan from the national government to assist with the expected state budget shortfalls through FY 2024.

In a letter to the national congress, Koror Governor Eyos Rudimch said that despite “drastic appropriation reduction” and other expenditure reduction efforts, the State still needs to find new revenue sources until the economic recovery returns.

Based on Horwath HTL/https://agbrief.com/news/china/20/04/2022/full-recovery-in-asia-tourism, tourism recovery for the key Asian markets for Palau, would at best probably reach around 50% of the pre-covid numbers, especially for Japan and Taiwan markets.  China, which was the largest market before, is not expected to return until 2025.

The loan, said Governor Rudimch, is to “meet operational and service obligations” while the state continues to exercise austerity measures.

“The state’s ability to battle its way through the financial storm is highly dependent on the loan financing request,” stated Governor Rudimch.

Governor Rudimch also informed the national lawmakers that Koror State is looking to establish a “Cyclical Reserve Fund”, a fiscal responsibility model to support the state in future economic and financial shocks.

The letter from Governor Rudimch also requests the national congress to amend the new tax law, Palau Goods and Services Act (PGST), to make it voluntary for state governments to join the PGST rather than keep the state government out of it.  Rudimch said that Koror State would lose around $500,000 in revenue from KSG tourism-related fees under the current law where the state is prohibited from registering with the PGST.

The unaudited financial statement for Koror State shows that in 2019 it earned a little over 10 million from fees, leasehold, and others. In FY 2020, that revenue dropped to 5.4 million, or about a 50% drop over 2019. In FY 2021, the revenue further dropped to 4.2 million, compared to 10.8 million in 2019.  Net income loss in 2020 was over 3.2 million dollars.  Last year, 2021, the loss was also at 3.4 million dollars.  Current reserves and austerity measures can not last and the $15 million is needed to cover the losses up to 2024.

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Categorie: Palau

Gov’t seeks more value from tuna fishing

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 3:51am

Palau is looking at opportunities to get more value from tuna fisheries,  Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment Steven Victor said.

He said that much value can be obtained with Palau utilizing four types of fishing purse seine fishing, longline fishing,  pole and line, and trolling.

Longlines target a variety of tuna species  albacore, bigeye, yellowfin, and bluefin, and these kinds of tuna can generate a much higher value in International markets, the minister added.

“We’re looking at opportunities of how do we get more value out of it by  looking at business models and onshore processing approaches.”

Adding those tuna fisheries also contributes to Palau’s food security and the tourism industry.
The pole and line, he said could help  Palau’s  food security, because it’s targeting skipjack which is much more affordable to  the local market,
Government is eyeing more access to fishing grounds.

He said it is important for this government to improve ocean management and increase benefits from fishing.  

Minister said while the government aims to expand economic benefits from fisheries it doesn’t mean is it rolling back conservation.

 ‘We are not against conservation. Conservation has a big role to play in sustainable fisheries. So I think you can achieve conservation by establishing a more sustainable fishery that is highly regulated. You can achieve conservation, but you really cannot achieve sustainable fishery by just focusing on conservation,” he said.

He cited the example of the work done in the Northern Reef where only about 38% of their roofs are actually protected and the remaining is regulated fishing, showing the balance between conservation and allowing fishing operation.

He said an effective ocean management measure, there is still an opportunity for Palau to generate more revenues while ensuring fishery is still done in sustainable ways.

Adding there are also regional fishing management organizations that will ensure their members use sustainable ways to manage their ocean and comply with international and regional arrangements.

Government is eyeing more access to fishing grounds.

He said it is important for this government to improve ocean management and increase benefits from fishing.  

Minister said while the government aims to expand economic benefits from fisheries it doesn’t mean is it rolling back conservation.

 ‘We are not against conservation. Conservation has a big role to play in sustainable fisheries. So I think you can achieve conservation by establishing a more sustainable fishery that is highly regulated. You can achieve conservation, but you really cannot achieve sustainable fishery by just focusing on conservation,” he said.

He cited the example of the work done in the Northern Reef where only about 38% of their roofs are actually protected and the remaining is regulated fishing, showing the balance between conservation and allowing fishing operation.

He said an effective ocean management measure, there is still an opportunity for Palau to generate more revenues while ensuring fishery is still done in sustainable ways.

Adding there are also regional fishing management organizations that will ensure their members use sustainable ways to manage their ocean and comply with international and regional arrangements.

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Categorie: Palau

Patent bill passes congress

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 3:50am

Palau national congress (Olbiil Era Kelulau) has passed a bill creating a patent system to protect the rights of inventors.  The House bill 11-38-3, HD1, SD1 passed the Senate this week unanimously.

The bill expands the Intellectual Property Law to include patents.  It creates a Director position to supervise the office, appointed by the Attorney General.  An appeal of a decision made by the Director can be made to the Attorney General.  A decision by the Attorney General can be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Furthermore, the bill provides guidelines on what is patentable and what is not.  It provides for an application process and tasks the Attorney General to establish a system for appeals.

Patents will have attributes of personal property and the Intellectual Property Office in the Office of the Attorney General will keep a Registry of all patents and applications.

The proposed bill creates civil liability for infringement.  Contesting the validity of the patent is a defense against infringement but the burden of proof is on the person contesting the validity.  The bill puts a 6-year statute of limitation for infringement.  Cases of infringements are to be filed in the Trial Court of the Palau Supreme Court.

The patent bill expands on Palau’s Intellectual Property Copyright by amending Title 39, Chapter 8 of the Palau National Code. 

Palau is a member of the Hague Convention 1961 (Apostille).

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Categorie: Palau

Bill proposes to remove SS from HCF management

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 3:49am

Senate bill 11-65 proposes to amend the National Healthcare Financing Act, remove the Social Security Administration from administering the national healthcare insurance, invest the health insurance funds including the Medical Savings Fund, and transfer the responsibilities to the National Healthcare Financing Governing Committee.

The bill seeks to transfer all duties and responsibilities to the National Healthcare Financing Governing Committee no later than September 30, 2022.

The existing law gives the responsibility of investing Medical Savings Funds and National Health Insurance Funds to the Social Security Administration.  Additionally, it makes the Social Security Administrator, the administrator of the National Health Insurance under the direction of the National Healthcare Financing Governing Committee.

Legislative findings of the proposed bill state that placing the responsibility of “collecting and investing health-related funds with the Social Security Administration” was a prudent step at the time but the program has matured after 11 years.

The findings also say that OEK., through oversight hearings “have become aware that the National Healthcare Financing Governing Committee” has been hindered by the need to coordinate with the Social Security Administration, which needs to focus on Social Security related matters.”

The bill contends that investing in Social Security Fund is quite different than investing in Healthcare funds. “The Social Security Fund invests to receive predictable returns to pay predictable obligations.  In contrast, Healthcare Funds need to seek the highest possible risk-adjusted returns to pay unpredictable obligations.”

As such, according to the bill, the investment of Palau’s health-related funds should be moved from the Social Security Administration to the National Healthcare Financing Governing Committee.

The bill passed its first reading in the Senate and was assigned to Ways & Means Committee on Tuesday, May 17th.

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Categorie: Palau

More study needed on rabbitfish bill- Council of Chiefs

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 3:49am


The  Council of Chiefs is urging lawmakers to conduct further study and use more science in the deliberation of the proposed bill that seeks to permit the harvesting of rabbitfish.

“We have reviewed this bill, and although we think that the concept seems sound, we believe that the committee needs to carefully study the bill and gather all relevant information before making the final decision on whether to recommend the passage of this bill into law, “ Rubekul Belau said in its letter to HOD’s Committee on Natural Resources and Environment.

The council of chief said it is unclear whether a scientific study has been done on the impact of the proposed changes in the law.


It also raised concern about the language of the bill that appears to permit removing of rabbitfish that are carrying fertilized eggs.

The Council of chiefs also said that there should be regulations that govern planned projects that will remove the rabbitfish from its natural marine ecosystem into a different environment. (Island Times)

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Categorie: Palau

Pacific Legal Network expands with new affiliate law firm in Republic of Palau

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 3:44am


Pacific Legal Network (PLN) is pleased to announce it has expanded its coverage in Micronesia with the addition to the network of an affiliate member law firm in Palau.

William Ridpath in Palau joins PLN as part of their ongoing growth strategy across the Pacific, following the recent additions of member firms John Peter Munnull Lawyers in the Papua New Guinea Highlands and Reeder & Simpson, P. C. in Marshall Islands together with the expansion of the team in Honiara, Solomon Islands at Primo Afeau Legal Services with the addition of leading environmental lawyer William Kadi.

PLN Founder and Head of Legal Services John Ridgway said the addition of Palau to the network was an important expansion into Micronesia and would be of great benefit for clients in the region looking for high quality legal and business expertise on the ground in Palau.

“As we come out of the worst of the Covid pandemic, we are seeing an increased demand for high quality legal expertise on the ground in Pacific jurisdictions.  This recent expansion in Micronesia again demonstrates that PLN continues to lead the legal services market by matching that demand”, he said.

William Ridpath has been admitted to the Palau Bar for over 30 years and has extensive local experience representing numerous public and private clients on major transactions.

“I’m very pleased to be part of PLN and its broad presence in the Pacific region,” Mr Ridpath said.

Mr Ridgway said Mr Ridpath is a fantastic addition to the network, bringing the kind of on the ground experience that is highly sought after by clients.

“We have had the pleasure of working with Bill for some years now.  Bill and his firm are a welcome and timely addition to the network.  Global clients have global legal services expectations, and for us this extends to all parts of the Pacific, evidenced by our recent focus on Micronesia,” he said. 

“As the Pacific becomes more and more relevant in a geopolitical context, it is important that our clients have access to the best available legal services across all jurisdictions – large and small.  That is what PLN delivers to our clients, and what PLN brings to the legal services market”.

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Categorie: Palau

PICRC charts its next five years in new strategic plan

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 3:12am

Since 2001, when the Palau International Coral Reef Center began its operations, the Center has updated its strategic plan regularly every five years.  As with previous updates, the finished plan reflects the insights of each staff member.  The Center’s staff participated in a series of situation analysis workshops to assess their respective department’s performance, challenges, and opportunities, as well as how their work supports the Center’s legal mandates.

As explained by Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, the Center’s Chief Executive Officer, “We want to continue improving our strengths, change any areas that are not working and stay focused on achieving our goals.” With this in mind, the staff actively considered various scenarios of where they want to be as a Center in five years’ time, and what steps would be needed to get there. After completing the workshops, the entire staff joined a strategic planning retreat to write up the plan and set a new mission, vision and set of goals for the Center.

The new strategic plan was officially adopted last week by the Center’s Board of Directors.  The Center’s new vision statement reads, “Empowered Ocean stewardship that sustains people and inspires the world” and the mission statement reads “To be a Center of Excellence that produces high quality and impactful research, education, and opportunities to support stewardship of Palau’s ocean resources.”

Covering the next five years, this 5th updated strategic plan will guide the Center’s work to ensure that it continues to fulfill its mandates and serve the people of Palau to its full potential. “Whatever challenges we confront in the next five years, I believe this plan will help our work continue to be relevant and impactful for Palau” continued Dr. Golbuu. “I’m proud of our team for setting ambitious goals and I’m looking forward to a productive five years.”

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Categorie: Palau

Amb. Lee of China (Taiwan) courtesy visit radio station EPFM87.9/Ngerel Belau

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 3:09am

On May 13, 2022, the Ministry of State-Division of Media & Information Services, operating as EPFM 87.9/ Ngerel Belau, had the honor to receive Her Excellency Ambassador Jessica Lee of the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Palau as a visiting guest to the radio station. During her visit, Ambassador Lee shared several upcoming events cohosted by the ROC (Taiwan) Embassy in Palau, Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM), and various governmental ministries.

The Division of Media & Information Services (EPFM87.9/Ngerel Belau) was requested to announce several events to engage community participation. The two (2) events are Health for all- 5K Walk for Life, and Palau Health Promotion Express, described in detail on the attached flyer.

Palau Health Promotion Express Date: TBD To promote health and nutrition in Palau, a program is to be organized by the Taiwan Embassy, Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM), and Health Institutes from Taiwan in coordination with Palau Health Ministry and States governments. The program is designed to share knowledge with the local communities on achieving a healthy and balanced diet through consuming more local veg-etables and produce. The Health Promotion Express is set to kick off soon, Route starting from Ngatpang, Ngatpang, Ngeremlengui, Ngardmau, Ngarchelong, Ngaraard, Ngiwal, Melekeok, Ngchesar, Airai, Aimeliik, and back to Koror. Health for all 5k walk for life Date: 20 May, 5:30pm (check-in time 4:15pm) Venue: Run Stars from National Track and Field Route: National Track and Field to Meyuns Hospital and back The top 50 receive TTM’s eggs, and the top 130 are awarded a T-shirt giveaway

The Division of Media & Information Services is pleased to partner with the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for the upcoming events and future collaborations.

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Categorie: Palau

PNSB sponsors interships for Palau’s future professionals

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 3:07am

PNSB SPONSORS INTERNSHIPS FOR PALAU’S FUTURE PROFESSIONALS
Palau continues to work towards providing opportunities to Palauan college students studying abroad, to explore the possibility of pursuing a career in Palau after they graduate. Through the Palau Fellowship Award (internship), which is an award administered by the Palau National Scholarship Board, college students pursuing their education outside of Palau are able to return home and gain work experience in a workplace related to their chosen field of study.
PNSB confirms the participation of 14 college students and recent college graduates for this summer 2022 internship program. Among the 14 summer interns, two are spring 2022 graduates while the remaining twelve interns still need to complete their senior year in college. The recipients of the PFA will be completing an 8–week paid internship experience with various government and other local agencies here in Palau. One intern, in particular, will be completing his internship with the Embassy of the Republic of Palau to the Republic of China, Taiwan located in Taipei, Taiwan.
The following is a list of all interns for this summer 2022 internship program. They will all be undergoing orientation to get familiarized with the program, before being placed at their respective internship site.


Through the PFA internship program, which is going on its 10th year, it is anticipated that these college students and recent graduates will be able to gain firsthand experience and establish networks to help them with their transition from graduating college and into the working field in Palau.
For more information on the Palau Fellowship Award, you may contact the Student Network Specialist, Ms. Morisang Udui at the Palau National Scholarship Office at (680) 488 – 3608 or visit www.pnsb.org.

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Categorie: Palau

MHS hires Marbou as next principal

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 3:05am

Principal Julita T Dohorong . completes three-year term Koror, Palau, May 12, 2022. The Vicar and Director of the Catholic Mission Schools, Reverend Rusk R Saburo, with the MHS Board of Directors concurring, announces the selection of a new principal for our school-Mr. Alan T Marbou. The school welcomes Mr. Marbou to the family

and looks forward to continued growth and success in the school.

The Director and the Board of Directors will also express profound appreciation to the outgoing  principal, Ms. Julita T Dohorong, for her faithful and constant service during her three-year term, and especially for answering the call to be a principal at a very critical time for the school.

We are grateful she will be able to continue as faculty.

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Categorie: Palau

CNMI Governor Ralph Torres acquitted by Senate

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 2:59am

SAIPAN (MARIANAS VARIETY) — The Republican-led Senate on Wednesday voted four to three to acquit Republican Governor Ralph Torres of all the charges filed against him by the Democrat-Independent-led House of Representatives in six articles of impeachment.

At least six of the nine senators must vote to convict the governor in order to remove him from office.

House Resolution 22-14 accused the governor of corruption, neglect of duty and felonies of theft as well as contempt. He has denied the allegations.

Voting for acquittal were Senate President Jude Hofschneider, R-Tinian; Senators Victor Hocog, R-Rota; Frank Cruz, R-Tinian; and Karl King-Nabors, R-Tinian.

Voting for conviction were the minority bloc senators: Edith Deleon Guerrero, D-Saipan; Paul A. Manglona, Ind,-Rota; and Teresita Santos, Ind.-Rota.

Senate Vice President Justo Quitugua, R-Saipan, and Senate Floor Leader VinnieSablan, R-Saipan, recused themselves from the proceedings, citing conflict of interest.  Quitugua is a relative of the governor while Sablan is his running mate.

The Senate impeachment trial was the first in CNMI history. Governor Benigno Fitial was impeached by the House in February 2013, but he resigned before the Senate could hold a trial.

In the Senate impeachment hearing for Governor Torres, there was no prosecutor because the House leadership had refused to participate under the Senate impeachment rules they said were unfair.

Senator Manglona and two Saipan residents, Carmen Patricia Deleon Guerrero and Bruce Lee Jorgensen, last week asked the Superior Court to invalidate the Senate impeachment rules and stop the Senate impeachment hearing.

But as of press time Wednesday evening, there was no court announcement regarding their request for a temporary restraining order.

“Does clear and convincing evidence exist to sustain [this] article of impeachment against Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres to remove him from the Office of the Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands?”

Senate President Hofschneider asked before the senators voted on each of the following articles of impeachment:

Article I – Commission of felony, theft of utility services

Article II – Commission of felony, theft

Article III – Corruption, unlawful first-class and business-class travel

Article IV – Corruption, misuse of government resources

Article V – Neglect of duty, negligence during crisis

Article VI – Neglect of duty, contempt

The vote on each article was four for acquittal and three for conviction.

“With Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres’ acquittal of all six articles of impeachment, this concludes the Senate’s review of House Resolution 22-14 on the articles of impeachment,” the Senate president said.

“The impeachment proceedings of Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres are hereby closed, and the Senate, as an impeachment tribunal, is hereby adjourned sine die.”

Asked for comment, Office of the Governor legal counsel Gilbert J. Birnbrich said, “I’m just very happy. It was a good result.”

In a statement, the governor said:

“I would like to personally thank all the people who took the time to display their support, encouragement, love, and prayers. Most importantly, I want to thank them for their continued belief in my Administration.

“I also want to thank the Senate for reviewing the factual information presented by my attorneys and the witnesses who provided testimony, for their diligence throughout the impeachment proceeding and entire process, and for making informed decisions.

“I am thankful that we can now move forward, and I can continue to work hard for the people of the Commonwealth.”

He also commended his legal team, which was led by attorney Anthony H. Aguon, for ably representing him during the proceedings.

Prior to the Senate vote on the articles of impeachment, members of the public were allowed to air their comments.

Fabian M. Indalecio, a vocal critic of Torres, said many community members have “suffered and are suffering at the hands of a corrupted governor.”

“Let’s take back our government,” he said.

Democrat Rep Edwin Propst, for his part, called on the senators to uphold CNMI law.

“Governor Torres failed to appear as subpoenaed. The subpoena was valid. He is in contempt. It is really that simple. Senators, if you do not vote to convict on Article VI, you would be ignoring this law. The people of the Commonwealth are watching. They’re waiting to see if you’ll honor the trust they have placed in you. Will you uphold the law or will you place the political interests of Governor Torres above our Constitution?”  Propst asked.

The governor’s brother, attorney Vincent DLG Torres, said the governor has never neglected his duties to the people of the CNMI.

“If there is another pandemic or disaster, life-threatening ones that will hit the CNMI, our islands, what kind of governor would you want to lead us: a governor that sits in the comfort of his or her home, or a governor that goes out and risks his life to help his people?”

The senators were also allowed to comment prior to the start of the vote.

The three minority bloc senators — Deleon Guerrero, Santos and Manglona — reiterated their opposition to the “unfair” Senate rules and proceedings.

“This is not justice, but corruption,” Deleon Guerrero said.

The trial was “ludicrous,” “disturbing,” “lopsided,” “seriously flawed,” and “tainted,” Santos said.

“All our people are asking for is justice. I know we can do better,” Manglona said.

Senator King-Nabors said the Senate minority bloc and the House leadership do not seem to comprehend the Senate impeachment rules.

He said if the House leadership had spent a sufficient amount of time going over the Senate impeachment rules, the trial would not be what it was today.

“The burden of proof has not been met,” King-Nabors said.

Senator Cruz said despite the House leadership stating that it had accumulated 8,000 pages of evidence over a two-year period of investigation into the governor’s expenditures, they still failed to present their case before the Senate.

“Nobody wants to present their case. What’s going on?” he asked.

“I wish the House…even [just] one [member was here to] present their case. If they have 8,000 [pages of] evidence, then they should be confident.”

He added, “They can come here and do public comment but they can’t event present their case.”

He noted that the CNMI has two separate legislative houses. “We have our own separate rules. Don’t tell me that the House can tell us how to draft [our] rules. They have to respect the Senate because we respect them. Although we see some unfairness that they’re doing during their investigation…we never intervened…because that’s their job…. Follow the rules, said Cruz…. PACNEWS

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Categorie: Palau

Pacific Marines move to formalise role as the stand-in force

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 2:57am

WASHINGTON (DEFENCE NEWS) — As China expanded the reach of its weapons throughout the South China Sea over the last decade, U.S weapons development focused on increasing the standoff range, so American forces could stay safe as an outside force shooting in.

But U.S Marines in the Pacific have continued to operate inside that striking range, and they’re now doubling down with a new concept outlining their role as a stand-in force.

“This is a home game for Marine Forces Pacific. III [Marine Expeditionary Force] lives in the [weapons engagement zone, known as the WEZ] with their families,” Brig. Gen. Joseph Clearfield, the deputy commander of Marine Corps Forces Pacific, said May 11 at the annual Modern Day Marine convention.

Indeed, Pacific Marines are turning conventional wisdom on its head and looking to create their own smaller series of weapons engagement zones inside China’s WEZ — establishing bubbles in and around Pacific islands from which they can dominate in all domains and force China to stay back, rather than ceding the whole South China Sea that’s within striking range of Chinese missiles.

In practice, the Pacific Marines have been the inside force even as the rest of the joint force grapples with the implications of China’s growing anti-access/area-denial capabilities to keep the U.S and other nations out of the South China Sea and other Pacific waters.

But what was informal is now formal — with the Marine Corps releasing “A Concept for Stand-In Forces” in December to explicitly detail how Marines will live and operate inside the first island chain and, importantly, the additional technological capabilities they’ll need to maximize their contribution to the broader joint force.

“Because the peer threat or the adversary has over the last 20 years really masterfully manipulated the anti-access/area-denial or A2/AD equation to his benefit, it is a difficult nut to crack,” Colonel Stephen Fiscus, the assistant chief of staff for force development at Marine Forces Pacific, said during the panel discussion. “For a preponderance of the joint force, based on being outside, they have to work on standoff capabilities to be able to defeat and compete with that weapons engagement zone.”

But the Pacific Marines, and specifically the III MEF forces based in Japan, are now focused on “the ability to stand in, to — by our footprints, our posture, our relationship with partners and allies — to kind of get the enemy in our guard. Instead of standing off at distance, to pull him in using what we have, the relationships we have, our advantages we have, and reverse that equation to create our own WEZ inside of his WEZ,” Fiscus added.

He said the Marines in III MEF are already postured to operate as stand-in forces, based in Japan and training and exercising in places like the Philippines and South Korea. But what the Stand-In Forces concept calls for, he said, is “the ability to gain and maintain custody of targets, maritime targets, and hold those targets at risk with organic or joint force resources to buy space and time for the joint force and enable the maritime fight” — and that will require some new gear.

Clearfield said he needs more tools that give stand-in forces a “persistent stare” capability, and he needs them as fast as the Marines can field them.

Colonel Tim Brady commands the newly redesignated 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, which will be one of the key units working as a stand-in force. During the panel, he said one of his top experimentation priorities later this year would be digital interoperability, to understand where there are gaps between where the Marines are today and where Clearfield envisions them in the future.

“How do our systems — across multiple different not only systems but also waveforms — how do they communicate? How do we do that across the joint force — the people, the processes and the systems — to be able to flatten that kill web?” he said, referring to the web of sensors, communication nodes and weapons that must all connect seamlessly.

Even as 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment works through those connectivity issues, the rest of the naval force is coming up with new ways to pursue targets identified by the MLR.

The Navy and Marine Corps continue to test the NMESIS system, or Navy/Marine Corps Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System, a Naval Strike Missile launched off the top of an unmanned Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, the deputy commandant for combat development and integration, told lawmakers in a recent hearing that NMESIS, which will be fielded starting next year, went through its most recent round of live-fire testing in April.

Clearfield said the Marines would be challenged to maintain this persistent stare across the Pacific due to the vast geography. Part of the solution is allies and partners. He said Australia and the Philippines have both established new units that look and operate much like the Marine Littoral Regiment, with a focus on being present to sense and hinder adversary activity on a routine basis.

Another piece, the general said, is refocusing California-based Marines that fall under Marine Corps Forces Pacific.

“The Southern California Marines have been for quite a while manning, training and equipping and preparing Marine formations, [Marine Air-Ground Task Forces], that have spent an awful lot of time in the Middle East doing combat operations,” Clearfield said. “Now that that’s been scaled down, they’re coming back into the Pacific, I would say, in force.”

A Marine Air-Ground Task Force from I Marine Expeditionary Force is now deployed in Darwin, Australia, he said.

With III MEF focused on the first island chain, serving as the inside force closest to China, and I MEF focused on the outer regions of Southeast Asia and able to quickly maneuver in, Clearfield said Marine Forces Pacific is trying to create complementary forces that can conduct traditional amphibious operations and newer operations like expeditionary advanced base operations and littoral operations in a contested environment.

Though Marines out of Japan traditionally covered the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin mission, Clearfield said I MEF out of California will now cover that six-month mission during Northern Australia’s dry season and even potentially spend the other six months of the year pushing a rotational force out into other regional allies and partners.

“There’s a Southeast Asian operational concept for the employment of I MEF in Southeast Asia that is mature conceptually and now being executed, I would say, and it’s just going to get bigger and better as it goes on,” he said…. PACNEWS

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Categorie: Palau

EU to step up Indo-Pacific defense presence over China fears and Ukraine example

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 2:50am

BRUSSELS/SUVA (THE GUARDIAN) — The European Union has resolved to step up its defense strategy in the Indo-Pacific region in light of fears about China’s growing presence and concerns for the international order sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Our motto is always to cooperate whenever possible, but to defend whenever necessary as well,” said Gabriele Visentin, the EU’s special envoy to the Indo-Pacific. “It’s not directed against a country or another – it’s a way of enhancing our capacity and our credibility in terms of defending our interests.”

Visentin said there was no evidence to suggest a war was imminent in the region – which covers a vast sweep of the globe from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific island countries – but the EU was concerned the “multilateral rules-based order will not be fully respected”.

“The pricetag that has been put on the breach of the multilateral rules-based order is quite high. It’s surely a signal to others who might wish to break the multilateral order in such a violent way, well, then they know what they can encounter.”

China is viewed as the biggest such threat in the region. Visentin said China was seen as “a partner, a competitor and a rival” by the EU.

Growing concerns over its military buildup and strategic intentions flared after a draft security pact between China and Solomon Islands was leaked in March, blindsiding the islands’ traditional partners such as Australia, the U.S and New Zealand.

The loosely worded deal triggered alarm that regional stability could be jeopardised, with China having the opportunity to base its warships in the Pacific less than 2,000km off the Australian coast.

While France stated it was “worrying on many levels, particularly concerning China’s ambitions as a regional security actor”, Visentin was reluctant to comment on whether the EU considered it a threat to security, until he had seen the agreement’s details, adding that every state had the right to make sovereign choices.

“But of course, the signal that the Solomon Islands have sent to us is loud and clear: the EU and others have to do more.”

Sujiro Seam, the EU’s ambassador for the Pacific and Solomon Islands, said the deal pointed to the EU’s need to step up in the Pacific region.

“EU’s experience in matters of security and defence in the Pacific is very limited. It is a challenge for the future, and this security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands must be considered in the development of the European Union action on security and defence in the region.

“Traditionally in the Pacific, the European Union has been a development partner. The main challenge is to show that we can be something else, a strategic partner in security and defence.”

In March, the EU approved a plan to strengthen its global security and defence policy. The Strategic Compass, as it is known, sets out a roadmap to improve the EU’s ability to act decisively in crises and defend its security and its citizens.

“The adoption of this strategy is even more relevant, given the war in Ukraine,” Seam said.

“The war in Ukraine is a historic moment that contributes to the affirmation of European ambition in matters of security and defence.”

A more intensive security plan would not involve the establishment of military bases nor the deploying of troops unless in a crisis, Visentin said, but rather conducting military training and live exercises on land and sea, boosting intelligence, and having EU ships pass through zones with maritime interest…. PACNEWS

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Categorie: Palau

North Korea’s suspected COVID-19 caseload nears 2 million

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 2:46am

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Thursday reported 262,270 more suspected COVID-19 cases as its pandemic caseload neared 2 million — a week after the country acknowledged the outbreak and scrambled to slow infections in its unvaccinated population.

The country is also trying to prevent its fragile economy from deteriorating further, but the outbreak could be worse than officially reported since the country lacks virus tests and other health care resources and may be underreporting deaths to soften the political impact on authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea’s anti-virus headquarters reported a single additional death, raising its toll to 63, which experts have said is abnormally small compared to the suspected number of coronavirus infections.

The official Korean Central News Agency said more than 1.98 million people have become sick with fever since late April. Most are believed to have COVID-19, though only a few omicron variant infections have been confirmed. At least 740,160 people are in quarantine, the news agency reported.

North Korea’s outbreak comes amid a provocative streak of weapons demonstrations, including its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile in nearly five years in March. Experts don’t believe the COVID-19 outbreak will slow Kim’s brinkmanship aimed at pressuring the United States to accept the idea of the North as a nuclear power and negotiating economic and security concessions from a position of strength.

South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers Thursday it assesses that North Korea has all but finished preparations to conduct a nuclear test, which would be its seventh overall and first since 2017, and only has to determine the timing, according to lawmakers who attended the closed-door briefing.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Wednesday that U.S. intelligence shows there’s a “genuine possibility” that North Korea will conduct another ballistic missile test or nuclear test around President Joe Biden’s visit to South Korea and Japan that begins later this week.

After maintaining a dubious claim that it had kept the virus out of the country for two and a half years, North Korea acknowledged its first COVID-19 infections May 12 and has described a rapid spread since. Kim has called the outbreak a “great upheaval,” berated officials for letting the virus spread and restricted the movement of people and supplies between cities and regions.

Workers were mobilized to find people with suspected COVID-19 symptoms who were then sent to quarantine — the main method of curbing the outbreak since North Korea is short of medical supplies and intensive care units that lowered COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in other nations.

State media images showed health workers in hazmat suits guarding Pyongyang’s closed-off streets, disinfecting buildings and streets and delivering food and other supplies to apartment blocks.

Despite the vast numbers of sick people and the efforts to curb the outbreak, state media describe large groups of workers continuing to gather at farms, mining facilities, power stations and construction sites. Experts say North Korea cannot afford a lockdown that would hinder production in an economy already broken by mismanagement, crippling U.S.-led sanctions over Kim’s nuclear weapons ambitions and pandemic border closures.

North Korea also must urgently work to protect its crops from a drought that hit during the crucial rice-planting season — a worrisome development in a country that has long suffered from food insecurity. State media also said that Kim’s trophy construction projects, including the building of 10,000 new houses in the town of Hwasong, are being “propelled as scheduled.”

“All sectors of the national economy are stepping up the production to the maximum while strictly observing the anti-epidemic steps taken by the party and the state,” Korean Central News Agency reported.

The virus controls at workplaces include separating workers by their job classifications and quarantining worker units at construction sites and in its key metal, chemical, electricity and coal industries, KCNA said.

While North Korea says more than 1.2 million people have already recovered, it’s clear officials are simply releasing people from shelters or other quarantine facilities like schools after their fevers subside, according to South Korean lawmaker Ha Tae-keung, who attributed the information to the spy agency briefing. Although the North may lack medical equipment, it does seem to have enough thermometers to check temperatures, likely imported from China, Ha said.By KIM TONG-HYUNG Associated Press

Kee Park, a global health specialist at Harvard Medical School who has worked on health care projects in North Korea, said the country’s number of new cases should start to slow because of the strengthened preventive measures.

But it will be challenging for North Korea to provide treatment for the already large number of people with COVID-19. Deaths may possibly approach tens of thousands, considering the size of its caseload, and international assistance would be crucial, Park said.

“The best way to prevent these deaths are to treat with antivirals like Paxlovid,” which would significantly lower the risk of severe disease or death, Park said. “This is much faster and easier to implement than sending ventilators to build ICU capacity.”

Other experts say providing a small number of vaccines for high-risk groups such as the elderly would prevent deaths, though mass vaccinations would be impossible at this stage for the population of 26 million.

It’s unclear, however, if North Korea would accept outside help. It already shunned vaccines offered by the U.N.-backed COVAX distribution program, and the nation’s leaders have expressed confidence the country can overcome the crisis on its own.

Kim Tae-hyo, deputy national security adviser for South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, told reporters on Thursday that North Korea has ignored offers of help from South Korea and the United States to contain the outbreak.

Experts have said North Korea may be more willing to accept help from China, its main ally. South Korea’s government had said it couldn’t confirm media reports that North Korea flew planes to bring back emergency supplies from China this week.

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Categorie: Palau

New Zealand hands out extra cash to fight ‘inflation storm’

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 2:43am

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s government said Thursday it will hand out an extra few hundred dollars to more than 2 million lower-income adults to help them navigate what it describes as “the peak of the global inflation storm.”

The payments are part of a package of new measures announced in the government’s annual budget. Other plans include increasing health spending by a record amount, putting more money into reducing greenhouse gas emissions and boosting defense spending.

A report by Treasury painted a rosy picture of the nation’s economy through next year but warned growth would slow markedly from 2024 due to rising interest rates, a reduction in the government’s pandemic spending, and supply issues made worse by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A Treasury report forecast unemployment would hit a low of 3.1% this year before rising to 4.7% by 2026. It predicted inflation would fall from its current 30-year high of 6.9% to 2.2% over the next four years.

The inflation payments of 350 New Zealand dollars ($220) over three months begin in August and are targeted at the half of all adults who earn less than 70,000 New Zealand dollars ($44,000) per year. The government also decided to extend some other temporary measures aimed at combatting spiraling living costs, including a cut to gas taxes and half-price public transportation fares.

“Our economy has come through the COVID-19 shock better than almost anywhere else in the world,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a statement. “But as the pandemic subsides, other challenges both long-term and more immediate have come to the fore.”

Ardern has been isolating at her Wellington residence this week after catching the virus. Her office said she’d experienced moderate symptoms and was improving, and at this point still planned to travel to the U.S. next week for a trade trip and to give the commencement speech at Harvard University.

The record 1.8 billion New Zealand dollar ($1.1 billion) boost to health spending next year comes as New Zealand overhauls its publicly funded system by getting rid of a patchwork of 20 district health authorities in favor of a single system. The extra money will help pay off the debts of the district authorities, rebuild three hospitals and boost medicine spending.

“This is going to make a massive difference to every New Zealander, in terms of the health care that they get,” said Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

Treasury predicted the government’s books would return to the black by 2025 after it borrowed heavily during the pandemic. New Zealand’s net government debt is forecast to remain much lower than in most developed nations, peaking at 20% of GDP in 2024 before dropping to 15% two years later.

Earlier this week, the government announced a new initiative to help pay for lower-income families to scrap their old gas guzzlers and replace them with cleaner hybrid or electric cars as part of a sweeping plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The budget plan also included a boost of 660 million New Zealand dollars to defense spending over four years to cover the cost of depreciating assets.

Conservative opposition leader Christopher Luxon said the governing liberal Labour Party had an addiction to spending and the budget plans would put the economy into reverse, with New Zealanders experiencing the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation.

The budget plan was expected to be quickly approved by lawmakers since the Labour Party holds a majority of seats in the Parliament.By NICK PERRY Associated Press

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Categorie: Palau

Curry’s 21 points, 12 boards lead Warriors in Game 1, 112-87

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 2:38am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Once Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson slowed down, caught their breath and stopped rushing shots, the Splash Brothers got on a roll that proved too much for Dallas to stop.

Especially because Andrew Wiggins worked end to end to make sure Luka Doncic couldn’t get going.

Curry had 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, Golden State held Doncic in check and the Warriors beat the Mavericks 112-87 on Wednesday night for a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

“Just make him work, that was the main thing,” Wiggins said.

Doncic scored 20 points but shot just 6 for 18 and 3 of 10 from deep. He made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half to get his team within 54-45 at the break, but Curry and Thompson heated up and helped the Warriors pull away in the second half.

“A great job. That’s it,” Doncic said. “They did a great job.”

Jalen Brunson scored 14 points but missed all five of his 3s for the surprising Mavs, who stunned the top-seeded Suns in a 123-90 thumping in Game 7 on Sunday in Phoenix.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Friday night at Chase Center, where the raucous, yellow-clad sellout crowd brought back memories of that 2007 “We Believe” Warriors playoff team led by Baron Davis that shocked the No. 1-seeded Mavericks in a six-game first-round upset at Oracle Arena.

That helped propel Golden State back to prominence. The Warriors reached five straight NBA Finals from 2015-19 but missed the playoffs the past two years before this run.

Wiggins added 19 points, getting Golden State going by making six of his first eight shots on the way to shooting 8 for 17. Jordan Poole also scored 19 off the bench.

Doncic received a scratch across his face early from a first-quarter swipe by Wiggins. The mark — “makes me look tough,” he quipped — went from the bridge of the star guard’s nose across his right cheek under the eye. Doncic also tugged at his troublesome right shoulder that has been taped previously during these playoffs.

“They did a really good job. Wiggins picking him up full court,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “They went box-and-one, they went zone. We understood coming into the series that we were going to see that. We’ll go back and look at the video and see what we can do better.”

Stopping Doncic, who was averaging 31.5 points in the playoffs, is the tall task this time after the Warriors already handled two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic of Denver in the first round, then Ja Morant early last series before his knee injury.

“I thought Wiggs was fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Doncic is as difficult a cover as there is in this league. … It’s important to make him work. He’s so good. Any great player in the league you’re trying to limit the damage that they do.”

Curry, last season’s scoring champ, missed his initial five 3-point tries before connecting with 50 seconds left in the first half. But he got involved other ways by dishing out four assists and grabbing seven rebounds.

Then he hit two quick 3s in sparking a 10-2 burst to begin the third for a Golden State squad that eliminated Memphis in a six-game semifinal series.

“It is how we play,” Curry said. “When you have that ability to create separation like we did in the third quarter, it’s a fun way to play.”

Thompson scored all of his 15 points after halftime.

“I didn’t have a field goal in the first half but that will never discourage me,” Thompson said. “I will always hunt my shot.”

Kevon Looney remained in the starting lineup for Kerr as the coach made his return to the bench after sitting out the final three games against Memphis with COVID-19.

“It was great to be back. I missed being out there with the guys,” Kerr said. “Amazing atmosphere here at Chase and we’re excited to keep going.”

Looney finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists after coming in to start the Game 6 clincher against the Grizzlies.

Kidd’s Mavericks couldn’t keep up in a drastic contrast of styles featuring the slow-paced Dallas attack and up-tempo Warriors.

“We would like to play our pace but the Warriors have a unique pace, they’re going to get out and put a lot of pressure on your defense in transition,” Kidd said. “We have to be cautious of that. We don’t want a track meet.”

MAVS FINED

Dallas received a $50,000 fine by the NBA — the team’s second penalty this postseason — for “team bench decorum” during the Suns series after players and a member of the coaching staff remained standing for extended time far enough from the bench area that they were “encroaching upon the playing court during game action” during Game 7 against the Suns.

“Just trying to figure out what we did wrong to get the fine,” Kidd said. “… Who complained? It was a blowout so I don’t think the fans were complaining. I thought the guys did what they were supposed to do. They were cheering on their guys.”

The previous fine against the Mavs was for $25,000 on May 6.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Reggie Bullock shot just 4 for 12 — 3 of 10 from long range — for 12 points. Dallas was 11 of 48 behind the arc. … The Mavericks were outrebounded 28-18 in the first half as Curry led all players with seven.

Warriors: F Otto Porter Jr. returned after missing Game 6 with soreness in his right foot and contributed 10 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes, one of seven Warriors to score in double figures. … Golden State, which averaged 19.2 turnovers per game last series, had six in the first half leading to 11 Dallas points and 15 overall. … Golden State improved to 7-0 at home this postseason. … The Warriors are 21-2 in Game 1s since their 2015 title run that ended with the franchise’s first championship in 40 years. … By JANIE McCAULEY AP Sports Writer

___

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Categorie: Palau

UN marks first ever international day spotlighting women working in the maritime industry

Island Times - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 2:30am

GENEVA (UN NEWS CENTRE) — The first ever International Day for Women in Maritime kicked off its inaugural celebration on Wednesday with a seminar to “take stock and identify areas where improvement is needed”, the top UN official representing seafarers said.

“Women account for just 20 per cent of the workforce in the maritime authorities of Member States and 29 percent…across subsectors in the maritime industry,” International Maritime Organisation (IMO) chief Kitack Lim told the virtual Symposium on Training-Visibility-Recognition: Supporting a barrier-free working environment for Women in Maritime.

Noting that these numbers are “significantly higher than those at sea, where women make up as little as two per cent of the workforce,” he added, “we can and must do better”.

Gender inclusivity commitment

The day intends to celebrate and promote the recruitment, retention and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector.

By raising the profile of women in maritime, IMO is strengthening its commitment to the fifth Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5) of gender equality while addressing gender imbalances in maritime. 

“IMO is committed to gender inclusivity,” underscored Lim.

Ample evidence supports that investing in women is the most effective way to lift up communities, companies, and even countries. Countries with more gender equality, enjoy better economic growth.

Progress for all

For over three decades IMO has been working to address the gender imbalance in its maritime programme.

“We have committed to this important cause – and we are seeing these efforts bear fruit,” said Lim.

As enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, women in the maritime workforce is a benefit for everyone.

The IMO chief outlined the need for “creative thinking to navigate maritime towards a more sustainable, more diverse, and more inclusive green future,” which requires “the brightest minds to address the challenges” thrown up by decarbonisation and digitalisation.

“People must be empowered to participate in discussions about maritime’s future, irrespective of gender,” he said, calling collaboration “the best pathway to find optimal solutions”.

“I am pleased that there are more women in our sector than in the past – as well an increasing number of diversity champions and allies”.

Targeting equality

Across the world, IMO has helped to establish eight thriving Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAs): three in Africa and one each representing Arab States, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific.

There women can gain technical expertise via IMO-funded opportunities at the IMO International Maritime Law Institute, Women in Port Management course and most recently the Maritime SheEO leadership accelerator programme, which was launched in March.

“We must build on this progress,” said Lim.

Revealing data

Despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic, IMO was able to conduct a global survey that lays bare the sector’s gender gap.

The 2021 IMO-Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Women in Maritime Survey Report details the proportion and distribution of women working in the maritime sector from IMO Member States and the maritime industry.

Launching the publication, he said gender diversity in maritime was “extremely fragmented by sector”.

“Benchmarking the current state of the sector is vital to measure where we are, and where we need to go,” added the IMO chief.

“By actively empowering women with the requisite skills, maintaining a barrier free working environment, we create truly sustainable systems of gender equality.” 

Respect for migrants at sea

Meanwhile, the Inter-Agency Group on Protection of Refugees and Migrants have called upon States to investigate and prosecute abuses committed against migrants who are being smuggled on board vessels at sea, including in transit and destination countries.

In a joint statement, UNHCR, IOM, OHCHR, UNODC, UNICEF and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants, recalled that people take to the seas across the world’s regions in search of dignity, safety and refuge.

The drivers are complex and without safe and legal alternatives, people are increasingly compelled to turn to smugglers and traffickers for irregular migration across the seas, who frequently have little regard for human life.  

Against this backdrop, the group called upon all States to create the conditions that respect the human rights of people rescued at sea on their territories……PACNEWS

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Categorie: Palau

178 high school diplomas and 84 college degrees conferred this 2022

Island Times - Mar, 17/05/2022 - 4:50am

One hundred seventy-eight (178) students from five high schools and one adult high school in Palau are receiving their diplomas this month, starting May 29th to June 8th. 

Eighty-four college degrees were conferred this past Friday at Palau’s only institution of higher learning, the Palau Community College.  The degrees earned were in areas of Agricultural Science, Criminal Justice, Community, and Public Health, Education, Environmental/Marine Science, Liberal Arts, Nursing, Engineering and Mathematics, Business Accounting, Business Administration, Information Technology, Tourism & Hospitality, Air Condition & Refrigeration Technology, Automotive Technology, Electrical Technology, General Electronics, and Small Engine and Outboard Marine Technology.

The graduating students this 2022 faced most disruptions during their final school year as a result of the COVID outbreak and have worked to complete their required courses and achieve their goals, graduating, attested to by a diploma or a degree earned.

Vice President Uduch Sengebau-Senior, the commencement speaker at PCC’s 59th Commencement Exercise recognized the students’ efforts and their achievements.  She urged them to apply their earned degrees, and open up to new opportunities and experiences.

Palau High School will hold its commencement exercise this Thursday, May 19 at the Palau National Gym, the first of the five high schools to hold its graduation this month.  It is also the largest in terms of number, with 104 graduating seniors.

Emmaus-Bethania High School will be the last high school to hold its commencement exercise, scheduled for June 8, 2022. (By: L.N. Reklai)

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Categorie: Palau

Fishermen transiting through Palau to RMI

Island Times - Mar, 17/05/2022 - 4:49am

Palau International Trading Inc., a foreign fishing company that used to fish in Palau waters before the PNMS closure, is transporting its’ fishermen through Palau to the Republic of the Marshall Islands where they have an active fishing operation, according to Jackson Ngiraingas, a private entrepreneur who is looking to open his own fishing company.

Due to the limited operation of the US Embassy in Jakarta, the fishermen have not been able to obtain US visas to travel from Indonesia to Guam to RMI.  He said that speaking with the PITI manager here, he was informed that with the opening of Manila-Palau flights, they were able to bring the fishermen here and then transport them on the fishing vessels to RMI.

Pictures of fishing boats and arriving fishermen at PITI compound in Malakal had many people wondering if the Palau National Marine Sanctuary has re-opened to commercial fishing activities.

After nearly two years of no fishing vessels in Malakal, the sight of boats coming to dock caught people’s attention.

MAFE Minister Steven Victor, questioned earlier about the presence of fishing boats docked at PITI dock said that PITI has not applied for fishing licenses in Palau.

“Some of them have been here for some time,” added Mr. Ngiraingas of the PITI fishermen.

Mr. Ngiraingas himself has been looking for ways to bring fishermen for his domestic fishing operation and said he faces similar challenges with bringing in fishing crew due to COVID restrictions around the region. (By: L.N. Reklai)

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Categorie: Palau