By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 23, 2018

Weno, Chuuk—On February 14, the Chuuk State Supreme Court issued an order holding Chuuk Governor Johnson Elimo and his attorney Johnny Meippen in Contempt of Court for an executive order the Governor issued to establish an interim Board of Directors for the Chuuk Public Utilities Corporation.  The Executive Order, it said, violated a verbal court order issued on December 22, 2017 barring the Governor from interfering with the business activities of CPUC.

WORKshop 001.0The court also voided the Governor’s Executive Order along with any actions the “interim board” might have attempted to take on behalf of CPUC.

Chuuk’s House of Representatives has introduced a resolution requesting Governor Elimo to “step down for cause”.  The seven page resolution began with the matter of his actions regarding CPUC and listed several other matters.  If the House passes the resolution The Kaselehlie Press will cover those matters from the final form of the resolution.

Last year, Governor Elimo sued the Chuuk State House of Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the CPUC Board of Directors.  He sought a Temporary Restraining Order and summary judgement against appointments to the CPUC board that the House of Representatives had made.  The Court denied the motion for the TRO pending further hearings.

At issue was whether or not the House of the Representatives had the right to appoint two new members to the CPUC board after the terms of two previous members had expired.  The Governor has argued that the legislative action usurps his right to appoint CPUC Board Members with advice and consent of the legislative bodies.

The Plaintiffs have argued that according to the law establishing CPUC, the Governor has 45 days to fill any vacancy on the CPUC Board of Directors. If he doesn’t then the House of Representatives is authorized the fill the positions.  The two Board positions the Speaker acted to fill on October 20, 2017 were those of Elissues Akapito whose term expired on October 4, 2016, and Rocky Inek whose three year terms had expired on August 30, 2015.  They argued that the Governor’s 45 days to nominate or renew a Board member for CPUC had long expired with no action.

The House nominated Inos Urumai and Keeper Lippwe to fill the vacancies left by Akapito and Inek and the Board members were confirmed by the House of the Senate.

The Court also has to decide whether the imperfectly worded law that established CPUC includes an expired term of a Board member as a vacancy on the Board that the House could act upon if the Governor does not make a nomination within 45 days.

It also has to decide if the decision of the new board members the legislature appointed would have effect. 

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Mantoloking, New Jersey - Hurricane Sandy's landfall 2012 affected the coastlines over a broad swath of mid-Atlantic and North-eastern states

Sea Level Rise to reach almost one meter in 2100

The rate of global sea level rise has been accelerating in recent decades, rather than increasing steadily, according to a new study based on 25 years of NASA and European satellite data.

This acceleration, driven mainly by increased melting in Greenland and Antarctica, has the potential to double the total sea level rise projected by 2100 when compared to projections that assume a constant rate of sea level rise, according to lead author Steve Nerem. Nerem is a professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, a fellow at Colorado's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), and a member of NASA's Sea Level Change team.

If the rate of ocean rise continues to change at this pace, sea level will rise 26 inches (65 centimeters) by 2100 -- enough to cause significant problems for coastal cities, according to the new assessment by Nerem and colleagues from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; CU Boulder; the University of South Florida in Tampa; and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

"This is almost certainly a conservative estimate," Nerem said. "Our extrapolation assumes that sea level continues to change in the future as it has over the last 25 years. Given the large changes we are seeing in the ice sheets today, that's not likely."

Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere increase the temperature of air and water, which causes sea level to rise in two ways. First, warmer water expands, and this "thermal expansion" of the ocean has contributed about half of the 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) of global mean sea level rise we've seen over the last 25 years, Nerem said. Second, melting land ice flows into the ocean, also increasing sea level across the globe.

sea level rise

These increases were measured using satellite altimeter measurements since 1992, including the U.S./European TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1, Jason-2, and Jason-3 satellite missions. But detecting acceleration is challenging, even in such a long record. Episodes like volcanic eruptions can create variability: the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 decreased global mean sea level just before the Topex/Poseidon satellite launch, for example. In addition, global sea level can fluctuate due to climate patterns such as El Niños and La Niñas (the opposing phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO) which influence ocean temperature and global precipitation patterns.

So Nerem and his team used climate models to account for the volcanic effects and other datasets to determine the ENSO effects, ultimately uncovering the underlying sea-level rate and acceleration over the last quarter century. They also used data from the GRACE satellite gravity mission to determine that the acceleration is largely being driven by melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica.

The team also used tide gauge data to assess potential errors in the altimeter estimate. "The tide gauge measurements are essential for determining the uncertainty in the GMSL (global mean sea level) acceleration estimate," said co-author Gary Mitchum, USF College of Marine Science. "They provide the only assessments of the satellite instruments from the ground." Others have used tide gauge data to measure GMSL acceleration, but scientists have struggled to pull out other important details from tide-gauge data, such as changes in the last couple of decades due to more active ice sheet melt.

global sea level

The faster rate of sea levels rise will likely overwhelm adaptation efforts in many coastal cities by the end of this century. The higher base state of oceans means storm surge-driven coastal floods will deliver more severe damage.

One might think of sea level rise as a slow-motion steady event. The reality is sea level rise can be uneven over time and space. Sudden surges can occur as climate change-driven glacial melt water pulses into our oceans from ice sheets in Greenland and other locations. More severe climate change-enhanced storms like Hurricane Harvey then drive more damaging storm surges further inland due to the higher ocean base state. The increase in flooding and damage can be exponential, not linear.

Although this research is impactful, the authors consider their findings to be just a first step. The 25-year record is just long enough to provide an initial detection of acceleration -- the results will become more robust as the Jason-3 and subsequent altimetry satellites lengthen the time series.

If the calculations are correct, it would mean that sea levels could rise by almost one metre by 2100, which would be devastating for island countries around the globe.

However, previous studies have indicated that sea levels could rise by two metres as a result of melting ice caps by 2100.

A two metre jump could see a host of major cities be partially submerged, including parts of London, Amsterdam New York, Miami, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Among the places expected to be most hard-hit by sea level rise in the coming century are the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean, ranging from sparsely developed archipelagos in Micronesia to heavily populated coastal areas on the Hawaiian Islands, such as Honolulu. People there worry that these islands will drown with sea level rise, but their freshwater capacity will be challenged much sooner because of salt water intrusion.

The Micronesians and Polynesians are place-based cultures. The bones of their ancestors are buried in these places. The land is considered a family member. This means moving is not a realistic option for many. Moving would mean leaving behind one’s culture, one’s family, and the very basis of one’s identity. However, rising sea levels, and changes in freshwater resources pose existential threats.

Pacific island communities did not bring this upon themselves. Their contributions to greenhouse gas emissions are negligible, yet they are among the earliest communities to experience the worst consequences. The major industrial nations responsible for global warming have a debt to the Pacific islands to assist with the adaptation that is necessary to survive this challenge. There is no time to spare. There are many steps that can be taken to bolster food resources, improve rainwater catchment, increase the elevation of the land, and envision new community designs that are resilient to storms, drought, and flooding.

Bernd Riebe

Contributors:
Katie Weeman
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science
Patrick Lynch
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Chip Fletcher
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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Dr. Payne Perman, Kapilly Capelle, and Wefonne Billen, RHD coordinator. Rotary club members from left back Joe Felix, Jr., Konrad Englberger, Noel Boylan, Patrick Pedrus, Hon. George Fraser, Uta Krause, front Steve Finnen, Melner Isaac, Sharon Sawdey.

 

The Rotary Club of Pohnpei successfully received and donated two hand held scanners used for the detection of rheumatic heart disease in children.

These scanners were donated to Pohnpei Health, represented by its director Kapilly Capelle, Dr.Payne Perman and Wefonne Billen.  RHD is a serious disease.  It is generally caused by strep throat in young children which is not treated.  The disease can then take hold in the heart ultimately causing severe problems which if left untreated can cause death at a young age.

Once the disease reaches a serious stage, heart valve replacement is necessary.  The purpose of the scanners is to assist in early detection.

The disease, once it is in place cannot be cured but it can be halted before catastrophic damage occurs.  The earlier the detection the easier the treatment.  Pohnpei Public Health has been conducting screenings of school age children to try and detect the disease. The next big screening is set for March, 2018.  To provide an idea of the size of the problem in Pohnpei, the typical incidence of RHD in school age populations is under .01%.  That is a very small number.  Screenings in Pohnpei have shown an incidence of approximately 9-10% of all those tested.  Treatment if detected early enough consists of a regimen of antibiotics, which can prevent huge problems later on.

The hand held scanners are to be used at the big screening in March, and for screenings at the schools in the future.  The more kids tested, the more kids that can be treated. Training will take place at the March screening to use the hand held scanners, and nurses are to be trained to provide the screenings. More complex diagnostic tools require a specialized doctor to operate them.

The Rotary Club of Pohnpei is happy to contribute and pursue this worthwhile project.  Each of the scanners costs about $4,300.00.  Support for this project was widespread. One of the scanners was purchased by nine clubs in Japan, Tokyo Akasaka RC, Tokyo Ginza RC, Tokyo Tsukiji RC, Tokyo Shinagawa RC, Tokyo Ebisu RC, Tokyo Hiroo RC, Tokyo Seijyo-shin RC, Tokyo Musashi-Fuchu RC, Tokyo Chuo RC, who are all part of an organization formed and called The Committee for Palau & Micronesia Education and Health Care Support in Tokyo.

Many thanks to them for their wonderful support.

The other scanner was purchased by the Rotary Club of Pohnpei with assistance from clubs in our region, known as the Pacific Basin Group.

This is a big project and we are very thankful that the Rotary Clubs can be of assistance.  We hope to make even more contributions in the future.

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By the Chuuk Youth Council

Weno, Chuuk-- On January 26th 2018 the Chuuk Youth Council organized and hosted a public dialogue focusing on the issue of human trafficking. This forum brought together key stakeholders, service providers and concerned citizens alike with the aim to raise awareness on the reality of human trafficking in Chuuk and produce a draft resolution that represents the collective voice of the community to be shared with the state leadership on recommendations for ways forward.

This initiative by Chuuk’s young people was a response to the October 2017 human trafficking case in Chuuk that raised concern among the youth and wider community. In what was the FSM’s first successful human trafficking conviction, there was much anticipation of the sentencing to follow as it would set a precedent for how such cases are looked at in the future by not just all stakeholders involved, but for those who the laws are meant to protect. As this is an issue that predominantly affects young people as victims, the Chuuk Youth Council shares a growing concern that the full weight of the law was not enforced in this case that involved a minor, and that this could potentially send the wrong message to perpetrators and victims.

Given the many questions and concerns that were raised after the case, the Chuuk Youth Council thought it would be valuable to host a forum in which the community could come together to ask these questions and voice their concerns, but ultimately contribute to solutions for ways forward.

This event was made possible by the generous support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Chuuk Chamber of Commerce.

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Embassy of the
United States of America Kolonia

January 20, 2018 Weno, Chuuk — U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Robert Riley, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Mission Director to the Pacific Islands Clay Epperson, and FSM government officials marked the completion of homes and public infrastructure destroyed by Typhoon Maysak.

USAID and the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia coordinated with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services, and the Small Business Administration for this reconstruction program, which was implemented by the International Organization of Migration.

In Chuuk and Yap, USAID constructed over 400 new homes and over 150 public facilities, such as schools, clinics, and rain catchment systems.  USAID also provided materials and vouchers worth nearly $2.8 million to over 1,350 beneficiaries who lost their homes, possessions, and livelihoods.  Additionally, USAID trained close to 1,500 local residents to rebuild their homes and communities using resilient designs and quality materials so that the buildings can withstand future disasters.

“Our event today is not just about completing construction projects.  We are also celebrating how our governments, non-governmental partners, and beneficiaries now have greater capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters,” said Ambassador Riley. 

Epperson participated in the event as part of his four-day visit to FSM, during which he met with key partners and toured project sites where USAID is helping the country overcome environmental challenges. He met with the Chuuk Women’s Council — a group that is helping

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Colonia, Yap. The Mangyol Stone Money Cultural Site on the island of Yap is a popular sight for tourists to this remote island due to its unique cross-shaped design. Set in lush surroundings with a collection of 71 large discs of the currency that is found nowhere else in the world, visitors come from all over the globe to see the Stone Money that Yap is famous for. Now, the Yap Visitors Bureau (YVB) has added a new accommodation to this ancient site for visitors, a modern restroom facility.

Don Evans, YVB General Manager, recently announced the construction of the small building and noted that “it’s conveniently located in the parking area nearby, but outside the core zone where it’s not a disturbance to the universal value of the site.” Located in Makiy village, Gagil municipality, the site is the most significant undisturbed money bank in Yap and is currently on UNESCO’s “tentative list” for consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“We are striving to provide tourists to Yap with accommodations that will make their visit even more enjoyable,” added Tom Tamangmow, YVB Project Development Manager, who oversaw the design and construction of the new building. “Providing clean restrooms, running water and a dropdown change table for mothers with infants is one way of doing this.”

The area consists of two stone money banks that cross in the middle. One extends south to north and is traditionally referred to as Bleyrach, while the other crosses over from east to west and is referred to as Mangyol. Bleyrach is one of the seven original banks said to have been designated by spirits in the pre-historic era. Mangyol is the last one constructed prior to the Spanish occupation in the 16th century. Historically, both are commonly referred to as Mangyol. It is recommended that visitors go with a local guide. For more information, go to www.visityap.com.

After a highly successful first production at Christmas time, the Pohnpei Players are planning another production “Clever Jack & the Magic Beanstalk” is a charming musical that will surely please audiences this coming May.

They will be holding auditions for the new production.  Auditions for the show are taking place Friday and Saturday, February 16 and 17 at Pohnpei Catholic School.  They are open to anyone 10 and older.  The show includes 12 speaking roles, a very active chorus of approximately 10 people, and a dozen songs with a variety of musical styles. People selected from the first-level auditions Friday and Saturday will be asked to attend a call-back audition Sunday, February 18.

Those interested in auditioning need to be prepared with the following:

  • Come prepared to sing a song! – You can either practice a song for which you have sheet music ready to hand to the audition accompanist, or select one of the common, simple songs (such as Happy Birthday) that will be listed by the accompanist at the audition.
  • Audition:
  • Friday, February 16, 4–7 PM
    – OR –
  • Saturday, February 17, 2–5 PM
  • Location: Pohnpei Catholic School
  • Age: 10 and older

If selected after your first audition, be prepared for:

  • Call-backs (by invitation only) Sunday, February 18, 1–5 PM
  • Rehearsals (location to be determined):
  • Mondays and Tuesdays, 6-8:30 PM
  • Saturdays 4-7:00 PM
  • Tentative Show Dates: May 3 (dress rehearsal), May 4-6 and May 11–13

Pohnpei Players directors Wayne and Kristi Parker are really excited about this show and hope you will all come out to audition!

POHNPEI, FSM (Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat) — With a view to advancing their national climate change and disaster risk management priorities, 40 representatives from government departments, state governments, donor partners, private sector, and non-governmental organizations gathered in Pohnpei on Wednesday, Jan. 31, to participate in the introductory workshop for the Federated States of Micronesia’s climate change and disaster risk finance assessment.

In partnership with the government of the Federated States of Micronesia, a joint assessment team led by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, alongside the Pacific Community, with funding from the USAID/SPC Institutional Strengthening in Pacific Islands Countries to Adapt to Climate Change Project, and the USAID Climate Ready Project, will be consulting with a broad range of stakeholders throughout the assessment period from Jan. 29 to Feb. 9, 2018.

Opening the introductory workshop, the secretary for the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management, Andrew Yatilman, stressed the importance of ensuring that the climate change and disaster risk finance assessment report has utility for the FSM national government and the states — Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Kosrae.

He encouraged participants to be open and to share information, with the team, so that the results of the assessment take account of the unique context of FSM.

“There are many sources of funding out there, but we do not need to access everything. We must be strategic and only pursue sources that are in line with our country priorities and commensurate with our absorptive capacity,” said Secretary Yatilman, who is the focal point for this assessment.

Marion Henry, secretary of the Department of Resources and Development, is of the view that “the assessment is critical to provide FSM options on how it could scale-up financing for big projects in sectors such as energy, water and food security.”

Sihna Lawrence, secretary of Finance and Administration and the GCF NDA added that this assessment will provide a mapping of the extent of readiness for potential GCF national implementing entities, in particular the FSM Development Bank and FSM Petrocorp.

FSM has already made significant progress in their commitment to prioritizing increased access to climate change and disaster risk financing, with the Micronesia Conservation Trust becoming an accredited regional implementing entity to the Green Climate Fund or GCF in 2017, and FSM being the first country in the Pacific to develop their GCF Country Program, with the support of GCF readiness funding.

The joint mission will build on work already in progress, by undertaking an assessment of the practical application of options for improved access to and management of, climate change and disaster risk finance, for the FSM. FSM is the ninth Pacific Island Country to undertake a national climate change and disaster risk finance assessment.

 MG 4262

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 7, 2018

Pohnpei—Four members of the US Navy’s Medical Corps visited Pohnpei this week.  While here the members offered different types of services including audiology services on a referral basis. 

Lt. Matt Thomas, the audiologist on the team said that the hospital had referred several infants for further hearing tests after they had failed their initial testing.  He said that it is not at all uncommon for infants to fail their initial hearing test and that parents shouldn’t panic if it happens with their child.  He said that if it does happen the parent should wait for a month and have their child re-tested.  There are a number of factors that can influence the results of a hearing test.  He said that it is not at all uncommon for infants to have fluid in their ears that can produce false results.  He also said that some of the testing gear can be influenced by body movement and many babies are in constant motion.

Pohnpei does have audiology testing equipment.  One of those pieces of testing equipment performs the Auditory Brain Stem Response.  Electrodes are placed in the proper locations on a baby’s head.  It generates a series of clicks through headphones and measures the electrical response of the brain stem.  That machine can be used for extremely advanced testing.  However, the electrodes are disposable and Pohnpei has run out.  Lt. Thomas said that a team is coming in a month to calibrate the machine and will also resupply the electrodes.

Lt. Thomas brought his own testing equipment, one of which conducts an Oto Acoustic Emissions (OAE) test.  He said it is the quickest and most reliable test for infants but that each of the testing methods can be influenced by outside factors.  Essentially, the small hand held machine sends out a tone and measures the echo it receives back from the ear.  Thomas said a healthy ears sends an echo back.  They can tell a great deal based on the frequency the ear sends back.

Thomas said that he’d been in Chuuk several times to perform tests.  We asked him if during his visits he had noticed any tendency for higher numbers of congenital deafness.  He said that he had not seen any evidence of that; however, he said that a large number of cases of hearing loss might have been able to have been avoided.

“Children get a lot of ear infections,” he said.  “It’s important that those infections be treated and that the treatment is followed until cleared by a doctor.”  He said that he’s seen several cases where an ear infection destroyed the ear drum of the patient resulting in permanent hearing loss.  “It’s vital that patients follow doctor’s instructions for treatment and should not stop until they are cleared by the doctor.”  He said that during treatment a patient should not swim and should keep their ears dry in order for the treatments to work.

The members of the Navy Medical team included Lt. Commander Eva Reed who is a Senior Global Health Monitoring and Evaluation Adviser.  She did consultation with departments of health while she was here.  Lt. Junior Grade Christopher Low is an Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Safety Scientist.  He had been scheduled to visit several schools in Pohnpei during his visit to test for asbestos and lead paint.  Due to the cancellation of classes during the first two days of his visit his visits had to be significantly shortened and scheduled all on one day.

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By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

January 26, 2018

Pohnpei—The Australian Embassy hosted a reception at their housing complex in Nanpohnmal in celebration of “Australia Day”, the 230 anniversary of the arrival of the “First Fleet” in Sydney.

Ambassador George Fraser reminded those in attendance that less than six months after the FSM became a nation Australia established diplomatic relations with the new sovereign nation.  “Since then, our two countries have achieved much together and I would like to acknowledge the work of previous Ambassadors and staff who have served here, as well as their counterparts in government.  They have built the close relationship we enjoy today,” he said.

He said that while at last year’s celebration he spoke about Australia’s innovations, this year he wanted to talk about Australia’s values and views.  He began with a discussion of the Australian government’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper which set out the country’s vision for the region and the world.

“The White Paper reflects our support for political, economic and personal freedoms; our desire to ensure a non-coercive and rules-based international order; including human rights and equity, and the rule of law,” he said.

He spoke of Australia’s development program saying that Australia’s investment in Pacific partnerships is now at AUD 1.1 billion a year. “I want to state clearly that Australia welcomes other development partners in the Pacific.  These partners are predominantly, the USA, China, Japan, New Zealand, the EU and international organisations. We each have our relative strengths and Australia will work cooperatively with all those delivering effective development outcomes,” he said.

“Our focus is on supporting sustainable economic growth, resilience, stability and security in Pacific countries.”

“In addressing development challenges in FSM, we are funding:

  • improved education outcomes,
  • greater gender equity and safety programs under Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development” and through direct advocacy (congratulations, Pohnpei legislature for passing a domestic violence prevention Act); we look forward to working with Chuuk and Yap too
  • climate change adaptation
  • strengthened people-to-people links, and connecting public and private sector leaders
  • linkages for educational institutions and for students in Australia with their Pacific peers.

We are also:

  • using the benefits of our capable and experienced bureaucracy and economies of scale to assist those countries without connection to metropolitan states; eg. by providing pharmaceutical testing services
  • providing core financial support to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and regional specialised agencies.

“In this Embassy’s area of responsibility, we will do less infrastructure work but more in human development, we will maintain our scholarships to Pacific institutions and aim to re-introduce high-level scholarships to Australian universities,” he announced.

He spoke briefly about the benefits of PACER Plus to Pacific economies.

He then offered a toast to the government and people of the FSM.

FSM Acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs also spoke of the importance of the diplomatic relations between the two countries and also offered a toast.

A magnificent dinner was then served.

Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, February 2, 2018 – Vital FSM Petroleum Corporation (FSMPC) announces to its valued customers a notice of potential increases in the wholesale price of gasoline, kerosene and diesel.
 
FSMPC’s pricing benchmark seeks to keep fuel prices in the FSM no higher than $0.35/gallon above those observed in Guam. The price stability mechanism within the pricing framework has seen fuel prices in Pohnpei and the FSM remain either on par, or lower than Guam for most of 2017 (See Figure 1).
 

 

 

Guam’s pump price as of February 1, 2018

 
 “While we are able to cushion consumers from short term price spikes, there have been month-on-month increases in the cost of importing fuel products since April 2017 (See Figure 2). Pump prices in Pohnpei remain at $3.75/gallon, making us lower than Guam’s price by at least $0.40/gallon. It is only a matter of time before we will have to pass on increases to the domestic market,” says CEO Mr. Jared Morris.


 Figure 1 - Pump Prices for Gasoline (Guam vs. FSM)
 
“This is the first price increase to the authorized reseller channel by Management in over 24 months, and it is consistent with what the Board has observed in regional markets,” states FSMPC Chairman Mr. Faustino Yangmog. “While there is little we can do about the increasing cost of petroleum products, we continue to be aggressive in our approach towards initiatives such as Coconut-4-Life that aim to increase household incomes, as well as tactics to diversify our business over time to include offerings of lower cost renewable energy products,” Yangmog continues.


Figure 2 - Singapore published Platts prices have increased by over 10% since April 2017.

FSMPC Board and Management express thanks to policy makers, customers and the people of the FSM for their continued support.

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On January 8, 2018, the Pohnpei Women Council (Council) celebrated the passage Pohnpei’s Family Protection Act that was passed by the Pohnpei State Legislature on November 7, 2017 and signed into law, SL 9L-56-17,  by Governor Marcelo Peterson on December 12, 2017,  through a luncheon held at the Governor’s Conference Room.

Attended the luncheon were Officers and members of the Pohnpei Women Council, Governor Marcelo Peterson, members of the Pohnpei State Legislature, Australian Ambassador George A. Fraser, non-government organization representatives, civil society members and state officials. 

President of the Council, Ms. Susana Sohs, thanked the Governor, the Legislature and Australian Government for their support in passing the Pohnpei Family Protection Act.  “ This is a very important legislation as it recognizes the value of family structures and the obligation of family members to maintain the honor and respect of our custom and tradition.  It is time that we accept and admit that domestic violence is a crime.  This act of crime is not accepted in our culture, it should not be tolerated and violators should be punished”, state Ms. Sohs.   The Family Protection Act has been pending with the Legislature for over 10 years and finally passed in 2017, due to support of the government and NGOs through robust educational awareness raising held throughout the islands.  Governor Marcelo Peterson thanked the Pohnpei Women Council for hosting the luncheon and assured the Council members that his office will remain open to provide assistance needed by the Council.  He stated that although the Act has been signed into law, there are still work to be done.  His office is in the process of formulating a task force to work on the Act and invites the Council to select members to be on the task force.  Vice Speaker Nixon B. Soram, on behalf of the Speaker and members of the Pohnpei State Legislature, joined the Governor in thanking the Council for their generous host and stated that the Legislature will continue to work with the Council to address issues relating to women.  He reiterated the need to improve collaboration with NGOs and civil society.  Australian Ambassador, George A. Fraser also thanked the Council for inviting the Australian Government and stated that the Australian Embassy offers trainings and workshops on domestic violence and invites members of the Council to attend.  The Australian Embassy has been a great advocate in combatting domestic violence in the FSM.   The day ended with traditional sakau (kava) at the Pohnpei State Legislature building.

Pohnpei Women Council is a chartered NGO in the State of Pohnpei, comprised of 31 member groups with over 2,000 members.  Its area of priority include but not limited to health, education, and social wellbeing of all genders.   The upcoming International Women’s Day celebration in Pohnpei in March 2018, will include workshops on the Family Protection Act legislation.  For further inquiries regarding the Council, please contact Vice President:  Mrs. Maria Donre at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Secretary Berno L. Hedson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 8, 2018

Pohnpei—Over three weeks ago Pohnpei Utilities Corporation turned off the power to FSM Telecommunications Corporation’s headquarters in Pohnpei after FSMTC refused to pay a bill they have been disputing for several years.  Last Friday PUC turned the power back on after the two agreed to what PUC General Manager Nixon Anson called a “mediation process” in a letter to the Kaselehlie Press.

The power bill in question involves only the power bill for the Pohnpei headquarters of FSMTC.  PUC did not shut down the power for other FSMTC operated locations such as cell phone towers and ADSL cabinets.  The billing dispute did not extend that far.

FSMTC Chief Financial Officer Rodelio Pulmano said that PUC presented a bill for approximately $170,000 which included approximately $126,000 that FSMTC has long insisted that it does not owe.  Approximately $44,000 of the total of the $170,000 was for the current bill which they immediately paid as they do each month.  Pulmano said that FSMTC’s average monthly utility bill is $45,000 to $50,000.

PUC officials declined to comment.  The Kaselehlie Press had scheduled an interview with Mr. Anson but when the appointed time arrived, Anson was not in the office.  Instead his Executive Secretary delivered a letter to us saying that he was “concerned that KP might misstate things that will affect both PUC and FSMTC during the mediation process.”  Anson said in the letter that he was aware that we had interviewed FSMTC officials about the situation but that PUC would not be making any comment.

Pulmano said that during the Pohnpei power crisis beginning in about 2013, PUC was forced to ration power delivery island-wide.  During that time FSMTC was forced to run its generators in order to continue to provide telecommunications services.  He said that PUC charges Telecom based on a formula it uses for customers it has classed as industrial customers whether the customer actually uses the power or not.  At the time of the power crisis PUC was not delivering the power for which they continued to bill PUC.

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FSMT Cable Corporation, the country’s newly established Open Access Entity (OAE), and FSMTC, the country’s incumbent full-service telecommunications company, entered into an IRU Deed Agreement this past Friday February 2nd, 2018 in Pohnpei.

The agreement is the culmination of arduous work by the parties, as well as members of the FSM Congress, the Office of the President, the Department of Finance & Administration, the Department of Transportation, Communication & Infrastructure, and many others including key stakeholders in each of the FSM states.  This agreement establishes the shared use of the sole existing submarine cable to FSM, HANTRU-1, as well as the close cooperation of the parties in the efficient use of the new submarine cables for Yap, Chuuk and Kosrae, and the FSMTC facilities required to connect them to all the states of FSM.  As the provider of international and domestic broadband connectivity solutions to the telecommunications industry in FSM, FSMT Cable Corporation enters this long-term agreement with FSMTC with plans for a long and fruitful relationship with FSMTC, the leading retail telecommunications service provider for FSM,  and, in the future, with other retail telecommunications services providers who may enter the FSM telecommunications market.

Fredy Perman, FSMTC’s CEO, and Adolfo Montenegro, FSMT Cable Corp.’s CEO, attended a brief ceremony where both signed this agreement, which is a major milestone as FSM’s Telecom Sector enters a new and exciting era for the improved connectivity and economic development that comes with faster, more reliable and lower cost broadband service in all of the FSM states.

FSMT Cable Corporation’s CEO Adolfo Montenegro took the opportunity to note the country’s landmark achievement. “I would like to recognize the contributions of the many hard-working individuals, with a vision to improve broadband connectivity for the people of FSM, who tirelessly worked to bring this project to this point. FSMT Cable Corp. expects to have submarine cable connectivity services available to FSMTC within the next 6 months in Yap and Chuuk. We also depend on generous support from FSMTC to ensure the success of the East Micronesia Cable Project, which is planned for FSM to partner with the nations of Kiribati and Nauru to connect a new cable system from Kiribati, Nauru, and Kosrae to Guam via the HANTRU system from Pohnpei.   FSMT Cable Corp. will be managing the completion of these projects as well as additional new projects that will see high speed connectivity available in Yap, Chuuk, Kosrae and Pohnpei for all licensed telecommunications services providers.  Our vision is to become the catalyst for broadband adoption in FSM by actively promoting the use of the broadband infrastructure that is now available.”

“On behalf of the FSMTC Chairman and his fellow Board of Directors, management and its entire staff, would like to thank the President of FSM, Speaker and Members of Congress for their continued support of its very own telecommunications service provider. The signing of the IRU is a major achievement and significant milestone in the history of the telecommunications development, not only for FSM but the Pacific region. Under this agreement, we will set out to demonstrate that even in small island economy we are ready for the challenges of bringing low cost high speed Internet to its users. We look forward to continuing to support the newly established cable corporation and to ensure that the visions of both entities are achieved.” said Fredy Perman, FSMTC CEO

About FSMTC

FSM Telecommunications Corporation is a public corporation established under Title 21 of the Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, governed under the laws of the FSM.

 FSMTC operates in accordance with the highest standards in all relationships with customers, suppliers, environment and the community. Our vision is to provide the best possible modern, cost-effective telecommunications services by consistently satisfying the realistic expectations of our customers and stakeholders.

It is FSMTC's further goal to bring reliable and cost-effective communication services to every household in the FSM. For further information on FSMTC, please visit http://www.fsmtc.fm

FSMT Cable Corporation is a state-owned enterprise established in 2017 to implement, operate and maintain broadband connectivity infrastructure to be provisioned on a wholesale basis to licensed operators. The company is initially responsible for management of over 1,300 Km of submarine cable assets serving the states of Micronesia. The company’s principal office is in Pohnpei, FSM. For further information see our website at: www.fsmcable.com.

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By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 2, 2018

Pohnpei—Taiyo Micronesia Corporation (TMC) held a ribbon cutting ceremony in Dekehtik this afternoon for a “katsuobushi” (dried, fermented, smoked skipjack tuna) and feed meal processing plant on the premises of the cold storage plant. 

National Fisheries Corporation (NFC) CEO Peter Sitan said that the plant is not yet in commercial operation pending approval of some permits that are in process.  It is also awaiting the arrival of a larger feed mill that he said should arrive within two months.  He said that the plan then would be to produce and sell feed meal in the local market first in Pohnpei and then potentially in the other states.  He said that the feed for livestock would be less expensive than imported feed.  Katsuobushi, a quintessential topping in Japanese cuisine would be primarily for export.

The plant is a TMC and NFC joint venture.  Sitan said that the plant currently employs 10 local employees but that after it is in full operation will hire 10 more employees.

Among others, FSM dignitaries at the ceremony included FSM President Peter M. Christian, FSM Resources and Development Secretary Marion Henry, Lieutenant Governor Reed Oliver as Acting Governor, Pohnpei Legislature Speaker Fernando Scaliem, and Iso Nahnken of Nett Salvador Iriarte.

Mr. Shigeru Ito, President of the Maruha Nichirio Group, the parent company of TMC gave remarks.  The Maruha Nichirio Group that Mr. Ito runs has 160 companies under its umbrella including TMC.  He said during his remarks that when TMC first started its business in the FSM in conjunction with NFC six years ago, it had only two purse seiners but that they now had six FSM flagged vessels.

Mr. Nobuyuki Wakasa, TMC President said that several years ago, Secretary Henry told him that while it was good to have fishing operations, the company should seriously look at on shore operations.  Wakasa said that the company started to consider the possibility and conducted feasibility studies.  The katsuobushi and feed meal plant was the result of their studies.  Other potential ventures that they looked at were not financially feasible.

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By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

January 25, 2018

Pohnpei—On January 20, the morning after the Pohnpei Department of Public Safety had a party at Flamingo, a probationary police officer flipped a police car onto its side in Nett.  According to Police Chief Edmund, the car was a total loss.

Chief Edmund said that the department’s internal investigation determined that alcohol had not been a factor.  “The officer passed a field sobriety test after the accident,” he said.

Edmund said that the officer, who is new to the department, had spent the previous night sleeping at the police department in Kolonia until his shift started because he had not been able to find transportation to his home in Madolenihmw.

Photos of the scene that circulated on Facebook showed a can of “Red Horse” inside the vehicle.  Chief Edmund said the officer had earlier confiscated the can from someone who had been drinking on the road.  The officer confiscated the beer and poured it out.

Chief Edmund said that the internal investigation had been completed and that the department was in the process of considering the proper disciplinary action.

He said that he didn’t feel it would be appropriate to provide the officer’s name.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

January 26, 2018

Pohnpei—According to State Police detectives, on January 15, FSM flagged fishing vessels Micronesia 101 and 103 were transferring their catches onto the mother ship which was moored in Pohnpei’s lagoon.  A ladder had been positioned between two of the vessels to enable crossing from one to the other.  A 40 year old crew member from China fell from that ladder as he was crossing and disappeared.  He could not be found.

Crewmembers immediately notified FSM National Police who in turn notified Pohnpei State police and Pohnpei Port Authority.  A search was conducted but the man could not be found.

On January 19 fishermen from another commercial fishing boat discovered the body of Guohue Zhu floating inside Pohnpei’s lagoon near the reef off of Sokehs Island.  They notified the authorities who recovered the body.

Due to amount of time that he had been in the water an autopsy could not be performed. 

State Police detectives conducted an investigation and after interviewing witnesses ruled that the death was accidental saying that no foul play was involved.

FSM Department of Transportation Communication and Infrastructure is responsible to conduct safety inspections on FSM flagged vessels.  TC&I conducted a safety inspection and found the vessels to be in compliance.

Guohue Zhu’s body was buried in Kitti.  The grieving family has asked representatives of the National Fishing Corporation to place flowers on his grave and to send photos to them.

CIA/Civic Affairs // January 15, 2018
 
YAP, Yap — As of January 9, 2018, United Airlines has discontinued its flight route between Yap and Palau. In its absence is the new service by Caroline Islands Air, which began its maiden flights soon after.
 
In a communication dated January 12, 2018, the management of Caroline Islands Air is now announcing that it will start flying to Ulithi Atoll and Fais Island in Yap State. As of today, January 15, the Caroline Islands Air’s Harbin Y-12 aircraft will fly from Yap Proper to Ulithi and Fais, and will fly Yap-Ulithi-Fais-Yap every other week Monday.
 
Check-in for the Ulithi & Fais flight starts at 5:30 AM and ends at 6:30 AM at the Yap International Airport. The Y-12 will then depart at 7:00 AM.
 
Rates for the Yap-Ulithi-Fais-Yap itinerary are as follow:

  • Yap-Ulithi – adult fare $60; child’s fare $30; cargo rate $0.60/lb.
  • Yap-Fais – adult fare $80; child’s fare $40; cargo rate $0.60/lb.
  • Ulithi-Fais – adult fare $40; child’s fare $20; cargo rate $0.40/lb.

Round trip rates are doubled for the respective rates. Children are classified as 2 to 12 years of age, whereas adults are passengers 13 years of age and above; infants below 2 years of age are free.
 
Caroline Islands Air is also expected to fly to Woleai Atoll, pending the renovations of the airstrip there.
 
Flights to Palau from Yap are on Tuesday and Friday evenings with departure times set at 5:00 PM. Flights returning to Yap are on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, departing Palau at 6:00 AM and arriving in Yap around 9:00 AM.
 
United Airlines now have flights only between Yap to Guam on Tuesday and Saturday nights.
 
For more information or clarifications, contact the Yap office of Caroline Islands Air at tel: (691)350-2554, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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January 18, 2018

Representatives from each of the four FSM States Women’s Councils met in Pohnpei from January 15-18, 2018 for a workshop aiming to strengthen the Councils’ work in promoting gender equality.

The FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs office (DH&SA) teamed up with the Pacific Community (SPC) to design the workshop, which was also supported by the nature conservancy (TNC).

The workshop provided support to the first meeting and election of directors of the FSM women’s council.

To strengthen capacity, the state councils reported on their own priorities and worked together to develop a shared vision for the FSM Women’s Council. Participants learnt about key commitments made by FSM to gender equality and practiced new techniques to raise the sensitive issue of gender equality in their workshops and meetings in their states.

The workshop also provided an opportunity to start planning the FSM government-hosted National Women’s Conference, to be held in Palikir later in 2018.

Opening the meeting, the acting Secretary of DH&SA Mr. Marcus Samo, noted with appreciation the importance of the work the Women’s Councils undertake for the development of FSM. He stressed that it is time to attend more to the commitments FSM has made to gender equality, and committed the department to working with the FSM Women’s Council and the Women’s Councils in the states. 

 In their reports to the meeting, the Councils noted their similar challenges such as getting support within their states to introduce domestic violence legislation, raise the age of consent, get services for victims of violence, and get women elected to the state legislatures and the Congress. At the same time, they have committed themselves to home gardening and other projects which improve the livelihoods of women and their families in ways that support environmental sustainability. The Councils noted they are expected and want to do more, but limited funding and support is holding them back.

The director of SPC’s Micronesia Regional Office, Lara Studzinski, said “SPC has a strong commitment to gender equality and human rights work across the Pacific, and, through the generous support of the Australian Government’s Pacific Women program, we will continue to support the work of the FSM government to improve gender equality and women’s rights in Micronesia.”   

From August 6, 2017 to November 4, 2017 the State of Kosrae had an outbreak of mumps that caused 21 people to get ill with swollen jaws, fever, headache, muscle ache, tiredness, and loss of appetite.  While mostly 14 years old were affected, as young as 4 years old and as old as 24 year were affected. 

This outbreak was linked back to a group of travelers from Kosrae who went to Seattle, Washington between July 15, 2017 to August 5, 2017 for a baseball event.  All individuals who were exposed to and got sick from mumps were recovered.

Kosrae was able to contain this outbreak with assistance from partners such as the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs, WHO, CDC, and the Pacific Island Health Officers Association (PIHOA).  A response campaign was launched where the FSM and Kosrae Immunization Programs staffs vaccinated 215 individuals out of the 220 target individuals at greater risk.  In addition to the catch-up vaccination campaign, Kosrae also carried out state-wide public awareness as prevention measures and environmental cleanup effort. 

These activities and support from the Kosrae State leadership contributed to containing the outbreak from further spread locally and to other FSM states.

The estimated direct cost to the FSM Immunization Program to contain the outbreak was $45,000.

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OIA Director Nik Pula, Hawaii
Governor David Ige, and
Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas
Doug Domenech December 14, 2017

WASHINGTON (January 19, 2018) – U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Doug Domenech has announced that $12,762,262 will be Hawaii’s share of 2018 Compact Impact funding provided under U.S. Public Law 108-188.  The funding will be provided to the Department of Human Services to help defray costs associated with providing education, public health, and public safety-related services to migrants from the freely associated states of Micronesia, Marshalls, and Palau who have migrated to Hawaii. 

“I met with Governor Ige last December and am pleased that we can provide some assistance to Hawaii on behalf of the federal government,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “During the meeting, I was pleased to hear that other assistance provided to Hawaii by Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs in standing up the ‘We Are Oceania’ One Stop Center has been helpful to the Governor and his administration in minimizing the impacts on Hawaii from migration from the freely associated states as well as in serving Micronesian community needs.”    

Under the Compacts of Free Association first approved in Public Law 99-239 (1986) and Public Law 99-658 (1994), and later amended in Public Law 108-188 (2003), citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau are legal nonimmigrants allowed, for indefinite periods of time, to live, work, and study in the United States without a visa. In 1996, under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (“Welfare Reform Act”), nonimmigrants living and working legally in the United States under the Compacts were deemed ineligible for federal public benefits.  Thus began what has been a rising concern for the Governments of Guam and Hawaii, as U.S. ports of entry in the Pacific, which have directly borne the cost of public services related to migration under the Compacts, often referred to as “Compact Impact.”  

In 2003, the U.S. Congress allocated $30 million annually to Hawaii, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa to assist in defraying costs due to increased demands placed on health, educational, social, or public sector services, or infrastructure related to such services due to Compact Impact.  Compact Impact funds and the apportionment to each affected jurisdiction are calculated using a ratio allocation based on a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau enumeration that put the number of Compact migrants in Hawaii at 14,700 and the allocation for the state at $12.8 million. The U.S. Census Bureau will be conducting a new enumeration, to update the numbers used in the allocation of Compact Impact funding, expected to be completed at the end of this year.

Under current law, Compact Impact funding expires in 2023.

By Elee Shepherd and Claire Burkemper 

January 24, 2018

Pohnpei-Next week, January 28th–February 3rd, is Catholic Schools Week, which will be celebrated at our only local Catholic Schools, Pohnpei Catholic School and Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School.

Our schools will be joining Catholic schools all over the world to celebrate what makes Catholic Education distinctive and formational.  Catholic Schools have been celebrating this week since 1974 as a way to honor and highlight particular aspects of Catholic education that are a critical  part of developing the whole person, both academically and spiritually.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” Each day focuses on an individual aspect as it is related to the theme. The week will begin on Sunday with the theme of, “Celebrating Our Parishes,” in which students from both Pohnpei Catholic School and Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School will participate in their respective parishes. The school week will begin with the theme of, “Celebrating our Community” and both Catholic Schools will gather for Mass at Our Lady of Mercy Parish at 9:00 a.m.  All are welcome to join the Mass.

Throughout the rest of the week, the schools will spend time inside and outside of the classroom learning about the gift of their Catholic education, serving the local community, honoring Church and Local Leaders, and thanking their families and teachers for their dedication to both education and faith. The schools anticipate their week being a blessed and fruitful time that will continue to enhance the educational and spiritual well-being of their students. 

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Mr. Saimone Vameau embedding
tissue biopsy at work

From December 2-8, 2017, Dr Katsushige Yamashiro, the chief pathologist from the Hokkaido Cancer Institute (HCI) in Sapporo, Japan, visited Pohnpei to provide hands-on training in cytology and histology to the technical staff of the labs in all FSM state hospitals.  The training took place at Pohnpei State hospital where the FSM tele-pathology lab is currently housed.

Tele-pathology application involves sending digitized image of specimen from Pohnpei to Dr. Yamashiro in HCI for consultation and diagnosis.  The receiving pathologist evaluates the virtual image with the local histotech, and provides diagnosis back to medical doctors in Pohnpei for patient management. Because of the increase in Internet bandwidth at Pohnpei State Hospital, this application is possible and also allows technician at Pohnpei State Hospital and the pathologist at HCI to simultaneously perform and evaluate digitized pathological image of specimen in real time. Whereas the routine sending of histopath specimen off-island would normally take 2 weeks to 3 months for a turn-around result, this technology can provide a spot diagnosis within minutes of consultation.

The Lab technicians from the four States were able to get first-hand experience of tissue biopsy and Pap smear processing. They received basic training in the procedures of histo/cyto-pathology in this few days of the training. Together with Dr Katsushige Yamashiro, the technicians we were able to process the backlog of specimen and tissue biopsy.  During the training, Dr. Yamashiro was not only able to provide the training but was also able to read and provide diagnosis to the doctors.

A few weeks after the training, the lab technician at Pohnpei State Hospital was able to process the backlog of 235 Pap smear specimens from Chuuk at the Pohnpei State Hospital.  Given the vast geography of the FSM and limited resource, pursuing a tele-pathology is necessary.  Funding for this project is provided by the FSM Government though the Department of Health and Social Affairs as a national capital improvement project.

 

The Government of Nauru has today announced that Mr Trevor Jensen has been appointed as Chairman of Nauru Air Corporation effective 1st February, 2018.

The current Chairman, Mr Kevin Power is retiring after 17 years of service with the airline.

In releasing this announcement the Government expressed their sincere appreciation for the many years of excellent and valued guidance that Mr Power has provided to the airline which maintains a vital link to Nauru and its people to places, near and far.

The Government is pleased to be welcoming Mr Jensen into this important role who brings a wealth of aviation experience having held very senior roles in Qantas, Jetstar, Air New Zealand and Aer Lingus throughout his career.

 For all enquiries contact Geoff Bowmaker, CEO Nauru Airlines at +61 7 3229 6455

24th January, 2018

Office of the Guam Congressional Delegate

January 19, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo of Guam offered three amendments relating to Compact impact and national service programs during a mark-up hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Her amendments were adopted unanimously during the committee’s consideration of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act of 2017 or H.R.2987, which would expand national service programs for volunteering in federal public lands, including Guam’s War in the Pacific National Historical Park, Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, and Guam National Wildlife Refuge (Ritidian Unit). The bill now goes to the full U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

 

Congresswoman Bordallo’s amendments would make Compact migrants residing on Guam, Hawaii, and other states/territories eligible to participate in federally funded national and community service programs, including AmeriCorps and the Youth Conservation Corps. These national service programs provide opportunities for youth and volunteers of all ages to engage in community service while also learning valuable job skills. Congresswoman Bordallo’s amendments were from her Compact Impact Relief Act or H.R.4761, which she reintroduced last week in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Promoting community service and volunteerism has long been a priority for Congresswoman Bordallo. She has worked with other members of Congress from the Pacific Islands and Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz of 34th Guam Legislature, to extend federal national and community service programs to Guam. In 2015, the congresswoman sponsored the National Community Service Improvement Act, which was included in the congresswoman’s amendments adopted by the Natural Resources Committee.

Congresswoman Bordallo is a senior Democratic member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

“Compact migrants have made valuable contributions to our community. My amendments ensure that they have the same opportunity to roll up their sleeves and volunteer in our community, just like other Guam residents. Specifically these amendments make Compact migrants eligible for national community service programs and open another avenue for them to give back to our community while learning valuable skills that could lead to a full-time job. I thank Speaker Cruz for working closely with me over the years and for his consistent support on this important issue for our island,” said Congresswoman Bordallo.

Said Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz, “Every person willing to work for it deserves the opportunity to better their lives while improving the lives of others. I thank the Congresswoman for her continued work on matters relating to the Compact of Free Association and I am certain that passage of these amendments will demonstrate that a hand-up is always better than a hand-out.”

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, some 110 Guam residents participated in federally funded service programs between 2016 and 2017. Since 1994, more than 1,300 Guam residents completed an estimated 1.7 million hours total of community service under these federal programs, qualifying those residents for $4.12 million in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards, in recognition of their exemplary volunteerism. The Serve Guam Commission coordinates the federal AmeriCorps program and grant funding to support local nonprofits and provide volunteers. If enacted into law, Congresswoman Bordallo’s amendments will make Compact migrant eligible to participate in these programs.

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At the 14th Annual Meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting held in Manila, Philippines last December, the Commission agreed that the 15th Annual Session will be held in Pohnpei, FSM from December 3-7, 2018. The FSM Head of Delegation to the 14th Annual Meeting, NORMA Executive Director Eugene Pangelinan tabled FSM’s proposal to host the meeting following Nauru’s withdrawal to host  due to difficulties in meeting the  basic requirements for hosting such a big event. 

Hosting such a meeting is a significantchallenge and can be very time consuming and requires a lot of logistics and planning. The FSM has hosted big meetings in the past but this meeting is much bigger and requires more preparation and resources. “While accommodating up to 550 people can be a challenging task for FSM, especially with sufficient accommodations for meeting participants in Pohnpei for up to two weeks, I am confident with good preparation, planning and support of the public and business community, FSM can host such a big event” say Feleti Teo, Executive Director of the Pohnpei based WCPFC Headquarters. The last time such a meeting was held in Pohnpei was in 2005, the 2nd meeting of the Commission. “While FSM has grown accustomed to hosting Technical meetings of the Commission once or twice a year since its establishment, hosting the annual session is almost twice the workload  and therefore we are taking early steps to ensure that we prepare well and plan accordingly” said Eugene Pangelinan.  Pangelinan further stated that “Hosting this meeting will infuse into the FSM economy more than $600,000 and this is why FSM must prove it can host these meetings successfully, if we do it well, it can potentially lead to more annual meetings of the Commission in Pohnpei in the future”.  President Christian had authorized the FSM delegation to the WCPFC meeting in Manila to accept hosting the meeting if there was a need for FSM as host of the WCPFC Secretariat to step in and assist.  The  opportunity arose and we did what we were tasked to do said Mathew Chigiyal, Deputy Director of NORMA.  Now we need to work with the business community, civil society, Pohnpei State Government, and the national government to organize ourselves and make sure Pohnpei is ready in time.

The Annual Session is held annually and rotates among the members. Up to 550 participants normally attend this meeting including delegates from 40 countries and governments, international and regional organizations, non government organizations, Secretariat  staff, and the media.

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By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

January 24, 2018

Kolonia—In March of last year, Japan’s Ambassador Ryoichi Horie presented a $76,616 check to Pohnpei’s Environmental Protection Agency to support the recycling program with a three ton boom truck and a scale.  Today, Ambassador Horie turned the newly arrived equipment over to the State in care of the Kolonia Town Government during a ceremony at the Kolonia Town Hall.

The truck and scale will be used for a variety of recycling purposes including the reclamation of abandoned vehicles on Pohnpei’s main island.  Though the lift truck looked a bit small for the task of picking up and transporting abandoned vehicles, Governor Marcelo Peterson said after the ceremony that it is perfectly capable.  Even smaller ones had been previously used.

During the ceremony, Kolonia Town Mayor Jose San Nicolas profusely thanked the people of Japan for their support.  Kolonia Town has been handling the can recycling plant.  The truck and scale will make it easier for them to transport recycled cans and to properly document the weight of the cans they load into containers for sale to aluminum products buyers.

Governor Peterson started a small can recycling program when he was the Mayor of Kolonia Town. He later turned it over to Pohnpei State which passed a law establishing the program across the State, including a can import fee. It also provided $100,000 for the startup of the program. Peterson said during the March handover ceremony of the funds for the new lift truck and scale that since then the program has recycled over seven million cans. 

During today’s ceremony he said that since he was instrumental in getting a can recycling program started in Pohnpei, the donation of the people of Japan was near to his heart.

Ambassador Horie said that during the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 8) in Fukushima prefecture in Japan on May 18 and 19, one of the focused topics of the summit will be about environmental issues in the Pacific Islands.  “I believe this project will definitely contribute to solve such problems by enhancing recycling programs,” he said.

“Also, as Japan Embassy we have focused on implementing environmental projects because it is one of the most serious problems in the FSM. So I am happy to hear that EPA applied for this project and is eager to clean up the beautiful islands,” he said.

“This project will clean not only Kolonia town but also will allow Pohnpei state to have a cleaner and more convenient place,” he concluded.

After all of the remarks were concluded, Ambassador Horie handed over the keys to the equipment the people of Japan purchased for Pohnpei to Pohnpei officials.

23 January 2018

Noumea, New Caledonia –Staff from the Oceanic Fisheries Programme completed a significant tuna-tagging voyage in late 2017, releasing nearly 28,000 tags in the waters of PNG and Solomon Islands.

The Oceanic Fisheries Programme embarked on the 50 day voyage in September 2017, hoping to tag 20,000 tuna. The crew were able to blow that figure out of the water with a total of 27,780 releases including over 20,000 tags in Solomon Islands waters.

The voyage, led by Fisheries Scientist Bruno Leroy, is part of the ongoing Pacific Tuna Tagging Programme, a Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) project. Beginning in 2006, it is the largest tuna tagging project ever implemented.

Pacific tuna fisheries produce over 60% of the world’s tuna, and are an important part of the gross domestic product of most countries in the region. But threats such as overfishing and climate change put this vital natural resource at risk.

The collection of data through tagging will provide valuable information to assess fish abundance, movement and the impact of fishing. This information will help the WCPFC determine sustainable management practices and conservation measures of tuna in the region.

Tagging allows fisheries scientists to monitor mortality, movement and growth of tagged fish. On this voyage, the fish were caught using the pole-and-line fishing method. This allows the fish to be caught, measured, tagged and released in just a few seconds. Information on each tagged individual including species, length, fish condition and tagging quality is recorded using voice recorders. Some of the fish were over 60cm in length, and their powerful tails could bruise and scratch the fishers as they are caught for tagging.

The data collected from the tags over next months and years will help increase our understanding of tuna fisheries, and the impact of fishing activities on tuna fisheries throughout the Pacific. This data will help inform future sustainable management decisions that will help protect tuna stocks and the people who rely on them.

“The key highlight was obviously the number of tags Bruno and the team released, with additional highlights being the development of new tagging technicians, the amount of biological sampling conducted, without forgetting that these good results would not have been possible without the support and efforts of  the vessel crew”, according to Neville Smith, SPC’s Principal Fisheries Scientist.

Fishers can receive a reward for the return of tags to SPC.

Anyone who finds a tag, or would like more information, should contact the Oceanic Fisheries Programme via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.spc.int/tagging to assist SPC with this important ongoing research.