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Prosecutor asks court to dismiss charges in Supreme Court theft case—could refile

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
June 2, 2017
Pohnpei—There has been no resolution in the State’s case alleging that Ruthy Hadley was involved in the theft of over $123,000 in collections from the Pohnpei Supreme Court.
“With the untimely death of Co- Defendant Eric Elias the State of Pohnpei was unable to proceed with prosecution against Ruthy Hadley,” Attorney Dana Smith said. “The State made a Motion to Dismiss without prejudice. The Defense made a Motion to Dismiss with prejudice. The Court granted the State's Motion to Dismiss without prejudice. The State of Pohnpei's investigation into alleged loss of over $123,000 in collections at the Pohnpei Supreme Court continues and, in the event additional evidence is discovered, a criminal case against could be refiled.”
Dismissing a case “with prejudice” means that the case is closed and charges can never be refiled. Dismissing a case “without prejudice” means that the current proceeding stops but charges could be refiled as more evidence is uncovered. Refiling the charges would not be a matter of double jeopardy.
No determination of guilt or innocence has been established with the dismissal of the case.
Hadley is presumed to be innocent unless proven otherwise in a court of law. That day in court has not come.

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Closing gender gaps for a more inclusive Asia

Asian Development Bank
MANILA, PHILIPPINES (1 June 2017) — Gender inequality is slowing the transition toward more inclusive growth in Asia and the Pacific, says a new report by the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Independent Evaluation Department, which reveals a striking picture of the state of gender disparities in the region.
The evaluation of ADB’s support for gender and development acknowledges that ADB is recognized as a pioneer among multilateral development banks for integrating gender into the design of its projects. But it urges ADB to step up support for projects that can have a direct impact on gender equality by, for example, addressing restrictions to women’s access to economic opportunities, rights, and justice. This lack of access has resulted in over $3 trillion in income losses in the region, according to one estimate cited in the study.
“Gender equality as part of eradicating poverty is a big unfinished development agenda in Asia,” says Marvin Taylor- Dormond, Director General of Independent Evaluation at ADB. “Overcoming gender inequality and discrimination continues to be hard, but without progress in these areas, it will be difficult to realize many of the region’s broader development goals.”

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President proposes $591.9 million FY18 budget for the U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States

Additional $123.9 Million for Palau Compact Review Agreement Proposed

US Department of the Interior
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 23, 2017) – President Donald Trump today proposed $591.9 million for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) for the benefit of the U.S. Territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Freely Associated States of the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands through the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA). The budget request for OIA includes $84.3 million in discretionary appropriations and $507.6 million in mandatory funding. Additionally, the budget requests $123.9 million of discretionary Department of Defense appropriations to be transferred to the Department of the Interior to support enactment of the 2010 Compact Review Agreement with Palau. The Palau Compact is an important element of the Pacific national security strategy.
“While we continue to support all of our U.S. insular areas, we have long been striving to meet our commitments to the Republic of Palau,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Nikolao Pula. “President Trump’s strong support for the Palau Compact shows that he recognizes the strategic importance of our U.S. Territories and the Freely Associated States.”
"The Territories and Freely Associated States are absolutely critical to the strategic readiness of the United States, and they are part of the fabric of who we are as fellow Americans," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "President Trump's budget proposal makes it abundantly clear that these lands, often on the front lines of escalating tensions, are under our protection and serve vital importance. The President’s budget balances these priorities and commitments to the Insular Areas with his promise to make government work for the taxpayer again and support a balanced budget by 2027,” Secretary Zinke said.
The President's budget allows Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs to carry out its core mission of empowering insular area communities by improving quality of life, creating economic opportunity, and promoting efficient and effective governance. The funding allows OIA to continue providing grants for technical assistance, implementing sustainable energy plans and invasive species control.

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Chuuk youth participate in Future Scholars Program

scholarsFrom March 24- April 9 of this year, Chuuk High School students again traveled to Clemson University to participate in the University’s Future Scholars Program. In addition to last year’s activities, students worked on a case study project, where they prepared a project to improve one aspect of Chuuk during the course of the week, which they have since implemented upon their return to Chuuk.
While at Clemson, the students participated in daily classes and took part in educational excursions each day to augment what they learned in class. During class, students developed their critical thinking skills and learned the valuable skill of SWOT (Strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats) analysis, which they have brought back to Chuuk and since applied to their school work at Chuuk High School. One student even has said he wishes to teach his fellow local close up participants the skill.

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Pacific Community announces Regional Director for Micronesia

laraJune 2017 - The Pacific Community’s Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga has announced the appointment of Lara Studzinski as the organisation’s new Regional Director, Micronesia.
Ms Studzinski, who started in the leadership role at the end of April, brings significant expertise in projects and programmes management with over 15 years of service in the international development field.
She joins the Pacific Community (SPC) from the Pacific-American Climate Fund (PACAM) where she played a key role in the management of funds for several grantees across four Micronesian countries.
Prior, she worked with SPC’s Public Health Division for six years, strategically ensuring the division’s strong financial management, reporting, grant management, human resources management and systems development.
Ms Studzinski holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management from Ohio State University.
Having worked and lived in the Micronesia region for eight years, Ms Studzinski’s experience and knowledge of Micronesian member countries and territories will stand her in good stead as she assumes this senior position and provides a valuable contribution to SPC’s efforts to strengthen engagement with its members and partners to enhance the relevance and effectiveness of is work.
Ms Studzinski is based at SPC’s Pohnpei Office in the Federated States of Micronesia.

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Two more public auditor’s offices undergo performance measurement

JUNE 2017

The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) continues its support for public auditors in the North Pacific, to enhance their capabilities through measuring their performance. The Government of Guam’s Office of Public Accountability (OPA) and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) State of Yap’s Office of the Public Auditor (Yap OPA) were assessed concurrently by two separate review teams on 15-19 May 2017.
A peer review team consisting of Ms. Atmita Jonathan, Deputy Auditor- General and Ms. Ayako Yamaguchi- Eliou, Manager for Performance Audit both from the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) Auditor-General’s Office and Mrs. Sinaroseta Palamo- Iosefo, PASAI’s Director of Practice Development, assessed the performance of the Government of Guam’s OPA. Ms Yukari Hechanova, Deputy Public Auditor and Ms Rodalyn Gerardo, Special Assistant facilitated the support from the OPA for the peer review team.
The performance of Yap OPA was assessed by a peer review team led by Mr Stoney Taulung, Public Auditor for Kosrae State of FSM along with Ms Emma Balagot, Audit Manager and Ms Alice George, Senior Auditor both from the Office of the Kosrae Public Auditor, and Ms Claire Kelly, PASAI consultant. Yap OPA’s support for the assessment was co-ordinated by Ms Leelkan P Southwick, Chief Investigator, Mr Bryan Y Dabugsiy, Senior Auditor and Ms Emma L Gilyan, Administrative assistant.
Assessing the performance of public auditors helps them gauge the status of their internal development purposes and enables them to demonstrate their credibility with external stakeholders. This assessment was conducted using the INTOSAI’s SAI Performance Measurement Framework (SAI PMF). The framework assesses a holistic performance of the SAI covering audit work, internal governance and ethics, relations with external stakeholders, and independence and legal framework. The peer review teams presented their preliminary assessment results to the respective Public Auditors and staff at the completion of the week-long assessments.
As an elected government official, Ms. Doris Flores Brooks, Public Auditor for Guam, mentioned in her inaugural remarks earlier this year that she welcomed the assessment and is looking forward to the results to assist her Office in identifying areas of their operations that require improvement. During the assessment, she said she would publish the results of her Office’s performance assessment to demonstrate her commitment to strengthening accountability, transparency and integrity of government and public sector entities.
Mr Achilles Defngin, Yap Public Auditor expressed his appreciation of the assessment saying, “The Office is very grateful for the opportunity to have another similar North Pacific SAI carry out the assessment. Yap OPA wants the assessment to identify the Office’s strengths and weaknesses and highlight where we can improve”.
Guam OPA and Yap OPA are two of the six SAIs from the Northern Pacific who are participating in the second phase of the SAI PMF project in PASAI, a collaboration between the INTOSAI Development Initiatives (IDI), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and PASAI. This series of performance measurement will culminate with all six SAIs presenting and discussing their draft performance reports during a workshop to be held in the RMI in October 2017.
The implementation of SAI PMF is aligned with one of PASAI’s strategic goals, developing SAI’s performance measurement framework to assist with improving the delivery of SAI’s audit responsibilities in order to make a difference in the lives of citizens.
The two assessments were supported by the DFAT, IDI and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

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Leadership welcomes US Pacific Fleet Commander to Yap

Civic Affairs // May 17, 2017
COLONIA, Yap — On May 9, 2017, the leadership welcomed Admiral Scott H. Swift and his mission to Yap State. The Commander, United States Pacific Fleet and his mission briefly visited Yap to briefly meet with the Yap State Leadership and officials of the FSM National Government and the US Embassy.
Admiral Swift arrived with his delegation in the afternoon last Tuesday, and were escorted to the conference room of the Yap Airport Rescue & Fire Fighting (ARFF) Facility of the Yap International Airport. The Admiral then met with members of the Yap State Leadership, FSM Chief of Staff Leo Falcam, Jr., and US Ambassador Robert Riley and his delegates.
On behalf of Yap State, Governor Tony Ganngiyan welcomed Admiral Swift and his delegation to Yap State, and thanked them for taking the time to visit and discuss mutual interests with the State and the FSM. Governor Ganngiyan noted that Yap State historically hosted the US Navy fleet at Ulithi Atoll during WWII, and have since made friendly ties with the US Navy through continually provided projects and programs such as CCAD Seabees. He raised concerns of the global impact of such a relationship, with the Chief of Staff elaborating further on potential risks in the region.
The FSM President's Chief of Staff, Mr. Falcam, extended greetings from the nation's capital in Palikir, and reiterated the governor's gratitude for the "very beneficial" CCAD program, and noted the difficulties of servicing a nation that occupy a fairly large space in the Pacific with poor infrastructure.
Admiral Swift in his remarks hearkened to their previous meeting in Hawaii and the expressed challenges faced by the FSM. He stated that US Pacific Fleet stands to continue the dialogue and assist on common interests especially on areas of needed direct support; he stressed the issue of prioritization and focusing on areas of mutual interest—for example, the airport runway, and ocean security.
The admiral shared that his mission was on their fifth stop on a Indo-Asia-Pacific trip that started in Australia for the Battle of the Coral Sea 75th anniversary. The admiral and his delegation were scheduled to be in Yap for only two hours; after meeting with the local leadership and separately with the US Ambassador, the mission departed a little after 5:30 PM from the Yap International Airport.
Admiral Scott Harbison Swift is the current Commander, US Pacific Fleet as of May 27, 2015. The US Pacific Fleet (USPACFLT) is the Pacific Ocean command of the US Navy providing forces to the US Pacific Command, headquartered in Hawaii.

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