P1 Bikinians move to Maui opposed A public hearing was held in Maui December 13 to discuss the proposed move of the Bikini people to Waihee area of Maui. According to the Maui News, the residents of Waihee “seemed unanimously opposed” to the idea “although they expressed sympathy with the plight of the islanders who were made nomads by the US nuclear testing on Bikini in 1946.”
P4 Now, drinkable water from Ebeye The engines to power a new desalination plant on Ebeye have recently arrived on island. The plant, which when fully operational, will convert up to 300,000 gallons of salt water into fresh water daily, is based on a model built by an Israeli firm.
P10 Leprosy epidemic The director of the federal Hansen’s Disease Program recently characterized the leprosy epidemic in the Federated States of Micronesia as the worst “in the history of the world.” Speaking before the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and National Parks, Dr. John Trautman said: “What we are talking about is a caseload of over 1,000 patients now which might rise to about 2,000” in a population of 78,000.
P11 Alele video project in full swing If you have not been to Alele Museum, you are not only missing some fine exhibits, but also the Alele’s new collection of oral history video and audio tapes. Alele staff filmed nearly eight hours of jepta dancing and singing on Christmas Day at Uliga Protestant Church that is available for public viewing. The oral histories have already been used extensively in Majuro schools, said Alele Director Jerry Knight.
P1 Imata wins it The Marshall Islands Nitijela elected Amata Kabua’s cousin, powerful Irooj Imata Kabua, as the new President in a vote on January 14. The momentous occasion, the first-ever contested election for a president in the Marshall Islands, was witnessed by a packed Nitijela chamber. Kabua needed 17 rotes and gained 20, easily beating Senator Kessai Note, who had six, and Senator Wilfred Kendall who also had six.
P3 ADB ‘payroll’ loan expected next week Relief for government workers is on the way with the anticipated approval by the Asian Development Bank of a major loan next week Friday. A $10 million loan is now awaiting ADB board approval on January 24. More than 300 government workers who have so far been laid off in the government’s reduction in force program will be beneficiaries of this loan, according to Finance Secretary Mike Konelios. The workers will receive an initial lump sum payment and then monthly checks for a three year period.
P5 Big bucks There are four Majuro guys who are $100 richer because they are pretty smart basketball players. Some of the Hawks players, like Alber Alik, pulled together a three-on-three basketball tournament, winner take all competition. Ten teams signed up and put down $10 each. Then, they went head to head, and there was some fierce basketball played last Friday at the CMI court. After the blood was mopped up and the bodies carried off to the emergency room, one team stood above the others: Rantly Kattil, Witon Barry, Junior Joseph and Junior Abraham.
P1 Cabinet: We want results The Cabinet launched a wide-ranging review of the public service, starting with Tuesday’s session at the ICC with all secretaries and agency heads. Minister in Assistant to the President Chris Loeak told the Journal this week that the goal of the new government is to deliver on President Litokwa Tomeing’s promise in his inauguration speech to improve public services to the people.
P14 CMI future looks good The College of the Marshall Islands received its most positive report ever from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in the lead up to last week’s full commission meeting in California that reviewed CMI’s probationary status. CMI officials are holding their collective breath until early next month, when the WASC Accrediting Commission for Colleges and Junior Colleges is expected to issue its decision on CMI.