P1 Kwajalein talks underway in Washington No substantive word has been received here concerning the talks in Washington, DC on Kwajalein and other issues related to a compact of free association between the United States and the Marshall Islands. Kwajalein Atoll Corporation lawyer George Allen told JAC publicist Nancy Von earlier today that there were meetings going on. Von said Allen sounded like he was in “extremely good spirits.” The interim use agreement for Kwajalein Atoll used by the military expired yesterday although it contains a renewal clause which says that the governments expect to renew it, if necessary, subject to satisfactory progress toward a free association pact.
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P1 Virus runs amok A lethal virus that is difficult to detect and apparently impossible to cure has invaded Majuro. If you think this is another story about AIDS, you’re wrong. This is about a computer virus that is wreaking havoc in offices around Majuro. Computer consultant Jim Ley called the Journal to warn all island users of IBMs and clones that they need to be vigilant to prevent this virus. If it gets in, it may be the end of your computer as you know it, he said.
P4 Fully loaded Air Marshall Islands DC-8 is back in operation. Late last week, the jet was loaded with pallets of fresh fish for export to Hawaii.
P10 MIDB write off and bond jack up RMI ’93 losses Fiscal year 1993 marked the first time that all “enterprise funds” were audited along with the Marshall Islands government. Twelve quasi-private agencies and joint ventures with government were audited. Only one — the Marshalls Energy Company — showed positive operating income. MEC had a positive income balance of $23,795. Marshall Islands Development Bank had an operating loss of $7.6 million, Air Marshall Islands $4.2 million, Tobolar $2.7 million, KAJUR $2.2 million and M&D Fishing $1.4 million. The 12 enterprise funds had an operating loss of $19.4 million in 1993.
P1 GAO looking for Compact puppet The US General Accounting Office reported to the Congress last week that the $1.6 billion in Compact funding provided to the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands “led to little improvement in economic development.”
P1 PCB bomb at Bikini? Physicist Hans Behling — a scientific consultant for Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and the Nuclear Claims Tribunal — said that PCB contamination at Bikini and Enewetak is potentially a “problem that could challenge the severity of radioactive contamination.” In a presentation to the Nitijela Thursday, he indicated that a study of PCB contamination at the former nuclear test sites is to be launched shortly. PCBs — which were used in great quantities in electrical transformers before their extreme hazards were identified — weren’t even suspected of being a cancer-causing chemical until the 1970s, Behling said. The ships that were sunk at Bikini contained electrical machinery that used PCBs, and the nuclear test support apparatus on Bikini and Enewetak included heavy electrification, which in the 1940s and 1950s meant PCB usage. The concern is about PCB wastes that were probably “buried on land or dumped in the lagoon,” Behling said.
P8 Could it have been a gas way to go? Doomsday cultists often enough opt for exotic locations to say goodbye, and it appears possible that Majuro may have been in line for just such a departure — possible, that is, if you believe speculation being offered this week after CMI officials started questioning the reason for a series of suspicious gas line hook ups at the former Korean facility at Arrak district in Majuro. While some hook ups are obviously ordinary, certain rooms in the compound, which is being absorbed by CMI, have unexplained gas line hook ups. The Big Man religion, which resulted in serious prison sentences for the cult’s leader and his wife, warned of the end of the world when they were rudely interrupted by police authorities in S. Korea. A puzzling aspect of the whole affair is the presence of the mysterious gas lines.