P6 Tabai defends pact with Russians The Kiribati-Soviet Union fishing deal “is becoming a non-issue” at home and for other Pacific island nations, said Kiribati President Ieremia Tabai during a brief stopover in Majuro last week. “The main concern I see (coming from other nations regarding the Russian fishing pact) is that we are so poor we will allow the Soviets to establish a base in Kiribati,” he said. “Well,” he countered, “we are not so poor as to lack principles. We are not pro-Russian, we are pro-Kiribati and we believe in our capacity to pursue our national interests to achieve self-reliance.”
P3 NCT will pay 2 & 5% Despite announcements in 1996 that the Nuclear Claims Tribunal would not pay compensation this year to those claimants who had already received 57 percent of their awards, the Tribunal said this week there will be a small payment. The Tribunal said all awards that have previously received 57 percent will be paid two percent of their total award beginning October 22. Claimants who have previously received only 25 percent of their awards will receive a five percent payment.
P3 Hell raisers The number of underaged drinkers in Majuro is increasing all the time and police need public support to help control the situation, said Detective Royal Caesar, juvenile investigator with the local police. “Many people don’t even know where their kids are or what they are doing (between one and six in the morning) until they end up in jail,” he said.
P4 Nuclear database in Majuro The first computer database on nuclear testing in the Marshalls is being established in Majuro this week, and people are being trained how to use it. The Department of Energy has turned over about 100,000 documents about all aspects of the US nuclear testing program. These documents are part of the database. Lance Laack will be setting up the database and making it possible for Marshallese to gain access to that information.
P13 Bodde: Japanese self-interest A former US Ambassador to several Pacific Island countries says this week’s Japan-South Pacific Forum leaders summit meeting in Tokyo is designed to further Japan’s influence throughout the Pacific region. Bill Bodde, who was the top American diplomat in the Marshall Islands and Fiji before his retirement, says the Japanese have plenty of money and will use it to gain influence. “The never do anything that is not in their interest,” he said.
P14 Kwaj Cultural Center opening The Marshallese Cultural Center on Kwajalein is set to open October 20. The center was built with a grant from the US Department of Interior.
P18 In charge Majuro’s Chamber of Commerce officers were at the Tide Table last week for the organization’s monthly meeting. They are: President Kenneth Kramer, Vice President Ann Marie Muller, Treasurer Peter Fuchs, and Secretary Laverne Salvador.
P4 Registry to be number 3 in world? The Marshall Islands ship registry could move into the number three spot worldwide in 2009, with significant new ship tonnage moving to flag here, an official of the company told Sea Trade Asia. Japanese owners have indicated they will register more than 100 vessels weighing in at about three million tons during the next three years, while Korean owners have committed 50 vessels totaling 1.5 million tons during the same period.
P8 7,000 tons of copra in 2008 In the 58 years that records have been kept, Marshall Islands copra makers produced more than 7,000 tons only three tines — and 2008 is one of these three bumper years. Tobolar Copra Processing Authority reported this week that for fiscal year 2008, ending September 2008, it processed 7,182.42 tons of copra. This is the third highest 12-month total ever behind 1970 (7,348 tons) and 1995 (7,828 tons).
P19 Keep it simple Enforcement of RMI tax laws has been “a failure in the past,” Chamber of Commerce President Hirobo Obeketang told last Friday’s monthly meeting at Marshall Islands Resort. “We want a level playing field for all businesses,” he said. “His advice to the tax commission that was recently appointed by the Cabinet is to “keep it (the process) simple.”