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Pohnpeian civil engineer preparing for study in Hokkaido, Japan under Pacific LEADS program

engineer 01

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
July 21, 2017
FSM—Dayn Iehsi has never been to Japan but that is certainly about to change. Under a commitment made by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the 7th Pacific Island Leaders Meeting, Dayn has been awarded a scholarship to Hokkaido University Graduate School. There he will study sustainable construction management.
Dayn graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. For nearly two years he has worked in the office of the Project Management Unit at the FSM national government. It was his first job after college.
Last year, Alyssa Nakasone was awarded the LEADS scholarship and has been pursuing a Master’s Degree in Japan. Her Master’s degree will be in health with an emphasis on non-communicable diseases.
The Pacific LEADS program is specifically available for government officials and other key personnel who have the expertise necessary to solve the development challenges facing Pacific Island Countries and to further strengthen the relationship between the FSM and Japan. It was implemented as part of the Official Development assistance to the government of FSM based on bilateral agreement between both governments. Participants will study in English at Japanese Universities for a Master’s Degree within a period of 2 and half years.
Resident Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Shinji Shibata said that there were more scholarships available but that, though the opportunity to study for a Master’s Degree with all expenses paid is magnificent, it has been difficult to find applicants. The reason, he said, is because the study period is for two and a half years but governments within the FSM can only grant leave for study for a maximum period of one year. They cannot hold positions open for longer than that period of time. This means that applicants have to resign in order to take advantage of the study opportunity. It makes it difficult but graduates will come back to the FSM with more marketable skills to offer.
“I hope that you will promote this experience to the people of the FSM,” Shibata said. “There is only one year left in the program.”
Iehsi, who is 25 years old said that he has never travelled beyond Guam to the east and Illinois to the west. He will leave Pohnpei for Okinawa on August 15 where he will undergo a rigorous orientation. When that orientation is completed he will leave Okinawa for Hokkaido, Japan’s northern most island. It is the second largest and least developed island in Japan. It is known for its harsh winter weather with sub-zero temperatures so cold that the ocean frequently freezes. He said that he is psychologically preparing himself for that though, having studied in Illinois, he is no stranger to cold winters.
He said that he has been in email contact with Alyssa Nakasone who has been giving him information on Japan and encouraging him as he prepares for his two and a half year study experience.
He intends to come back to the FSM and offer his services again.

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Three students from Yap State represent FSM at international high school robotics competition July in Washington DC

students 02Habele - JULY 2017
Natasha Loochaz, John Steven Gilinug, and Francis Yarofalyango, comprised Team Micronesia, and joined students from over 150 other nations at the event.
Over several months each team designed, built, and programmed, their own complex robot based on the same simple parts kit, bringing the robots to the FIRST Global Challenge in DC for the matches and exhibition. In the arena, robots were organized into teams of three, battling to quickly gather and sort plastic balls representing clean water and contaminated water.
The team from Yap featured three graduating seniors from Yap Catholic High School, who earned the privilege to compete as an all-star team based on their performance in the Habele Yap Robo League.
In the first round of competition in DC, the FSM Team joined Argentina and Kuwait in a match against Bulgaria, Japan, and Grenada. Then Micronesia, allied with Vietnam and Australia, battled Cameroon, Chile, and Sudan. The day ended with a match pitting Micronesia, Brazil and Kosovo against China, Bermuda and Bahrain. For the day, the FSM went two for three.

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33 cadets from throughout the FSM participating in FSM Police Academy in Pohnpei

cadets 01By Bill Jaynes
July 17, 2017
Pohnpei, FSM—33 police cadets from throughout the FSM are currently taking part in a rigorous Police Academy which is happening on the grounds of PICS High School. The Academy began with a short ceremony at the PICS High School gym. Pohnpei’s Lt. Governor Reed Oliver and FSM President Peter M. Christian were the featured speakers at the ceremony. Both challenged the cadets to work hard and to commit to fully serving and protecting the people in their jurisdictions.
Visiting instructor from Australia, Glenn Verona opened the ceremony with a song on the bagpipes. FSM National Police Chief Johnny M. Santos said that Verona is in charge of the Academy. The National Police provided two staff officers. Kolonia Town, Kosrae, and Pohnpei police departments each provided one staff officer. He said that another instructor will arrive before the Academy is over to teach classes on legal issues of law enforcement.
cadets 03Chief Santos said that the curriculum for the academy was previously developed in the FSM but that curriculum had been developed for 90 day Police Academies. This year the FSM only had enough money for a 30 day intensive academy. Because of that, the curriculum had to be revised and intensified.
Each day the cadets start physical training at 4:00 in the morning. At 7:00 they break for breakfast and showers and hit the classroom beginning at 8:00. They have a full day of instruction that ends at 4:00 in the afternoon. The evenings are spent studying and preparing for the next day.
Yap and Kosrae each sent three cadets to the Academy. Kolonia Town sent two. Pohnpei and Chuuk each sent five cadets. The National Police sent 15. Only three of the cadets are women.
Chief Santos said that some of the cadets participating in the Academy are new hires in their respective police departments. Many have already been serving as officers in their jurisdictions. The Academy intends to further the professionalization of police departments in the FSM.
Santos said that they will conduct other academies as finances allow.
As soon as the opening ceremony was completed, Academy instructors ran the cadets onto the track and the Academy began immediately.

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New Congress funded asphalt plant in Palikir officially opens

asphalt 01

July 19, 2017
Pohnpei—Before the opening ceremony that was held this afternoon, the new asphalt plant in Palikir had already produced approximately 300 tons of asphalt. After the ceremony that included keynote speakers, Acting Governor Reed Oliver and FSM President Peter M. Christian, the plant produced another five tons of the road paving material with the first batch coming out in about 20 minutes.
A Pohnpei Transportation Authority (PTA) truck carried that asphalt up to the top of what is commonly known as “low gear” hill in Palikir and used it to fix some of the many potholes there.
The new asphalt plant replaces the antiquated plant in Palikir that for several years has belched ugly black smoke. Residents downwind of the plant constantly complained about tarry residue on their property whenever the former plant was in use. The old plant still stands—a rusted hulk after nearly 30 years of service.

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FSM Supreme Court grants limited freedom to Nepalese refugees

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
July 21, 2017
Pohnpei, FSM—FSM Supreme Court Associate Justice Beauleen Carl-Worswick has ruled to grant a writ of habeus corpus filed by local attorney Marstella Jack on behalf of Nepalese refugees who had previously been housed on a leaky, rodent and bug infested, ramshackle boat at the Pohnpei port.
After lengthy investigation, the UN’s Refugee Agency, the UNHCR determined that of the 17 men who arrived in Yap without documentation in October of 2014, Hari Timsina, Indra Ghimire, Bishnu Tamang, and Khadga Bahadur Thapa were legitimate refugees and began the process of looking for a country that would accept them for resettlement. The 13 other men from Nepal were returned to their home country, but the four who were determined to be legitimate refugees could not be returned to Nepal. Under International customary law and under the standards of human decency, every person has the right to non-refoulement… Non-refoulement is ‘[a] refugees right not to be expelled from one stat to another, esp. to one where his or her life or liberty would be threatened,’” the court quoted from Black’s Law Dictionary.
During an interview with The Kaselehlie Press in June, the men each said that they had not known that Jack would be “going against the government” by going to the court. However, according to the Supreme Court ruling, they had earlier testified differently during the hearing on June 7. They testified then that they had verbally authorized Jack to represent them. Their later answers during our interview may have been based on a perceived fear of government retaliation, which their lifelong experience in Nepal may have taught them was a reasonable fear, but which is not practiced in a nation with a democratic legal system. Additionally, FSM National police officers were in hearing distance during the interview which may have served as an unintentional intimidating factor.

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Personal bests and FSM records set at World Swimming Championships in Budapest

budapestBy Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
July 28, 2017
Budapest, Hungary—Two FSM swimmers have not only scored personal bests at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, but they have also broken two FSM national swimming records.
25 year old Dionisio Augustine was the first to break an FSM national swimming record. On July 25 he swam the 50 meter breast stroke finishing third in his heat with an impressive time of 32.28, not only a personal best for him but an FSM national record time. Augustine finished 66th overall in the world championships.
17 year old Kaleo Kihleng swam his first event, the 50 meter Butterfly on July 23. He finished with a personal best time of 27.98, placing 7th in his heat and 73rd overall. Kaleo swam his final event on July 26, the 100 meter Freestyle finishing sixth in his heat with a time of 56.79, a personal best and another FSM record. He finished 97th overall in that event.

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China pledges to improve life in Pacific countries and grow island economies through the One Belt One Road project

Bank of China (New Zealand) Limited -JULY 2017
China’s One Belt One Road project heralds a new era of rapid development for Pacific countries, says the Bank of China.
The fourth largest global bank hosted representatives from eight Pacific Island countries in a tour of China last month to learn more about One Belt One Road and the opportunities it offers. It is the first international financial seminar held by Bank of China for Pacific island countries. The seminar is focused on economic and social development in terms of poverty elimination, rural reform, agricultural industrialization, construction of industrial park and SMEs development.
China’s President Xi Jinping has called one Belt One Road ‘the project of the century’, with a vision to spend close to US$1trillion on trade, cooperation and infrastructure along the old Silk Road trade route from China to Europe overland (the belt) and along China's maritime shipping routes (the road).
china 01One Belt One Road is about promoting cooperation and working to build a community of shared interests and responsibility. It is underpinned by five main pillars - policy coordination; facilities connectivity; unimpeded trade; financial integration; and people to people bonds.
Countries attending the seminar were Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Niue. Ministers of Finance, Ministers of Commerce and Trade, senior managers from financial institutions and trade associations and large corporations visited Beijing and Shanghai.
David Lei Wang, CEO of Bank of China (New Zealand) Ltd said: ‘Relations between China and Pacific countries are entering a new period of rapid development. We are inviting Pacific countries to get on the express train of China’s development and improve their social and economic outcomes.’
china 02The seminar discussed China development patterns and practices, infrastructure construction, agricultural development, SME development, sustainable development, environmental protection, green tourism, international economic and financial situation and other topics.
Minister of Finance and Administration of the FSM, Ms Shina Lawrence, in her speech, said that the seminar was a platform to strengthen cooperation and achieve sustainable development.
During their stay in China, the Pacific island representatives visited Donghai bridge, Yangshan deepwater port, Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China and Taicaing modern agriculture Parkto get a deeper understanding of their operations.
Representatives also visited cultural sites including the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the National Grand Theatre.
A number of infrastructure projects are already underway through One Belt One Road, including an agreement for technical assistance from China to help develop Samoa’s sports facilities, which was sealed during a visit by the Vice Foreign Minister of China Zheng Zeguang to Samoa in May 2017. Key areas for cooperation between China and Samoa and investment include trade, tourism and infrastructure.

 Above: China Vice Foreign Minister
with PM of Samoa

Shina Lawrence

 

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