Tag Archives: Marshall Island

Taiwan Fund for Women in the Marshall Islands will be launched soon | News | Instant News

MAJURO – A one-million dollar loan to stimulate the participation of Marshall women in business, approved more than two years ago, could finally see the light of day in the coming months.

The details of the law for launching a Taiwan-funded program have proven challenging on both sides – leaving some women eager to see it launched.

The Taiwanese Embassy in Majuro said this week that everything was nearing completion and the embassy hoped the funds would be ready to launch before the end of June. The fact that two governments, three ministries, one NGO and one bank are involved can help explain delays in delivering the program.

“The interim council has been formed and over the months they have developed legal mechanisms and documents in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Taiwanese Embassy, ​​the Ministry of Culture and Home Affairs, the Marshall Islands Bank and the Attorney General’s Office,” said the Secretary of State. Anjanette Kattil. “Once these legal mechanisms and documents are cleared from all sides, the project can start immediately.”

In March 2019, the Kora im an Kil Fund was established through the signing of an agreement between the Taiwanese government and the Marshall Islands. It is a joint initiative of President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands and President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen. The Kora im an Kil Fund was established as a non-governmental organization chartered through the Marshall Islands Attorney General’s office at the end of 2019. Taiwan agreed to provide an additional $ 250.00 for the establishment of the organization in early 2020. Thereafter, legal documents, translations, establishment board, and related activities are running slowly.

The good news is, two years later, the Taiwanese Embassy says now all revised and translated documents will be sent to Taipei for processing in the next few days. Embassy officials said they wanted to see the funds flow as quickly as possible.

A provisional council has been formed to organize the process for women to apply for small loans. The Bank of Marshall Islands, which has run a micro-loan program funded by Taiwan, will manage the loan program for the Kora im an Kil Fund.

“We are working with the Interim Council, and all partners to get it up and running,” said Kattil. “One of the issues impacting this delay is negotiations with BOMI on interest rates for borrowers as well as an agreement on a rate of return to the IMF to ensure its sustainability and most importantly, turn around. This is a revolving fund to help our women in the Marshall Islands and the ministry continues to work with partners to make sure we get it right the first time. “

The Taiwanese Embassy said after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei reviewed and approved the final documents to be submitted in the next few days, there would be a signing ceremony in Majuro to officially launch the program.


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Marshalls increase repatriation numbers, prepare vaccines for remote islands News | Instant News

MAJURO – The Marshall Islands have dramatically increased the number of Marshall Islands repatriated residents, while reducing mandatory quarantine time requirements. Additionally, with more than 70 percent of its urban population now vaccinated with the first dose of the Covid vaccine, the Ministry of Health and Human Services is gearing up to take its vaccine program to the outermost remote islands.

Important developments this week in the Marshall repatriation program include shortening quarantine times and increasing the number of returnees.

At a Cabinet meeting last Thursday, Marshall Islands leaders endorsed the recommendation of the Ministry of Health and Human Services / National Disaster Committee to reduce quarantine time at Kwajalein Army base from three to two weeks. Coupled with a quarantine in Honolulu before leaving Hawaii, group four – released Wednesday this week – and future groups will be subject to four weeks of quarantine, two each in Honolulu and Kwajalein.

Health Secretary Jack Niedenthal said the Marshall Islands had learned from managing the repatriation program since last June and felt comfortable reducing the period of quarantine, which is still one of the most stringent screening systems in use anywhere in the world.

“Taking into account both the (quarantine facilities at) Arrak and Kwajalein, we have repatriated more than 1,000 people,” Niedenthal said this week. “Initially 21 days in Kwajalein because the Army only wanted to carry out a one-week quarantine in Hawaii (for the returning workers).” But, he added, that turned into two weeks in Hawaii, the same as the Marshall Islands government-sponsored group returning.

Niedenthal said it wasn’t just four weeks of quarantine. Each person who was discharged had a total of five Covid tests during that period. After some initial problems with the first repatriation group last October, the ministry changed the schedule of testing it now feels could catch possible cases of Covid while people are still in quarantine.

In Hawaii, repatriated Marshall get one test for Covid before they enter quarantine, their second two days, and a third within 72 hours of leaving for the Marshall Islands. After arriving in Kwajalein, they were tested again on the seventh day and on the 14th day, before being released. Additionally, the ministry is communicating with Hawaiian health authorities to set up a system for providing Covid vaccines to Marshallese before they leave Hawaii for Kwajalein.

The Army, which operates a missile testing facility at Kwajalein, began repatriating base workers last June after agreeing a series of protocols with Marshall Islands authorities. It also opened up facilities for the government to launch the Marshall repatriation late last year.

“Security is always a top concern,” said Niedenthal. “We are confident the four weeks and testing system is safe.”

Since the first repatriation group on 27 October, the number has continued to grow. The groups released this week are 52.

Group of five, which went to quarantine in Honolulu this week in preparation to fly to Kwajalein in two weeks, number 77. According to the Office of the Main Secretary, the next group consisted of 76 Marshall men and one diplomat.

Army Colonel Jeremy Bartel has agreed to increase the number for the group of five and has arranged quarantine accommodation for this larger number.

While the number of monthly repatriation groups has increased, the Ministry of Health is preparing to start Covid vaccinations in the next two weeks on the outer islands.

Niedenthal said Jaluit Atoll, one of two sub-centers on the outer island, had been used as the first atoll in an outreach program.

Last week, the ministry won support from the Cabinet to use single-use Johnson and Johnson brand vaccines because it only takes one visit to deliver the injection to the outer islands, which must be reached by plane or boat trip.

Niedenthal said, however, the ministry was also looking at islands where it was logistically possible to provide the two-dose Moderna vaccine, which is the vaccine used to date in downtown Ebeye and Majuro. As of March 26, the ministry reported that 71 percent of the urban population had received the first Moderna vaccine, while 44 percent had been fully vaccinated with both shots.

The ministry already has 800 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine recently released, and it has promised another 10,000 doses from the US Centers for Disease Control in April.

“It is a challenge to get two shots for the outer islands,” said Niedenthal. “This is why I recommend the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.” Both the Moderna and Pfizer brand vaccines require two injections 28 days apart.

The ministry is targeting Jaluit and Wotje to be in the first batch of vaccines outside the island.

Although the effectiveness of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines is said to be lower than the Moderna and Pfizer brands, Niedenthal said studies of people using the Johnson and Johnson vaccines showed that there were no serious symptoms and no deaths for anyone who received the injection and then. infected with Covid.


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Connectivity, gender and teachers: How the Global Education Coalition supports recovery of COVID-19 learning | Instant News

The COVID-19 pandemic hits the education sector in full force, disrupting schools globally and threatening to undo decades of progress toward learning. A year into crisis, the situation remains grim: Half of the world’s student population is still affected by full or partial school closures; nearly a third cannot access distance learning; more than 11 million girls may never return to class; and more than 100 million children will fall below the minimum proficiency level in reading due to the impact of school closures. Unless immediate action is taken today, more than 24 million children and adolescents are at risk of dropping out of school.

As the pandemic reveals and increases inequality in education, UNESCO is rapidly mobilizing support to ensure continuity of learning around the world by shaping Global Education Coalition by March 2020. This multi-sector coalition brings together 175 institutional partners from the United Nations family, civil society, academia and the private sector currently working in 112 countries on three main themes: Connectivity, gender and teacher. A new report, published before a ministerial summit, Showcasing the innovative feedback that has been achieved through this unique partnership over the past year.

How does the Global Education Coalition operate and with what achievements?

That Global Education Coalition has become an important platform for supporting Member States to respond to the unprecedented challenges facing the education sector. Coalition contributions do not replace national responses, but rather involve new actors who will not become real partners, such as technology organizations and media, to complement and support national efforts to ensure sustainable learning.

Coalition members are currently involved in 233 projects in 112 countries. At least 400 million students and 12 million teachers have benefited directly or indirectly from the Coalition’s actions. Following are some examples of global, regional and country-specific action that have been achieved so far.

  • In West Africa, Francophone Africa regional online learning platform Imagine him was launched as a key component of the Global Partnership for Education project to improve the quality of distance education in 10 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Chad and Togo. The platform offers large-scale experiences in distance education for 6.6 million students and 200,000 teachers with more than 600 educational resources.
  • More than 5 million girls in the 20 countries with the largest gender gap in education will be supported to fulfill their right to education, with a focus on bringing the most marginalized girls back to school through a variety of actions. This includes increasing information and awareness, acquiring skills and providing evidence-based recommendations to decision makers.
  • That Global Skills Academy, was founded to help equip 1 million young people with digital skills to adapt changes at work, reaching 142,000 beneficiaries to date. Since its launch, the Academy has mobilized more than 150 TVET institutions in 56 countries and is actively working with 15 partners to enroll an additional 75,000 students and teachers in the coming days.
  • In response to the explosions that rocked Beirut, Lebanon in August 2020, Coalition members mobilized financial commitments, technical assistance and capacity building support to rehabilitate damaged schools, provide technical assistance to teachers, ensure access to distance learning with content, and support higher education. UNESCO and its partners support the rehabilitation of 55 public schools, 20 Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions, and 3 universities.
  • In South Africa, a partner-developed telephone app-based support service for teachers was launched to provide a real-time chat-based learning and tutoring platform, along with health and safety features. It currently has more than 67,200 users and plans to reach 400,000 more teachers in the coming months.
  • UNESCO supports an open source platform for home-based distance learning and a regional repository of curriculum-aligned resources for students and teachers in Kiribati, the Marshall Islands (Republic), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.
  • With the support of GIZ, UNESCO launched a teacher training program for 20 Caribbean countries and digital and social emotional skills training for migrants and refugees in Peru.

Read and explore Global Education Coalitionthe latest progress reports.

Access first progress report from September 2020.

UNESCO held a high-level ministerial events on March 29 to record lessons learned, the biggest risks facing education today and strategies for not leaving students. This will show you how to file Global Education Coalition has mobilized partners to support students, teachers and policymakers with new tools and knowledge.

/ Public Release. This material comes from the original organization and may be point-in-time, edited for clarity, style and length. view more here.


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The IMF warns the Marshall Islands about the digital currency plan | Instant News

The International Monetary Fund has warned that the Marshall Islands plan to issue a digital currency poses “significant risks” to current financial and macroeconomic stability.

In a statement published on March 23, IMF official Yong Sarah Zhou said the fund was pleased to see authorities take a “cautious approach” to sovereignty (sov) – a government-issued digital currency.

However, he stressed that assets – in their current form – pose a risk to stability

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The former politician in prison for adoption fraud gets another 5 years | Instant News

Paul Petersen knew the birth mothers involved in the scheme did not meet Arizona’s requirements that Medicaid recipients reside in the state, prosecutors said.

(Jacques Billeaud | AP file photo) In 2019, Maricopa County assessor Paul Petersen, right, and his lawyer, Kurt Altman, were photographed as they left the court in Phoenix. Petersen has admitted that he runs illegal adoption schemes in Arizona, Arkansas and Utah.

Phoenix • A former Phoenix politician already jailed to six years for running an illegal adoption scheme involving women from the Marshall Islands was ordered to serve another five years behind bars for defrauding Arizona’s Medicaid system in fraud to obtain taxpayer-funded health coverage for mothers biological, even though he knows they don’t live in the state.

Paul Petersen, a Republican who was Maricopa County’s elected appraiser for six years and worked as an adoption lawyer, on Friday received the second of three sentences stemming from the adoption scheme. A five-year sentence in Arizona will be served after he completes a six-year federal sentence for conspiring to smuggle people in Arkansas.

Petersen wears an orange prison suit in a Phoenix courtroom where he offers an apology and cries as he describes hurting his clients, former colleagues and his own family through his practice. “No one is to blame but myself,” said Petersen.

Authorities say Petersen illegally paid women from the Pacific island nation to give up their babies in at least 70 adoption cases in Arizona, Arkansas and Utah. Marshall Islands residents have been barred from traveling to the United States for the purpose of adoption since 2003.

Petersen’s third sentencing trial for people smuggling in Utah was scheduled for Monday, but has since been postponed. The trial has not been rescheduled.

He was convicted in Arizona for submitting a bogus application to the state’s Medicaid system so that a pregnant Marshall Islands woman could receive health insurance and for giving written statements to the court containing false information about fees paid to birth mothers.

“The judges in this case were given false information and that undermined the legal process in which the judge took the decision on this adoption,” Judge Thomas Fink said shortly before handing down Petersen’s sentence.

Prosecutors said Petersen knew the birth mothers involved in the scheme did not meet Arizona’s requirements for Medicaid recipients to live in the state, but he still instructed a woman working in adoption practices to queue up for Medicaid protection for them. In one case, authorities said a birth mother whose medical expenses were covered by Medicaid gave birth to her child a day after arriving in Arizona – and was flown out of state about two weeks later.

Prosecutors also said Petersen regularly misrepresented in filings with juvenile courts about how long he had paid for the cost of giving birth to mothers, claiming in one instance the five-month fees for a birth mother who were in Arizona for less than a month. Petersen is accused of instructing women who help practice adoptions to submit residency papers for birth mothers who have left Arizona in a bid to avoid having to cover her medical bills. Authorities say each adoption becomes more profitable for Petersen when the costs are borne by the government.

In a letter last year to the judge in the Arkansas case, Petersen said he was now embarrassed, as a fiscal conservative, of burdening Arizona taxpayers with maternity and delivery costs.

His attorney, Kurt Altman, argues that his client admitted wrongdoing, pleaded guilty to charges in three states, no longer has a license to practice law and has paid back $ 679,000 in health care costs to Arizona of over $ 800,000. Prosecutors say fraud costs taxpayers.

Altman argues that authorities have not asked Petersen to adjust or stop adoption practices in years and argues that his client’s practice was not at issue in the Arizona case, as the conviction was linked to fraud both in health care and in filing court records.

Prosecutors did not specify how many years in prison they were looking for Petersen, but they said he should spend more time behind bars over his sentence in Arkansas. “This is not a one-time situation,” said prosecutor Scott Blake.

In the Arkansas case, Petersen was sentenced to prison that was two years longer than recommended sentencing after a federal judge concluded Petersen was misleading or instructed others to lie to the court about an adoption that would not have been approved had the truth been told to court officials. The judge also emphatically rejected Petersen’s claim that he initially thought he was acting within the bounds of the law, but later realized what he was doing was illegal. Petersen has appealed the Arkansas sentence.

While Petersen was accused of abusing his position as a lawyer, prosecutors said he was not using his elected position to facilitate adoptions.

Petersen is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and previously in his life completed a missionary mission in the Marshall Islands, a collection of atolls and islands in the eastern Pacific. He became fluent in Marshallese.

After allegations of adoption fraud surfaced, Petersen continued to work as an appraiser for Arizona’s most populous county for nearly three months amid intense pressure to resign – and he did so in January 2020. He is responsible for determining property values ​​in the county that includes Phoenix.

Petersen said he helped people with hundreds of legal adoptions after he found niche locations for homes for vulnerable children from the Marshall Islands and helped needy mothers who wanted a more stable family life for their children.


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