Tag Archives: thrush

Official: ‘Challenging’ to track work of migrants. Compact, study compliance | Guam News | Instant News

A US State Department official said Tuesday that good-faith efforts were being made to see that nationals of island nations that have Compact of Free Association agreements with the United States are involved in study or work as a condition of their continued residency in the United States. Union. Guam has become the top destination of choice for Compact migrants, especially from the Federated States of Micronesia.

However, the official acknowledged, the effort was challenging.

Guam congressional delegates and members of Congress from other jurisdictions with large numbers of Compact migrants have expressed similar concern about the need to see migrants delaying their deal, Sandra Oudkirk, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, stated in a telephone conference on the day. Tuesday with regional reporters.

“It’s kind of challenging to measure what … citizens of free-associated states when they travel to the United States and US territories because, of course, they don’t need a visa to travel,” Oudkirk said. “However, we are making a good faith effort to determine that Compact citizens fulfill … their agreement under the Compact of Free Association, namely that the journey is for work, study or for life, so we are working with the best possible jurisdiction.”

And the idea of ​​establishing a screening process in the Compact’s migrant home country, something Guam has requested, would fall outside the State Department’s jurisdiction, he said.

That will be a function of the US Department of Homeland Security, he said.

The number of migrants from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau coming to the United States increased by 68%, from about 56,000 to around 94,000, in the five years to 2018, according to a US Government Accountability Office Report released in June.

The report was submitted to the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

That suggests that Guam sees the biggest impact of migration, now hosting about 18,900 migrants from the island countries. Approximately 11% of Guam’s population consists of migrants from Compact countries.

Hawaii has more Compact migrants, at 24,700, but with a Hawaiian population of around 1.4 million, Compact migrants make up only 1.7% of the state’s population.

The State Department conference call includes Craig Hart, deputy assistant administrator for Asia at the US Agency for International Development.

Avoiding China’s ‘debt trap diplomacy’

There were also concerns expressed by the State Department at a press conference about China’s “predatory” loans to developing countries.

The State Department and Treasury will work together, after joining the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center, in placing “a higher focus on strengthening the resilience of the Pacific economy to debt stress and economic shocks,” according to a State Department speaker.

This refers to what some call China’s policy to engage in “debt-trap diplomacy.”

“The narrative that China is engaging in troubled debt-trap diplomacy has taken off since 2018. Coined the previous year by an India expert, the term implies that Beijing is deliberately pursuing unsustainable debt-for-infrastructure deals with developing countries along its path. . Belt and Road Initiatives are everywhere. … Such warnings gained prominence after White House officials began to publicly raise awareness, “wrote Matt Ferchen and Anarkalee Perera in a July 2019 report for the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy.

The Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center, established in Fiji in 1993, supports 16 Pacific island countries and territories: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor – Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.


image source

Remote Marshall Islands records its first coronavirus case | World News | Instant News

One of the last coronavirus-free shelters in the world has been breached, with the US military importing two Covid-19 cases to remote areas. Marshall Island.

The Marshalls have become one of the last countries on Earth – most of which are in the Pacific – without a single confirmed case of Covid-19.

But the chief secretary of state issued a warning late Wednesday saying the country’s first border case of the new coronavirus had been identified in two workers at the US military base on Kwajalein Atoll.

Two cases – a 35-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man, both asymptomatic – flew to Kwajalein Atoll direct from Honolulu.

The two cases are not epidemiologically linked and the two remain quarantined at the military base.

Marshalls’ national disaster committee said there was no threat of community transmission.

“Community members are asked to remain calm and look forward to the latest news.

“Since this is a border case and put in strict quarantine, it doesn’t require a national lockdown. Schools will continue to operate, shops and businesses will remain open and government operations will continue until further notice. “

The Marshalls closed its borders to all entries in March, but relaxed restrictions slightly in June to allow some people, mostly US military base workers, to submit to a three-week quarantine at the Kwajalein garrison.

French and US military and police deployments to French Polynesia and Guam is also the source of most of the Covid-19 outbreaks in these countries.

In French Polynesia, there has been an alarming spike in cases. The region has recorded 7,200 cases and 29 deaths, including three deaths in the past three days.

Cases have increased by 41% in the past week, and are now over 300 cases a day.

In Guam, where America’s Andersen air base has been linked to a large number of cases, warning hospitals set up tents in parking lots to treat Covid patients. overwhelmed ward. The patient waited more than three days for the bed to be available. Guam has recorded 4,466 cases and 76 deaths.

Pacific remains the least area infected with Covid on this planet, aided by remote geography and early and tight border closings. But the Pacific economy, which has been fragile and cut off from the outside world for months, is suffering terribly.

Globally, only small and remote island countries and territories of Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu are believed to be virus free.


image source

Extended pick-up hours at the Guam post office | Guam News | Instant News

The US Postal Service has hired more people to handle what officials say is a surge in parcel numbers that has rivals the usual holiday season.

The additional workforce allows the Postal Service to extend parcel collection hours at the local post office, said Guam Post Chief Tammy Schoenen.

“We are responding to the increasing volume of packages coming into Guam by hiring more than a dozen new employees,” said Schoenen. “These additional hours will be maintained as long as there is a need and we have the necessary resources.”

Over the past several months, local residents have raised concerns about the long waiting time at the local post office. Residents told The Guam Daily Post that they go to the post office ready to wait for an hour or more – some even carry folding chairs so they don’t have to stand all the time.

Schoenen said he and his staff “process and distribute more packages than we did last December, which is usually our busiest time of the year.”

The total volume of mail entering Guam in August increased by more than 40% compared to the same month in 2019. The volume of mail in August was 25% higher than the volume of mail during December 2019, he said.

The operating hours for package pick-ups in Barrigada, Hagåtña and Tamuning starting today are:

• Barrigada’s “will call” window will be open 24 hours a day.

• Collection of the Hagåtña package will be open from 06.00-17.00 on weekdays and 06.00-12.30 on Saturdays.

• Tamuning package collection will be open from 06.30-16.00 on weekdays and 06.30-15.00 on Saturdays.

Prepare for the holidays

Schoenen also noted that with the holiday season approaching, the Postal Service plans to expand its workforce again.

“We plan to increase the volume of vacation packages by hiring an additional two dozen employees,” he said. “We understand how important the Postal Service is to the residents of Guam and will do our best to provide them with a pleasant holiday.”

The head of the post office gives recommended delivery dates for Guam residents to ship packages for the holidays:

• To mainland US: December 11 for first class / priority mail and December 18 for express mail.

• To Hawaii: December 18 for first class / priority mail and December 21 for express mail.

• To Saipan: December 18 for first class / priority mail and December 20 for express mail.

• To Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau: December 7 for first class / priority mail and December 15 for express mail.

• To APO / FPO: 4 December for first class / priority letters and 11 December for express mail.

Schoenen said for international shipments, residents should check with officers at the local post office.

“Regardless of the suggested delivery date, the best way for our customers to ensure that their holiday gifts get to their loved ones abroad ahead of Christmas is to get their parcels delivered as quickly as possible,” he said. “It’s never too early to start!”


image source

‘Poisoning the Pacific’: New book detailing US military contamination of islands and seas | World News | Instant News

In 1968, Leroy Foster was a principal sergeant in the US Air Force, assigned to Anderson Air Force Base at Thrush, an island region of the United States in the Pacific. The day after he arrived on the island, he recalls being ordered to mix “diesel fuel with Agent Orange”, then spraying “by truck all over the base to kill any overgrowth in the forest”.

Before long, Foster developed serious skin complaints and eventually fell ill with Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease. Later, her daughter developed cancer as a teenager, and her grandson was born with 12 fingers, 12 toes, and a heart whisper. Foster died in 2018.

A new book, Poisoning the Pacific, due for release Monday, tells of decades of US military contamination of indigenous lands in the Pacific as well as the oceans themselves, endangering lives and ecosystems across the vast Pacific Ocean.

Written by British journalist Jon Mitchell, Poisoning the Pacific is based on more than 12,000 pages of documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and through interviews with local residents, military veterans and researchers.

The book argues that for decades, the US has been treating it territory in the Pacific with neglect, allowing its military to violate customary rights, seize land, and destroy fragile ecosystems.

US military aircraft park at the Andersen Air Force base on the island of Guam, US Pacific Territory. Photo: Erik de Castro / Reuters

Alongside Foster’s case – after years of campaigning the aviator is finally compensated for his exposure on the island – Mitchell’s book details decades of US military operations that polluted the Pacific with toxic substances including radioactive waste, nerve agents, and dioxin-tainted Agent Orange. .

“US authorities have repeatedly tried to cover up the contamination through lies, disinformation and attacks on journalists,” Mitchell told The Guardian. “I have experienced this pressure firsthand.”

Mitchell’s books document several attempts by the US state and defense department to block his work. One FOIA file shows that Mitchell is being watched by the US Marine Corps’ Criminal Investigation Division. The documents include his photo, his biography, and a lecture he gave in Okinawa on military contamination.

“Colleagues warned me not to continue with my investigations. What particularly motivates me to continue filing for FOIA and extracting evidence is the very real impact my research has had on veterans exposed to Agent Orange in Okinawa, ”he said.

“My report has helped these sick men and women receive compensation from the US government. Investigative journalism is ultimately a job that is supposed to help people who have experienced persecution receive the justice they deserve. “

Poisoning the Pacific details the ongoing environmental damage and risks to human health.

The ‘dome’ on the island of Runit in the Marshall Islands – a compact sovereign nation in free relations with the US – is a large concrete grave where the US has stored more than 70,000 m3 radioactive debris, including plutonium-239, left over from US post-war atomic tests. Irradiated land from Nevada was also transported to the island and dumped.

The dome leaks radioactive material into the sea, USA energy department admitted, although it was said the numbers were not dangerous. Successive US governments have said the dome is the responsibility of the Marshall Islands, saying the US has paid more than $ 600 million in radiation-related resettlement, rehabilitation and health care costs to affected communities.

The book documents “the US Army dumped 29 million kilograms of mustard agents and neuroprotective agents, and 454 tonnes of radioactive waste” into the Pacific Ocean, as well as the US military’s use of neuroprotective agents, including sarin, which US government documents confirmation leaked to the neighborhood while scheduled for destruction at Johnston Atoll near Hawaii.

At nine locations stretching from Johnston Atoll in the Pacific to Edgewood, Maryland, the US Army stores 31,280 tonnes of mustard and the nerve agents sarin and VX.

At nine locations stretching from Johnston Atoll in the Pacific to Edgewood, Maryland, the US Army stores 31,280 tonnes of mustard and the nerve agents sarin and VX. Photo: Ronen Zilberman / AP

The debate over the use of a potentially lethal herbicide has been hotly debated.

After the second world war, some five thousand barrels of Agent Purple – the herbicide pioneer Agent Orange – were transported and stored on Guam.

Although the US defense department consistently claims herbicide stockpiles are never used on the island, service members stationed there at the time claim they sprayed and dumped military waste, including damaged herbicide barrels, on the cliffs of Guam.

Researchers, including Guam’s department of public health and social services, reported in 2015 that villages where the herbicide is believed to have been sprayed experienced a higher incidence of infant mortality from birth defects.

In 2017, investigating claims of herbicide use on Guam, the US government itself came into conflict: the the defense department reported that the soil test contained no herbicides, the environmental protection agency reported otherwise.

The health and environmental impacts on Guam reflect what has happened to local residents and US soldiers based in Okinawa, Japan, where the US has maintained a base for decades, and where Mitchell began reporting.

In 2005, the US struck a deal with Japan to transfer thousands of US marines from Okinawa to Guam. Okinawans consistently oppose the US military presence on the island citing harm to their health and environment.

There has been some progress, although limited. Guam senators have backed a bill to include the territory on the list of veterans’ places where Agent Orange is used. In March 2019, a bill that was named after Lonnie Kilpatrick, a service member who fell ill on Guam and died, agreed to compensation for 52,000 veterans who were exposed to herbicides in three US Pacific regions – Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll.

But even in 2020, the voices of indigenous peoples are consistently muted, Mitchell said. In July, the time when military excavations on Guam were revealed dozens of sites containing human remains and cultural artifacts, local residents – especially the indigenous Chamorro – were shocked. But despite concerns fueling a growing movement to demilitarize the Pacific, the US’s newest marine corps base – the first new base in nearly 70 years – officially opened the door earlier this month.


image source

DHL marks 50 years on Guam, seeing an increase in consumer goods Guam business | Instant News

From a small team in 1970 that started DHL’s first outpost in the Western Pacific, to a 32-member team now overseeing operations throughout the wider Micronesia and Pacific region, the Guam office of express mail and courier companies has grown.

Greg Dornon, general manager of the DHL Express Guam office, said the company’s reach first stretched from San Francisco to Hawaii, then to Guam. From Guam, offices are set up in Palau, Saipan, the Federated States of Micronesia, and other parts of the Pacific.

This year, as DHL celebrates its 50th anniversary on the island, Dornon said the regional office is continuing to expand to meet customer demand, which has increased not only over the past decades but also in recent months.

“It was mainly business documents before they had a fax or something like that and now that has changed,” he said, noting that the drugs were among the products the company was entrusted to ship.

He said in the early days of the local office, employees would get six or seven bags of documents to deliver. Now, they earn 33,000 to 44,000 pounds in one day.

He said there had been an increase this year in direct consumer deliveries – a popular trend on the mainland that’s popular locally.

“We’ve always had some business-to-consumer – but we’re getting a lot out of that now where direct-to-consumer delivery,” says Dornon. “For Guam, the pandemic has really brought deliveries right to the door. We saw a significant increase in shipments. Our entry lanes go up by about 30% or 40% – so more shipments come in. “

Electronics and “many deliveries such as clothes” are delivered directly to residents’ doorsteps, he said.

While the pandemic is already impacting businesses and DHL ensuring all couriers have protective gear and vehicles in clean condition, the shift of consumers to online purchases is keeping companies busier than ever.

“During the pandemic, we had employed four employees,” said Dornon.

The local office also added two vehicles to fleet 15. That’s nearly three times the six in use when Dornon first arrived in Guam more than 20 years ago.


Dornon said DHL was ready to continue serving the island in the coming years and to adapt to changing consumer attitudes.

“You will see we are hiring more people, you will see we are meeting important delivery needs, (like) medicines,” he said. “Even when the passengers on the plane have left, the demand for cargo is increasing and I think it will increase.”

And the convenience of ordering goods online, Dornon said, is unlikely to decrease, based on consumer behavior on the mainland.

“I think we’re going to see a lot more in the express industry, where deliveries go straight to home,” said Dornon, adding that his brother-in-law could order on Amazon in the morning, and receive it that afternoon.

“I thought it would be in Guam,” he said. “We are very far away but we will get even more home deliveries, … it will become more and more economical as volume grows.”

Employee focus

Dornon said Guam customers value DHL’s service and the company is trying to ensure its service meets demand. He praised the company’s success for the employees, in which the company invested.

“Guam is DHL’s regional office, which oversees Saipan, Palau, American Samoa, Marshall Islands, FSM,” he said. “We employ everything locally.”

DHL provides extensive training for all employees, sending them off the island for a few days and training them. Employees are trained in integrity in doing the job right the first time and doing the job with passion.

“As a company, we are really focused on looking after our people and making sure that we have given them the tools to be their best,” said Dornon.

“Our people make the difference. That’s the key. Everyone has airplanes, trucks and buildings. … The employees – they are what make the company better, ”he added.

Future change

With the pandemic, companies are looking for ways to help ensure customer comfort and safety. One of the upcoming programs is contactless delivery.

“So customers can arrange for us to leave packages at their doorstep where they don’t have to sign,” he said. “I think it’s probably going to be a trend in the future, where customers who want contactless delivery can manage.”

In addition, within a year or two, Guam customers can get an application that will allow them to follow the DHL courier who receives their shipment.

“I really think consumers will enjoy delivery – where they don’t have to go to the store for everything they can order – whether it’s US mail or (via) one of our competitors,” said Dornon.

That’s the wave of the future and that’s what’s happening in the state, said Dornon.


image source