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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Flashback — Dec. 2000-Dec. 2002

Dec. 18, 2000

Survey: Saipan must ensure safety of tourists

The CNMI government must ensure that Saipan is a safe place for Japanese tourists, especially the women travelers, family group tours and senior citizens who visit the island, according to a survey conducted by a Tokyo-based marketing firm. K.K. Creative Assist was hired by the Marianas Visitors Authority to determine the CNMI’s market share in Japan and evaluate the effectiveness of its Saipanda campaign. In-depth interviews were conducted among six travel agents, two airline companies and three publishers to find out their views on how to effectively sell the CNMI in Japan.

BOE eyes school for CNMI’s brightest students

Board of Education member Anthony Pellegrino has floated the idea of developing one of Saipan’s public high schools into a campus exclusive to Northern Marianas’ brightest and most exceptional students. Plans to set up what officials refer to as a “magnet school” was disclosed during the groundbreaking ceremony of one of the Public School System’s major Capital Improvement Projects in Koblerville last Thursday. According to Mr. Pellegrino, with the anticipated opening of three additional public high schools on island within the next three years, BOE is mulling over designating one of the new campuses for CNMI’s “cream of the crop.”

Dec. 18, 2001

Inaugural plans now being finalized

The Legislature’s inauguration committee expects to finalize all preparations for the inaugural ceremony before December 28-a full two weeks before the January 14 occasion. Sen. Joaquin G. Adriano, who chairs the inaugural committee for the Senate, said that preparations for the 13th Legislature’s inaugural ceremony are now underway and he expect no problems arising in the run-up to January 14. “It’s all going smoothly and all the programs that the committee is coming up should be finalized before the 28th of this month. All the invitations, the ceremony and so forth have been going smoothly,” said Adriano.

Power-sharing reports surprised Kiyu

Sen. Thomas P. Villagomez expressed surprise over reports that the Senate leadership of the 13th Legislature is offering Saipan senators the chairmanship of two Senate committees but he added, though, that he would have no objections to such an arrangement. “Personally, I have no objection to that-joining the Senate leadership upon their invitation,” Villagomez said. He hastened to add, however, that he has not received any formal invitation from the Senate leadership yet to join them as committee chairman. Villagomez’s reaction stemmed from news reports quoting Sen. Ricardo S. Atalig as saying the Senate leadership will be offering the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Health, Education and Welfare Programs to Villagomez and the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Government and Local Affairs to Reyes.

Dec. 18, 2002

NMI importers surprised by new tobacco, alcohol taxes

Since midnight Saturday, major importers of tobacco and alcohol have began paying higher taxes for the entry of their goods, under the new tax rates outlined in Public Law 13-38, which Gov. Juan N. Babauta signed into law on December 13. The CNMI Customs Division implemented the new set of tax rates Saturday morning, a move that reportedly sowed confusion among major retailers, distributors, and importers due to a conflicting schedule of rate implementation released by lawmakers. According to customs director Joe Mafnas, the 90-day period required by the lawmakers is inconsistent with the directive that any bill that is signed into law takes effect upon the approval of the governor.

Babauta: No qualms about CUC-CDA agreement laws

Gov. Juan N. Babauta said he favors the enactment of two bills relating to the settlement agreement between the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. and the Commonwealth Development Authority. “I was in [Washington] D.C. when the deadline lapsed but if I were here, I’d probably have signed the bills into law to put an end to this dispute,” Babauta said. Although lacking the signature of the Governor, the two bills that put into effect the settlement terms for the over $103 million debt of the CUC to the development authority turned into laws last week due to the failure of the Governor’s Office to act on them within the statutory period of 40 days.

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