February 14, 2006
Japan arrivals continue decline
Tourist arrivals from Japan plunged by 29 percent during the first month of the year, showing a consistent sharp decline since the departure of Japan Airlines in October 2005. Data from the Marianas Visitors Authority released yesterday showed that the CNMI received only 25,555 visitors from Japan last month, compared with the 35,795 visitors in January 2005. Another key market, South Korea, posted a 9-percent drop in arrivals, registering only 6,902 visitors last month from the 7,554 posted during the same month last year.
Police recover stolen disaster relief supplies
Police have recovered most of the 63 boxes of disaster relief supplies worth $54,000 that were stolen during a burglary at the Emergency Management Office’s storage room, police said yesterday. Maj. Edward H. Manalili, chief of the Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, told the Saipan Tribune that CIB detectives were able to retrieve many of the disaster relief packages since last week. Manalili said some concerned citizens also returned many items contained in the packages yesterday morning.
February 14, 2007
Potential govt contractor has Fitial’s close ally on board
An appointee of Gov. Benigno R. Fitial has been linked to a construction firm involved in a government project. A document from the Registrar of Corporations shows that Daniel Buniag, the governor’s special assistant for special projects, sits on the board of directors of Prime Asia International Corp. Prime Asia, along with Shenyang International Corp., has expressed interest in the construction of a building that will house most, if not all, government offices. The project developers have reportedly presented its architectural design for the building to Fitial and other administration officials recently. In early July 2006, Fitial reported that Prime Asia had offered free generators for the use of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.
CPA’S ARFF obtains re-accreditation
The National Fire Board on Fire Service, also known as the Pro-Board, has renewed the accreditation of the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Facility Training Center and its Fire Certification Program. The certificate to re-accredit the Commonwealth Ports Authority’s ARFF program was given to Fire Chief Stanley Torres during a Pro-Board Accreditation Council meeting held in Florida on Feb. 3, 2007. Torres presented the Certificate of Re-Accreditation to the CPA board of directors during CPA’s special board meeting held on Feb. 7, 2007. The Pro Board accredits fire service training agencies that use the National Fire Protection Association’s professional qualification standards.
February 14, 2008
Federalization bill hits snag
The bill placing local immigration under federal control has fallen off track after it got mired in the gun control debate and national politics. Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, citing reports from the CNMI’s lobbyists in Washington, D.C., said the omnibus bill that includes the CNMI immigration federalization is seeing some delay in the Senate. This happened after Sen. Tom Coburn reportedly proposed an amendment allowing guns in public parks—a controversial issue especially in an election year. Fitial said the government does not know yet what will happen to the bill.
Volcanic haze blankets Saipan, Tinian
The characteristic smell of sulfur—like rotting eggs or an open sewer— saturated the air yesterday due to winds blowing the volcanic haze from Anatahan to the islands of Saipan and Tinian, prompting the government to issue an alert. The Department of Public Health urged people with respiratory problems to remain indoors until the haze and odor are dispersed. No private and public schools were closed, but outdoor activities were cancelled. Teachers and officials advised students to cover their mouths and noses with handkerchiefs when outside the classrooms. In the health advisory that Gov. Benigno R. Fitial issued at 9:33am yesterday, he said the volcanic haze may cause breathing difficulties.