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Palau's Noel Keane at Youth Olympic
Although swimmer Noel Keane, representing Palau, wasn't happy with his times at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games, he said it will push him to train harder to get better.

Keane, 16, competed in men's 100-meter freestyle on Oct. 11 and came in with a time of 55.59 seconds. He said he wanted to finish in 54 seconds.

"It didn't happen. I just have to train as hard as I can to get that time," he said.

Keane also competed in men's 200-meter freestyle on Oct. 8, with a time of 2:00.77. He said he wanted to break the two-minute mark.

"I wasn't that happy, but I just have to move forward," he said. 

Keane is done with competition and said he will take his time to rest and think about how he can make himself better again.

He said he's happy to have represented Palau at the Games, wearing a swim cap with the Palau flag. 

"It’s an awesome feeling. I love coming out to these competitions and representing our country and making them proud," Keane said.

And he has a positive message for everyone back home. "You can do all things if you just do your best, be strong, be positive and you can do it," he said.

Palau's Noel Keane at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games

The United States and Palau signed the Amended Agreement following the Compact of Free Association Section 432 Review (the “Compact Review Agreement”), on September 19 in Koror, Palau. The United States and Palau also exchanged diplomatic notes bringing into force the Compact Review Agreement, which was signed in 2010. The signing marks the completion of the first review and amendment process as provided for under the Compact of Free Association (the “Compact”), U.S. Public Law 99-658.
Since the implementation of the Compact in 1994, the United States has provided over $700 million in direct assistance and investment to Palau. The U.S. investment in Palau under the Compact and numerous other federal programs have provided funds for essential government operations, law enforcement, infrastructure development, weather pattern monitoring, immunizations and health screenings, scholarships for higher education, and postal services.
The United States sees Palau and the Pacific Islands as an essential part of a free and open Indo-Pacific region and is committed to the Pacific Islands’ security and prosperity. The United States is actively engaged in advancing a regional order based on respect for sovereignty, the rule of law, and the principles of free, fair, and reciprocal trade.

United States and Palau signed the Amended Agreement

Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold B. Oilouch signed a memorandum of understanding with Koror State Governor Franco Gibbons at Koror State Assembly Hall. 
The MOU asks for the assistance of Koror State Government in the security, safety and the well-being of the people residing in Koror for a joint partnership with MOJ to make available Koror State Rangers to assist the National Police in the patrol, surveillance and security around Koror, including inner hamlets and community neighborhoods, acting as additional manpower to increase law enforcement presence during emergency incidents, illegal activities observed, and further testify in courts if ever a need arises.

Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold B. Oilouch signed a memorandum of understanding with Koror State Governor

Twelve foreigners were arrested by the police for alleged gambling on September 2 at the Lurs Store, Topside.
Based on the police report, a caller informed authorities about a case of alleged gambling which resulted in the arrest of 12 foreigners composed of three Nepalese and nine Bangladeshis.
The suspects are identified in the report as Nepalese Wanchu
Tamang,28, Kiran Tamang, 29, Nirmal Kumar Shah, 38, and Bangladeshis Farug, 29, Mohammed Motin, 33, Moshin Uddin, 29, Mohammed Faij Uddin, 36, Imran Mohammed Nazir, 36, Jahed Hosen, 44, Awlad Hossain, 44, Mohammad Monir Hossain, 27, and Soman Banik, 39.
The suspects were arrested and confined by the police for alleged Gambling, Promoting Gambling, and Possession of Gambling Device.
Special Assistant to the Minister of Justice (MOJ) Keiden Kintol told that authorities were able to seize gambling paraphernalia from the suspects, identified as playing cards, and a cash totaling $2,571 during the arrest.

12 foreigners nabbed for alleged gambling in topside, Koror

Vice President Raynold Oilouch, who is the chair of the committee tasked to handle Palau’s Independence Day celebration this October 1, said that the government has okayed the appropriation of $60,000 for the Independence Day celebration.
Oilouch, however, admitted that the amount allocated is not enough so the committee is finding other means to raise funds for the event.
“60,000 will not be enough but it is understood that the committee will be soliciting funding support from the private sector,” Oilouch said.
Oilouch explained that based on the activities planned for the celebration, a budget has been proposed which has been submitted to President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. and also to the National Congress.
Solicitation letters were already sent out to the major private companies in Palau to ask for support on the celebration, Oilouch said.
Co-chair Baklai Temengil-Chilton, who is also the Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, said that Palau Chamber of Commerce is also a representative in the organizing committee and that they are working with them in requesting for their members to take part in the event.

$60K allocated for 24th Independence celebration

A man accused of a ‘felony’ has been allegedly in hiding for two weeks now after an arrest warrant was issued by the court against him.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ), in a public announcement, stated that the arrest warrant was issued by the court against Foncy Sambal, a resident of Ngerkesoaol, Koror, on August 28.
It was not, however, divulged what specific charge was filed against the accused.
Public Safety (BPS) Director Aloysius Alonz told Island Times in an interview that they are asking the help of the public to report any information about Sambal’s whereabouts as he has been allegedly in hiding ever since the police had initially arrested him.
According to Alonz, Sambal had been previously arrested by the detectives but he was released as the 24-hour rule that allows police to hold a person in the absence of formal charges had expired before the court was able to issue a warrant of arrest.
The cops failed to file charges against Sambal within 24 hours since police had to go after two other alleged co-conspirators, hence, resulting into his release after his initial arrest, Alonz explained.
It was only two days after Sambal’s initial arrest, according to Alonz, when the arrest warrant was issued.
The two co-conspirators allegedly involved in the case were already arrested by the authorities.
Alonz said that the suspect has not been reporting for work since he was released and that his family had been saying that he has left their house early morning. Alonz added that the suspect’s house had been placed under surveillance.
“He knows that the police are looking for him,” Alonz said.
“As long as we know that he’s been evading to this it might complicate things for him,” Alonz said, explaining further that he might face the risk of not being allowed by the court to go on bail.
“As long as he comes in, he can call and turn himself to the police,” Alonz added.
The police have already coordinated with the authorities from the immigration, seaport, and airport, according to Alonz.
“He has nowhere to go except to turn himself in,” Alonz said.
Credit: Rhealyn C. Pojas
Source: Island Times Newspaper

Man accused of felony now a fugitive

Palau is getting heavyweight support for its tourism promotion through its airport joint-venture partner, SOJITZ. It was announced last week that SOJITZ, with the endorsement of Palau Visitors Authority, will meet with six different airlines in Korea this week to promote direct flights to Palau.
Palau’s tourism numbers have been falling since Delta Airlines pulled out of its Japan- Palau route this May. Reduced number of visitors from China due to decline in the number of charter flights servicing that destination has added to the crunch.
“Japan and Korea have an open-skies agreement, meaning that both countries can increase the number of flag carrier flights to each other and the plan is to encourage flights to include Palau such as Korea-Palau- Japan and Japan-Palau-Korea flights, connecting the three destinations,” stated Minister Charles Obichang last week.
Having the backing of SOJITZ in promoting Palau received a green light from Palau Visitors Authority, according to PVA Chairman Ngirai Tmetuchl.
“SOJITZ and Haneda have the clout and the resources to talk directly to the major airlines in the region and having them promote Palau is something we could never ever achieve with our resources,” expressed PVA Chairman Ngirai Tmetuchl in a phone interview with Island Times.
“SOJITZ have Japan-wide reach, not just Tokyo. It also has networks and offices in Korea and Taiwan. We want to build a relationship with that network and this is something that is possible because SOJITZ has the clout in this region” said Tmetuchl.
An MOU for closer collaboration between PVA and SOJITZ is being developed but PVA Chairman assures that the work has already begun.
“We’ve asked SOJITZ to review our marketing plan and budget for Japan and see how they can help us amplify that. For example, our budget for Japan market is $300 thousand compared to Guam with $3 million. They have agreed to have their team look it,” added PVA Chairman.
Last year Palau signed a joint venture agreement with SOJITZ and JATCO to manage Palau airport terminal. In addition, Palau in partnership with the two entities will fund improvement and expansion of the Palau airport terminal. The process for the expansion and improvement is on-going with final design approval in progress. (L.N. Reklai)
Source: Island Times

Palau gets heavyweight support for its tourism promotion

A ban on Chinese tourists to the tiny Pacific nation of Palau has left hotels empty, an airline in limbo, and shown the charged power China has over its vacationing middle income.

Key points:
  • Palau is among Taiwan’s 17 remaining allies in the world
  • China reportedly circulated a memo saying that tours to Palau will be punished
  • Palau Pacific Airways says it has been forced to suspend operations since it can’t fill seats

The number of Chinese people to Palau had increased from just 634 people in the 2008 financial year to 87,000 during 2015, in accordance with figures from Palau’s Bureau of Immigration and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.
But by the ultimate end of 2017, after China randomly banned state-run package tours from visiting the united states &mdash seemingly; Chinese arrivals plummeted to 58,000.
That has left some tourism operators in the Pacific island country reeling, and something airline says it has been forced to suspend operations since it can’t fill seats.
Analysts have suggested Palau’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan, being among its 17 remaining allies worldwide, coupled with Beijing’s capability to control and oversee its tourists have a whole lot related to it.

How does China control where its tourists go?
One tool the Chinese Government has at its disposal may be the Approved Destination Status (ADS).
If a national country has ADS, which means state-run Chinese tour agents are permitted to operate group package tours there.
Geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor’s Asia Pacific analyst, Evan Rees, said the package tours constitute a big section of China’s tourism market and may have a substantial effect on recipient countries.
“Giving this ADS status to a country can massively raise the flow of Chinese tourists, around 50 % in a whole large amount of cases, so this is really a huge lever that the Chinese Government has in sending Chinese tourists abroad,” Mr Rees said.
On Palau's Jellyfish Lake
In addition to ADS, China has instituted travel bans abroad — which stops package tours from visiting those places effectively.
“It has been an emerging diplomatic weapon from China with varying impacts on regional states,” said Jie Chen, a co-employee professor at the University of Western Australia who targets China’s international relations.
Australia has been an approved destination for a lot more than twenty years, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to pressure from China.
For example, this year earlier, Australian carrier Qantas changed just how it identifies Taiwan, after bowing to pressure from Beijing.
Other international airlines were also given a deadline to stop discussing Taiwan as a country, or face punishment.
So why is Palau being targeted specifically?
Although Palau hasn’t officially been one of many approved destinations, that hasn’t stopped Chinese tour groups from flocking there during the past decade.november
But that changed last when Chinese officials circulated a memo to visit agencies reportedly, reminding them it had been illegal to book group tours to places that weren’t on the approved list.
The memo mentioned Palau, and said agencies that booked tours will be punished there.
The move was regarded as designed to put pressure on Palau widely, which maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, then China rather.
“It is a pretty strong lever,” Mr. Rees said.
“About 50 % of Palau’s tourists result from Mainland China, and about 50 % of Palau’s GDP originates from tourism, so it is a strong submit the economy of a fairly small country.”
A report by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) found Chinese people to Palau dropped 22.7 percent between the fourth and third quarters of 2017.
Meanwhile, total people to Palau dropped by 16 % on the same period.
The SPTO’s quarterly review into visitor arrivals discovered that drop “mainly reflected the drastic fall from the scheduled and chartered flights out of this source market [China] by 63.9 % and 17.4 % respectively”.month
Last, Palau Pacific Airways, run by Taiwanese company Sea Passion Group and servicing flights between Hong Palau and Kong, of August announced it could indefinitely suspend operations by the end.
In a letter from the group to Palau’s national congress, it reportedly cited the ban from China and the resulting insufficient tourists because the reason it had to turn off.
Ms. Chen added that the rapid rise of middle-income Chinese families meant a growing amount of people could afford to visit overseas and that Beijing knew the “diplomatic value” of the.
This isn‘t the 1st time it has happened
Palm trees lean on the sandy beach.
Late this past year, months prior to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics just, China placed a ban on group tours to South Korea in protest of the introduction of the US-backed anti-missile system called THAAD.
Seoul said the operating system was designed to intercept incoming missiles from North Korea, but China claimed it was a threat to its security.
Qantas jet taxis through Sydney Airport.
“The estimated losses for South Korea because of this tourism ban were near $US7 billion ($9.6 billion) dollars,” Mr. Rees said.
He added that China had also used the promise of package tourists as a diplomatic sweetener.
In 2000, China wished to sail a carrier it had bought from Ukraine through the Turkish-controlled Bosporus strait just, but Turkey refused.
After a diplomatic standoff of 15 months, Turkey eventually relented after China promised several perks in exchange: one of these was Approved Destination Status.
“That has been among the items that won Turkey over and saw them release the Chinese vessel,” Mr. Rees said.
A silver lining for Palau’s beautiful landscapes?

Up close of orange jellyfish in the green water.
Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau Jr shows no sign up to now that the tourism ban is enticing the united states to change diplomatic allegiances from Taiwan — actually, in a real way, the tourism ban could possibly be helping Palau.
The Pacific islands nation has been grappling for quite a while with mass tourism and the result it was wearing the surroundings.
Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr
The Government closed Palau’s iconic Jellyfish Lake to visitors in 2017, citing removing “additional stress which may be due to visitors and human activities” because of the reason behind the closure.
Even before China’s travel crackdown, Palau has been making moves to re-position its tourism market, from Chinese package groups and towards “high yield away, low impact” tourists: fewer, higher-spending, and much more aware travelers environmentally.
South Pacific Tourism Organisation CEO Chris Cocker told the ABC that is actually a model for other Pacific nations.

China's 'tourist ban' leaves Taiwan-ally Palau struggling to fill hotels and an airline in limbo

The 2010 Palau Compact Review Agreement finally gets funded following US President Donald Trump signing the $1.3 trillion spending bill into law on Friday. President Trump earlier called for $123.9 million to implement the agreement in his proposed budget for FY 2018.
US interior Secretary Ryan Zinke praised President Donald Trump for signing the 2018 Omnibus Funding Agreement which included funding to finalize the 2010 Palau Compact Review Agreement between the United States and the Republic of Palau.
"On the behalf of Palau, I am very happy that the US Congress and President Trump have funded the 2010 Palau Compact Review Agreement demonstrating the continued US commitment to Palau and the western Pacific region," Said Secretary Zinke in a statement to the media.
"The agreement is an important element of the Pacific national security to maintain stability in the western Pacific Region. Interior has held a long, historic relationship with Palau and other US-affiliated Pacific Islands and we look forward to continuing our role on behalf of the US Government in providing these funds to the Government of Palau," continued the Secretary.
"We will be working closely with the State Department and other federal partners to move forward as quickly as possible, " added Assistant Secretary - Insular and International Affairs - Doug Domenech.
The US and Palau Governments will need to meet to update the funding schedule of the 2010 agreement which required specific annual outlays of funds. Included in the assistance are contributions to Palau Compact Trust Fund, a capital improvement program, and an infrastructure maintenance plan. The specifics of disbursements must be reaffirmed by the parties prior to the implementation of the agreement. (Source: DOI News Release)

Palau Compact agreement gets funding

Russian 2025 Expo Delegation led by Svetlana Sagaydak, Director General of Expo 2025 Bid Committee met Vice President Raynold Oilouch, Senate President Hokkons and Speaker Anastacio yesterday on Febraury 27, 2018 to promote Russia's bid for World Expo 2025 in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
Svetlana Sagaydak
Director General Sagaydak is accompanied by delegation as well as staff from Russia's Embassy in the Philippines. The Russian Delegation has visited other island in the Pacific this month including Samoa, Fiji, Solomons and Vanuatu to promote Russia's bid for the 2025 Expo.
Russia's theme for the 2025 EXPO is changing the world" Innovations and Better Life for Future Generations.
Two other countries bidding for the 2025 Expo are Japan (Osaka) and Azerbaijan (Baku). Palau has had deplomatic relationship with Japan and Russia and earlier this year, established diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan.

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