Subject: Local Media Monitoring - June 18, 2003

From UNMISET

LOCAL MEDIA MONITORING

June 18, 2003

STL

1. Heavy rain for two consecutive days from Sunday until Tuesday caused widespread flooding in the Districts of Manufahi(Same) and Covalima (Suai). 24 houses and livestock have been swept away by the weather in Same. The UN PKF in the affected areas have undertaken urgent measures in close coordination with the local authorities to deliver assistance to the victims of the flooding. Bridges and roads in Viqueque, Same and Suai, have been rendered it impassable by the bad weather. This is severely restricting access for assistance from outside.

2. The Falintil-FDTL's Chief of Staff, Col. Lere Anan Timor, said he will resign from the Armed Forces in 2004 if the Government does not provide solution to overcome the former Falintil and Combatants' living conditions. The article said that Mr Lere is not satisfied with his former guerillas' living conditions. Mr Lere also appealed to the Government for continued support to the Veterans and Ex-Combatants' Commission in finalizing their task.

3. The Commander of the National Police, Mr Paulo de Fatima Martins, said that there are indications of an organized crime band acting in Dili. Mr Martins said that recently the band had attacked a shop called "Melati" in the Audian area at 3am. The band were wearing balaclavas and had swords in their hands, attacking the shop while the owner was sleeping. One of the shop's neighbors witnessed the event. Mr Martins said that the case is under police investigation.

4. The umbrella organization of Opposition Parties organization umbrella called "Political Platform of National Unity" and the Journalist Association held an informal lunch time discussion yesterday at the International Republican Institute's office in Farol-Dili. In this informal discussion all the participants came to a conclusion that Timor-Leste's media needs to enhance its relationship with the Government and all stakeholders in order to record developments and community issues. Presented at the lunch were the President of the Journalist Association, Mr Virgilio Guterres, PSD's Vice President, Mrs Maria Paixao, the Secretary General of Democratic Party, Mr Mariano Sabino, the Country Director of Internews, Ms Lyndal Barry and members of the National Unity grouping.

TIMOR POST

1. President, Xanana Gusmão, has said that the international community should grant debt relief to Indonesia, as "poverty causes intolerance". "The Indonesian government wants to consolidate the democratic process, but remains weak due to enormous pressures caused by its foreign debt", Gusmão said Monday in the Portuguese Parliament, where he had received the Council of Europe`s North-South Prize. Gusmão said he closely monitored Indonesia`s difficulties in widening its democracy. He said Jakarta's enforced slashing of social spending "has caused huge social unrest", he added. "The North should make the brave choice of writing off the debt, or else we will see how poverty leads to war and intolerance", said President Gusmao.

2. Timor-Leste's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Jose Ramos Horta, was invited to participate in the 36th ASEAN's Foreign Ministers Annual Meeting in Phnom Pen ? Vietnam. Dr Horta comments that Timor-Leste is looking for a membership in the Association of Southeast Asian countries. He said however, that Timor-Leste does not feel any pressure to become a full member of ASEAN (Association of the South East Asian Nations) in the short term, because of its financial implications to the country. Dr Ramos Horta said Timor-Leste wants to strengthening its relationship with its neighbors in that region. Dr Horta is scheduled to meet with his counterparts from Papua New Guinea, Cambodian as well as other informal meetings with his ASAEN and non ASEAN counterparts.

3. Vice Minister of Health, Mr Luis Lobato, said yesterday that total budget for his department for fiscal year 2000-2003 is US$7,1 million and 80% at the budget would be spent on quality health facilities reconstruction in remote areas. Mr Lobato said that for the fiscal year 2003 the Department of Health got an additional US$8,7 million. Mr Lobato added that besides the Government's budget, his department also received additional assistance from the World Bank to support the Department of Health's Annual Action Plan to build community health centers. In this article Timor Post said that the Vice Minister of Health did not mention the amount of the assistance given by the World Bank.


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