Subject: Daily Media Review 21 May 2003


Dili, May 21, 2003

Daily Media Review

Timor-Leste: New Coins In November ­ PM

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri announced on Tuesday that Timor-Leste will have national coins in November. The new coins, to be stamped in Portugal, will not substitute US dollar, which is the actual official currency but will be a starting point for the country. (Lusa)

President Marks Anniversary With Anti-poverty Call

Setting aside economic hardship for a day, the East Timorese celebrated the first anniversary of the restoration of their independence on Tuesday, with worship services, songs, dragon dances and parades. Some 10,000 people gathered before Dili's Government Palace for the main celebration, observing a moment of silence for those who fell in 24 years of struggle against Indonesian occupation. According to the crowd, President Xanana Gusmão set the fight against poverty and high unemployment as the country's first priorities and a pre-condition for political stability. Xanana also expressed his confidence that "closer synergies of cooperation" would mark relations between the government UNMISET. The celebrations did not raise too much attention from the international community. The only foreign country to marked his presence in the commemorations was Portugal, which sent to Dili its State Secretary to the Prime Minister. In an interview with Lusa Tuesday, Prime-Minister Mari Alkatiri who has often been at odds with the President, gave an upbeat assessment of accomplishments during the first year of independence. Rejecting what he called the "black image" projected abroad by some, Alkatiri pointed to government success in many fields. Among other achievements, he underlined that 650 of 900 destroyed schools had been rebuilt, 80 percent of destroyed health centers rehabilitated, and 80 percent of destroyed irrigation system recouped. (Lusa, STL, TP)

Police Identified Militia In Bobonaro

Police operating in the border have identified on Monday that a group of militia who held a secret meeting near Tunu Bibi, sub-district of Maliana [Bobonaro], reported "Timor Post". Superintendent Paulo Martins is cited by the newspaper as source of the information. "Timor Post" did not mention the number of militia who were arrested in the operation, but affirmed that they had been identified. The group was armed with machetes, swords and a home-made gun, reported the newspaper. (TP)

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