Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review - 03 July 2008

[Poster's note: Repeats of international articles already sent out to the east-timor list ( have been removed.]


(International news reports and extracts from national media. UNMIT does not vouch for the accuracy of these reports)

India ready to train F-FDTL- TVTL

The Indian Government has declared its readiness to assist Timor Leste by training the F-FDTL. Captain Paban Gohan from the Indian Naval Contingent yesterday met with the State Secretary of Defence Julio Tomas Pinto in the Government Palace. During the meeting, they talked about the intention of the Indian Government to enhance the naval capacity of F-FDTL by training them in India. However, a formal agreement has not yet been signed.

“During the meeting they asked me about cooperation and I said that Timor Leste is ready to cooperate with any country. We do not care about different backgrounds or ideology…I told them that the first thing we neeed to do is formalize this military cooperation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding,” said Mr Pinto.

Population hands over arms- TVTL

Early this week, people from Baucau voluntarily handed over illegal arms to the local policy. The weapons included rakitan, grenades, magasen and munitions. According to PNTL Spokesperson Inspector Moises Amaral the arms were voluntarily handed over by community members last Tuesday at 14:30 p.m. in Kelekai, aldeia Osoleru. Mr Armaral thanked the community in Osoleru on behalf of the PNTL for their acts of good faith in handing over the weapons and asked all people in all districts to follow this example.

2687 families return home: 16 IDP camps closed – Suara Timor Lorosaa’e

During this year, the AMP Government has returned home 2687 families who had been living in 16 IDP camps. The big IDP camps that have not closed yet are Aero Porto, Metinaro, Dom Bosco, Obrigado Barracks among other small camps spread through Dili. According to the plan of the Ministry of Social and Solidarity, Aero Porto Camp will be closed at the end of the month.

TMR: recruitment preparation depends on accreditation – Suara Timor Lorosa’e

The General Commander of F-FDTL Taur Matan Ruak has said that the recruitment process taking place this month for new F-FDTL members will be based on an accreditation system. During his meeting with President Ramos-Horta on Wednesday (2/7) TMR informed the President about the preparation within F-FDTL on the recruitment process.

Luxurious cars for MPs: FMTL threatens to demonstration – <Timor Post

The Front of Timor-Leste Students (FMTL) will be back to the streets to demonstrate the plan to purchase luxury cars for MPS. The FMTL Spokesperson, Xisto dos Santos, said that if the National Parliament does not cancel its plan to buy cars then a great demonstration and campaign will be held throughout the country.

Hong Kong places curbs on market poultry- CIDRAP, 03 July

By Lisa Schnirring- Government officials in Hong Kong, in an effort to stem to spread of the H5N1 avian influenza virus, recently followed through with their proposal to ban live poultry from overnight stays in market stalls and retail outlets.

The revised food commerce law stipulates that live poultry sellers must cull any live birds that remain in stalls or shops by 8 pm every day and that live poultry are banned from the premises until 5 am the next day, according to a government press release. The ban goes into effect Jul 2.

"By banning live poultry stocking at retail outlets overnight, the chickens will be culled to avoid virus accumulation in the retail outlet environment, better protecting public health," the government said in the press release.

Merchants who don't comply with the ban can have their license revoked, be fined $50,000, and be jailed for 6 months, the press release said. Retailers are also required to cleanse and disinfect poultry areas every night and take safety precautions such as wearing protective gear, Hong Kong's government said. Those who don't comply face cancellation of their sales licenses and rent contracts.

The government's ban is the latest step in what might lead to a complete ban on live poultry sales in Hong Kong. In early June, animal health workers detected the virus in poultry feces at several market stalls. They did not say if the testing was done in response to sick or dead birds, and the source of the virus has not been determined.

The outbreaks have prompted a strong response from the government, which has proposed banning all sales of live poultry and discussed compensation packages with groups representing farmers and merchants.

However, the idea of phasing out live poultry sales has provoked anger among some trade groups, who believe that the government's compensation offer is unfair. Some poultry industry workers have threatened to release their poultry into the street. At a recent protest, some poultry industry workers threw eggs and empty chicken cages in front of a legislative building, according to a Jun 27 report from Channel NewsAsia, a news service based in Singapore.

Elsewhere, animal health officials in Pakistan on Jun 26 filed a report with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) confirming H5N1 avian influenza in an outbreak at a poultry farm in North-West Frontier Province, apparently putting to rest the local poultry association's claim that the virus subtype found in the birds was the lower pathogenic H5N9 instead of H5N1.

The tests confirming the H5N1 findings were performed at the National Animal Sciences Institute, a national reference laboratory for avian influenza, in Islamabad.

The outbreak, near Swabi, struck broiler flock of 3- and 6-week-old chickens, killing 4,000 poultry, according to the OIE report. The remaining 2,000 birds were destroyed. Officials isolated the farm for 1 month, are monitoring nearby areas, and have ordered vaccination of poultry within a 1-km radius of the outbreak area.

The source of the outbreak was probably contact with wild birds, the OIE report said.

In other developments, a representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that East Timor is at risk of H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks because of its proximity to Indonesia, the country that has been hardest hit by poultry outbreaks and human cases, according to a Jun 26 report from Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Chana Opaskornkul, an FAO emergency coordinator in East Timor, told IRIN that it was only a matter of time before the virus crosses the border and that there is little the government could do to prevent the virus from spreading. Indonesia is on East Timor's western border. One of East Timor's provinces is bordered on three sides by Indonesia.

Paulo Ferreira, a border patrol officer in East Timor, told IRIN that smuggling of fighting cocks could lead to H5N1 outbreaks, because the birds are cheaper to buy in neighboring Indonesia's West Timor province. "We have security patrols which go up and down the border, but the smugglers watch for the patrols and they know the schedules," he said.

East Timor is also vulnerable to H5N1 outbreaks because hospitals and clinics outside the capital Dili lack avian influenza plans, and farmers in rural areas have little access to veterinary services or information about the disease, the report said.

"We need to do more, and the government definitely needs to hire people to do more outreach," Opaskornkul told IRIN.


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