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(BECQ) — The Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality analyzes water samples collected from Saipan’s east and south recreational beaches this week as part of the regularly scheduled sampling.

(BECQ) — The Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality analyzes water samples collected from Saipan’s east and south recreational beaches this week as part of the regularly scheduled sampling.

(MVA) — D&Q International and Saipan Ice & Water Co. have joined the growing list of sponsors for the Marianas Tourism Education Counci Tourism Summit on Jan. 23, 2020.

FRIDAY’S story, “95% of NMI Students up to Date With Required Vaccinations, Says Health Official,” should have stated that the coverage rate increased by 62 percent — from 33 percent to 95 percent.

Tonight and Saturday night, take a culinary trip to China’s northern coastal province, Liao Ning, by celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year at Hyatt Regency Saipan.

(Press Release) — The Saipan Chamber of Commerce is honoring three new awards at their annual “Business Person of the Year” Gala on Saturday, January 25. These new awards included the 2019 Small Business of the Year, 2019 Nonprofit of the Year, and 2019 Chamber Member of the Year. Additionally, the winners of the Saipan Young Professional of the Year and Business Person of the Year will also be recognized that evening at Hyatt Regency Ballroom.

(Press Release) — Before you lose the momentum of your new year’s resolution, it’s time once again to get charged up with the information, inspiration and ideas you need to keep moving toward publishing your book!

I HAVE lived in Saipan for most of my life and have been seeing advertisements linking cigarette smoking with pictures of sexy ladies on their posters and banners.

AFTER reading two recent articles about sexual assaults against U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, “Peace Corps failing to protect volunteers from sexual assault, watchdog says,” (CBS News January 29, 2018,) and subsequent Peace Corps response, “Peace Corps responds to CBS News report on sexual assault” dated January 30, 2018 (links attached at the end of this letter), I was reminded of the appropriate action taken by the late Mr. Francisco Ada, a well-respected Saipan official and a District Administrator at that time, who stood strong while restraining a female Peace Corps volunteer from taking an impulsive trip alone to a Northern Islands where she only wanted to see a male volunteer for whom she had a crush. The male volunteer did not even invite her.

CONGRATULATIONS, commendations and undoubtedly pay raises are in order for Vida Borja and the Tinian MVA team. Despite the 2018 budget deficit, compounded by Super Typhoon Yutu, the Tinian MVA team has managed to maintain those historic sites of Tinian assigned to them in Class A condition.

KELVIN “Big Hit” Fitial now has the opportunity to share the knowledge he has acquired throughout his years as an MMA fighter. He has followed the footsteps of his trainer and mentor Jerry Diaz by acquiring certification as an international certified personal trainer from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

JSN is still one of the tough teams to beat in the Masters Division of the United Filipino Organization-IT&E Basketball League, notching its fifth win on Sunday by defeating PPG Paint 76-68 at the Gilbert C. Ada Gym.

KOSUKE Sato continues to dominate the running scene as he added another 1st place medal to his collection by topping the 10km pathway run portion of the 5th Aquathon & 10km Run at the Kilili Pavilion in Oleai on Sunday.

(Press Release) — Albert Pajarillaga, who led the opening round with a two-over-par74, scored 1-over-par 73 on the final day to win the Filtaga Club championship at the panoramic King Fisher Golf Links over the weekend.

IT&E continues to climb the ladder in the Masters Division of the United Filipino Organization-IT&E Basketball League after collecting its 4th win, this time against Gilas Batang on Saturday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gym.

SHUJI Kuroda and Sarah Vander Wal shined on Sunday in their respective categories, clinching first place in the run-swim-run events of the 5th Aquathon & 10km Run at the Kilili Pavilion in Oleai.

ANTONETTE Labausa, a bemedalled member of the CNMI 2018 weightlifting team, is at the Samoa Water Authority’s High Performance Training Centre for a four-month training camp that started on Jan. 7 and will end on April 19.

(Press Release) — The Saipan Little League Baseball Inc. will meet on Jan. 25, Saturday, at 1 p.m., at the Department of Public Works-Roads and Grounds Division in Lower Base.

SAIPAN Vegas ended its five-game losing streak with an 83-70 win over Pacific Marine in the Masters Division of the UFO-IT&E Basketball League at the Gilbert C. Ada Gym on Thursday.

BRIAN Natividad and Leo Galarse sizzled with 28 and 25 points respectively to lead Saipan Vegas to an 88-76 win over AK Toyota in the Open Division of the UFO-IT&E Basketball League at the Gilbert C. Ada Gym on Sunday.

OLD Iskool went ballistic on Sunday, bombarding Islander Rent-A-Car with three-pointers to notch another win in the Masters Division of the UFO-IT&E Basketball League at the Gilbert C. Ada Gym.

(Press Release) — The Saipan Little League Baseball Inc., is holding a meeting on Jan. 25, Saturday, at 1 p.m., at the Department of Public Works-Roads and Grounds Division in Lower Base.

OLD iSkool and Eats Easy x The Game continue to improve their records in their respective divisions in the United Filipino Organization-IT&E Basketball League after beating their opponents on Sunday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gym.

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Except for half an inning, Guam’s play against the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands was nearly perfect.

BLUE Hauz continues its reign in the Masters Division of the United Filipino Organization -IT&E Basketball League after thrashing Islander Rent A Car, 95-60, on Saturday at the Ada Gym.

IT came down to the final few moments as CTSI triumphed by just a bucket over the Lady Ol’Aces, 46-44, to secure the women’s division title of the 2019 TanHoldings Christmas Basketball Tournament at the TSL Sports Complex.

EATS Easy x The Game topped the Men’s M-League Masters Division with a clean slate after defeating the Paire Football Club 5-3 on Sunday at the NMI Soccer Training Center.

ROLLERS 1’s hard work finally paid off as they claimed the 2019 TanHoldings Christmas Basketball Tournament championship after beating their “siblings,” Rollers 2, 58-47 on Sunday at the TSL Sports Complex.

(Press Release) — The top four teams of Rocball are now into their last games of the semi-finals. Teams Power Up and Laly Four ended the regular season of games undefeated. But they lost their first games of the season to their opponents, the Strykers and the Aces.

MARIANAS High School’s Varsity team has done it again, this time by claiming the 2019-2020 Public School System Girls Basketball League title on Saturday after defeating its younger sister team, MHS Junior Varsity, 19-8, at the MHS gym.

OVER the weekend, BBJ Athletics Rise N Grind CNMI Inc. held a two-day basketball skills and character-building clinic for 42 youths at the TSL Sports Complex.

THE 670 Sonics remain on top of the food chain in the U18 Boys Division of the 2019 TanHoldings Christmas Basketball Tournament after routing Ol’Aces 3, 60-45 on Monday at the TSL Sports Complex.

EATS Easy x The Game is headed to the finals of the Men’s M-League Masters Division with a clean slate after a dominant performance against the Matansa Football Club on Sunday at the NMI Soccer Training Center.

THE Blue Eagles and Blue Haus still hold a perfect record with four wins each in the United Filipino Organization and IT&E Basketball League after defeating their adversaries on Saturday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gym.

KANOA Football Club’s U16 Girls Division team claimed the trophy in the 2019-2020 Holiday Futsal Jam after defeating the Southern United Football Club, 4-2, on Sunday at the TSL Sports Complex.

OL’ACES 2 defeated the CTSI Boys by a single point in the 2019 TanHoldings Christmas Basketball Tournament on Saturday at the TSL Sports Complex.

MP United Football Club claimed its second straight title on Sunday after outlasting the TanHoldings Football Club, 2-1, in the finale of the 2019-2020 Holiday Futsal Jam-U15 Boys Division at the TSL Sports Complex.

THE Baby Ol’Aces pounded the Lady Rollers, 41-26, in the 2019 TanHoldings Christmas Basketball Tournament on Saturday at the TSL Sports Complex.

SAIPAN Vegas and Gilas Batang finally made their way to the winners’ column of the United Filipino Organization & IT&E Basketball League 2019 after defeating their adversaries on Thursday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gym.

MP United Football Club outpointed the Kanoa Football Club 1, 5-4, in the semifinal game of the U15 Boys Division of the 2019-2020 Holiday Futsal Jam on Saturday at the TSL Sports Complex.

AGAPE Christian School Team A notched its fifth consecutive win in the open category of the Christmas Island Relay on Saturday.

(Press Release) — The Saipan Little League Baseball Inc. is holding a managers and coaches’ meeting at 5:30 p.m., on Jan. 15, in the office of Mike Borja at the Department of Public Works- Roads and Grounds Division on Lower Base.

EATS Easy x The Game and the Paire Football Club continue to perform well in the 2019 Men’s M-League Masters Division as they triumphed yet again on Sunday at the NMI Soccer Training Center.

THE Southern United Football Club is on the rise in the 2019-2020 Holiday Futsal Jam after picking up its first win in the U16 Girls Division by silencing the TanHoldings Football Club, 7-0, on Sunday at the TSL Sports Complex.

(Press Release) — Are you an artist interested in sharing your talent with others? American Memorial Park is seeking three local artists to lead art sessions for the annual Art in the Park program. Selected artists will earn a $400 stipend for their work preparing for and leading their class as well as their continued support in implementing the gallery day when all work is displayed.

(CHCC) — In line with the integration of Public Health clinical services, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s HIV/STD Resource and Treatment Center has relocated to the 1st floor at the CHCC main campus, Public Health Door #2, between the Dental Clinic and the Immunization Clinic.

(Press Release) — The Society for Human Resource Management-NMI chapter invites its members, associated HR and management staff, and interested members of the public to attend its general membership meeting on Friday, Feb. 7, at the Pacific Islands Club-Charley’s Cabaret beginning at 9 a.m.

(DCCA-CCAC) — The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs-Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture is announcing a call for proposals for the Ada Gymnasium mural project, funded through the FY 2019-2020 Recovery and Art Healing Grant Program.

(CUC) — There will be a scheduled water service interruption in San Roque, Achugao and Tanapag on Wednesdav, Jan. 29, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and on Thursdav, Jan. 30, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in portions of lower Dandan and As Lito specifically for customers along the road from Shell Dandan to Happy Market in As Lito and customers behind the Joeten Dandan building.

(Press Release) — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is having a Veterans Resource Fair hosted by VA Pacific Islands Health Care System, acting Director Kevin Amick and Honolulu Veterans Benefits Regional Office Director Sergio S. Chao.

(Press Release) — An MHS PTSA meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

(Press Release) — The Marianas Writers’ Movement will hold a second workshop on Jan. 25, Saturday, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the VTC Room of the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library.

(Press Release) — All members of the Marianas High School Class of 1981 are invited to a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 30, at 6 p.m. at the TechNic Gaming Center above Sherwin Williams on Middle Road across from Bank of Hawaii.

(Press Release) — The Marianas Office of Micronesian Legal Services is having trouble with our telephone lines. If you telephone and cannot reach us at our regular numbers, please try 235-6102.

(Press Release) — The general membership meeting of the CNMI Women’s Association is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m., at the CNMI Women’s Center on Capital Hill. The center is located across from the Medicaid office.

(CNMI EOC State Warning Point) — The National Weather Service-Weather Forecast Office in Tiyan, Guam has been monitoring the ongoing activity associated with eruption of Taal Volcano, in Batangas province, south of Manila, the Philippines. Analysis of Sunday evening’s major eruption shows steam and ash reaching up to 10 miles, or approximately 55,000 feet, into the atmosphere. This plume spread accumulating ash over surrounding villages and towns of Taal Lake and northward into the Metro Manila area.

(BECQ-DCRM) — The Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality-Division of Coastal Resources Management is currently reviewing a federal consistency determination request from the U.S. Department of the Navy regarding the Mariana Islands Training and Testing Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/ Overseas Environmental Impact Statement.

(DPS) — On Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, at around 10:54 p.m., the Department of Public Safety received a 911 call reporting a criminal mischief complaint at a business establishment located along Coral Tree Avenue in Garapan. Police were dispatched to the scene.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Office of the CNMI Congressional Delegate) — The Congressional Award — the highest honor awarded to youth constituents by a member of Congress — is still a prize waiting to be claimed in the Northern Marianas. “To date no young person from our islands has earned the Award,” said U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan. “That honor of being the first ever is still possible for some young man or woman.”

(DPS) — On Friday, at around 6 p.m., the CNMI Department of Public Safety received a 911 call reporting an attempted kidnapping incident near a school bus stop in Dandan. Police were dispatched to meet with the caller.

(Press Release) — The Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense and the Mariana Regional Fusion Center received reports of an unofficial message circulating through chat groups and social media highlighting that “international tensions are high” and prompting people to take action in light of the current situation between the United States and Iran.

(DLNR) — The Department of Lands and Natural Resources wishes to inform the general public, specifically vessel owners/operators utilizing the Outer Cove Marina, that DLNR is in preparation to evict or remove boats that are not allowed to berth at the marina for the following reasons:

(Press Release) — This is to inform all parents, guardians and the community that the Kagman unified schools will have a PTSA meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 5:30 p.m. in the Chacha Oceanview Middle School cafeteria. We are encouraging all parents, and guardians to attend this meeting. Child care will be provided.

The annual summit will feature Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance Executive Director Roberta Guerrero, CNMI Public School System middle school teacher Victor Cabrera, American Red Cross-Northern Mariana Islands Chapter Executive Director John Hirsch, and Saipan Chamber of Commerce Financial and Data Management Coordinator Franco M. Santos.

(Office of the Governor) — The CNMI Division of Energy is pleased to announce the relaunch of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands State Energy Program: Energy-Efficient/Energy Star Appliance Rebate Program to provide financial assistance, as an incentive, to residential consumers of Saipan, Tinian and Rota.

(Press Release) — Under a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Syngenta Seeds, a subsidiary of Syngenta AG, is hosting an agricultural worker protection training session for growers in Saipan — with livestreaming events in Rota and Tinian — this month.

(NMC) — Individuals who are interested in furthering their education are encouraged to attend Northern Marianas College’s free information session this Thursday, January 9, 2020. The event will cover information on the admissions application process, financial aid, class registration, and academic programs and services.

(Press Release) — The Democratic Party of the Northern Marianas Inc. cordially invites the public to its general membership meeting scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 at 10 in the morning in the Fiesta Room of Grandvrio Resort Saipan in Garapan. This meeting is open to all and those interested in becoming prospective members of the party are invited to attend.

(Office of the CNMI Governor/FEMA) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Permanent Housing Construction or PHC Repair Program is committed to repairing the homes of eligible survivors and helping the community build more resilient homes.

(DPS) — On Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, at about 8:57 p.m., the CNMI Department of Public Safety received a 911 call reporting a burglary incident at an apartment unit in Garapan, Saipan. Police were dispatched to the scene.

MOST readers KNOW that I love to use commenters statements that are off-base just to show that We the People still have a lot of those you-know-what in our society — sad.

No such thing

AS in the past, today’s biggest news stories are mostly about what critical agency and/or program needs more government funding, and why there’s not enough funding at the moment.

IN “A Reporter in Micronesia,” his 1966 book about the tiny islands administered by the U.S., E.J. Kahn Jr. pinpointed America’s primary goal in the region: “to exercise some kind of control over so broad an expanse of the Pacific; otherwise our national security might again be imperiled.”

WHEN most people get the flu, they don’t see a doctor. That’s why any measure of how many have been infected with the Wuhan virus will tend to be relatively misleading.

THE video of Don Lemon and co., which is rocketing around the Internet this week, shows once again that the media writ large has failed to live up to the challenge that President Trump presents. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXwA1Jzkurk)

NEWS out of Wuhan in China generated a wave of fears regarding the spread of the coronavirus. Public health organizations issued guidelines on how to minimize risks of infection and China’s government took the drastic step of sealing off Wuhan.

LONDON — In contrast to prophets of doom, who get invited to Davos, asked to address the U.N. and are able to build entire careers around their scaremongering, there are few rewards for those who play down fears — even if they turn out to be correct. If there were, then perhaps I wouldn’t have to draw attention to this piece I wrote in The Spectator in September 2005 arguing that the H5N1 strain of bird flu had been hugely over-hyped and was unlikely to kill many of us.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Toby Paone isn’t floored by the speech Joe Biden has just delivered to the Iowa State Education Association.  A staffer at the ISEA, the state’s largest public union, Mr. Paone ranks Mr. Biden’s performance fourth out of the four candidates who’ve spoken — behind Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. But that hasn’t shaken his support for the former vice president.

A RECENT report by the International Luxury Travel Market reveals that volunteer tourism — or “voluntourism” — is one of the fastest-growing niche markets globally. Many of the world’s finest vacation destinations are looking to meet this demand by providing community outreach and environmental initiatives for their guests, making it easier to swap the classic “fly and flop” break for experiences that enrich and inspire, but without compromising on comfort or style.

PRESIDENTIAL campaigns always try to stay on script, but the handshake game in early states still offers interesting spontaneity. Case in point: After an Elizabeth Warren event this week in Grimes, Iowa, a voter challenged her plan to forgive student debt.

THE 14th Amendment states that “all persons born...in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” Despite some debate over the meaning of the words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” this has long been interpreted to mean that when an immigrant gives birth here, the child is automatically granted U.S. citizenship, regardless of the strength of the immigrant’s ties to this country and even whether the immigrant is here legally.

WHEN public confidence and public trust are eroded there will be no public trust in any local or federal government. People or voters will be skeptical and they will demand lawmakers to tell the people the truth — nothing but the whole truth, period.

If I could wave a magic wand
and have my world transform anew
Oh, what places would I sail to
and what things would I then do!

LOOKING back, I can say that, over the years, I have had several important occasions to meet with a number of important leaders from the United States (presidents), Romania (monarchs, presidents and prime ministers) and the Republic of Moldova (prime ministers). For this reason, I find it useful to recall these meetings. In this article I will limit myself to my meetings with heads of state.

DAVOS, Switzerland — For half a century the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum has brought a mix of business leaders, politicians, pundits, academics, activists, “social entrepreneurs” and celebrities to this small village high in the Swiss Alps.

Extend the Hyatt, Fiesta Resort leases already

IT is highly advantageous and beneficial to the NMI to have these two reputable and time-tested hotels that are crucial to the viability of the islands’ only industry, tourism. Besides land-lease payments, they pay taxes, their employees (many of whom are local/U.S. workers) pay taxes, their customers pay taxes, their contractors/vendors pay taxes — all of which create more economic activities that generate more revenue that pays for the government’s vital public services and pressing liabilities.

ALDOUS Mina was born in 1979 and grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. He is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (B.S., International Business) and American InterContinental University/AIU in Schaumburg/Chicago, Illinois (MBA, International Business). He received international business training in the United Kingdom (England/London, Scotland, Wales), Ireland (Dublin) and Israel (Jerusalem).

THE version of Around the Islands first commissioned by Marianas Variety in February of 2019 would be hardly recognizable to any AI Facebook follower today; the initial podcast project was meant to be the newspaper’s first cautious toe-dip into the world of audio-visual content, the emphasis being on the “audio” aspect, though short video clips were to be produced to accompany and advertise the recorded interviews that made up each episode.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — At 78, Bernie Sanders is too old to be a baby boomer. But the Vermont senator has become an unlikely voice of the young generation. A Quinnipiac poll out this week shows Mr. Sanders with 39 percent support among Democrats under 34 and only 7 percent of those 65 and older.

A NEWS commentator once observed that “any half-dozen economists will normally come up with about six different policy descriptions.”

MISTER Wayne Pacelle of the Animal Wellness Foundation has been making assertions about cockfighting on Guam and I felt compelled to open the discussion to others like me that feel differently than the statistics and feelings towards cockfighting that he has been providing to the media.

WHEN President Trump declared a state of “American carnage” in his 2017 Inaugural Address, Democrats denounced its dark vision and pessimism. Three years later Democrats appear to be converts, or at least that’s how it sounded in last week’s presidential debate.

DEAR Governor Torres,

The “ideal of being innocent until proven guilty” still exist with some members of our community regarding the FBI raids and the many allegations of fraud in the misuse of Government funds and there are those, including self, who believe you are guilty.

ALDOUS Mina was born in 1979 and grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. He is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (B.S., International Business) and American InterContinental University/AIU in Schaumburg/Chicago, Illinois (MBA, International Business). He received international business training in the United Kingdom (England/London, Scotland, Wales), Ireland (Dublin) and Israel (Jerusalem).

THE U.S. suffered two brutal humiliations during the 1970s — the fall of Saigon to Communist North Vietnam in 1975 and Iran’s invasion of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. The latter led to a hostage standoff in which 52 Americans were held for 444 days — the source of President Trump’s reference to 52 targets inside Iran in case of Iranian reprisals for the killing of Qasem Soleimani.

THE wildfires that have raged in Australia for over two months have been an epic disaster for that country. Since Australia is a major neighbor out here in the Pacific, we all feel the impact of a catastrophe so close to home. Many of us have stayed on top of the story by following news broadcasts and contacting friends and family in that country.

GOVERNMENT planning and subsidies will make America the world’s green-energy superpower, create millions of jobs, and supercharge the economy — or so we’re told. The reality is closer to Crescent Dunes, a Nevada solar-energy plant that has gone bust after receiving a $737 million federal loan guarantee.

THE John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is accepting nominations for its annual “Profile in Courage” award. The award recognizes “a public official...at the federal, state or local level whose actions demonstrate the qualities of politically courageous leadership in the spirit” of President Kennedy’s 1956 book by the same name. It tells the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers by taking unpopular stands for the good of the country.

ONCE again, the Supreme Court’s reputation and honor are on the line, a crisis of credibility occasioned by the possibility that it may not give Democrats what they want.

JOHN Maurice Florescu was born on April 14, 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, Radu Florescu (1925-2014) was a Romanian academic who held the position of Emeritus Professor of History at Boston College, authored a series of bestselling books on Vlad “Dracula” Ţepeş, served as an adviser to former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-MA, 1932-2009) on Balkan and Eastern European affairs, and also served as the press liaison for the White House during the state visit of President Richard Nixon in 1969 in Romania.

MARIANAS Bulletin or MB was a mimeographed newsletter published weekly by the Trust Territory’s District Administration office on Saipan. Administered by the U.S. (specifically its Navy, and then the Interior Department), the TT consisted of six districts — the Northern Marianas, the Marshalls, Palau, Ponape (Pohnpei), Truk (Chuuk) and Yap. Its capital was Saipan.

‘A’ for effort, but no to any tax hike

AT long last, someone has publicly proposed specific measures that would provide the Public School System with the additional funding its officials say it needs (so they can afford the pay hikes they implemented in FY 2018).

IT is your prerogative, of course, to stand behind the governor and any other politician you please — no matter the criticism, no matter the evidence, and even regardless of public opinion. Name-calling against people who hold views you don’t like seems unnecessary and uncivil, to say the least — but that, too, is your prerogative.

THE Keynote speaker (Dr. & lieutenant colonel Retired) Lawrence F. Camacho said it all for the Democrats at the General Membership meeting when he said “we at the perfect place in space and time” as he went on to explain how critically IMPORTANT it is for the Democrats to carpe diem (seize this moment) given the prevailing concerns of the People in regards to the GOP and the present administration and corruption not to mention the many other FAILURES of the GOP to truly progress the CNMI socially and economically.

“THE devil’s work” suggests something awful and unbearably painful to endure — but a friend of mine, not a theologian but a psychiatrist, defined it in 1991 as an event in which everyone comes out looking bad. He had in mind the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy.

MARK A. Meyer was born in 1946 in New York. He graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey (B.A., 1968; Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, 2011), St. John’s University School of Law in New York (J.D., 1971; Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, 2007) and Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts (LL.M., 1972; Distinguished Alumnus, 2004).

“POLL Finds Most People Would Rather Be Annihilated By Giant Tidal Wave Than Continue To Be Lectured By Climate Change Activists,” the Babylon Bee reported in December, adding in an attached news story that one man’s response to hearing “just 30 seconds of a Greta Thunberg lecture” was to scrawl on the survey form, “Come, sweet death.”

MITCH McConnell was clear when he addressed the Senate on December 18: Any impeachment trial of President Trump would follow the precedent established by the trial of President Clinton 20 years ago.

RAIN batters windows, palm trees topple over one another like dominoes and 190-mile-per-hour winds tear roofs off homes, hurling aluminum fishing boats into the air. In the winter of 2018, the worst storm to hit U.S. soil since 1953 swept through and devastated my home, Saipan, a small island in the Pacific.

CHEER up, folks. For all the political grousing about health-care costs, the good news out this week is that cancer survival rates have improved enormously over the last three decades. The chances of beating most types of cancer are increasing, and that’s especially true if you live in the United States.

DAMON Macallister Wilson was born in 1973 in Charleston, South Carolina. He graduated from James Island High School in Charleston (1991), Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (Benjamin N. Duke Leadership Scholar, B.A., Political Science, 1995) and Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in Princeton, New Jersey (MPA, 1998).

PREFACE: January 1, 2020 marked the beginning of a New Year and a new decade. I wish we could be talking something inspirationally noble for our children to learn about, look forward to and be proud of. Sadly, though in the dawn of the New Year we also have a lingering “chill of fear in the air” that an indictment of a sitting Governor will be filed by federal prosecutors within days.

SYDNEY — I’ll never forget my first Christmas in Australia. The year was 2001. The mercury hovered around 100 degrees Fahrenheit — you don’t get a white Christmas in Sydney. From the balcony of an apartment overlooking Bondi Beach, I watched the sky turn from a bright blue to an ashen gray to a brackish brown as smoke poured down from over the hill behind us. What would later be known as the Black Christmas fires raged in the Blue Mountains, 50 or so miles inland.

Just a drill, for now

THE education commissioner said he and his team were just being “pro-active” when they presented three austerity proposals to the BOE finance committee on Tuesday. PSS has a plan in place, he said. Just in case. Well and good.

MICHAEL E. Guest was born on October 26, 1957 in South Carolina. He graduated from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina (B.A., History and Political Science, 1979), University of Toulouse in Toulouse, France (Certificate, Development Economics and International Development, 1980), and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia (M.A., International Relations, 1981).

MY latest in what’s now been a lifetime of ridiculous mind-games designed to get me back to the gym is a new strategy to wear my running shoes to work (I sit behind a desk). The basic premise is that I am far more likely and at least one step closer to a workout, if I have running shoes on my feet — I even went so far as to buy a fancy, $76 pair of Nikes because we all know it’s the shoes that do it.

GIVE Nancy Pelosi this: She has chutzpah. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded Friday on the Senate floor to the House’s refusal to appoint managers and transmit its articles of impeachment against President Trump to the upper chamber. “For now,” Mr. McConnell said, “we are content to continue the ordinary business of the Senate while House Democrats continue to flounder. For now.”

FOR sure the tranquility of the Public has been devastated by AUSTERITY and now followed by the FBI Raids that both can be attributed to our Governor who has been deemed a “Godfather” by Kandit News due to the RICO Statue he is facing which is Federal Law for the purpose of prosecuting Criminal Organizations — U Go Gov. you’re in the big league now for TRUE!

MORE than any other American military operation since the invasion of Iraq, the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Qods Force of its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, is a seismic event.

EVERYBODY knows Donald Trump is going to start a war. His critics have been saying so since his first year in office — remember the war with North Korea they predicted right after Trump tweeted about unleashing “fire and fury” on the Little Rocket Man?

SINCE 1979, no one in the United States has figured out a good way to handle the regime in Tehran. For 40 years, we’ve been having the same arguments, and no matter what we tried, the results were disappointing.

I STILL get buzzed when I recall that a majority of Californians looked at what Gavin Newsom allowed while mayor of San Francisco — rampant homelessness, transportation gridlock, failed public projects, a widening income gap, sidewalk needles, and human, er, waste — and decided they wanted that for the whole state. They elected him governor in 2018 and now complain that California is going to hell.

CASINO apologists and proponents often accuse House minority members of being “anti-casino” and overly critical of Imperial Pacific International, d.b.a. Best Sunshine, and the casino industry on Saipan. The truth is, we are not. We just want IPI to follow our laws and the casino license agreement. Is that such a bad thing?

Littering

IT has been a while since the anti-littering agencies have informed the public about the enforcement of the 1989 anti-littering law as amended in 2016 and whose original version was already in the statute book when the NMI was still under the Trust Territory government.

IT’S resolution time. If you’re like most Americans, you’re planning on losing weight and exercising more in 2020. This is that special time of year for pie-in-the-sky planning. You might be planning to quit smoking or cut back on alcohol consumption (about one-fifth of Americans made these their 2019 resolutions). Year after failing year, people resolve to stop or to start doing all manner of things, but fewer than 10 percent of us are still on track come December.

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — As a precautionary measure, the Republic of Palau is suspending flights from Hong Kong, Macau and China to the island nation from Feb. 1 to Feb. 29, 2020, Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. announced Tuesday.

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer) — Independent Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Tuesday lauded the administration’s decision ordering the Department of Justice to conduct an “impact assessment” before acting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier threat to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement or VFA with the United States.

SHANGHAI (Reuters) — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday visited Wuhan, the epicenter of an outbreak of a new coronavirus that has killed 80 and infected more than 2,700 people, as Beijing sought to signal how seriously it aims to respond to the developing crisis.

MELBOURNE (Reuters) — A recent respite for Australian firefighters that brought rains and cooler weather is set to end, meteorologists warned on Monday, with hot conditions forecast for later this week raising a risk that blazes may start spreading again.

MAJURO — In the wake of mounting global concern about the Wuhan coronavirus that has caused the deaths of at least 18 people, the Marshall Islands issued a travel advisory Friday night banning travelers coming directly from the People’s Republic of China or PRC, where the virus originated.

MANILA (Reuters) — Philippine volcanologists on Sunday lowered the alert status of a volcano near the Philippine capital to 3 from 4 to indicate a “decreased tendency toward hazardous explosive eruption.”

CEBU CITY (Philippine Daily Inquirer) –– The Mactan-Cebu International Airport or MCIA in the central Philippines has beefed up its measures against the coronavirus by requiring all frontline personnel to wear protective gear such as surgical masks.

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services) — On Jan. 14, 2020, David W. Panuelo, president of the Federated States of Micronesia, received Lou Leon Guerrero, governor of the U.S. Territory of Guam, in a courtesy call.

MANILA (Reuters) — Philippine health authorities are investigating the case of a five-year old Chinese boy with a travel history to Wuhan, the central city where a new coronavirus was first discovered, after he showed flu-like symptoms before arriving in the country.

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) — The death toll from a new flu-like coronavirus in China rose to nine on Wednesday with 440 confirmed cases, Chinese health officials said as authorities stepped up efforts to control the outbreak by discouraging public gatherings in Hubei province.

MAJURO (FSM Information Services) — On Jan. 20, 2020, David W. Panuelo, president of the Federated States of Micronesia, was received by David Kabua, president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, in a courtesy call. President Panuelo was in the RMI to attend President Kabua’s inauguration, which occurred earlier in the day. Among the outcomes of the meeting included the RMI’s appreciation for the FSM’s support for the RMI to join the United Nations Human Rights Council, as well as appreciation for the FSM’s support for Gerald Zackios, ambassador of the RMI to the United States of America, to become the next secretary-general of the Pacific Islands Forum.

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services) — On Jan. 9, 2020, David W. Panuelo, president of the Federated States of Micronesia, met with Reed B. Oliver, lt. governor and governor-elect of Pohnpei State, and Feliciano Perman, lt. governor-elect, in a meeting to discuss the upcoming Pohnpei State Government’s interest in national-state programming alignment, recommendations for an honorary consul of the FSM in the State of Israel, and the upcoming State & National Leadership Conference tentatively scheduled for April or May.

BEIJING — China’s birthrate fell to its lowest level in the country’s modern history, hastening the aging of the population and the shrinking of the workforce, despite government efforts to reverse the trend.

MAJURO — Five months after a dengue fever outbreak started in Majuro, the outbreak is getting worse not dropping off. After the numbers declined to under 10 cases per day after peaking at 30 on November 20, the government’s cabinet ended a directive that had banned travel to remote outer islands for four months in an effort to contain the problem from spreading.

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services) — After completing relevant and necessary tasks, David W. Panuelo, president of the Federated States of Micronesia, has announced the establishment of an Office of Information Technology & Supporting Services under the Department of Transportation, Communication, & Infrastructure. The new office will be able to, among other duties, better support the FSM’s implementation of the Digital-FSM Project, funded in large part by the World Bank.

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) — China will boost purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over two years in exchange for the rolling back of some tariffs under an initial trade deal signed by the world’s two largest economies, defusing an 18-month row that has hit global growth.

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (Press Release) — The government of the Federated States of Micronesia invites written or digital submissions by the private sector, non-government organizations, civil society organizations, academia and philanthropy on the best practices in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.

MANILA (Reuters) — Schools and businesses shut across the Philippine capital on Monday as a volcano belched clouds of ash across the city and seismologists warned an eruption could happen at any time, potentially triggering a tsunami.

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services) — On January 8, 2020, David W. Panuelo, president of the Federated States of Micronesia, and Yosiwo P. George, vice president of the FSM, met with the board of directors and the chief executive officer of the FSM Petroleum Corporation or FSMPC, more commonly referred to as Vital.

MANILA (Reuters) — A volcano near Manila spewed a massive cloud of ash that drifted across the Philippine capital on Sunday, forcing the cancellation of flights and closure of schools and government offices as authorities warned of a possible “explosive eruption.”

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services) — On Jan. 9, 2020 Postmaster General of the Federated States of Micronesia Ginger Porter Mida, informed the Office of the President that the United States Postal Service will be increasing postage rates effective Jan. 26, 2020. Per the terms of the Compact of Free Association, as Amended, the FSM Postal Service is obligated to match or be more expensive than USPS postage rates.

KOROR (PICRC) — On Jan. 8 and 9, 2020, the Palau International Coral Reef Center held its annual Education Carnival as part of the center’s anniversary celebrations. Over 500 students from six different schools across Palau attended the two-day event, where various interactive activities were set up to learn more about our oceans.

WASHINGTON (Press Release) — U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech has announced $490,000 in funding support to prevent the spread of measles in American Samoa and to help bolster efforts to vaccinate the entire population with the Measles, Mumps, Rubella or MMR vaccination in the territory.

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service) — On January 7, 2020, David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, acted as temporary president for the opening of the 4th FSM Constitutional Convention. After brief remarks and ceremonial routines, the 4th FSM Constitutional Convention elected former FSM Vice President Redley Killion from the State of Chuuk as president of the convention.

YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) — The trial of a man accused of stabbing to death 19 disabled people at a care home in 2016 was interrupted on Wednesday after the man seemed to put something in his mouth, started struggling with court officials and lay on the floor writhing.

MADRID/HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) — After years of reconnaissance, China’s retail king Alibaba is finally making its move on Europe. It is undercutting Amazon sellers’ fees to attract vendors but has had mixed results, six sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer) — The Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs is a failure, with the government barely making a dent on the country’s narcotics problem despite a relentless campaign over the past three years, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Monday.

JAKARTA (Reuters) — Indonesia will mobilize fishermen to join warships in the South China Sea to help defend against Chinese vessels, the government said on Monday, as the biggest stand-off with China for years escalated off Southeast Asia’s largest country.

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) — Toyota Motor Corp. said on Monday it plans to build a prototype “city of the future” at the base of Japan’s Mt. Fuji, powered by hydrogen fuel cells and functioning as a laboratory for autonomous cars, “smart homes,” artificial intelligence and other technologies.

MAJURO — Voter turnout in the November 2019 national election in the Marshall Islands was the lowest in five elections and possibly the lowest ever in a national election since constitutional government was first established in 1979.

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) — Betting group Genting is not the bookies’ favorite as it competes for a coveted casino license in Japan. The Malaysian outfit lacks the scale or the glitz of rivals in Las Vegas and Macau but it has an ace up its sleeve to enter the hotly anticipated new market in 2020.

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer) — Requiring Americans to get a visa to visit the Philippines might hold back an entire tourist market and discourage potential investors from entering the country, a potentially high price to pay over an issue that only affects a few but powerful politicians in the Duterte administration.

MAJURO — A Papua New Guinea national is being held in jail in the Marshall Islands to face a murder charge after allegedly beating a Kiribati fisherman on board a fishing vessel in Majuro’s lagoon last week.

BECAUSE it doesn’t have the authority to suspend or ban incoming flights from China, the Commonwealth Ports Authority is seeking the “cooperation and collaboration” of the airlines in light of the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV outbreak in the Asian country.

THE House of Representatives on Thursday discussed ways to “trim” the fiscal year 2020 budget in light of the drastic decline in tourist arrivals due to the suspension of flights from China in response to the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV outbreak.

IMPERIAL Pacific International vice president for construction Eric Poon told the Commonwealth Casino Commission on Thursday that IPI’s H-2B visa applications remain pending, and may delay the construction of the hotel tower.

WASHINGTON — The national debt and sustained federal budget deficits will hit the highest levels since World War II over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office projected on Tuesday, following multiple rounds of tax cuts and continued increases in federal spending.

(BECQ) — The Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality analyzed marine water samples collected from Rota’s recreational beaches and storm drainages this week.

(Office of the Governor) — In light of the CNMI Supreme Court decision, In re Certified Question Petition of Torres & Ada, 2020 MP 2, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios reached out to the Board of Education, the Public School System, the legislative leadership and Attorney General Edward E. Manibusan to discuss the slip opinion and its impact on the present and future budgets of PSS and the CNMI government in general.

USA Fanter Corporation is suing Imperial Pacific International for breach of contract and unjust enrichment, and has asked the District Court for the NMI to issue an order awarding the plaintiff $2,089,345.28 in damages.

THE Department of Public Safety continues to enforce a CNMI firearm registration scheme that was found unconstitutional by the court, Paul Murphy said in a motion for contempt that he filed in federal court.

THERE has been a slight increase in the price of fuel, but the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. will not increase its power rate, CUC Executive Director Gary Camacho said.

(Department of Public Safety) — On Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, the CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force executed four arrest warrants for Sharleen Arriola, Ling Wei Meng, Shuihua Qi, and Ruchun Xu.

DISTRICT Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has granted the request of Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig and co-defendant Evelyn Atalig to file under seal the interview notes of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Public Auditor.

THE Northern Marianas Humanities Council on Wednesday hosted the launch of Lynn Michael’s “Memories & Music: The Japanese Era on Rota,” a collection of people’s first-hand accounts of their experiences during the war.

(Press Release) — To balance all of the academic, fine arts, culinary, and project-based learning in their month-long unit on Marianas Culture and History, elementary students and teachers of Saipan International School recently had a full day of challenging outdoor physical education.

THE Pentecostal Church of Christ-4th Watch registered 128 individuals who availed themselves of the free services provided during the medical outreach on Sunday at the San Antonio basketball court, Pastor Claire Javillonar said.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal agents raided a Philippine-based church in Los Angeles early Wednesday in a human trafficking investigation that led to arrests of two church leaders in what prosecutors said was a decades-long scheme to trick followers into becoming fundraisers and arrange sham marriages to keep them in the U.S.

DUE to the imminent threat of the novel coronavirus or nCoV from China, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres on Wednesday issued Executive Order 2020-01 declaring a “state of significant emergency.”

(BECQ) — The Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality analyzes water samples collected from Saipan’s east and south recreational beaches this week as part of the regularly scheduled sampling.

WITH the suspension of flights from China due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the CNMI government stands to lose $35 million to $40 million in projected revenue in the current fiscal year, the administration told lawmakers in a meeting on Wednesday morning.

THE Board of Education on Tuesday evening met with Public School System principals and teachers at Saipan Southern High School to discuss the recent CNMI Supreme Court’s slip opinion regarding the PSS budget and other financial issues.

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Former Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks and former Gov. Eddie Calvo took their oath of office as members of President Donald J. Trump’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on Monday.

THREE individuals accused of selling methamphetamine or “ice” on Saipan appeared before Superior Court Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan on Wednesday for a bail hearing.

DEPARTMENT of Public Works officials led by Secretary James Ada met with House members on Wednesday to discuss the situation at the Marpi landfill.

BECAUSE English is not their first language, Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig and co-defendant Evelyn Atalig want the federal court to issue an order compelling the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Public Auditor to produce interview notes of their witnesses in the case.

THE outbreak of the novel coronavirus has significantly affected the CNMI’s only industry — tourism, Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands chairwoman Gloria Cavanagh said on Tuesday during a forum hosted by the Marianas Visitors Authority at Saipan World Resort.

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Twenty-five-year-old Katner Herry, of Barrigada, is being held on $100,000 bail after he was charged with murder and aggravated assault in the death of a homeless woman in Toto.

THE Public School System’s Instructional Technology and Distance Education Program held a continuous improvement workshop for 45 online teachers on Saturday at Saipan Southern High School.

THE Pacific Judicial Council is holding a three-day conference at Fiesta Resort & Spa that includes presentations by fellows with the American College of Trial Lawyers on best practices in handling trials and appeals.

(BECQ) — The Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality analyzes water samples collected from Saipan’s recreational western beaches and storm drainages every week as part of a regularly scheduled sampling program.

CALABASAS, Calif. (AP) — The pilot of the helicopter that crashed near Los Angeles, killing former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and eight others, told air traffic controllers in his last radio message that he was climbing to avoid a cloud layer before plunging more than 1,000 feet (305 meters) into a hillside, an accident investigator said.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The U.S. Supreme Court gave the go-ahead on Monday for one of President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies, allowing his administration to implement a rule denying legal permanent residency to certain immigrants deemed likely to require government assistance in the future.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate came under renewed pressure on Monday to allow witnesses in his impeachment trial, while his defense team largely ignored disclosures from a former White House adviser.

U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan has requested Gov. Ralph DLG Torres to submit periodic reports on the impact of Freely Associated States citizens’ migration to the CNMI under the Compacts of Free Association between the U.S. and the FAS which are Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia: Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap.

THERE is currently no vaccine available against novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.-Immunization Program manager Jeremy Sasamoto said.

(Press Release) — Dandan Middle School will have a PTSA meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

IN the case against Xinzhou Ren, an overstaying alien, District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has ruled that the testimony of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who interacted with alien passengers such as the defendant is admissible for trial under Federal Rules of Evidence 406.

SPEAKER Blas Jonathan Attao last week appointed Rep. Ralph Yumul to represent the House on the State Workforce Development Board that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres formed last month.

JOHN Bradley, the chief prosecutor of the CNMI Office of the Attorney General, wrote about his “Pacific Ocean practice” in “The Prosecutor,” a publication of the U.S. National District Attorneys Association.

THE Marianas Visitors Authority will collaborate with the Bureau of Coastal and Environmental Quality and Northern Marianas College in creating a tour guide training program for employees of companies that provide water or marine sports activities to tourists.

THE Public School System’s Cooperative Education Program hosted a Fall 2019 semester appreciation lunch for its partners at PIC-Charley’s Cabaret on Friday.

TO recognize Catholic schools for educating and instilling spiritual values in their students, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios on Friday signed a proclamation designating Jan. 26-Feb. 2, 2020 as Catholic Schools Week.

AS of Sunday, there was no case of novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV on Saipan, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. said.

EUCON International University president Dr. Christian Wei informed lawmakers on Friday about his interest in transforming the former Mariana Resort & Spa in Marpi into an education-tourism destination.

(NMHC) — Officials from the Northern Marianas Housing Corporation and the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation have officially launched the NMHC solar project by energizing the first home at Mihaville to be fueled by solar power through a net meter installed by CUC.

FOLLOWING a traffic stop, Fei Deng, an overstaying tourist, was arrested for presenting a fraudulently acquired CNMI driver’s license to a police traffic enforcer.

(Office of the CNMI Congressional Delegate) — The U.S. Department of State is moving to reduce birth tourism, a practice that has put travel from China to the Marianas at risk.

ABOUT a dozen patients on Saipan consulted their doctors who were in Busan, South Korea through a video call on Thursday in the grand ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Saipan.

THE Marianas Visitors Authority board approved the allocation of $25,000 for this year’s Taste of the Marianas International Food Festival & Beer Garden.

EDUCATION Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada called 400 students “cultural champions” for participating in this year’s Chamorro and Carolinian performing arts competition.

HAVANA (Reuters) — A day after Bolivia suspended diplomatic relations with Cuba, Havana accused its interim government of having sought to sabotage bilateral ties ever since it took power last year, partly under pressure from the Trump administration.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading other Democratic presidential candidates with 25 percent of the likely vote in Iowa, just over a week before statewide caucuses in the state, a New York Times/Siena College poll released Saturday showed.

CUSTOMS officers discovered 2.12 pounds of crystal meth in a shipping container from China during a routine inspection on Jan. 15, Customs Director Jose Mafnas said on Thursday.

HYATT Regency Saipan “feels” that the proposal in its “letter of interest” to the Department of Public Lands regarding a new land lease agreement is reasonable, the hotel’s general manager Nick Nishikawa said.

JUAN Delos Reyes Tydingco has outstanding arrest and bench warrants and was under the influence of methamphetamine when he tried to evade pursuing police vehicles after an attempt to pull him over to the side of the road for a traffic violation, police said in a complaint filed in Superior Court.

SENATOR Paul A. Manglona is following up with the Commonwealth Ports Authority regarding his concerns about the lack of lighting and two-way radio at the Rota/Benjamin T. Manglona International Airport.

THE Marianas Tourism Education Council on Thursday hosted the 2020 Tourism Summit at Fiesta Resort & Spa that was attended by 280 students from 14 public schools.

ABOUT 400 students from 20 public schools are expected to participate in the third annual Chamorro and Carolinian Language Heritage Studies or CCLHS performing arts competition at Saipan Southern High School on Saturday.

DISTRICT Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has issued an order dismissing without prejudice the lawsuit of five inmates who accused the Department of Corrections prison store or commissary of withholding their money.

(CNMI Judiciary) — Debi S. Tulang-De Silva, program director of the Hawai’i State Judiciary’s Office on Equality and Access to the Courts, provided technical guidance on language access from Jan. 12 to 17, 2020 for the CNMI judiciary, the CNMI Bar Association, CNMI-based interpreters, and other government agencies.

(BECQ) — The Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality analyzes water samples collected from Saipan’s east and south recreational beaches this week as part of the regularly scheduled sampling.

THE Pentecostal Church of Christ-4th Watch will conduct its first medical mission of the year this Sunday, Jan. 26, at the San Antonio basketball court from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Pastor Claire Javillonar said.

THE Saipan Fil-American Lions Club has installed new anti-littering signs to replace those that were no longer readable.

ALBANY — Officials representing New York’s hospitals, nursing homes, counties and insurance plans are bracing for reductions to Medicaid funding as Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposes a new state budget this week.

DUE to the coronavirus cases in Japan, Thailand, and China, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. is focusing on passengers arriving from Asian countries, CHCC-Public Health Emergency Preparedness Director Warren Villagomez said.

COMMONWEALTH Utilities Corp. Executive Director Gary Camacho said as requested by Mobil Oil Marianas, CUC will install a fuel pipeline to the temporary power generator provided by Aggreko.

THE Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality-Division of Coastal Resources Management is holding a four-day watershed planning workshop that focuses on initiatives and priorities for three watershed areas on Saipan.

A TOYOTA Tacoma rammed into the Mihaville Estate concrete sign on Middle Road in Garapan while trying to evade pursuing police vehicles on Wednesday afternoon.

(Commonwealth Utilities Corp.) — There will be a scheduled power interruption on the following date, time and location:

(BECQ) — The Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality analyzes water samples collected from Saipan’s west coast recreational beaches and storm drainages on the west coast every Tuesday.

THE Rotary Club of Saipan has donated $2,500 to help rebuild Tinian’s San Jose Church, which was destroyed by Super Typhoon Yutu in Oct. 2018.

THE local Supreme Court’s slip opinion regarding the annual funding of the Public School System may affect the fiscal year 2020 budget law, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Ivan Blanco said.

AFTER completing its own internal study, the Department of Public Lands proposes to reduce the base rate for “mature” land leases to reflect current local market conditions and produce more feasible land lease agreements, DPL Secretary Marianne Concepcion-Teregeyo said.

COMMONWEALTH Utilities Corp. Executive Director Gary Camacho on Tuesday said CUC’s chief engineer for water and wastewater did not resign contrary to what was reported on Monday.

THE Senate Committee on Executive Appointments and Government Investigations is moving forward with the confirmation of one of two nominees to the Northern Marianas Technical Institute board of trustees, the committee chairman, Sen. Frank Q. Cruz, said.

(DPS) — On Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, at about 4:15 a.m., the Department of Public Safety received a 911 call reporting a theft complaint at a 24-hour business establishment in Garapan. The caller added that suspect was still inside the establishment. Police were dispatched to the scene.

(DPS) — On Jan. 10, and 12, 2020, the Department of Public Safety received separate reports of two attempted kidnapping incidents in Dandan. Police were dispatched to the scene and met with the callers.

ELEVEN schools and over 200 students participated in the Primary Grade Forensic Conference or PGFC, according to Western Pacific-Asia Regional chairman Harold Easton.

SENATE Vice President Jude U. Hofschneider has pre-filed Senate Bill 21-51, which would require the Marianas Visitors Authority to remit on a monthly basis 2 percent or $300,000 from the MVA Trust Fund to each of the municipalities.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President Donald Trump on Monday rejected the Democratic-led House of Representatives’ impeachment charges and called for their immediate dismissal by the Republican-led Senate in a memo offering a legal and political case against his removal.

WITH $1.7 million available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Board of Education has approved the construction of a new building for the Da’ok Academy on the Marianas High School campus.

(Office of the Governor) — After further analysis from the Department of Finance and the Legislative Bureau on the Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report to the Legislature, Secretary of Finance David DLG Atalig provided additional clarification on the CNMI’s financial state, which was negatively impacted in the last year by a recovering economy reeling from a severe natural disaster.

(Saipan Chamber of Commerce) — The nominees for the 2019 Saipan Young Professional of the Year Award are Nicole Babauta (CNMI SBDC), Riya Nathrani (CNMI PSS – Hopwood Middle School), Le’ah Aguon Murphy (CNMI PSS – Koblerville Elementary), Jeffrey Bacani (CNMI PSS - Francisco M. Sablan Middle School), Matt Deleon Guerrero (Hive Analytics), Francisco “Sonnie” Sablan (INAS’ Kitchen), Kevin Bautista (Office of the Governor), and Marie Aldan (Staywell Insurance).

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Sarsan Robert, the teen charged in connection with a riot at Tiyan High School in September 2019, is expected to take the government’s plea deal.

(Press Release) — Franklin Graham is coming to Saipan to share a message of God’s love with the people of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Marianas Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham will take place at American Memorial Park on Feb. 21. The evening of music and hope begins at 7 p.m. and gates open at 5:30 p.m.

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Anthony Jude Leon Guerrero Blas, 21, is asking a federal judge for mercy before he is sentenced in the District Court of Guam this month.

THE Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.-Public Health and Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program or PHEPP has been screening passengers at the airport for potential cases of coronavirus, CHCC communications and public relations specialist Zoe Travis said.

THE Trump administration announced on Thursday that it will continue to bar the use of H-2B visas for workers from the Philippines, U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan said in his e-newsletter.

(MVA) — To promote the Marianas to travelers from Taiwan, the Marianas Visitors Authority organized a familiarization or fam tour with Taiwanese media to Saipan, Tinian, and Rota on Dec. 15-22, 2019.

THE Department of Public Lands will soon issue a Notice to Proceed to U-Top Investment (Saipan) Inc., the new concessionaire on Managaha.

ATTORNEY General Edward Manibusan has sued companies that manufacture and sell fire extinguishers in the CNMI, alleging that they contained chemicals harmful to the environment and have adverse health effect on island residents.

LACK of funding makes it hard for the government to realize its vision for improving the transportation system on island, but Sen. Sixto Igisomar expressed hope that Island Ride can upgrade it.

THE funds collected from the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker Permit applicants will be remitted to the CNMI Department of Labor, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres stated in a memorandum.

(MVA) — According to the Marianas Visitors Authority, arrivals to Saipan, Tinian and Rota increased 95 percent to 52,297 visitors in December 2019, compared to 26,831 visitors received in December 2018. Visitor arrivals in December 2018 were low due to the residual reduction in air service following Super Typhoon Yutu in October 2018.

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services) — On Jan. 15, 2020, David W. Panuelo, president of the Federated States of Micronesia, received Diego T. Benavente, honorary consul of the FSM to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

KOROR, Palau (PICRC) — On January 16, 2020, the Palau International Coral Reef Center held its 19th anniversary fundraising dinner gala. At this annual premier event, community groups, major businesses, government and non-governmental agencies, individuals, and elected and traditional leaders came together and raised over $250,000 to support the center’s research, outreach, and education efforts. Over 250 guests attended the fundraising gala dinner held on PICRC’s grounds.

(Saipan Chamber of Commerce) — Nominees for the 2019 Chamber Member of the Year are Aon Insurance, CNMI Small Business Development Center, First Hawaiian Bank, Friends First Marketing, IT&E, and Pacifica Insurance Underwriters Incorporated.

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) hosted Surgeon General of the Navy Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham during a visit to Santa Rita on Friday.

(SIS) — On Friday, January 10, Saipan International School students from first through sixth grades climbed aboard three large buses for journey to explore the CNMI’s artifacts housed at the NMI Museum of History and Culture. Several classes also ventured out during a break in last Friday’s rain to examine more historical sights across the street at Sugar King Park.

BOARD of Education member MaryLou S. Ada believes that the CNMI Supreme Court’s slip opinion on the certified questions regarding the budget of the Public School System is favorable to PSS, but she said the BOE should focus on getting the funding allotments for PSS mandated by the government’s fiscal year 2020 budget law.

BRADLEY R. O’Brien, senior attorney of the Environmental Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, told the federal court that the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. is expected to receive $10.4 million in federal funds for water and wastewater improvements in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yutu.

THE Department of Public Safety is looking into the possible sighting of the suspect in two attempted kidnapping cases involving juveniles in Dandan last week.

THE Senate Committee on Health, Education and Welfare chaired by Senate Floor Leader Justo S. Quitugua did not act on a bill that proposes to create a medical-referral mileage program due to concerns from various government agencies.

THE Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has sent a six-member team to Tinian to assess the island’s power plant, CUC Executive Director Gary Camacho said.

THE Commonwealth Casino Commission has asked the Senate Cannabis and Gaming Committee to “expedite” action on House Bill 21-11, which would give the regulatory body more authority over casino operations.