Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 8 March 2005

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

UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Tuesday, 8 March 2005

Church assists hungry in Ainaro

The Dili Diocese Church is collecting food to assist the hungry in Hatubuilico sub-District, Ainaro, a part of the Maubisse parish. Announcements were made through all churches in Dili on Sunday requesting that churchgoers donate food to send to Ainaro. Father Agostinho de Jesus Soares, Episcopal Vicar of Dili Diocese, told Timor Post this involves the issue of hunger and people's lives. Asked why the Church is only just beginning to assist now when the hunger issue has been spoken of for some time now, Father Agostinho said that they were waiting on accurate data before they began to give aid, to ascertain whether people really were starving.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri congratulated the Church on this initiative. He said that it was up to the Church to take whatever measures they see fit. He added that the government remains with its position that there is no hunger and that Timor-Leste's main food problem is inadequate nutrition, which can best be resolved through good policies and nutrition education. (Timor Post)

Xanana to sign TOR in Bali

President Xanana Gusmao yesterday left for Indonesia to attend two events, including the signing of the Terms of Reference for the Truth and Friendship Commission, planned for tomorrow 9 March. During the signing the names of five Timorese will be put forward as members of the Commission, along with five Indonesians.

After the signing of the Terms of Reference, the President will continue on to Medan where he will attend a conference on Sustainable Development and Natural Disasters. (Timor Post)

Government wants to separate religion from the State

President of the Democrat Party, Fernanda Lasama de Araujo, says that the government is trying to separate religion from the State via the national primary education curriculum. He added that the government is using the Timorese people as an experiment to fulfil their own will, claiming they have not taken into account that their people are Catholic.

The government has so far refused to discuss the issue of religious teaching in schools with the Church, reasoning that the Church sent their pastoral protest letter to the public in general and not to the government. Lasama said that the Church wants to have a dialogue with the government on the issue and that there should also be representatives from the community and other organizations in such a dialogue. He said that the continual refusal of the government to move from their position reinforces to the population that their leaders still do not understand the reality of their lives. (STL)

Provedor post just a 'decoration' for Fretilin

Lucia Lobato, from the Social Democrat Party (PSD), has criticized Fretilin's choice of candidate for the Provedor position, Sebastiao Dias Ximenes. Ms Lobato said that while Sebastiao may be a good person, he is not suitable for the position because he does not possess a good track record in the field of human rights and law. She said that Sebastiao once previously withdrew scholarship funds for university students, who were protesting against Indonesia's occupation of Timor-Leste. Lucia said that Fretilin's choice of Sebastiao as a candidate shows that they are only concerned with this position as 'decoration' for the state, and that PSD would vote against this candidate. (STL)

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