Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review - 31 December 2007

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

Monday, 31 December 2007

UNMIT – MEDIA MONITORING

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National Media Reports

TVTL Summary News No broadcasting

***

PM Xanana: "Don't politicize the IDPs" Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao asked the members of the national parliament (MPs) not to politicize the IDP problem for the sake of individual interests, since it is genuinely a national problem.

"This is not a small issue; people should collaborate to help solve it so that people are no longer forced to live in tents," said PM Xanana whilst celebrating Christmas with the IDPs on Tuesday (26/12) in Sional Camp, Dili.

PM Xanana also said that in the next year he will help the IDPs to return to their homes, but in the meantime will focus on improving their security situation. (STL)

NP to approve the state budget of 2008

The National Parliament (NP) has approved a US$348.1 million state budget for 2008.

Fernanda Borges of National Unity Party (PUN) said that she would abstain from the voting, since the state budget has no transparency when it comes to spending the oil money which belongs to all Timorese.

Fretilin, as the opposition, voted against the state budget for similar reasons, claiming that it is not transparent, that it is unconstitutional, and will create a situation where the Timorese learn to live in dependency.

The Alliance, which consists of CNRT, PSD, PD, ASDT and UNDERTIM, voted in favour, and stated that they trust in Prime Minister Gusmao and hope that the state budget of 2008 will solve the prevailing national problems. (STL)

Fernando Lasama: "Ashamed to see the situation of the IDPs"

The President of the National Parliament, Fernando Lasama de Araujo, said he feels ashamed at the displacement of Timorese in their own country.

"I am ashamed because when Indonesia withdrew from Timor-Leste, we loved and respected each other, and believed that we would no longer be a displaced people because we finally had our own land, but the reality of the situation is different," said Mr. Lasama (NP) (STL)

NP accepts extra funds for RTTL: 7 days of broadcasting a week

The Corporation for Radio and Television in Timor-Leste (RTTL) received extra funding of US$7,500 to allow broadcasting to take place seven days a week in 2008.

Until now, the working status of RTTL staff has been the same as other public servants: eight hours per day and five days in a week, with no extra hours, which has restricted when RRTL can broadcast to the public.

NP on the new step towards democratization

The NP of Timor-Leste has taken a step towards creating a true democracy in the nation, since MPs all are participating in the institution, and have put together a good budget for the future of Timor-Leste.

"In the previous parliament, the opposition never cast votes in favour of any of the Government's proposals, but now some opposition MPs vote for the Alliance and some Alliance MPs also vote for the opposition. It is a positive sign," said Mario Viegas Carrascalão of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) on Friday (28/12) in the NP.

International Media Reports

Soldiers' bravery in bad situations earns awards Monday, 31 December 2007 Manawatu Standard

Sorting out a 1600-strong mob throwing rocks and firing steel darts and arrows in Timor Leste has seen soldier Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell of Palmerston North conferred with a Distinguished Services Decoration.

Lt O'Donnell was a platoon commander in Timor- Leste from November 2006 to May this year.

On April 5, his platoon was on patrol when it ran into a 1000-strong crowd of Fretilin supporters returning from an election rally in Dili. Escorted by United Nations police officers, the crowd had been halted just outside Manatuto, fearing attacks from opposing political supporters.

While Lt O'Donnell's staffs were trying to secure a safe route for the crowd, the situation deteriorated. Some 600 opposition supporters from Manatuto began throwing rocks and firing steel darts and arrows.

Under this hail of projectiles, the UN police withdrew, leaving the Fretilin supporters stranded on a bridge. Lt O'Donnell intervened, and his platoon was attacked. His soldiers had to fire both warning shots and aimed shots against the assailants.

Eventually they got around Manatuto, without loss of life or serious injury.

Without this decisive intervention, it was likely the situation could have escalated to a riot resulting in deaths.

Planning and leading the successful evacuation of New Zealand High Commission staff during violent rioting in Tonga has earned a former Linton soldier a Distinguished Services Decoration (DSD).

Warrant Officer Class One Kevin Yorwath was serving in Tonga when riots broke out in Nuku'alofa on November 16, 2006.

After moving his own family to safety, he then offered his services to the High Commission when it was in direct danger of being attacked and looted.

In the days that followed, in spite of fatigue and ongoing risk, he acted as an escort for staff and also assisted the negotiation with a group of anxious Chinese people seeking safety.

WO1 Yorwath continued to gather intelligence during this period that proved invaluable when the combined New Zealand and Australian defence forces were deployed to restore order.

Getting equipment where it had to be on time during often-violent civil unrest in Timor-Leste has earned Palmerston North soldier Corporal Sean Ngatai a DSD.

Cpl Ngatai was in Timor-Leste from November last year to May this year and his job was providing logistic support to Victor Company, 1st Battalion, and Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment.

Cpl Ngatai spent most of his time operating in volatile and sometimes dangerous suburbs in Dili, and his workload doubled when a colleague store man returned home without being replaced.

The job required complex liaison to make sure platoons got the equipment and stores they needed, and Cpt Ngatai's provision of timely and effective support greatly contributed to Victor Company's work.

NATIONAL NEWS SOURCES: Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional (DN) Semanario Televisaun Timor-Leste (TVTL)

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