Subject: Daily Media Review 17 June


Dili, June 17, 2003

Daily Media Review

Gusmão Awarded Human Rights Prize

On Monday the European Council in Lisbon awarded President Gusmão the North-South Prize, an award to distinguish contributors for development, human rights and democracy. The ceremony was presided over by Portugal's President, Jorge Sampaio. The award was jointly bestowed to Gusmão and French-Swiss health rights activist Albina du Boisrouvray of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Association. Sampaio said that the award was a "stimulus" for the international community to continue its support to the new Asian nation. "I am sure that his prize-timely recognition of the exceptional qualities of President Gusmão-is extra impetus to us all to continue supporting Timor on the road to a secure freedom," he added. In his speech Gusmão called on rich nations to boost international aid and reduce their trade barriers in order to help lift developing countries out of poverty. He said that rich nations should raise their international aid contributions to at least 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product and implement more debt forgiveness programs for the most heavily indebted nations. Greater access to the markets of rich nations should be given by lowering customs duties and simplifying trade procedures, he added. (Lusa, ABC)

MP Branco: PNTL Needs Radical Transformation

In order to change the mentality of Timor-Leste National Police Force, which still uses forces similar to the ones used during the colonial period, a radical transformation is needed within the institution, said MP Francisco Branco (Fretilin). Branco was referring to the recent police behavior during a fight between two martial arts groups in Dili. "I think the mentality of the police, to threaten the population with guns is not a good one. Therefore a radical transformation is needed in the institution in order for the police to be seen as a protector of the community and not as a threat," said Branco. He blames the police behavior on minimum training received. The MP said that the police should at least undergo a six-month to a year training to be more professional in their work. During his visit to Indonesia last week, Prime Minister Alkatiri said Indonesia and PNTL should Police should establish good relations and Superintended Paulo Martins said Indonesia Police had agreed to send a police commander to TL to train PNTL officers, especially in the area of traffic control. (STL)

Japan's Funds for CAVR Ends

The Japanese Government has now completed its donation to CAVR mounting to a total of US $470.000. The donation is to support the work of the organization in the reconciliation process in Timor-Leste after 24 years of violence. The Advisor of Japanese Ambassador in Timor-Leste Akinori Wada, presented the fund to the commission's Director, Aniceto Guterres on Monday. According to STL, the Japanese government has given a total of US$US 1 million dollars to CAVR work, scheduled to be completed within 2 years. (STL)

Market Border Will Stop Goods Being Smuggled

The Free Market Border will reduce the smuggling of goods to Timor-Leste, said the Director of East Timor Study Group (ETSG), João M. Saldanha, referring to the trading agreement signed between Timor-Leste and Indonesia last week. According to a research carried by ETSG, the free market will stop goods from being smuggled into the country. He said thee free visa access would lead to the interaction between the people of Timor-Leste and West Timor, stop the infiltration of militias and will attract investors. He added that the market would economically benefit those people living near the border saying that he hoped that this issue would go forward as planned.(STL)

Heavy Rainfall Causes Widespread Flooding in Alas and Suai Areas

Police have warned that freak weather conditions are causing widespread flooding and severe disruption in Cova Lima (Suai) and Manufahi (Alas) districts. In Suai, 50 millimetres of rain fell in just one hour late this morning. Two bridges are impassable and one of them could collapse at any moment. This follows heavy flooding around Alas yesterday afternoon. Reports from the area say that 24 houses were destroyed in one sub-village [Ailora], with a further four houses destroyed and many animals lost in another [Knua Alas], according to UNPOL.

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