Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 30 March 2005

UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Wednesday, 30 March 2005

Indonesia's President postpones trip to Timor-Leste

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has postponed his planned state visits to Timor-Leste, Australia and New Zealand following the powerful earthquake that struck Nias in north Sumatra on Monday night. Foreign Affairs Minister Hassan Wirayudha told reporters that the decision to postpone the trips has been conveyed to the heads of government in the three countries. However, he did not confirm when the President would pay a visit to each of the countries. The President was originally scheduled to visit Timor-Leste on April 4. (ANTARA News)

Dengue epidemic kills more than 40 in Timor-Leste

An epidemic of dengue fever has killed more than 40 people in Timor-Leste since the beginning of the year. In response, the government has called for a major clean-up campaign to eliminate mosquitoes that spread the disease. Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri called a special cabinet meeting this week to debate Timor-Leste's dengue fever outbreak, resulting in the creation of a special taskforce comprising various ministers.

Timor-Leste is one of several areas in the region, including Jakarta, to have been affected by the disease, which is endemic in the Asia-Pacific region. (AFP, Lusa)

USS Mercy strengthens TL-US friendship

The hospital steamship USS Mercy from the United States will strengthen the friendship between Timor-Leste and the United States, according to US Ambassador to Timor-Leste Joseph Rees. Rees visited the ship yesterday together with members of Timor-Leste's government, including Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Ramos-Horta, Minister of State Ana Pessoa and Minister for Health Rui de Araujo. US marines and nurses based on the ship are providing medical assistance to Timorese at the National Hospital and will remain in the country until Friday. (Timor Post)

Provedor for Human Rights and Justice elected

The sole candidate for the Provedor position, Head of Dili University, Sebastiao Diaz Ximenes, has won the election for the Provedor position, with 46 votes in favour and 23 against. Despite being known as a pro-autonomy supporter, Ximenes, whose name was put forward by Fretilin, still received the backing of the major pro-independence party.

However, during the voting, MP Maria Paixao from the Social Democratic Party (PSD) intervened, saying that because Ximenes has been chosen by Fretilin, the majority party, and therefore it would be difficult for him to maintain his impartiality in the Provedor position. She said that they would have to wait and see whether he is able to handle cases of corruption and human rights violations in an impartial manner. (Timor Post, STL)

Squabble over nomination of candidates to State Council

The National Parliament yesterday presented five candidates to sit on the State Council - three from Fretilin, one from the Democratic Party, and one from the Social-Democratic Party (PSD). PSD and the Social Democratic Association of Timor (ASDT) found themselves in a squabble over who should have the right to present the final candidate, as they each have the same number of seats in parliament. Maria Paixao from PSD said that even though PSD and ASDT have the same number of seats, PSD's electoral votes were more than those of ASDT and therefore according to the Constitution it should be PSD who has the right to present the final candidate. (Timor Post, STL)

West Timor Association requests re-negotiations on Timor Sea

The Association for the Care of West Timor based in Kupang, Indonesia, has once again raised its demands for a renegotiation of the Timor Gap. The group has raised the issue in relation to planned visits to Australia and Timor-Leste by the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The Association recently issued a press release requesting that the Indonesian President and Australian Prime Minister pay attention to the needs of the people of West Timor and called for trilateral negotiations on the Timor Gap between Australia, Indonesia and Timor-Leste. (Timor Post)

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