CNMI intercepts invasive frog

The Department of Land and Natural Resources' Division of Fish and Wildlife said the coqui frog hopped onto a Micronesia Air Cargo Services plane and was detected by a dog detector handler at the weekend.

The frog, which was introduced to Guam and Hawaii in early 2000, has since been contained and preserved in a jar and will be used by the Department for sampling and research.

The coqui frog is marked as invasive species due to the very loud "ko-kee" calls males make at night and the severe effects the species can have on a native ecosystem's insect and bug populations.

Covid-19 cases in the CNMI rise to 125

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC) said the recent case was identified by travel screening and confirmed through testing upon arrival.

It said the person was moved to the designated isolation area for close monitoring.

It also added that it has already initiated contact tracing for the most immediate contacts of the new confirmed case, including passengers on the same flight.

Out of the 125 total Covid-19 cases, 99 were identified by travel screening while 26 were local transmissions.

There are currently three persons in isolation.

CNMI forms Pacific Mini Games Committee

Peter represented the CNMI in the Pacific Games Council meeting in Samoa last year to reaffirm the commonwealth's commitment to the event.

He has been named by Governor Ralph Torres to serve as chair of the local Organising Committee.

He will be joined by a slew of officials from the CNMI's government and private sector, including Saipan Mayor, David Apatang; Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director, Priscilla Iakopo; Hotel Association Chair, Gloria Cavanagh; and the heads of the departments of Public Safety, Public Works, Lands and Natural Resources, among others.

CNMI set to host Pacific Mini Games for first time in June 2022

Saipan will host the games then after a CNMI request to postpone the event until 2022 was accepted by Pacific Games Council.

The CNMI was originally supposed to hold the Mini Games in June 2021, but the Games Council requested the host nation reschedule so as not to clash with the Tokyo Olympics, which had been delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council suggested a date of December 2021 however the CNMI requested a June 2022 date which has now been approved by the 22 member-nation council.

CNMI college looks to test students enmasse for Covid-19

Northern Marianas College interim president Frankie Eliptico said they were looking at possibly requiring over 1,000 students to be tested.

However he said the plan was still in its early stages and it still had to be thoroughly thought out.

The college has around 1,300 students.

There are also around 150 staff, 90 percent of whom had already been tested for the coronavirus as it was required by the school administration.

CNMI cuts Chinese tourist visits to two weeks

Chinese tourists had originally been able to stay in the CNMI for up to 45 days.

However, Governor Ralph Torres made a call to cut their stay to address the issues of 'birth tourism' and overstaying.

US Customs and Border Protection have made the changes, which will come into effect on Thursday.

'Birth tourism' is used to describe the practice of travelling to another country for the purpose of giving birth to obtain citizenship.

CNMI given choice of scaled back Mini Games

Because of the damage wrought by Super Typoon Yutu last October, the CNMI wanted to pull out of staging the event.

But executive members of the Pacific Games council have just visited the country to try to salvage the tournament.

They've given the CNMI the choice of a contracted games from 12 to six sports.

The cost would also decrease from eight to $US3 million.

Council president Vidhya Lakhan and chief executive Andrew Minogue met with CNMI Governor Ralph Torres and Lieutenant Governor Arnold Palacios this week to discuss the options.

Typhoon-hit CNMI asks US for emergency declaration

Ralph Torres sent the request to Donald Trump overnight as the storm passed over the island of Rota.

Mr Torres said the heightened and erratic state of the storm threatened destruction and the impact could become catastrophic.

The statement said the worst conditions from Typhoon Mangkhut had passed but windshield assessments indicated significant damage on Rota and some damage on the islands of Saipan and Tinian.

Guam and CNMI prepare for Typhoon Mangkhut

Schools and universities in the two US territories will be closed today as the storm approaches.

Forecasters say on the current trajectory it will make a direct hit on northern Guam and CNMI's Rota island.

The CNMI Governor Ralph Torres has raised the alert for the typhoon to condition 2.

Typhoon Mangkhut is forecast to bring destructive winds of 74 miles per hour or more possible within the next 24 hours.

Mr Torres has activated essential government agencies like the police, hospital, airports, and seaports.

CNMI sex trafficker implicates former senator


Mr Villagomez, who currently serves on the board of the Commonwealth Ports Authority, was implicated by Wei Lin when he called on District Court chief judge, Ramona Manglona, to disqualify herself because the former senator is her brother.

Lin was accused of luring women from China to Saipan on false promises of jobs and then forcing them into prostitution once they arrived on island.

He pleaded guilty to sex trafficking charges and was sentenced to just over 19 years jail.