Northern Marianas

Pacific Mini Games set to lock in new dates

The multi-sport event was originally scheduled to be held in Saipan in the middle of next year but has been delayed because of Covid-19, which has shut down borders and crippled the CNMI economy which is reliant on tourism.

The Tokyo Olympics have already been pushed back until July next year while late 2021 has also been ruled out because local schools will not be available to to accommodate the athletes.

Pacific Games Council CEO Andrew Minogue said they were trying to find a solution amongst a very crowded calendar.

Contact tracing finds another Covid-19 case in CNMI

Last week a 30-year-old female passenger on the same United Airlines flight was reported to have Covid-19.

Follow-up contact tracing then tested a 53-year-old male and he was confirmed positive.

The new case is asymptomatic and a returning resident.

The government has assured people that even with the additional cases, the community's vulnerability level remains unchanged because of a higher number of negative results among an increasing number of residents being tested.

As 7 June, more than 7,200 people had been tested for Covid-19 in the CNMI.

Typhoon Bualoi passes close to Northern Marianas

At its centre, the typhoon has winds as high as 200km/h, and the storm was forecast to intensify as it moved into open ocean.

There are currently no reports of major damage in the Northern Marianas.

Schools and government offices are closed again today, and US president Donald Trump last night approved an emergency declaration for the territory.

     

Volcanic haze from Hawaii reaches CNMI and Guam

The National Weather Service in Guam says residents should continue to monitor information from their service as well as the local emergency management offices.

It says people with respiratory health problems should minimise time outdoors when the haze is evident.

Mariners and pilots have also been warned to be aware of the slightly lower visibility.

Satellite imagery shows a dense plume of haze spanning the central Pacific that becomes more diffused closer to the Marianas.

The haze is being carried along by the east-northeast trade winds.

 

CNMI cat killing video goes viral

The video has prompted animal rights activists to call for legislation making animal abuse a crime.

On Wednesday, the Bureau of Environmental Health suspended the operation of Happiness Chinese Restaurant on Saipan after it was found in violation of sanitary regulations.

The suspension was not prompted by the video or claims the establishment was serving cat meat.

An anti-animal cruelty bill to protect cats and dogs that are house pets is currently languishing in the CNMI Senate after passing the House last year.

Northern Marianas to host 'lean and simple' Mini Games in 2021

Saipan will host the 2021 Mini Games and President of the Northern Marianas Sports Association, Michael White, said all sporting facilities are already in place except for the toilet and shower blocks, which need federal funding.

He said this month's Mini Games in Vanuatu set a very high bar and were more upscale than what they have planned.

"We have all of our sporting facilities in place - we've organised international competition in virtually every sport that we're going to offer," he said.

CNMI in need of 911 system - top emergency official

Mr Norita's comments come after the response time to a recent household fire came under scrutiny from family members.

He said the CNMI currently has no specialised system to handle emergency calls.

"Currently it's just telephone lines, that's all it is," he said.

CNMI opposition to marine sanctuary

In a letter to President Barack Obama, a Marianas Conservation member John Gourley said turning the Marianas Trench into a sanctuary on top of being a marine national monument will give the CNMI less access to natural resources and minerals in the area.

Under that set-up the CNMI would need to obtain permission from the federal government twice - one for the trench being a national monument and another for the trench being a marine sanctuary- before its people can fish or mine in waters around the Marianas Trench.

Concerns at CNMI hotel building site after injuries

A construction worker dying of a heart attack and about 80 serious injuries have been recorded at the construction site of the 190-million, 373-room Imperial Pacific Resort on Saipan.

The US Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez has requested the federal court to issue a warrant to inspect the construction project after an Occupational Safety and Health Administration tried, but was denied entry.

MCC International Saipan Ltd, which operates the construction site for Hong Kong-based Imperial Pacific International, reported that an onsite worker had a heart attack.

CNMI's Tinian hotel to stay open

The closure of the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino had been announced at the beginning of the month, citing losses suffered as a result of a typhoon in August.

However in a letter to Tinian's mayor, Hong Kong Entertainment chair Wai Chan announced that the premises will stay open.

Tinian Dynasty, which opened in 1998, has 412 guest rooms, is Tinian's biggest employer and taxpayer.