Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sharing Guampedia

Sharing Guam: Guampedia aims for understanding of island
By Lacee A.C. Martinez
Pacific Sunday News
August 24, 2008

Shannon Murphy and her staff of two are practically missionaries. But it isn't religion they're hawking. Instead, the trio is spreading the good word about Guam and behind them are more than a hundred others following in their path.

To deliver their message, Murphy and company are relying on the Internet and the Guam Humanities Council project Guampedia, an online encyclopedia about the island.

"We think it will make for a better understanding about the depth and history about the people here," says Murphy, Guampedia's managing editor who holds a hefty passion for Guam and its people.

The project, which launched in April, today houses just under 500 entries examining subjects through seven eras in Guam's complex history and evolving current state.

"We felt there was a need for a better understanding throughout the world about Guam," she says. "More than half of the Chamorro people don't live here anymore, too. This way they'll have access to information about Guam wherever they are in the world."

The Council jumped on board with the project in the year 2000 when the National Endowment for the Humanities began offering grants to create online encyclopedias around the country.

"We had to spend two years developing the content, figuring out what kind of software," Murphy says. "We had to hire someone to do all the software and do all the programing."

Seven years and over half a million dollars spent later, Murphy continues to run the Guampedia ship with current assignment editor Tanya Mendiola, media archivist Nathalie Pereda.

"It was ingrained and embedded in our minds that we're writing for a global audience," Mendiola says. "That's proven true because we've had people from as far as Sweeden, Portugal and South Africa and as close as Agana Heights sending us comments, saying it's an interesting resource or it's a good resource."

Access to information about Guam is one of the key components to the project, says Murphy, dispelling misunderstandings about the island among the world community and allowing residents to make better decisions.

Although there are hundreds of articles still waiting for completion, the amount and type of information already published on the site is amazing, the team says. The articles range from ancient cultural practices to everyday events to even the post-war era, a part of Guam's history that Murphy believes most people aren't familiar with.

"How could you make decisions about Guam if you're only acting on what you know from the last 50 or 60 years?" Murphy asks. "There have been so much more that's happened. There are aspects of Guam's history where Chamorros did help chart Guam's history."

Aside from funding, the challenge has been developing entries from scratch, since there isn't just one complete resource about Guam.

"It's just the three of us working here, we have to contact all these people to do the writing and find all the images," Murphy says.

Guampedia's content has been developed by more than a hundred experts, scholars and writers in their respective fields, many of whom have written Guam's history books and who continue to document the island as it grows.

Everything from old magazines to movies and photos has been shared from a variety of sources, including libraries, local and federal agencies, the Archdiocese of Agana and private collections.

"We're trying to lead them back to the libraries, back to the (Micronesian Area Research Center)," Mendiola says. "We want people to use this as a resource tool, to lead them back to the museums to go and look up things."

Entries also include a list of suggested resources for readers once their interest has been sparked by the entry.

The current lineup reads about 1,500 entries with accompanying media, including photo and video. The project, however, is designed to be ongoing and dynamic as technology changes and funding is made available, Murphy says.

"We decided that we can't wait for everything -- we want to share it," Murphy says. "We've waited to this point where we have enough to share. If we waited until we have the whole thing, it will be like Texas -- 10 years before they finish it. The important thing about Guampedia is that it's not a book where you can just finish it, publish it and it's done."

Entries are treated to a series of stringent reviews to ensure they are thoroughly researched and as accurate as possible. That's coupled with giving users the ability to give feedback and submit corrections.

"Our whole mission is to be credible and that's why we ask for feedback so we can write back and we'll check it," Murphy says. "If they're right, then we'll change it."

For now, the mission of Guampedia continues to grow in the small corner of an Hagåtña office, slowly linking the world to Guam information about our tiny island with its deep history.

With the move of thousands of Marines, their families and additional workers, the project plays an even more vital role in bringing awareness to the world about Guam and its people, Guam Humanities Council program officer Dominica Tolentino says.

"Guampedia is an important educational resource -- it's a local project with global reach designed for anyone with an interest in learning about Guam," Tolentino says.

"(It) makes a significant contribution to the work we do in the humanities, and especially towards fostering cross-cultural understanding through an appreciation of the diversity of cultures, languages, history, religion and other areas that are a part of life on Guam."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Guam Blogger Headed to Democratic National Convention

August 20, 2008

Michael Lujan Bevacqua

Guam Blogger Headed to 2008 Democratic National Convention

As part of the Democratic Party’s emphasis on courting America’s “netroots,” at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, this August 25th-28th, bloggers will have unprecedented access to delegates and elected officials. More than 120 blogs have been given full press credentials in Denver, whereas only 30 received the same access four years ago in Boston. 55 of the blogs this year were chosen as part of the Democratic Party’s “State Blogger Corps,” with slots allotted to one grassroots blogger each, representing the 50 states and 5 territories. These bloggers will receive full press access to the convention floor, and be seated with their state/territorial delegations at Senator Barack Obama’s historic speech accepting the nomination of his party for President.

Michael Lujan Bevacqua was chosen to represent Guam at the convention. His blog, No Rest for the Awake – Minagahet Chamorro, which he started in August 2004, is dedicated to “Chamorro issues, the use and revitalization of the Chamoru language and the decolonization of Guam,” and aims to inform “people around the world about the history, culture and language and struggles of the Chamorro people.”

Bevacqua received an undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of Guam, and is currently enrolled as a graduate student in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He has been involved in Guam’s decolonization movement for the past decade, by helping in the organizing of conferences and forums on Guam and Chamorro issues, and making presentations, both in Guam and in the United States, to facilitate greater education and awareness about issues pertaining to Guam’s political status.

During the convention, Bevacqua is scheduled to interview Congresswoman Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands), Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa), Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Missouri), Senator Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), Congressman Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) as well as former Congressman Norman Mineta (D-California). The interviews will focus on issues important to Guam and Chamorros, such as the environment, voting rights, war reparations, the imminent military buildup, Federal-Territorial relations, and the decolonization of Guam. He is also slated to speak to Obama surrogates who can speak to the Senator’s positions on foreign/military policy in the Asia-Pacific region, national service programs, and Native American and Native Hawaiian affairs.

These interviews, as well as general updates from the Convention, will be available at starting Monday, August 25th. For more information, Bevacqua can be contacted at

For More Info:
No Rest for the Awake – Minagahet Chamorro –
Decolonize Guam -
Full List of 2008 DNC Credentialed Blogs -
Senator Barack Obama Campaign Website –
Democratic National Convention Website –

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fitial Declares Emergency over CUC

Lawmakers: Emergency declaration ‘disturbing’
Monday, 18 August 2008 00:00 By Gemma Q. Casas - Variety News Staff

GOVERNOR Benigno R. Fitial’s latest state of emergency declaration involving the Commonwealth Utilities Corp is “disturbing” and “troublesome,” according to some lawmakers.

But Press Secretary Charles P. Reyes Jr. said Executive Order 2008-10, or the State of Emergency Declaration for the CNMI, was necessary “to provide the governor with the legal means to address our pressing power crisis.”

The EO, which will expire on Sept. 1, suspends CUC’s procurement regulations within a 30-day period, subject to further extension. This means that CUC can award contracts without going through the bidding process.

The EO also suspends the procurement regulations of the law that created the Public Utilities Commission in 2006 in relation to supply of power or the operation and maintenance of CUC’s generators.

The EO empowers CUC, which is under the governor’s control, “to execute the wholesale generation power contract it has negotiated with an independent power producer for a period of two years.”

“By this disaster declaration, I intend to enable CUC, within the definitions of Public Law 16-9, to sign a power contract with the appropriate person,” the governor stated in his four-page EO signed on Aug. 1 that was made public only last week.

Reyes said he understands that the independent power producer referred to was the U.K.-based Aggreko International Power Projects Ltd., whose 15-megawatt generators will be leased by CUC for at least a year for $504,000 a month, excluding fuel and maintenance crew.

The generators are scheduled to arrive here in early September from Singapore.

“I understand the EO was made in connection with the Aggreko generators. The EO was also made in consultation with the legislative leadership,” Reyes told Variety.

The administration promised to keep lawmakers informed about its plans to solve the power crisis on Saipan.

“The administration understands the skepticism of some members of the Legislature, but they should be assured that the EO was necessary and will be used responsibly to resolve our power crisis next month. We will keep the legislative leadership informed of CUC issues and developments,” said Reyes.

“We rely on the legislative leadership to communicate our plans and issues to all members, as a matter of protocol,” he added.

Rep. Tina Sablan, Ind.-Saipan, noted that the governor’s latest EO will pave the way for a sole-sourced privatization contract with CUC.

According to Rep. Diego T. Benavente, R-Saipan, “Several of us are trying to read between the lines as to what it is that the governor is trying to accomplish in the state of emergency, really, if it’s just to expedite the repair of Power Plant 1. But sole-sourcing — we worry about that particular language.”

Benavente earlier expressed concern that the worsening power situation on Saipan was deliberately neglected so that the administration could justify sole-source contracts for CUC.

He said the latest EO seems to validate his “conspiracy theory.”

“There are a lot of questionable process in the repairs of power plants 1 and 2,” Benavente said. “We need to be concerned about what’s happening now because it’s getting too much for us, especially with the coming opening of schools. But this is a justified state of emergency if in fact it is only for the purpose of rehabilitating the power plants.”

Rep. Stanley Torres, R-Saipan, said lawmakers weren’t informed about the executive order.

“It’s very disturbing that the governor is not sharing his plan with the Legislature,” he said. “Everybody knows we have a problem here. I think the Legislature needs to be updated too. Even PUC is not functional anymore. My reading is that the governor is taking everything back under his wing.”

Speaker Arnold I. Palacios, R-Saipan, said the House legal counsel is preparing a legal opinion about the EO.

He said as far as he knows, the EO aims to secure the deal with Aggreko.

“I’m trying to see if it goes further and beyond the requirement of Public Law 16-9,” he added.

The House is scheduled to hold a session this afternoon.

Senators to Unveil New Capital Improvement Plan

Senators to unveil new capital improvement plan
Monday, 18 August 2008 00:00 by Therese Hart
Variety News Staff

SPEAKER Judi Won Pat and Sen. Tina Muna Barnes today will announce a two-phase capital improvement plan that will address various challenges facing the community including the construction of a new building for John F. Kennedy High School, the rehabilitation of existing schools and the expansion of other government offices.

The senators will hold a press conference today at 2 p.m. in the Legislature's public hearing room to unveil the plan.

"It's innovative in a way and I think it's timely, especially with all the different plans regarding JFK and what's happening with students having to double session at George Washington," Won Pat said yesterday.

Phase two will include the construction of a public safety building, refurbishment and expansion of the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority, improvements to the Guam Community College and the University of Guam, a dedicated building for the Department of Revenue and Taxation, as well as the construction of land resource building for the Chamorro Land Trust Commission, the Department of Land Management, Ancestral Lands and other government entities dealing with land. It will also include the construction of the Guam Museum.

"Guam must prepare for the inevitable military buildup. I'm hoping that this two-phase CIP plan will evolve into a master plan that will run parallel to the buildup as we move forward to renovating and upgrading our government-wide facilities, as well as improving our overall effectiveness and efficiency in serving the needs of our island community," Muna-Barnes said.

"It's going to take money and it's going to take committed public servants to make this a reality. Speaker Won Pat and I are asking for our colleagues' support because this isn't about the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. Rather, this is a coming together of public servants who desire to prepare Guam and her people for the future," Muna Barnes added.

Marshall Islands to go to Court Over Nuclear Testing

Marshall Islanders go to US court over nuclear testing
Monday, 18 August 2008 00:00

MAJURO (Pacnews) — Bikini Islanders in the Marshall Islands hope their case for additional compensation for damage caused U.S. nuclear weapons tests by yield results, reports Radio New Zealand International.

Their quest to be given more money has been revived in a new round of litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals, with a ruling expected in the next few months. The U.S. maintains that the issue has been settled in previous agreements.

Bikini Island Council representative Jack Niedenthal said if their legal bid fails, they may have to approach U.S. politicians.

“The only hope we have is going back to the U.S. Congress and asking them to help us, there’s nothing forcing them to help us so it’s sort of like banging a tin cup and it’s not a very good feeling to be doing that,” he said.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Congresswoman Bordallo in Bulgaria

Congresswoman Bordallo discusses joint basing agreements in Bulgaria
by Sabrina Salas Matanane, KUAM News
Sunday, August 17, 2008

Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo was in Bulgaria earlier this month as part of a House Armed Services Committee Congressional delegation that has been tasked with examining the new joint basing agreements between the United States and NATO countries.

The HASC Committee, along with our congresswoman, is reviewing the newly created joint partnerships with countries in the Balkan region. According to online reports from Bulgarian media, Congresswoman Bordallo also met with Burgas Municipality Secretary Bozhidar Kanchev on the possibility of developing some sort of tourism centered partnership with Guam. Burgas is the tourism capital of Bulgaria.

Congresswoman Bordallo through a media release made this statement. "Many of the issues these NATO countries are currently addressing in their joint basing agreements are similar to issues that have been raised on Guam and that concern the House Armed Services Committee. For example, we are discussing forward-basing issues with the host countries. Additionally, we are reviewing the progress of the bases and we are engaging in dialogue with the leadership of the host nations on a number of issues that they have raised."

Bill Will Waive Fishing and Hunting Fees for Veterans

Bill 354 seeks to waive fishing & hunting fees for veterans
by Ronna Sweeney, KUAM News
Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lawmakers have recently introduced a measure that seeks to waive fishing and hunting license fees for veterans. If Bill number 354 is passed into law, no fee, including application and issuance fees, may be charged to an applicant who is a veteran for a license, permit, stamp, tag, certificate to hunt, fish, trap or otherwise lawfully take fish or wildlife.

Under the proposed law authored by Senators B.J. Cruz, Frank Blas, Judi Guthertz, Rory Respicio and Tina Muna-Barnes, the veteran would need a copy of their military discharge form or DD-214, which they would then to present to the Guam Department of Agriculture for the waiver.

Anderson's Strategic Importance

Andersen Air Force Base's Location Gives U.S. Air Force A Strategic Advantage In The Pacific
Written by Senior Airman John Schondelmeyer
36th Wing Public Affairs, Andersen AFB
Sunday, August 17, 2008 10:18 AM

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - B-52 Stratofortressess and other Air Force fighters, tankers and air control aircraft occupy the flightline at Andersen here July 29. The aircraft, deployed from several Air Force bases, are here to promote regional security and stability through three main focus areas: a continuous forward presence; a robust international exercise and training program; and significant joint military training exercises. By maintaining a continuous forward presence and conducting joint exercises, the Pacific Air Force is able to foster improved relations and interoperability with its regional friends and allies.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1St Class Cory Todd)

ANDERSEN AFB, Guam - Andersen is a strategically located, forward main operating base in the Pacific. The constant rotation of Andersen has an impressive roster of aircraft that are housed here throughout any given cycle. In 2008 alone, Andersen has been a temporary home to airborne warning and control system, B-2s, B-52s, F-15s, F-22s, cargo, tankers, and a variety of naval aircraft. The base is postured to support operations across the spectrum of conflicts and provides extraordinary flexibilities for the Pacific command.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Native Hawaiians Takeover Palace

Activists Arrested after Hawaiian Palace Takeover
From CNN
August 16, 2008.

HONOLULU, Hawaii (AP) -- A group of Native Hawaiians claiming to be the state's legitimate rulers occupied the grounds of a historic palace for two hours before being arrested by state officers in the second recent takeover of its kind.

A staff member of the Iolani Palace said she was assaulted and slightly injured during the takeover Friday night and then snubbed by city police who claimed that they didn't have jurisdiction. Gov. Linda Lingle said Saturday that there would be an investigation into the police response to the takeover.

A group of men, wearing red shirts with "security" stenciled in yellow on the back, took over the grounds by chaining the gates of the palace next to the State Capitol and posted signs saying, "Property of the Kingdom of Hawaiian Trust."

Kippen de Alba Chu, executive director of the Friends of Iolani Palace, said he and other staff members were locked down in the palace and a nearby administration building during the takeover.

"They've got a king, and the king wants to sit on the throne," de Alba Chu said.

State law officers climbed over the fence a couple of hours after the takeover began and made about 20 arrests. The palace, normally open to tours, will remain closed during the weekend to assess any damage and to ensure its security, police said.

Ah Yuen, an Iolani Palace employee, said she was assaulted by protesters and called for help from a Honolulu police officer, who told her the palace grounds were not under city police jurisdiction.

Witnesses said the confrontation started when Yuen went to the palace gate and talked with the protesters, who locked the gate with a chain and then forced their way into the palace itself before officers from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources came to arrest them.

Lingle said the people who invaded the palace "have to be shown it's not going to be acceptable."

"This is one of the most cherished sites in our state," Lingle said. "We always have to try to strike a balance between public access and security for the building and for the people there."

Laura H. Theilen, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which oversees the palace, condemned the takeover.

"We intend to charge them to the fullest extent of the law," Thielen said.

The pro-sovereignty group identified its leader as King Akahi Nui, who was among those arrested. An "occupation public information bulletin" distributed by a member of the group began: "Majesty Akahi Nui, the King of Hawaii, has now reoccupied the throne of Hawaii. The Kingdom of Hawaii is now re-enacted."

Akahi Nui claims to have been crowned in 1998.

The takeover of the palace -- built in 1882, when the islands were ruled by a monarchy -- came on Admission Day, a state holiday marking Hawaii's admission to the United States on August 21, 1959.

Several Native Hawaiian organizations have rival claims to sovereignty over the islands. Another group calling itself the Hawaiian Kingdom Government occupied the palace grounds April 30 and has been getting permits to set up on the grounds each week since then. That group claims to be operating a functioning government from the palace grounds.

The ornate palace is operated as a museum of Hawaiian royalty. King Kalakaua built it, and it also served as the residence for his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani, the islands' last ruling monarch. Liliuokalani was imprisoned in the palace after the 1893 U.S.-supported overthrow of the monarchy.

After falling into disrepair, the palace was restored in the 1970s as a National Historic Landmark. It now includes a gift shop and is open for school groups and offers tours.

Hawaiian activists have long used the site for protests against the U.S. occupation of the islands.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

CCU Opposes Navy's Water Increase from Fena

CCU opposes Navy's increase in water rates from Fena
by Sonya Artero, KUAM News
Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Guam Waterworks Authority could be heading to court as the Navy announced its intentions to increase the price it charges the water agency for water from Fena Lake. Starting October 1 the Navy is expected to increase its rates to $3.80 per 1,000 gallons which would result in an eventual increase for ratepayers.

The Consolidated Commission on Utilities is reviewing two options, to negotiate for a lower rate with the Navy or litigate to return Fena to the government of Guam. In September of last year, the Navy warned residents that it would raise the rate of water it supplied to GWA. Last night that warning turned into an official announcement as effective October 1, the Navy intends to raise its rate by an additional $0.55 thereby charging a total of $3.80 per 1,000 gallons of water.

The problem the CCU has with the increase is two fold. First, GWA currently produces water at a lower rate and two that charge is based on servicing several thousand customers. So since GWA is the Navy's only customer and its source of water only comes from Fena Lake, CCU Chairperson Simon Sanchez believes the rate should be lower.

"We're one account, they send us a bill once a month for all the water we take, so they don't have administrative expenses like GWA and we take the bulk of the water from Fena Lake so there is no distribution costs for the water we take at Fena Lake," he said. Sanchez added he believes the Navy is increasing its rates too much too fast.

"A year ago they had a 50% increase, this year they're proposing a 17% increase and in the 5–year since the CCU has taken office, there has only been 38% increase in water rates," Sanchez noted.
The CCU is now hoping the Navy will reconsider. If not it intends to take the legal route.
"Last night the commission agreed to push these 2 endeavors. To have the Navy justify and re–consider its recent adjustment and to explore the recent options with regard to re–visiting the Fena ownership issue."

Ideally the CCU would like to convert the Navy to a GWA customer and have one unified water system for the entire island instead of paying more for water. "Begin to convert the Navy as a customer to a customer of GWA, turn over all the water assets, just like they did at the airport and they did at GPA, to the government of guam, to GWA, and we'll sell them water for less than they've been charging themselves," Sanchez said.

Read the Navy's letter to Simon Sanchez

Monday, August 11, 2008

Threats to Journalism in the Philippines


MANILA (IFJ/Pacific Media Watch): The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns the decision by the Zamboanga City Council in the Philippines to declare senior veteran journalist Al Jacinto “persona non grata” on August 7 in response to unfavourable news reports.

According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, the declaration was connected to articles published by Jacinto on regarding conflict between religious and ethnic groups in relation to the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE), a new geographical territory proposed by the Philippines government.

The BJE agreement is part of ongoing peace negotiations between the government and local separatist groups in Zamboanga, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“Personal condemnation of a journalist as “persona non grata” on the basis of their reporting through a formal council resolution is an act of harassment and an attack on press freedom,” the IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

“All parties involved must understand the important duty of journalists to report fairly on all sides, and intimidation of this kind can not be tolerated.”

The IFJ joins the NUJP in demanding the Zamboanga City Council issue a formal apology to Jacinto for the inflammatory statement and for instigating unnecessary anti-media sentiment.

The statement came after the murders of two journalists in the Philippines last week. Martin Roxas, anchorman for Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) was shot on August 7. Dennis Cuesta, program director for the RMN dxMD program, died in hospital on Saturday August 9 from injuries sustained from a shooting on August 4, the NUJP reports.

“As the Philippines media mourns the murder of two broadcast journalists last week, the IFJ is dismayed at this unwarranted incitement of anti-media sentiment by authority figures not only towards Jacinto but all journalists in the Philippines.”

* For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919. The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 122 countries worldwide.

* Comment on this item:

Guam Legislature All-Nighter

Guam Senators Pull All-Nighter Saturday;
Fund GPSS, Nuclear Leak Study, Support Agent Orange Legislation
Written by Patti Arroyo,
Pacific News Center - Guam, Saipan, CNMI, Asia-Pacific
Monday, August 11, 2008 08:38 AM

Guam - Barely into Sunday morning, lawmakers had just voted on a number of measures, including legislation to further aid the schools.

They passed a measure that gives the Guam Public School System (GPSS) $7.8 million for a late book order. Earlier, they heard the news that the school lunch program was short nearly $3 million on outstanding commodity invoices. This threatened the school lunch program.

Lawmakers reluctantly included an appropriation from next fiscal year’s revenues, to give fund GPSS needs. Finance senator Eddie Calvo was the sole vote against the legislation, calling it a pork barrel bill since the measure originally lifted population caps for newly constructed schools.

But Superintendent Nerissa Bretania Shafer said, “ It’s like Christmas for the children”.

Lawmakers also unanimously passed bills that provide funding to start an independent study on the nuclear leak in Apra Harbor and aid in the eradication efforts for the rhinoceros beetle; begin a graduated pay raise for law enforcement officials; and limit the term of acting directors and commission members. They also passed that measure that restricts travel to Guam from areas deemed a health hazard by the Centers for Disease Control.

They also voted to support Agent Orange legislation introduced by a California Congressman, which would extend benefits to include military and civilian employees exposed to stored agent orange.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guam Sailor Killed in Afghanistan

Guam sailor, 25, killed: Corpsman 29th casualty from region
By William B. Martin Jr. • Pacific Sunday News • August 10, 2008

A 25-year-old son of Guam was killed in Afghanistan recently, bringing the island's casualties to five this year.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony "Tony" Carbullido, who was a Navy hospital corpsman, is the 29th death from the region since the War on Terror began in 2001.

Carbullido was married to Summer Carbullido, who lives in the couple's home in Chicago. The couple have no children.

Carbullido's father, Anthony Carbullido, said the family was notified early yesterday morning.
Carbullido's father said he was told by a Navy chaplain that an improvised explosive device was involved in his son's death. He said he couldn't recall the exact date the incident happened.
Carbullido was on his second tour of duty. He had previously been deployed to Iraq.

Kevin Diego, a friend to the sailor, said he will always remember Carbullido's upbeat demeanor, especially at social functions.

"Tony is the kind of guy that never had a bad day," he said. "Not a care in the world. Everyone has their ups and downs; Tony's were almost always up."

More than 4,100 U.S. service members have been killed since 2001.

Lt. Donnell Evans, public affairs director for Naval Forces Marianas, yesterday said he couldn't release any information until 24 hours after the family has been notified, in accordance with Navy policy. Evans said information will be released today.

The sailor was last in Guam -- where he was born and raised -- in March, his father said.
Mass said

A special Mass was said for the fallen son of Guam last night at Mount Carmel Church in Agat. Services will be announced later, according to the family.

There were 10 regional casualties -- five from Guam -- last year. To date, 17 sons of Guam have died in the War on Terror -- the highest number of casualties from the region. All deaths this year have been from Guam.

More Adverse Impacts of the Brown Tree Snake

Brown Tree Snake Could Mean Guam Will Lose More Than Its Birds

ScienceDaily (Aug. 10, 2008) — In the last 60 years, brown tree snakes have become the embodiment of the bad things that can happen when invasive species are introduced in places where they have few predators. Unchecked for many years, the snakes caused the extinction of nearly every native bird species on the Pacific island of Guam.


A variety of other damage has been directly attributed to brown tree snakes, including large population losses among other native animal species in Guam's forests, attacks on children and pets, and electrical power outages.

But new research by University of Washington biologists suggests that indirect impacts might be even farther reaching, possibly changing tree distributions and reducing native tree populations, altering already damaged ecosystems even further.

"The brown tree snake has often been used as a textbook example for the negative impacts of invasive species, but after the loss of birds no one has looked at the snake's indirect effects," said Haldre Rogers, a UW doctoral student in biology.

"It has been 25 years since the birds disappeared. It seems to me the consequences are going to keep reverberating throughout the community if birds are fundamental components of the forest," she said.

Birds typically make up a small part of the life of a forest, but they are important for pollination, spreading seeds around the forest and controlling insects that feed on plants. Guam, an island 30 miles long and 5 to 15 miles wide about 3,800 miles west of Hawaii, lost most of its native birds after the brown tree snake was introduced by accident from the Admiralty Islands following World War II. The snake has few predators on Guam, so its population density is quite high – estimated at more than 3,000 per square mile – and some individuals there grow to an unusual size of 10 feet long.

Before introduction of the brown tree snake, Guam had 12 species of native forest birds. Today 10 of those are extinct on Guam, and the other two species have fewer than 200 individuals. Though Guam has some non-native bird populations, few other birds moved in when native species died out, and none of them live in the forest. That leaves few birds to consume tree seeds and then drop them away from the trees.

That could have two possible negative impacts on the native forests, Rogers said. First, some plant species need birds to handle their seeds to ensure effective germination. In addition, seed predators and fungi that kill seeds are often found in high density directly beneath a parent tree, so the trees rely on birds to disperse seeds beyond the range of those negative effects. If native birds performed those functions on Guam, tree populations could suffer from the loss of birds. It appears 60 percent to 70 percent of tree species in the native forests are dispersed, at least in part, by birds, she said.

To test the effects of the loss of native birds on seed distribution, Rogers devised seed traps that look a bit like satellite dish receivers, with tubing bent into a circular shape and covered with fine mesh screen-door netting. She set 119 traps beneath and near Premna obtusifolia, or false elder, trees on Guam and the nearby island of Saipan, which does not have brown tree snakes. For each tree sampled, she set two traps directly beneath the tree's canopy, two about 3 feet away, three at 16 feet, three at 33 feet and seven at 65 feet.

On Saipan, Rogers and her colleagues found seeds in nearly every trap at each distance, though more seeds were found in closer traps and fewer farther away. However, on Guam the seeds appeared only in traps directly beneath the canopy. What's more, most of the farther-dispersed seeds from traps on Saipan had the seed coats removed, a factor that could speed seedling germination and the growth of new trees and something that likely could only be accomplished in the gut of a bird. None of the seeds found on Guam had seed coats removed.

In addition, the scientists randomly selected points in native forests on Guam, Saipan and two other nearby islands, Tinian and Rota, searching for seedlings of a tree called Aglaia mariannensis and each seedling's most likely parent, the closest adult of that species. On Guam all seedlings were found within 16 feet of the nearest adult tree, most within 6 feet. On the other islands the nearest adult trees were found two to three times farther away from the seedlings.

"These findings could have global implications, since forests in areas that have had a decline in bird populations instead of outright extinction might show effects similar to those in the forests of Guam," Rogers said.

She notes that recent studies show bird populations are declining worldwide, and that as many as 25 percent of U.S. species face the threat of extinction.

Rogers presents her data August 8 at the Ecological Society of America meeting in Milwaukee. Co-authors are Joshua Tewksbury and Janneke Hille Ris Lambers, both UW assistant professors of biology.

Further research, Rogers believes, could turn up other indirect impacts the brown tree snake has had on Guam. For example, she notes anecdotal evidence that there is a substantially higher spider population on Guam than on other nearby islands, and she speculates that could largely be because the native bird population has been decimated.

But the biggest indirect impact, she said, could be altered seed scattering that in turn might, in the near future, transform the remaining forest from a diverse mixture of tree species to clumps of trees of the same species, separated by open space. That could have serious consequences, including extinction, for plant and animal species that still live in the forests.

"It seems logical that if there are no birds then seeds are not able to get away from their parent trees, and that is exactly what our research shows," Rogers said. "The magnitude of difference between seed dispersal on Guam and Saipan is alarming because of its implications for Guam's forests, and for forests worldwide experiencing a decline or complete loss of birds."


Adapted from materials provided by University of Washington.

Monday, August 04, 2008

UK Admits to Servicemen Being Exposed to Radiation

UK admits servicemen exposed to radiation
5:00AM Monday August 04, 2008
By Alanah May Eriksen
and AAP

British Defence chiefs have admitted servicemen were exposed to dangerous
radiation levels during nuclear tests in Australia and the South Pacific in
the 1950s.

But a New Zealand veterans advocate has dismissed the admission as a token
gesture, which goes nowhere towards satisfying a claim for compensation by
sailors here.

The Sunday Mirror reported yesterday that court papers show the British
Ministry of Defence (MoD) now believes - after years of denials - that
nuclear tests were responsible for the deaths of some British servicemen.

However, the MoD insists that only 159 men were affected out of the 20,000
who were present.

About 800 former servicemen from Britain, New Zealand and Fiji launched a
multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the MoD this year, claiming they had
been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation during tests at sites
including Maralinga in South Australia and Christmas Island.

The court documents show two Royal Air Force servicemen, Eric Denson and
John Brothers, were irradiated after being ordered to fly through the
mushroom clouds of nuclear bombs to collect samples.

Film badges worn by the men recorded the amount of radiation they were
exposed to. "Eric had a dose equivalent to 190 years of background
radiation," the newspaper said. "John's was 107. The MoD's maximum safe dose
was just 30."

About 550 New Zealand sailors on board the frigates HMNZS Pukaki and HMNZS
Rotoiti were at the series of nine aerial bomb explosions at Christmas
Island in the Pacific and Malden Island, part of Kiribati, beginning on May
15, 1957.

There are thought to be about 160 left alive.

The sailors, banded together as the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans
Association, are part of the class action lawsuit.

The chairman of the association, Roy Sefton, who suffers from muscle and
skeletal pain that he is certain is a result of being exposed to the
testing, said the admission was laughable.

"It's rubbish. I don't know how many, but there have been many thousands
exposed. It's not even within the realms of reality. It's a token gesture.

"You wouldn't have all these men 20 nautical miles from ground zero if it
wasn't for some sort of purpose, to see how they reacted."

Mr Sefton said British defence chiefs wanted to play the incident down
because Britain wanted to upgrade its nuclear power stations and build new

AntiNuclear Groups Start Events in Japan

Antinuclear groups start events
Kyodo News

Two major antinuclear organizations have begun holding events to mark the 63rd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs, or Gensuikin, held an international forum Saturday in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, and adopted a resolution against the planned deployment of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka.

About 100 people participated in the forum, with six panelists, including activists from China, South Korea and the United States, exchanging views on denuclearization in northeastern Asia and the deployment of the USS George Washington.

The Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, or Gensuikyo, meanwhile, held an international forum Saturday in Hiroshima with 250 people taking part.

The forums were held amid news reports that water with trace amounts of radioactivity may have leaked for months from a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine when it traveled around the Pacific to ports in Guam, Japan and Hawaii.

The two groups will each hold rallies and other events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki through next Saturday.

The Japan Times: Monday, Aug. 4, 2008
(C) All rights reserved

Friday, August 01, 2008

Chamorro Fishing Rights Debated

Native fishing rights nets debate at Legislature
by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM News
Friday, August 01, 2008

The Guam Legislature was filled to capacity as activists and agriculture officials testified on legislation on Thursday that would provide special fishing rights to native Chamorros. Josephine Jackson has spearheaded several protests to promote native fishing rights.

She testified, "We're not saying anything about the preserve is bad but you know give us Chamorros the Taotaotano to go fishing in our own homeland. It's been 11 years since the preserve was open and just recently just last year two of our people got arrested and ever since last year they started opening the preserves little by little so what we're trying to do is open the preserve for the Chamorros here on Guam to go start fishing in our ocean waters.

Bill 327 would allow for special rights for chamorros to off-shore fishing and harvesting of resources. According to the Department of Agriculture's Acting Chief of the Aquatic and Wildlife Division Tino Aguon by allowing fishing in marine preserves it would hamper efforts to replenish fish stocks.

Aguon said, "We are at a stage in which we've set up these marine preserves areas and basically the way the bill is written will provide basically negate many of the accomplishments and land mark forward accomplishments and great strides that we've done to regain and restore a lot of the marine resources that we enjoy in those marine protected areas."