Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chinese baby found in sewer

video 
[AFP video. Source: inquirer.net]

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

1944 Aslito airfield photo does not show Earhart’s plane

From CDR William H. Balden, USNR collection

BY ALEXIE VILLEGAS ZOTOMAYOR
Associate Editor / Reporter 
Marianas Variety 
www.mvariety.net
A photograph of Aslito airfield taken right after the invasion of Saipan reveals that Amelia Earhart’s plane was not in the hangar as some people claimed.
In an email to Variety, inventor and Amelia Earhart researcher and aficionado David F. Pawlowski said, “I have to be very honest with you and say up front that further research on the image in question revealed that it likely does NOT show Amelia Earhart’s Electra. The image likely shows just more Japanese fighter aircraft that were known to be captured at the airfield when it was overrun after being found largely deserted the morning of June 18, 1944.”

The photo Pawlowski was referring to is one of the photographs in the collection of CDR William H. Balden, USNR, who documented his World War II service.

Pawlowski told Variety that one of the Japanese Zero’s found in Aslito airfield is now in the U.S. Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Pawlowski described for Variety that the photo “shows a Marine guard on an outer perimeter to one of the central hangars. If you blow up the photo you can see in the background a pair of U.S. Navy Shore Patrol equipped with their regulation Sam Brown belts standing in front of a tarped aircraft. Another shot I found suggests the aircraft seen in the background in the hangar are Japanese Zeros.”

Pawlowski also said the photo shows a Japanese aircraft captured on Aslito airfield.

“The photo was taken in the central region of the original airfield prior to its radical reconstruction by U.S. Navy Seabees. The photo was taken by a U.S. Naval Aviator flying off of the USS Enterprise, Lt. William Balden.   He and his fellow aviators, as well as a P-47 fighter group from the US Army Air Corps were rapidly put on the island during the drive by the USMC and Army on central and northern Saipan and were also tasked to bomb neighboring Tinian in the days before, during and after the invasion on that island,” said Pawlowski.

He also said that the same group of fliers participated in the confrontation between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the U.S. Navy known as the “Marianas Turkey Shoot.”

Pawlowski also told Variety that several official Naval photos exist of Admiral Nimitz as well as the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral King visiting Aslito airfield on Saipan to speak to USMC General Holland Smith and the ranking general of the U.S. Army in July of 1944.

Pawlowski said at least one enlisted man has claimed in public to have seen what he believed was the highest ranking Navy leadership at the alleged hangar site believed to be containing Earhart’s plane.

He also said there were other photographs showing Nimitz briefing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt just a few weeks later at Pearl Harbor in the company of Admiral Leahy and General Douglas MacArthur known to be debating the future course of the war — either to invade the Philippines first, invade Taiwan or invade Iwo Jima and begin forward basing of an air bombing and invasion fleet.

To verify whether the stories of Earhart’s plane being hidden in a hangar in Aslito were true, Pawlowski said the answers may be found in the archives.

“If the anecdotes and hearsay claims are true regarding Earhart’s presence on Saipan as late as April or May of 1944, it is quite plausible that officers and enlisted types may have taken pictures of Earhart’s plane with their personal cameras before the area was secured and the decision on high was made to destroy it.”

Citing what he called the conspiracy theory lore of Earhart on Saipan, Pawlowski said the Roosevelt administration and the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence dropped a blanket of secrecy on the matter.

“Any photos taken by Naval, Marine or Army combat photographers were confiscated and forwarded to the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence for collection (and most likely destruction),” said Pawlowski.

He also said Admiral Nimitz returned to Pearl Harbor and met personally with Admiral Leahy — personal chief of staff to President Roosevelt and unofficial vice president —President Roosevelt and General MacArthur in August of 1944 at Pearl Harbor.

“The only photos that likely show anything of interest are now in private hands but likely hidden from view much like historic accounts now coming forward from Chammorans [Chamorros] on Saipan or Guam or from aging U.S. military veterans or possibly even former residents and their families living in Japan,” said Pawlowski.

Pawlowski said, given the untimely death of President Roosevelt in 1945, and the attributed comments made by Harry Truman in April 1945 that he was kept in the dark on virtually everything — e.g., The Manhattan atomic bomb project — that was being run by the president and his military staff that effectively ran the country with little oversight from a prying Congress.  

“It is plausible that anything related to Earhart was looked upon as a distraction given the pressing need to win the war in the Pacific. If the famed U.S. Navy cryptographers had ever intercepted a Japanese diplomatic or military message and determined that Earhart was present or had died on Saipan then they likely would have made any search for information a very low priority for action after the war's conclusion,” he said.

He also said that it is known in the open literature that Jackie Cochran, the flier friend of Earhart and wife of Floyd Odlum — American millionaire who helped run Howard Hughes’ business holdings — was tasked by the U.S. Army Generals to immediately enter Japan in uniform just days after the surrender.

“It is also known that she is claimed to have gone through the Japanese military intelligence files looking for unspecified records. She wrote later in her autobiography that she found only press clippings regarding Earhart. If some of the wild rumors are true and the U.S. military intelligence actually located a movie of Amelia ‘confessing’ to being a spy, then it long ago disappeared into the dust bin of history to protect the powerful politicians and military leaders from accusations that they failed Earhart and Noonan,” said Pawlowski.

He also said, “We will likely never know what happened to Earhart and Noonan, but like so many Chammoros, Japanese and Americans who died in the tragedy that was WWII, all their cherished memories will be kept alive lest we forget the past and doom our selves to repeating it.”

For those interested to see a copy of the photo, go to the archives of the National Museum of Naval Aviation http://collections.naval.aviation.museum/emuwebdoncoms/pages/collections/ResultsList.php

Amelia Earhart is seen inspecting fuel containers in this file photo. Contributed photo

Monday, May 27, 2013

Pentagon: US not reestablishing bases in the Philippines



Pentagon: US not reestablishing bases in the Philippines
By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor
avz@mvariety.com
Variety News Staff

EVEN as the U.S. pivots toward Asia, it is not considering reviving its former military bases in the Philippines according to the Pentagon.

Defense Press Officer for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson told Variety, “The United States does not seek to re-establish military bases in the Philippines. We fully respect the Philippine constitution, which restricts conditions for the establishment of foreign military bases and the entry of foreign forces.”

Lt. Col. Wilkinson said that when U.S. forces visit Philippine military bases, they work in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 

“U.S. troops are instructed to behave as guests and fully respect the sovereignty of the Philippines.  We have no intention or desire to change this method of operations,” assured Wilkinson.

Other media reports claim there could be a revival of the former Subic Naval Base and Clark Air Base in the Philippines in the face of the tensions in the Korean peninsula and in the South China Sea.

The Pentagon clarifies the United States is not reopening the bases.

"We appreciate the close support of the Philippines government to allow U.S. ships and aircraft to call in Subic Bay and Clark Field. The Philippines continue to provide logistical service at these converted facilities due to their strategic locations and extensive capacity.  Any U.S. forces present are there temporarily and approved by the government of the Republic of the Philippines,” said Lt. Col. Wilkinson.

She added, “As a Pacific nation, the United States has a national interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, freedom of navigation, and unimpeded lawful commerce in the South China Sea.  We support a collaborative and diplomatic process by all claimants to resolve their disputes.   

The United States opposes the use of coercion, intimidation, threats, or force by any claimant to advance its claims.  We believe all parties should pursue their territorial and maritime claims in accordance with international law, including as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention.”

Lt. Wilkinson also said that the United States supports efforts by the Association of South East Asian Nations and China to make meaningful progress toward finalizing a comprehensive Code of Conduct in order to establish rules of the road and clear procedures for addressing disagreements. 

“The United States continues to pursue a principles-based policy on the South China Sea.  We do not take a position on competing sovereignty claims over land features in the South China Sea,” said Lt. Col. Wilkinson.

Asked for comment regarding talks in Japan to amend Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and change the top law to stipulate that the Self-Defense Forces are a military force, Lt. Col. Wilkinson said, “Collective self-defense is a decision for Japan to make.  The Defense Department welcomes Japan's efforts to assume a larger role on the world stage, including in defense issues.  Japan is one of our closest allies and global partners; our alliance has been the cornerstone of peace and security in the region for more than 60 years."

According to Wikipedia, Subic Naval Base was a major U.S. Navy ship-repair, supply, and rest and recreation facility. Its Navy Exchange had the largest volume of sales of any exchange in the world, and the Naval Supply Depot handled the largest volume of fuel oil of any navy facility in the world.

This naval base became the U.S. Seventh Fleet forward base for repair during the height of the Vietnam War.
Subic base was closed in 1992, a year after Clark Air Base’s closure.

Clark Air Base, named after Maj. Harold M. Clark, of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, was closed in 1991 following the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.

This was a United States military facility from 1903 to 1991.

Northern Marianas faces Pritchard 'option'

BY ALEXIE VILLEGAS ZOTOMAYOR
Associate editor / reporter 
www.mvariety.net
 
THE Northern Marianas pension agency will be bankrupt if the government fails to shore up its funding to meet pension obligations but neither the Retirement Fund nor the CNMI, which is considered a “state,” can file for bankruptcy to seek relief and the commonwealth may just to end up like Pritchard, Alabama which simply stopped paying retirees their monthly pensions.

The CNMI, as a plan sponsor, stands to assume the pension liabilities of the Retirement Fund, which is projected to run out of money on March 1, 2014.

Variety asked some lawyers if the CNMI municipalities, instead of the central government, can file for Chapter 9.

Attorney Michael Dotts said, “You raise an interesting question. Could Rota, Tinian, and Saipan as municipalities of the CNMI file bankruptcy? There is no precedent for each senatorial district doing so and because the debt is centralized with the CNMI government, I don't think each municipality filing bankruptcy would accomplish the discharge of what is owed to the retirees.”

The CNMI, whose current budget is $120 million, needs at least $70 million a year to pay retirees their pensions.

Elsewhere in the U.S., some cities have been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy due to staggering pension obligations.

According to Dotts, “I am sure Rota, Tinian and Saipan could find law firms willing to try if they pay the attorneys up front to file the bankruptcies like what happened when the Fund itself tried filing bankruptcy.”

Last year, the Retirement Fund sought bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, but U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert J. Faris dismissed the petition claiming that the Fund is a governmental unit and is not eligible to file for Chapter 11 petition.

Dotts said states, such as the CNMI, cannot file for bankruptcy because they have the power to raise taxes to pay their debts.

“The unfortunate solution (and I hate to even mention this as I am a taxpayer) is for the CNMI to impose a new tax to pay the retirees once the Fund itself runs out of cash,” said Dotts.

The CNMI could also impose a sales tax or a property tax, he added.

“Even with Article XII [which restricts land ownership to indigenous people] a property tax is possible,” he said.

Another bankruptcy expert in the CNMI, former Superior Court Judge Attorney Timothy Bellas, said the questions raised by Variety require research.

“Your questions are not ones that I or anyone else deals with on a regular basis in the CNMI. As you know, the NMI Retirement Fund recently unsuccessfully tried to file [for bankruptcy petition] and they hired a Boston law firm, who even though they charged over a $1 million in fees, came up with the wrong opinion according to Judge Farris,” said Bellas.

He said these issues “require substantial research and would constitute a legal opinion which I cannot give you without performing such research.”

While Chapter 9, he said, is normally used for such cases, when the bankruptcy code was written there was no provision made for entities such as the CNMI.

“So the CNMI we now know cannot file but whether the municipal governments can is a different question,” he said.

He told Variety that there is at least one case in federal court that defines the status of the Tinian municipality.

“As long as the CNMI municipal governments meet the other requirements they may be able to,” he said.

“Whether the [Retirement Fund] obligation can be apportioned to them, however, is another large question and cannot be accepted without research. However, my inclination would be to guess ‘no.’ Think about it in the personal context. One person who has some money, land and other assets decides that he cannot file bankruptcy because he would lose all of his assets. So he assigns his debt to another person and then that person who has nothing files a BK case and gets rid of the debt. That is not the purpose of the bankruptcy code which is to give people a ‘fresh start’ who have fallen on hard times.”

The case of Pritchard, Alabama is seen as a legal precedent on whether the constitutionally protected promises to the retirees could be reduced.

CNMI Gov. Eloy S. Inos had indicated in an earlier interview that pension cuts is not an option for the government.

In an earlier interview with Variety, bankruptcy expert and Illinois lawyer James E. Spiotto of Chapman and Cutler LLP said that most municipalities will do almost anything to avoid filing a Chapter 9 bankruptcy because of the market stigma.

Variety learned that there are 12 states in the nation that specifically authorize municipal bankruptcies and another 12 states that conditionally authorize such a legal remedy.

Spiotto said governmental bodies generally prefer to resolve their financial emergencies through other means such as receivership, refinancing and other resolution mechanisms.

He said filing for bankruptcy does not provide any additional tax revenue but has additional costs for the bankruptcy process that only increases liquidity problems.

Citing records, Spiotto said there have been 636 Chapter 9 filings since 1937 out of over 80,000 municipalities. He said in 2011, there were over 11,000 Chapter 11 filings.

Spiotto, a University of Chicago Law School alumnus, said if pension obligations are unsustainable and unaffordable, then “adjustments” may be required to ensure retirees will continue to be paid and public services will continue to be provided.

Spiotto said the other options include raising taxes and refinancing of unfunded obligations.

The hallmark of a good resolution, he added, “is a quick effective permanent fix (not a Band-Aid) that assures workers of the payment of their retirement (possibly with some reduction) with dedicated funding of payments and assurance that essential governmental services are provided.”

The Alabama Supreme Court allowed the city of Pritchard to move ahead with its bankruptcy petition at about the same time the Northern Marianas pension fund filed for Chapter 11 in April last year.

Prichard filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection due in part to its failed municipal pension plan. For more information about the city’s pension woes, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/23/business/23prichard.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

From the Philippines to the Marianas: Pottery and early settlements

The pottery from three archaeological sites show similarities in style:  (1) Nagsabaran, northern Philippines; (2) Achugao, Saipan, Mariana Islands; (3) Site 13 at Lapita, New Caledonia.  Contributed photo
Pottery samples from Cagayan, Saipan and Lapita.

By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor
Associate Editor
Marianas Variety
www.mvariety.com
 
THE discovery of similar red-slipped pottery with dentate stamping, among other artifacts from Cagayan, Northern Philippines and the Marianas lends credence to the theory of direct settlement of the Marianas from the Northern Philippines.

 
Dr. Mike T. Carson and his wife Dr. Hsiao-chun Hung, of Australia National University, have been conducting archaeological work on Tinian as they look into early human settlements in the Marianas.

Dr. Hung, who has been studying human settlements in Asia and the Pacific islands, began her work in the northern Philippines as early as 1995 while she was pursuing her master’s degree.

She noted that in the Philippines the pottery dates back to 4,000 years ago.

“Around 4000 years ago, they started using pottery, the same type we found in the Marianas,” said Dr. Hung referring to the northern Philippines sites where they unearthed potsherds, among other artifacts.

Dr. Hung told Variety that she also studied pottery and tools from Japan and Taiwan, but none of these samples are similar to those found in the Marianas.

[She found the Cagayan and Marianas sites similar.—avz]

For Dr. Hung, not only were there similarities in pottery, there were linguistic parallels too.

Dr. Carson explains further. He said they found it interesting how early the Marianas were settled.

By dating the archeological sites, Dr. Carson said they traced the movements of people from Asia to the 
Pacific, beginning with China, then Taiwan, the Philippines, and the Pacific.

Dr. Carson said it was in Taiwan — the first time outside the Asian continent — where they saw a type of pottery with a distinctive style. They also found an archaeological site that indicated people had been living in long-term settlements.

But at archeological sites in the Northern Philippines, specifically in Cagayan, in the Marianas and in the Lapita region, they found more similar pottery styles.

He pointed out that the “shared pottery style doesn’t happen by accident. People are reproducing the same style.”

This was what attracted their attention.

Dr. Carson said that through radiocarbon dating, they determined the Philippine pottery was the oldest at 4,000 years. “In the Marianas, it dates back to about 3,500 years while Lapita in Melanesia, it is slightly later.”

“They have the same styles maintained over hundreds of years,” said Dr. Carson.

In an article published in The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, Dr. Carson, Dr. Hung, Dr. Glenn Summerhayes and Dr. Peter Bellwood stated that the three major techniques of point-impression, rows of circles, and fine-line incision are found in the Philippines, Marianas and earliest Lapita assemblages.

Examples of rare paddle impressions, the archaeologists said, in which vessel exteriors were impressed by using carved paddles, “are extremely few in the Philippines and the Marianas.”

They said none have been found so far in the Lapita region where the paddle-impressed pottery is found in later-settled Lapita areas in New Calendonia.

Dr. Carson told Variety they compared five ceramic attributes between the earliest Philippines, Marianas and Lapita collections: (1) use of red slip; (2) vessel forms; (3) placement of decoration; (4) decorative techniques; (5) artistic motifs.

Dr. Carson said they looked at the decorative system which is critical in making cross-regional comparisons and connections.

Dr. Carson pointed to an earlier study made by Professor Bellwood, professor of Archaeology at the School of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Australian National University in Canberra, in which he said that the earliest pottery in the Philippines has been found in the Batanes islands and in several sites in the Cagayan Valley, in northern Philippines.

He said the predominantly red-slipped pottery appeared approximately 2000-1800 B.C. while the earliest red-slipped pottery in the Marianas dates to around 1500 B.C.

However, red-slipped pottery diminished in the sub-equator site of Lapita where the oldest red-slipped pots were found in Kamgot.

Dr. Carson said the early pots found in the Philippines and the Marianas were both small jars and bowls “often with carinated shoulders.”

However, he said, the difference lies in the Philippine jars having a hollow-ring foot while samples from the Marianas do not.

He said the Lapita collections are more diverse, with intricate dentate-stamped decoration.

Migration out of the Philippines

For Carson and other archaeologists who have conducted studies in the region, they believe that migration began in the Philippines and Indonesia, to the north coast of New Guinea and into Melanesia.

They also believe that there was another migration route going directly to the Marianas.

“That would be entirely over the ocean,” he said.

Dr. Carson said it could be the longest ocean crossing of its time, a voyage encompassing 2,000 km of ocean — not island hopping.

He posed the question: could there be multiple migration routes from Asia to the Pacific?

He also raised the question of the seafaring technology employed by the early settlers of the Marianas, what kind of boats were used.

Dr. Carson said they have yet to excavate a 3,000-year-old canoe.

“Until we have something like that, we can’t really answer that question. But it is important to keep that in mind,” he said.

Dr. Mike T. Carson and wife Dr. Hsiao-chun Hung     
Dr. Mike T. Carson and Dr. Hsiao-chun Hung
Tinian excavations
The Carson couple has been conducting extensive work at a site north of the House of Taga on Tinian which has yielded more than 30,000 potsherds and human remains. 

“The excavation near House of Taga was even more productive than we originally had expected. During the last few weeks, we have been making steady progress with the data-analysis. Dr Hung and I are working on several aspects, so far with encouraging results,” Dr. Carson told Variety.

He said the excavation on Tinian was a great success and he recognized the assistance from the CNMI Historic Preservation Office and the Tinian Mayor’s Office, as well as from volunteers.

Dr. Carson and Dr. Hung were able to expose “the living surface of one of the very first habitation sites in the Mariana Islands, slightly inland from today’s House of Taga.”

“This location was right on the old seashore about 3500 years ago. We found the remains of old house structures, cooking areas, and concentrations of different types of artifacts that help us to reconstruct what people were doing at the site,” he said.

For Dr. Carson, their latest work on Tinian which they concluded in March 2013 gave them a clear picture of what life was like in the Marianas 3,500 years ago “when people lived for the first time on the remote and small islands of the Pacific.”

He said, “At the site just inland of House of Taga the original habitation layer has been remarkably well preserved, plus we were able to uncover a large contiguous area of the best preserved portion. As a result, we now can draw definite conclusions about this important period in Marianas culture history and about humanity’s first contact with the remote Oceanic environment.”

But for Dr. Carson, there is no rush because their work requires thorough analysis of the evidence.
“Dr Hung and I are taking every precaution and exercising as much patience as we can,” said Carson.

Dr. Carson said what drew their attention was the oldest decorated pottery.

“It’s the best opportunity to learn about the technical skills, artistic output, and daily lives of the people who lived at the site,” said Dr. Carson.

He told Variety that the pottery was all locally made with red-clay and mixed with local sands.

They also found lumps of partly-worked clay not yet finished into the final pots.

“The very first people to live here, therefore, knew how to find and manage the raw materials, as well as how to use a complex decorative system of tiny dentate-stamped and circle-stamped motifs,” said Carson.

From the perspective of the Asia Pacific region, Dr. Carson said, “We now are seeing the same decorative system in different regions, and we can trace the trail through archaeological dating.”

Following the so-called “pottery trail,” reveals the routes of people who first settled in the remote islands of the Pacific, according to Dr. Carson.

He said, “According to the dating, the oldest settlement in the Remote Oceanic islands was in the 
Marianas, about 3500 years ago, now confirmed at three sites on Guam, two on Tinian, and another three on Saipan.”

He added that among these sites, the deep layer inland of House of Taga has provided the most abundant material evidence and all in excellent context.

“The site of course contains much more than just pottery. We are busy examining the animal bones, shellfish remains, stone and shell tools, and many shell ornaments. We are even looking at artifacts and samples of the sediments under a microscope, where we can identify starches and other traces of the plant-foods that people ate at the site. Additionally, all of this information can be coordinated with the spatial lay-out of the ancient house structures at the site,” he said.

DNA study
Asked if they intend to conduct a mitochondrial DNA study of the human skeletons found on Tinian, Dr. Hung told Variety that they might just do that.

“If we can find early human skeletons, we can do isotope studies or DNA analysis,” she said.

The couple recently revealed to Variety that one of the bones uncovered in five burial sites north of the House of Taga was dated at 700 years old, two hundred years before Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition.

Dr. Carson said they look forward to completing the dating of the bones found and they are excited about coming back to continue their work on the early human settlements in the region.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Northern Marianas indengeous oppose military activities on Pagan island

BY ALEXIE VILLEGAS ZOTOMAYOR
Associate editor / reporter 
Marianas Variety 
Saipan, CNMI, USA 
www.mvariety.com
 
OVER what they consider potential irreparable harm to the environment and the people, the indigenous people of the islands through the Northern Marianas Descent Corporation passed a resolution opposing the  U.S. military proposal to develop live-fire ranges and training areas on Pagan island.

The resolution, signed by NMD Corp. officers — Ana S. Teregeyo, president; Karl T. Reyes, vice president; Daniel O. Quitugua, secretary; and Rose Taman Ada-Hocog, treasurer —on May 10, “unequivocally oppose[s] and unanimously disapprove[s] the proposed U.S. military development and tactical exercise activities on our culturally, historically, and environmentally rich, serene and irreplaceable homeland island of Pagan unlike any other on earth.”

For the NMD’s, the proposed military development will “irreparably” impact and devastate the fragile environmental, historic, cultural and human resources not only of Pagan “but of the entire Northern Mariana Island archipelago.”

They also believe that the proposed military development undermines and violates provisions of Article I, Section 105 and Article VIII, Sections 805 and 806 of the Covenant.

They recommend that the U.S. military “steadfastly take into consideration and unequivocally, unmistakably, unambiguously, and unwaveringly respect and honor the intent and spirit of the said articles and sections of the Covenant as mutually agreed to by the U.S. government and the CNMI government.”

The NMD’s also highlighted that an integral and requisite element of the public scoping process for any proposed impact of and by the U.S. military’s actions is “unconditional compliance” with the Section 106 process of the National Historic and Preservation Act.

For the NMD’s, the U.S. military’s strict adherence to the Section 106 process means the U.S. military “must unequivocally comply to prevent potential adverse effects on historic properties such as archeological sites, historic buildings and structures, and traditional cultural properties considered sacred to the heritage and traditions of indigenous Chamorros and Carolinians.”

In opposing the proposal by the U.S. military to use Pagan for joint military exercises, the NMD’s pointed out that the military has historically conducted “covert operations” — keeping secret what they use or plan to use that may be harmful to the environment and the people.

They said the military left behind storage facilities that held tons of polychlorinated byphenyls.

In early 2000, Variety reported that several sites near the old cemetery in Tanapag had between 1 ppm and 2 ppm of PCBs. The Army Corps of Engineers and contractor Environmental Chemical Corp. subsequently excavated the sites and started the cleanup.

For the NMDs, these leftover PCB materials and fuel, have over the decades caused contamination on the island.

They also cited unexploded ordnance and ammunition that have posed a danger to residents and the environment.

Former House Speaker Pedro R. Deleon Guerrero, in his personal opinion and as a person of Northern Marianas descent himself, supports the NMD Corporation resolution.

“I am very much concerned about those things,” he said referring to the dangers cited by the NMD resolution.

As the NMDs are wary that Pagan or Tinian may repeat the incidents in Puerto Rico and in Hawaii, they would like to consider reserving the islands for future generations of people of Northern Marianas descent.

Deleon Guerrero, referring to the resolution, cited the incidents on Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island and the Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii’s Big Island and Schofield ranges on Oahu.

He recalled that Puerto Ricans and residents of Vieques Island called for the immediate cessation of bombing.

Deleon Guerrero also pointed out “that the military is known to keep secrets, not really being truthful about the types of weaponry and other things that may be harmful to the immediate environment and the people.”
Deleon Guerrero says “The military should be honest.”

He, along with the NMDs, decried how the military proposal for Pagan would add more restrictions including those on “miles and miles of air space that may be detrimental to the economic development of the island.”

As to Tinian, Deleon Guerrero said the people back in the 1970s were promised a military economy.

“Where is that military economy? For the longest time, they have not contributed to the economy,” he said.

Deleon Guerrero also emphasized the need to think about the needs of the islands in terms of supporting future generations.

“For these reasons, I am not in favor until the military can prove otherwise,” said Deleon Guerrero.

The U.S. military is proposing combined-level training alternatives on Pagan and intends to use the entire island with a full spectrum of weapons and joint-training activities.

Of the 14 CNMI islands, the U.S. military sees the combination of Pagan and Tinian as meeting the 42 unfilled training requirements.

Based on a military assessment, development of combined-level ranges and training areas on Pagan is feasible.

The U.S. military also hopes to use Pagan’s many beaches to support amphibious-operations training.

They also see that the airspace surrounding Pagan is unencumbered by flight restrictions.

It also meets the mobility-corridors criterion.

With no population, Pagan is seen capable of supporting naval-gunfire training and aviation-ordnance-delivery training.

Early 20th century photos of Micronesians on display



(CNMI Judiciary) — The Pacific Collection photo exhibit, courtesy of the CNMI Museum of History and Culture, is now on display in the Hillblom Library at the judiciary’s Guma’ Hustisia-Iimwal Aweewe-House of Justice in Susupe.


The display features 36 pictures capturing the cultural life of indigenous Micronesians during the period of 1914-1927.

Taken by Japanese photographers, the portraits of fishermen at their tasks, dancers in action, and more are believed to have been intended for Japanese publications of the time. The collection came into the museum’s possession as a result of a donation at the beginning of this century and is available for public viewing during normal business hours of the court facilities.

For more information, call 1-670-236-9716.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Archaeologist uncovers 700-year-old bone

Archaeologist uncovers 700-year-old bone
By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor
Associate Editor / Reporter
Marianas Variety
www.mvariety.com


Dr. Mike Carson holds a piece of pottery excavated north of the House of Taga on Tinian.

AN excavation north of Tinian’s House of Taga has turned up a bone approximately 700 years old or approximately 200 years before Magellan’s expedition.


Australia-based archaeologists Dr. Mike T. Carson and wife Dr. Hsiao-chun Hung, who earlier this year uncovered five ancient human burials north of the House of Taga, confirmed to Variety that a tooth from among the bones they uncovered at the site was 700 years old based on radiocarbon dating.


“One tooth provided a radiocarbon date of about AD 1300, plus or minus some decades. That’s congruent with our possible date-range, although it’s closer to the early-end than we originally thought.

That means the child was buried at the site prior to Spanish contact, definitely within the same time-range when people were building latte-sets in the vicinity,” said Dr. Carson.

The tooth was associated with a set of skeletal remains of a 7- to 8-year-old child, among remains of other individuals found by the Carson couple on Tinian.

Dr. Carson said, “For the human burials at the site, we had permission for the radiocarbon dating of one tooth, from the one nearly-complete burial of a child.”

Dr. Carson and Dr. Hung worked with Taiwanese anthropologist Dr. Hsiuman Lin of the Taiwan National Museum of Prehistory on this latest set of human remains.

For the skeletal remains they found in 2011, Dr. Carson and Dr. Hung worked with Japanese anthropologist 
Dr Hirofumi Matsumura of Saporro Medical University.

Dr. Carson explained that the layer with the burial-features was near the present-day surface.

“It was associated with the latte-building era. That’s much more recent than our primary focus on the deeper habitation layer, but it’s very important for understanding more recent centuries,” said Dr. Carson.

He said that, according to pottery-type association, this layer could be dated broadly in a range of AD 1000 through 1700.

“A radiocarbon date from the base of the layer places it about AD 1200 at its beginning, although people continued living there for at least a few centuries and presumably all the way through Spanish contact and into the late 1600s,” said Dr. Carson.

Dr. Carson and Dr. Hung unearthed remains of six individuals in the area where Fr. Marcian Pellett found a deeply buried ancient archaeological site in the 1950s that revealed finely decorated pottery and the earliest produced in the Marianas.


Following Fr. Pellett’s lead, Dr. Carson and Dr. Hung began their study on the earliest human habitation in the Marianas and they uncovered shards of pottery and human bones in 2011.

The same area north of the House of Taga yielded more artifacts and bones when Dr. Carson and Dr. Hung returned early this year to conduct further studies.

As to the other skeletal remains unearthed early this year, Dr. Carson said, “The other burial remains all were from the same stratigraphic layer, so these individuals probably all were buried at the site within a few centuries of each other. We can begin to understand the site within this context, at least for this later period.”

He also said that in the lower deposits, no burial remains were found.

“We found no evidence of burials at the site prior to AD 1000. However, the site contains very important information about these earlier time periods, as early as 1500-1300 BC. We continue to concentrate on the data-analysis of these earliest periods, and we can look forward to more information soon,” he said.

Dr. Carson and Dr. Hung expressed their gratitude to the Tinian Mayor’s Office and the CNMI Historic Preservation Office for the assistance they received during the time they were on Tinian conducting their studies.

Dr. Carson said they hope to return to Tinian and continue their work pending a request for funding.

Dr. Carson’s and Dr. Hung’s previous trips to Tinian were funded by the Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation and the Australia Research Council

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IRS refunds FICA contributions

IRS refunds FICA contributions

From the Variety archives: More Asians than Pacific islanders in CNMI



CNMI's 2010 census: More Asians than Pacific islanders
Written by By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor - avz@mvariety.com - Variety News Staff

THERE are more residents of Asian descent than Pacific Islanders according to the 2010 CNMI Demographic Profile Summary File, Census of Population and Housing.

Of the 53,883 total population registered during the 2010 Census, 18,800 were Pacific Islanders while Asians numbered 26,908.

The report also showed that there were 55 African Americans, 54 Hispanic/Latinos, 1,117 Caucasians, 117 belonging to other ethnic groups, and 6,932 from two or more ethnic origins.

Of the 18,800 in total Pacific Islanders or Native Hawaiians residing in the Northern Marianas as of 2010, there were 2,461, Carolinians; 12,902, Chamorros 1,242, Chuukese 37, Kosraean 68, Marshallese 1,169, Palauan 425, Pohnpeian 228, Yapese and 268 Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders.

Meanwhile, Filipinos were the majority among Asians with a total population of 19,017.

They were followed by Chinese nationals (excluding Taiwanese), 3,659; Koreans, 2,253; Japanese, 795; Bangladeshis, 501; Thais, 266; Nepalese, 227; other Asians, 190.

As to their distributions in the islands, of the 18,800 Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, 16,210 resided on Saipan; 1,222 on Tinian; and 1,368 on Rota.

Of the 16,210 Pacific Islanders or Native Hawaiians residing on Saipan, the majority or 5,716 lived in District 1; 3,718 in District 3; 3,677 in District 5; 1,626 in District 2; and 1,473 in District 4.

Carolinians, on the other hand, were mostly concentrated in District 3 where 846 of the total 2,461 registered in the 2010 Census lived; 674, District 1; 201, District 2; 224, District 4; and 501, District 5.

In 2010, there were 12,902 Chamorros in the CNMI: 10,411 on Saipan; 1,183 on Tinian and 1,308 on Rota.

On Saipan, a majority of the Chamorros or 3,737 resided in District 1; 1,011, District 2; 1,996, District 3; 973, District 4; and 2,694, District 5.

Most of the Chuukese in the CNMI at the time of the census were living on Saipan, 1,225 out of the total 1,242.

A Majority of them lived in District 1 (467) and District 3 (432).
1,128 of the 1,169 total Palauans in the CNMI in 2010 lived on Saipan, with a majority of them or 444 in District 1.

As for Asian residents, Filipinos comprised 70.67 percent of the total Asian population in 2010 and 35.29 percent of the total CNMI population.

There were 19,017 Filipinos in the CNMI in 2010, 17,285 were on Saipan; 950 on Tinian; and 782 on Rota.
5,151 or 29.80 percent of the total Filipinos on Saipan resided in District 1; 2,863 or 16.56 percent, District 2; 6,758 or 39.09 percent, District 3; 1,047 or 6.05 percent, District 4 and 1,466 or 8.48 percent, District 5.