Pacific Mini Games Countdown

The Pacific Mini Games will be hosting nine sports, Athletics, Badminton, Baseball, Beach Volleyball, Golf, Tennis, Triathlon, Va’a and Weightlifting. Saipan, Tinian and Rota will host the various competitions at different sporting venues.  Papua New Guinea will be participating in five - Athletics, Golf, Tennis, Va’a and Weightlifting. Beach Volleyball and Triathlon were not endorsed due to non-compliance of set requirements. Baseball and Badminton National Federation opted not to participate in the Pacific Mini Games due to their teams’ readiness.

Team PNG Departs For Pacific Mini Games

Concerns due to COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the General Management Team to opt against a formal farewell reception.

The team is taking a contingent of 119 made up of 85 athletes and 34 officials including the General Management Team.

Team PNG will take part in five sports from the nine on offer and are expected to perform very strongly at this event.

Team Athletics makes up the bulk of the contingent with 37 athletes and seven team officials, followed by Va’a with 27 athletes and four team officials.

Wrong body cremated on Saipan

Jorge Gino Bernados' body was initially to be repatriated to the Philippines at the request of his family, but was instead wrongly cremated and sent to another family in Hawaii.

The mistake was only discovered during the supposed public viewing of Mr Bernados' remains.

Mr Bernados' ashes have since been retrieved from Hawaii and are being taken to the Philippines by his brother.

The body mistaken for Mr Bernados has also now been cremated and rightfully sent to his family in Hawaii.

Russian arrested in CNMI over military equipment scheme

Court documents showed Dmitrii Makarenko was arrested in Saipan in December and will be brought to the US to be tried.

In 2017, Dmitrii Makarenko was charged in Florida with conspiring and attempting to export defense articles without a license and money laundering.

Florida's Southern District Court issued a warrant for his arrest on the same day.

Late last month, Mr Makarenko was arrested, and he appeared in the US District Court for the Northern Marianas on December 31.

Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted a motion to transfer him to Florida.

CNMI gets over US$25m typhoon assistance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has given just over $20 million in assistance to households on the island.

In addition the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved nearly $5.9 million in low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, and businesses.

The bulk of the federal funding has gone on household assistance, covering rents and repairs.

It has also provided money for items such as uninsured damage to an essential vehicle, disaster-related moving and storage expenses, and some medical and dental costs.

CNMI casino shut for three weeks by typhoon

The CNMI's first operational casino was forced to close down on Friday amid widespread visitor cancellations.

Since Soudelor battered Saipan on August 2nd, more than 9,000 tourists have cancelled their trips to the CNMI, resulting in lost revenue of US$24 million dollars.

While Tinian was not that badly affected its struggles result from the devastation on neighbouring Saipan, the territory's international air hub.

Catastrophe in Northern Marianas

As of Tuesday, Saipan still had no power. Gasoline stations were rationing their supplies if they still had some left.

Debris was all over the island, and some roads remained blocked by fallen trees or power poles — or both. All hotels, big or small, were fully booked but were already running out of some key supplies.

Some establishments were running on generators but they had to scale down their operations to save on fuel.

Variety was told that it may take weeks — or months — before the Commonwealth Utilities Corp (CUC) can fully restore its system.

Severe typhoon damage on CNMI's Saipan

Our correspondent, Mark Rabago, says hardly a building has been spared and the vegetation is battered.

The storm had sustained winds of 170 kilometres per hour when it hit Saipan but weather officials say they could reach 266 kilometres an hour by Wednesday.

Mr Rabago says the damage is unbelievable.

"It's utter devastation. All the trees are bent like tooth picks. Light material houses with thin roofs and light materials, they're gone. Everybody is in shock right now. This is the worst typhoon I have experienced in my 15 years living here on Saipan."