Samoan News, Tala Samoa
Criticism of commercialisation of Samoa tattoos
A teacher of the Samoan culture at the American Samoa Community College is concerned about the commercialisation of the Samoan art of tattooing.
Teleiai Christian Ausage says the tatau or measina is a mark of service or tautua and in the old days only children of chiefs would have a tattoo.
He says there are certain cultural tasks that a person with a tattoo is expected to perform, but now one particular tattoo artist is using the ancient art form for commercial benefit.
"So the question is who has the authority and the ownership of this measina? As of now, he's putting this on everyone even people that are non-Samoans. So I am a little bit of afraid of this, because we are putting our own Samoan measina to other racial ethnicity, which is non-Samoan."
Teleiai has written a book about the tatau which is expected to be released in April.
After talks Samoa Rugby and IRB on same page
The Samoa Rugby Union has renewed its commitment to implement governance, management and financial reforms, following talks with the sport's governing body, World Rugby.
The talks in Apia between union officials and a World Rugby delegation followed initial discussions between the SRU Chairman and Samoa Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, and World Rugby Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, in Europe in December.
A committee made up of SRU, World Rugby and independent representatives, will oversee the reforms, which were recommended by an independent KPMG report, commissioned by the SRU.
A draft discussion protocol tabled by the Pacific Island Players' Association is also being considered by the Union, following the dispute between the Union and Manu Samoa players which came to a head on the end of year tour.
World Rugby's Head of Development and International Relations, David Carrigy, says the meetings were highly constructive and they're pleased with the SRU's full commitment to reform.
Tuilaepa says the Samoa Union appreciates the support from World Rugby and says the governance, management and accountability structures of the Union must be on par with the rest of the world if Samoa is to capitalise on its large natural rugby talent pool.
Marine Genocide as Chinese Fishing Armadas threaten to destroy Pacific fishing stocks
A political tsunami is building in the South Pacific over the growing presence of Chinese fishing boats.
More than 1300 heavily subsidised Chinese boats are now licensed in the region with plans for a further 300 this year.
Fishing with long-lines, many are targeting albacore tuna with some set to take over the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the Cook Islands and Samoa.
"I call it marine genocide, something needs to be done about it soon," Samoa fish exporter and expatriate New Zealander John Luff said.
Alarm over the expanded Chinese fleet was part of the logic for New Zealand appointing former Labour MP Shane Jones as an ambassador to the region, but Pacific countries appear to be indifferent to Wellington's warnings.
In Rarotonga politicians are actively working to exclude New Zealand fishing operations, preferring the Chinese.
Sources were shocked even though a year ago diplomatic dispatches were pointing to China's openly declared plan to increase its deep-water fishing fleet to more than 2300 boats.
Luff said they have been told two long-liners were about to arrive in Samoa's 129,000 square-kilometre EEZ, the Pacific's smallest. They've also been told they will be allowed to operate inside the smaller territorial waters.
"It is outrageous for this approval to get done," he said.
"They won't tell us what flag it is - we are assuming it is China."
Another 20 boats have also been licensed by regional authorities and Samoa, but Luff said officials told him they would only let one or two in at a time.
"The whole South Pacific fishery is in trouble and yet these guys are inviting them in," he said.
Luff said that with such a small EEZ, no matter where the newcomers fished, they would wipe out the domestic fishery.
"The South Pacific stock is getting hammered and if nothing is done soon, it will be beyond recovery," he said.
Pacific nations were facing powerful nations and were "reluctant to upset them for fear of losing their candy".
One of the big problems with the Chinese boats is that they are heavily subsidised by Beijing, meaning they can take fish long after it has become uneconomic for other boats.
A large tuna fishery exists in the northern Cooks EEZ but Rarotonga politicians have given licenses to a large number of Chinese boats, and last week approved South Korean purse-seine, or net fishing, boats, to take tuna.
The Cook Island's celebrates 50 years of self-government from New Zealand this year. Its Labour Party fisheries spokesman Reno Tirikatene said giving away Pacific fisheries resources to unproven Chinese companies was bizarre.
"Kiwis are chasing toothfish pirates in Antarctic whilst the Cooks are hopping on the Oriental Express of seafood fraud," he said.
"More galling is the fact Kiwi taxpayers, pay for it."
Part of that taxpayer money is in the form of a New Zealand Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into the granting of tuna licenses being carried out on behalf of Cook Island Police. Neither party would comment.
Charges of corruption among politicians and civil servants are under the spotlight and in a formal submission made by interests groups and non-government organisations to the Marine Stewardship Council, concern was expressed at what China was doing and questions asked over the SFO's "ongoing investigation into … corruption allegations."
The Samoa National Orchestra String Ensemble had their second performance at the TATTE Convention Centre during the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture’s (M.E.S.C) Annual Conference last month.
The performance was in collaboration with the two-day conference exploring the theme “Education for Sustainable Development”. This performance featured a programme of hymns and classical music.
The String Ensemble is part of the Samoa National Orchestra who is striving to improve classical music in the region and strengthen skills on instruments such as the clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola and cello.
This year, the String Ensemble aims to continue these intimate performances and increase their repertoire, as does the Orchestra.
Some of the Orchestra performances this year will include presentations and visits to local schools in the hope of increasing awareness and interest in a wider variety of musical styles and instruments in Samoa.
This move is in conjunction with the Samoa National Orchestra Academy which commenced late last year. The Academy is a training program for school students who have shown an aptitude for music studies and wish to learn a stringed instrument while improving their theoretical knowledge.
Members of the String Ensemble include:
TJ Naioti, Tipazo Aukusitino, Ben Solomona, Enoch Fruean, Atonio Savalio, Beatrice Carey (Australian Volunteer for International Development)
Samoan MP guilty of forgery
The Supreme Court in Samoa has found the Associate Minister for Trade and Commerce, Muagututagata Peter Ah Him, guilty of two charges of forgery.
The ruling party MP was acquitted of a third charge of forgery and theft.
Muagututagata had stood trial in November after a Chinese company in which he holds a 10 percent share filed a complaint to the police.
The company, Grand Ocean Limited, had accused the Associate Minister of forging an invoice to clear two shipping containers and inventing 30 thousand US dollars of costs.
He is to be sentenced on the 23rd of February.
Meanwhile on a separate case, the charge of attempted rape against the suspended editor of the government newspaper Savali, has been withdrawn before the chief justice, Patu Falefatu Sapolu.
It comes after the prosecution has asked for the original charge to be substituted with two counts of indecent assault against the accused, Tupuola Terry Tavita.
The new charges will be heard for mention in the district court today.
Samoa talo exports more than triple
Talo exports from Samoa to New Zealand have more than tripled, increasing from four to fifteen containers a month.
The rise in exports is being credited as a result of the Samoa Manufacturers and Exporters, or SAME, trade show in Auckland in November last year.
The president of SAME, Tagaloa Eddie Wilson, says figures on export earnings from 2013 were at 1 point 4 million US dollars, and has risen to about 4 million dollars at the end of last year.
Tagaloa says Australia has given the green light for new varieties of talo from Samoa to be exported, and they are expected to be on showcase at a trade show in Sydney in March.
Australian authorities however are requiring a scientific clearance to confirm the blight fungus that devastated the old talo variety, is no longer present.
Japan against protecting local tuna supplies from overfishing
WATCH Pacific island countries enforce their own measures against overfishing of local tuna fishery following the dramatic failure by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to agree to a reduction in fishing efforts at its annual negotiation sessions in Samoa last December.
Already the eight island countries that are members of the powerful Pacific sub-regional grouping of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) comprising the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu are threatening to enforce reductions in fishing efforts in their own waters.
Especially worrying for PNA member countries is the fast declining stock of the much sought after Bigeye tuna, in high demand for the world’s sashimi (raw fish) market. Scientists are warning that Bigeye stock is at 16 per cent of its historic population, and PNA members, teaming up with their nine other Pacific island neighbours that together are members of the Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency had wanted the WCPFC to reign in overfishing in the four high sea pockets it manages in the Pacific Ocean.
However, five days of negotiations in Apia’s sprawling but modern convention centre in Faleata, a suburb of Samoa’s capital, produced zero consensus on reducing fishing efforts on bigeye in the high seas. Foreign countries that fish in the Pacific are referred to as Distance Water Fishing Nations (DWFN), and one of them, Japan was identified as the country that shot down the PNA and FFA proposal.
“Once again the interests of the small Pacific Island nations have been railroaded at this high level meeting raising questions of the ability of the commission to address the overfished stocks and put a limit on stocks that are nearing overfishing,” a disappointed CEO of the PNA Office Dr Transform Aqorau said at the end of the failed WCPFC negotiations in Samoa. “The PNA will regroup and revise its strategy to work outside the ambit of WCPFC and use the existing commercial arrangements to address overfishing in our waters.”
By Lanuola Tupua, Photos by Tuifao Tumua NUS
Close to a hundred National University of Samoa students have been awarded scholarships to study in overseas universities this year.
They were congratulated at a ceremony held at the University yesterday.
A Prayer Service was conducted by Rev. Siaosi Salesulu who gave the students words of encouragement, telling them that they were now young Samoan Ambassadors and as such, “you should always stick with God."
“Don’t let abuse and praise get to you,” he advised, reminding “it is the prayers of Samoa that you walk with faith and in the end you shall find success."
In his Keynote Address, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegoi, who is also the Chairman of the Scholarship and Training Committee, encouraged the scholars to use the opportunities that are being made available to them wisely.
He reminded them that “you have an obligation to return to Samoa after your studies to serve and apply your newly-acquired knowledge” to benefit your country.
He advised: “Grab the opportunity with both hands and make the most of it.
“As sons and daughters of Samoa, and as recipients of scholarships overseas, go with the thought of how you can help pave the way forward for the development of your country, and what you can contribute when you return.
“Following the completion of your studies you are expected to return to serve and use your newly acquired knowledge for the betterment of the country.”
Tuilaepa also reminded the students that many scholars had been returned home before completion of their scholarships.
“Many have brought back and no more scholarships will be wasted on them,” recalled Tuilaepa.
He said: “They were brought back because they caused trouble, they liked drinking and clubbing, and they ended up in fights, especially those going to Fiji.”
He then acknowledged the generous assistance of Samoa’s perennial partners whose support was vitally invaluable in Samoa’s struggle as a developing nation.
It’s understood that 40 scholars are sponsored by the Australian government, and 53 are sponsored by the New Zealand government.
Seven are sponsored by the government of Samoa.
Both the Acting High Commissioners of New Zealand and Australia, Ms Sophie Vickers and Ms Rosemary McKay respectively, spoke at the ceremony. They offered their congratulations and wished the scholars well also.
They assured them that their countries’ investment in their academic studies were vitally important to the development of Samoa as an Independent Nation.
This year also marks the first three-year trial programme of a scheme aimed at addressing the shortages in the workforce in Education and Health.
Charged Samoa editor suspended
The Samoa government newspaper editor, Tupuola Terry Tavita, is reported to have been suspended effective this week to await the outcome of a police investigation and his court case.
A reliable government source says the Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has called a meeting with the staff of the Savali newspaper and the press secretariat, in which he addressed the matter and made known his decision to suspend the editor.
The editor is charged with one count of attempting to rape a journalism student during a trip to the village of A'ufaga on Aleipata in December to report on a cultural event.
The prime minister has assigned senior staff to take charge while Tupuola Terry Tavita is suspended.
He is due to appear in court on January 19th.
Ex Samoan Cabinet Minister seeks dismissal of criminal charges
Former Samoa cabinet minister, Muagututagata Peter Ah Him, is seeking the dismissal of criminal charges without conviction.
Muagututagata, who resigned from parliament suddenly last week, was found guilty last month on two charges of forgery, following a complaint by the Chinese company in which he is a shareholder.
He was in court today for a pre-sentencing hearing.
His lawyer has called for the charges to be dismissed, a probation report suggested a substantial fine and the prosecution is seeking a substantial jail term.
American Samoa's Representative continues previous Representative's position on citizenship issue
WASHINGTON (Samoa News) — Plaintiffs and their attorneys in the citizenship lawsuit before the federal appeals court in Washington D.C. maintain that U.S. citizenship is a “fundamental right, not a congressional privilege” as argued by the defendants, who include the U.S. State Department and the Secretary of State.
But American Samoa Congresswoman Aumua Amata said that while the plaintiffs have the right to their suit, she believes that the citizenship issue “should be decided first by our people” and then presented to Washington. This was also the stand of her predecessor, former Congressman Faleomavaega Eni.
Oral arguments were made last week before a panel of three judges at the federal appeals court, on the citizenship lawsuit filed by eight U.S. nationals led by local resident Leneuoti Tuaua. The plaintiffs also include Los Angeles-based Samoan Federation of America, a non-profit organization.
Amata, along with the American Samoa government, are intervenors in the appeal process in support of the defendants.
Attending the oral arguments hearing were Tuaua, along with local attorney and co-counsel for the plaintiffs Charles Alailima, and representatives of the Samoan organization, including its president Loa Pele Faletogo.
Alailima said “upon signing the Deeds of Cession, American Samoa’s leaders thought the people of American Samoa would be recognized as U.S. citizens, even as they believed in the importance of protecting American Samoa’s land and culture.”
Samoa Rugby Union CEO and Head of HPU resign
Fred Amoa said his resignation was handed in yesterday but insisted it was a coincidence the head of the Union's High Performance Unit, Tuala Mathew Vaea, was also leaving.
A dispute between the SRU and Manu Samoa players also remains unresolved, after the team threatened to boycott a test against England in November.
But Fred Amoa said that did not influence his decision to step down, and that he simply wanted a change and to return to his work as a lawyer.
"Just personal reasons. I think it's time somebody else will take over. I've had my turn, it's time for somebody else," he said.
"I'm pretty sure someone will be recruited by the Samoa Rugby Union to carry on the work and organise and prepare the team for the All Blacks match [in the] middle of the year and also the Rugby World Cup."
A team from the New Zealand Rugby Union will be in Samoa next week to check on preparations for the July test between the All Blacks and Manu Samoa at Apia Park.
Chinese laborers flown in to build Apia Park.
Dozens of Chinese labourers have been flown into Samoa to spend all day in the heat, every day, getting once ramshackle Apia Park fit for an All Black test later this year.
While a Manu Samoa vs All Blacks rugby test on July 8 is an emotional high-point for the Polynesian nation, like much else in the country it's being paid for with Chinese aid money.
The Samoa Observer reported that a multi-million dollar facelift is being carried out by Beijing state-owned Shanghai Construction Company.
It has flown 100 Chinese workers and hired 40 locals in what project official Hong Liang Da says is a race against time.
"The workers had to sacrifice their holidays to make sure our work is on schedule," he said.
"The rainy season at the end of last year meant the workers had to do inside work." Hong said it was only on the Christmas Day and New Year's Day they did not work.
"We came back to work after those days," he told the Samoa Observer.
"We work so that we don't fall behind schedule."
The men have to work from 6.30 am to 6pm but if it gets too hot they are allowed a two-hour break in the afternoon.
Renovation is underway on the grandstands along with a new roof, replacing seats, a satellite, scoreboard and replacing the sound system.
Hong would not say what it was costing.
Shanghai Construction has an awkward reputation around the Pacific and is known for glitzy buildings, such as apartments in Suva and a court house in Rarotonga, that need expensive maintenance shortly after they are opened.
They built a lavish swimming and sports complex for the South Pacific Games in 2007. Samoa has sought New Zealand aid since in a bid to maintain them.
Samoa has a colonial history of using Chinese labour.
Under German rule between 1900 and 1914, Samoans would not work on plantations so Berlin allowed for the importation of around 6000 "coolies" from Guangzhou.
After the New Zealand occupation in 1914 many were forcibly repatriated but hundreds with Samoan families remained.
In 1931 the New Zealand Parliament passed a law forbidding Chinese men from having sexual relations with Samoan women.
Several couples were prosecuted but the fact that around 30,000 Samoans today claim part Chinese heritage suggests New Zealand law was honoured more in the breach than the fact.
In Samoa, 70% of students fail national maths exam.
Results for Year 13 show 70 percent of students failed in the Samoa Secondary Leaving Certificate national mathematics exam.
The CEO of the Ministry of Education, Matafeo Tanielu Aiafi, has rejected a call by parents for the marks to be changed.
He says the marking system did away with scaling last year and reintroduced the old marking system to allow teachers to find and fix students' weaknesses including in the area of maths.
But a lawyer and parent, Pa'u Tafaogalupe Mulitalo, says the only solution to the controversial exam results is to take the issue further legally.
He says other parents are supporting the move.
Samoa airline revival mooted
Tu'uu says this follows concerns raised by many of the travelling public over delay of international flights, alleging this was the result of pilots working far too many hours.
He has told parliament Virgin Samoa and Air New Zealand have been seen as more friendly to each other rather than competing.
The Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, says the joint venture deal between Polynesian Airlines and Virgin Australia will be reviewed this year.
He says the government has a long-term vision for the development of tourism with a plan to upgrade Faleolo International Airport.
This, he says, will open up to more competition with other big airlines.
Gov. Moliga resubmits bill to limit ability of Businesses to sponsor foreigners
American Samoa's governor, Lolo Moliga, is resubmitting to the Fono a bill which would limit the ability of businesses to sponsor foreigners.
The bill was approved by the House in the last special session but the Senate did not act on it.
The bill would allow only corporations certified by the Attorney General to sponsor foreigners aliens.
Under it, corporations must provide proof of financial responsibility, proof of timely payment of local taxes, fees and other government charges, an established business plan and proof of good corporate citizenship.
Governor Lolo is concerned that under existing law, an American Samoa corporation may be formed and after the articles of incorporation are approved becomes wholly owned and operated by a foreign national lawfully residing in the territory.
That corporation could then sponsor its owner/operator and any other foreigners.
Suspended Samoa newspaper editor accused of breaching bail
The police in Samoa are looking into an alleged breach of bail conditions by the suspended government newspaper editor, Tupuola Terry Tavita.
It comes after the adopted father of the complainant wrote to the Prime Minister and the Attorney General asking for help, after friends and family members of the editor approached the victim and her family to withdraw the complaint.
The police say one of the bail conditions is for the accused not to approach the victim.
However, the family of the victim wrote that they have been approached four times, and said that they were told the Prime Minister and Attonery General were behind the efforts to withdraw the case.
Neither could be contacted for comment.
American Samoa delegate sworn in to US Congress
Aumua Amata Radewagen has been sworn in as American Samoa's delegate to the US Congress.
She took two oaths of office, one with colleagues on the House floor and earlier a ceremonial swearing-in by House Speaker John Boehner in his Office.
Aumua who is the first woman to hold American Samoa's seat in Congress said she was elated.
"It's a very humbling experience, I am just in awe by everything and just to be here at the tip of the leadership in the United States. I thank God and I thank the people of American Samoa for giving me this opportunity to serve them."
Aumua replaces long time delegate for American Samoa Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin who served 13 terms.
She is expected in the terriotry this weekend to meet with the Governor and Fono leaders to discuss issues affecting American Samoa they want her to focus on.
She will also give a report on her first week in office.
American Samoa flu outbreak continues
An influenza outbreak in American Samoa is showing no signs of abating with hospitals and health centres continuing to be inundated with cases.
Department of Health epidemiologist, Scott Anesi, says authorities are seeing a rapid increase in the number of people presenting with flu-like symptoms including fever, sore throat, body aches and a running nose.
Mr Anesi says the department saw 305 cases in the week ending December 21st and that rose to 400 people the following week.
The LBJ Hospital has been crowded with flu patients and people have been waiting for up to three hours to be seen.
Multiple offender sentenced in American Samoa
An American Samoan man who went on a robbery spree robbing several busineses and homes, including the home of a church minister, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Joseph Iakopo is acccused of fourteen burglaries, which occured over several weeks in early 2013.
Court documents say the robberies covered about six villages on the main island of Tutuila.
According to court documents, the defendant stole more than $3,000 from a church safe, which was at the home of a church minister, and more than $2,000 worth of merchandise from stores, two restaurants and private homes.
Samoa News reports that Iakopo faced 34 charges, ranging from first and second degree burglary, attempted burglary, stealing, first degree assault and property damage.
Iakopo appeared last Friday in court for sentencing where the defence sought leniency, but the prosecutor argued Iakopo was a career criminal who had not learned his lesson from an earlier conviction.
The court agreed and sentenced Iakopo to 16 years in prison.
Miss Samoa wins the Ms. South Pacific 2014
The 20-year-old Law and Music University student from New Zealand also scooped the two main categories for the pageant, best talent and best interview.
Miss Cook Islands, Antonina Browne, was the first runner-up, Miss Fiji, Nanise Rainima, was second runner up, Miss American Samoa, Anneliese Sword was third runner up and Miss Papua New Guinea - Grace Nugi was fourth runner up.
Miss Nauru - Kauai Oppenheimer won the Miss Internet, Miss Fiji won Miss Photogenic, Miss Niue, Nina Nemaia was voted Miss Personality, and Miss American Samoa won the National Tourism Award.
American Samoa man accused of ruckus on flight
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) — By FILI SAGAPOLUTELE, Associated Press
A man has been accused of hurling racial slurs and curse words at a flight crew, creating such a ruckus on a flight from Honolulu to the territory of American Samoa that the pilots nearly turned the plane around.
Two flight attendants and a pilot told police that Duke Ueli Viena was intoxicated when he got on the flight Friday night in Honolulu, according to court records. He wanted more drinks while other passengers were boarding the flight.
After the Hawaiian Airlines flight took off, he swore and made racial comments toward flight attendants, the crew alleged in court documents.
Pilots almost turned back to Honolulu before other passengers and Samoan chiefs on the plane were able to calm him. Viena, of the Samoan capital of Pago Pago, was arrested when the plane landed in the U.S. territory.
Viena faces a misdemeanor charge of public peace disturbance and will appear in territorial district court next week after making an initial appearance Monday. His public defender declined to comment.
FBI Honolulu spokesman Thomas Simon Jr. says the agency is investigating to see if federal charges are warranted.
"Once we have a better idea exactly what occurred on the flight, we will consult with the U.S. Attorney's Office who will make a decision whether the suspect will face federal charges," he said from Honolulu.
Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman Ann Botticelli declined to comment, citing privacy issues of the airline's passengers and crew.
All Blacks worried about test against Samoa due to contagious viral disease
New Zealand Rugby is monitoring a mosquito-transmitted disease that has infected thousands in Samoa but remain confident it will not threaten the historic All Blacks test.
While on the decline, according to the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, more than 4,400 cases of the mosquito-spread viral disease chikungunya, which carries similar symptoms to dengue fever, have been reported in Samoa over the last six months.
Of the estimated 69,000 cases in French Polynesia, nine people have died from the illness. Deaths are rare, however, with most people overcoming potential fever, joint and muscle pains, headaches and rashes within one week.
There are no vaccines or medicines to prevent chikungunya. Travelers are merely advised to protect themselves from mosquito bites, through clothing or repellant.
NZR chief executive Steve Tew was relaxed when approached yesterday, but indicated the outbreak would be continually monitored.
"New Zealand Foreign Affairs are still sending Kiwis up there without any advisory and the precautions are similar to malaria – to cover up," Tew said. "It is on the decline, so we're not treating it as a major concern right now. We'll keep an eye on it."
NZR operational staff, along with Sky Television technicians, also returned this week from a two-day stay in Apia, where the main focus was assessing the state of the pitch where the All Blacks will meet Samoa on July 5.
The respective unions appear to have reached an agreement where a problematic drainage system, which has been built in preparation for the Youth Commonwealth Games, will be covered in some way to prevent it encroaching on the in-goal and sidelines.
"They had a good look around and we've now got a handle on what's good and what needs a bit of effort," Tew said. "There's no deal breakers, but they'll have to do some remedial work around this drain, that's for sure. Our operations people think that's quite achievable."
All Blacks manager Darren Shand is expected to travel to Apia in around three weeks and check on medical facilities, accommodation and transportation.
In recent weeks World Rugby and the Samoan Rugby Union have jointly moved to input wide sweeping reforms which resulted in the sudden resignations of the chief executive and general manager of high performance.
Former All Blacks midfielder Alama Ieremia has stepped up to accept the high performance role – all of which should help avoid possible strike action from the Samoan players.
"They've got some good people who have taken over key roles," Tew said. "That hasn't done any harm."
Team Samoa has started a Crowd funding campaign to raise $12,000
A big fa'afetai tele (thank you very much) to those Facebook families and friends that have pledged financial assistance towards the #TeamSamoa campaign.
More excitement for Samoa supporters around the world and boxing fans with the announcement today of Monty Betham Jr. pictured here with Teleiai Edwin Puni and Team Betham in front of the old Chinese Association Centre (‘Fale o Saina’ as it was commonly known back then) in Apia in 2007.
Monty has taken the bait and answered twitter troll, Adam Hollioake’s challenge to fight on the SUPER 8 Redemption Card on March 28th in Christchurch.
The former UK Cricket skipper, who is the only international cricketer to become a professional fighter, threw down the gauntlet to Betham on twitter last week, accusing the former Kiwi’s captain of hiding behind his wife’s lack of approval as an excuse.
After retiring from rugby league in 2006, Monty made his professional debut in Samoa in March 2007 in a co-promotion by Event Polynesia and Polynesian Xplorer. On the amateur undercards were two young prospects, Vaitele Soi and Farani Tavui. It was also the start of a new era in Samoa boxing.
Early this week #TeamSamoa Supporters network launched a crowdfunding campaign for patriotic Samoans and boxing fans around the world starting with my Facebook families and friends being asked to donate $10 or $20 towards funding of a 5 weeks training camp in New Zealand for Samoa based boxers Vaitele Soi (Vailele, Taga & Vaovai) and Farani Tavui (Satupaitea).
#TeamSamoa Supporters network is seeking your help to raise $12,000 to fund (airfares, accommodation, meals. trainers, training facility, training gears, medical, insurance & miscellaneous) for the 2 Samoa based fighters. This is a much needed preparations for the biggest fight of their lives. At this stage Vaitele & Farani do not have any sponsors or Government assistance.
We are working at setting up a crowdfunding utility for people to donate. I hope you can help and be part of the winning #TeamSamoa.
Feel free to comment and click 'like' to spread the word.
American Samoa case for US citizenship continues
Oral arguments have been heard in a Washington DC appeal in what has been dubbed a United States citizenship lawsuit brought by 8 people born in American Samoa.
The plaintiffs, who are all U.S. nationals, have argued the Citizenship Clause of the U.S. Constitution applies to persons born in American Samoa, and therefore they should have been given automatic citizenship.
Defendants, which include the State Department, disagree, arguing only Congress has the authority to grant U.S. citizenship to "outlying territories" such as American Samoa.
The case was dismissed in a lower court last year, prompting the appeal.
The plaintiffs have the backing of the American Samoa Government and the territory's US congresswoman Aumua Amata.
A Judge from New Zealand appointed to Samoa's Supreme Court
A second New Zealand woman judge has been appointed to the Supreme Court of Samoa for a twelve month period.
Justice Elizabeth Margret Aitken, was sworn in by the Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, on Wednesday, before taking up her duties next week.
The first New Zealand woman judge appointed to Samoa's Supreme Court was Justice Ida Malosi.
Court hears case on American Samoa citizenship rights
HAGATNA, Guam >> A federal appeals court in the nation's capital is scheduled to hear oral arguments Feb. 9 in a case related to the citizenship rights of residents of American Samoa.
Unlike the territory of Guam, those born in American Samoa are not considered U.S. citizens.
At issue is the fact residents of the territories do not have the same rights as residents in the rest of the United States. Congress over the decades has passed laws giving only specific rights to the individual territories, such as the Organic Act of Guam.
Former Guam resident Neil Weare, president of the "We the People Project," in 2013 filed a lawsuit in the federal court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of American Samoans, arguing they've been denied their right to be U.S. citizens.
The court threw out the case, but Weare appealed, and the circuit court ruled some of the issues in the case could move forward.
It's hoped that having the courts clarify the citizenship rights of the 4.7 million people living in the territories also will help clarify the constitutional relationship between the United States and its territories, Weare has said.
One of the goals of the federal legal battle is to obtain full representation in Congress, where Guam currently has a non-voting delegate. It's an issue important to individual rights and control of our own economy, Weare has said.
In addition to the American Samoa case, the "We the People Project" has announced plans to file a lawsuit related to the inability of U.S. citizens living on Guam to vote for president of the United States. It has been gathering information from residents on its website in connection with the proposed lawsuit.
According to an order issued this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, oral arguments in the American Samoa case will be heard at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 9, before Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown and Senior Circuit Judges Laurence Silberman and David Sentelle.
Attorneys representing the residents who filed the lawsuit will have 20 minutes to speak, and attorneys representing the U.S. government will have 10 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for attorneys representing the American Samoa government, the order states.
The United States has argued against birthright citizenship for American Samoa residents, as has the American Samoa government.
The U.S. State Department has argued that the U.S. territories are not "states" and therefore do not have the same rights as states -- only those specifically granted by laws passed by Congress.
The American Samoa government has argued that automatic U.S. citizenship could undermine local traditions and practices, including land ownership rights that are restricted only to those of Samoan ancestry.
It also has argued that becoming U.S. citizens should be a choice for American Samoa residents instead of being mandated.
The U.S. Congress has the power to decide how people become naturalized citizens of the country, but it can't restrict birthright citizenship for those born under the U.S. flag because it's a "fundamental right," according to an attorney representing the residents who filed the lawsuit.
Several high-profile Guam residents, including former Gov. Carl Gutierrez, Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo, and former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Tony Babauta, last May submitted testimony in support of the American Samoa residents who filed the lawsuit.
Gutierrez, in a written statement, said, "Nearly 600 soldiers from Guam recently returning home from Afghanistan, in fact, more than 125,000 veterans call a U.S. territory home. It's about time the federal government stops arguing that Guam and these other territories aren't really part of the United States when it comes to important rights and benefits."
Bordallo, in a written statement, said, "So long as Guam and other U.S. territories are part of the United States, citizenship by birth should be recognized as a right guaranteed by the Constitution, not a mere privilege extended by Congress."
American Samoa mulls informer plan
The acting Commissioner of Public Safety, Save Liuato Tuitele, first revealed the informant initiative at a Senate hearing this week about last year's unresolved shooting incidents.
Save said the idea was to offer a cash reward to entice members of the public with information that can help with police investigation to come forward.
He said there may be people who know something but are afraid to contact police.
Governor Lolo says he supports the programme as anything that will help police with their investigation is welcome.
American Samoan Women who force young girls into Prostitution are going to jail
Two women in American Samoa have been found guilty of promoting prostitution and sentenced to 28 months in prison.
The owner of a bar in Atuu, Faasaina Park, and her second in charge, Lusia Tuai, have been convicted of assault and forcing two women from Samoa to engage in prostitution.
The women's lawyers asked for probative sentences but the prosecution argued the women should receive significant jail terms because their prostitution enterprise was an ongoing activity that started as early as 2010.
According to the prosecution, the enterprise included luring women from other countries under false pretenses to come and work in American Samoa.
The prosecution argued that neither women has taken responsibility for their actions or apologised to their victims.
American Samoa Govt to pay thousands in overtime wages
American Samoa's Education Department has agreed to pay more than 17,000 US dollars in overtime wages to 20 employees.
It will also give almost 6,675 hours of paid leave to 44 workers who can use them as compensation for unpaid overtime hours of work in the future.
The US Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found the Department paid bus drivers and technology department employees only for their scheduled weekly hours regardless of hours actually worked.
By doing so, overtime hours worked were under-reported.
The division's director in Hawaii says shifts such as transporting school children to extra-curricular events, had also been paid separately without contemplation of an overtime premium, as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Terence Trotter says the Department appreciates the American Samoa Government's full cooperation in resolving the matter.
More scrutiny for Samoa's theology students
The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa is for the first time checking criminal records when screening new students for the church's Theological College.
The chairman of the Elders Committee or Komiti a le 'au Toea'ina, the Reverend Elder To'ese Peleti To'ailoa, revealed the decision after screening 17 new students.
He says during the four-year period of studies, church leaders had found that some of the students they had accepted had criminal records.
The health of students is also being taken into account.
The chairman says physical work can be quite heavy for students, and those with possible heart problems must be cleared by a medical report.
The church has also decided to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for students found drinking alcohol.
Previously, students found drinking were suspended for two to three years, but the Reverend Elder To'ailoa says the termination of studies is now the only option.
American Samoa tuna cannery gets $70 million from Bellevue company
By FILI SAGAPOLUTELE
The Associated Press
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — A Washington state company is making a $70 million investment in a tuna cannery in the U.S. territory of American Samoa.
The products from American Samoa will carry the “Made In USA” label, said officials with Bellevue-based Tri Marine International. The company took over the lease of a government property three years ago after another cannery closed.
Tri Marine’s plant is expected to employ some 1,500 workers when fully operational and is operated by the company’s Samoa Tuna Process, which is in the seaside village of Atu’u.
American Samoa’s economy is dependent on the tuna-cannery industry.
“We are $70 million confident of our investment in the cannery project,” Tri Marine Chief Executive Officer Renato Curto said.
“Ultimately, our decision to invest came down to our belief that tuna is a good, nutritious product, that tuna stocks can be sustainably managed for the long-term and that processing in the islands is the right thing to do,” he said.
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga said the territorial government stands firm in its support of Tri Marine, especially on this latest investment that will boost the local economy and provide more jobs.
The investment will allow the company to “remain competitive in this very competitive global industry,” Moliga said.
Lewis Wolman, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, said the new cannery will also have an economic impact on local vendors and the shipping industry. Plus the local economy will benefit from the money spent from workers’ paychecks, Wolman said.
An inauguration is planned for Jan. 24.
The new cannery will focus on the U.S. market, where tuna products from American Samoa are duty-free, said Curto.
He added that this helps offset the higher cost of processing in the territory as compared to countries like Thailand, Philippines and China.
“We are targeting retail and food-service clients who want to know where their tuna was caught, who caught it, how it was caught and where it was processed,” Curto said.
The company plans to produce private label and its own brand of tuna markets.
The brand is made by Tri Marine subsidiary, The Tuna Store, and it is already on shelves under the name Ocean Naturals.
NZ aid for Samoa to host SIDS conference under attack
A New Zealand advocacy group says New Zealand funding assistance to last September's Small Islands Developing States conference in Samoa was a shameful waste of taxpayers' money.
The Taxpayers' Union says New Zealand provided 7 million US dollars for the four-day event in Apia, including the cost of hiring a cruise liner for the large delegations.
The Union's executive director, Jordan Williams, says it seems inconceivable the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade would think this a good use of taxpayers' money.
He says the money spent is about half of the annual New Zealand aid budget to Samoa.
Mr Williams says if the money had been used for genuine economic development or investment, no one would complain.
But he says taxpayers forked out for a conference which achieved a document that 'reaffirmed', 'acknowledged', 'recognised' and 'recommitted' to what he calls various bureaucratic platitudes.
Mr Williams says New Zealand should be funding measures to develop economies, not chartering liners for conferences.