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Archive - Dec 22, 2011

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Payroll tax deadlock ends as House caves

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Republicans on Thursday caved to demands by President Barack Obama, congressional Democrats and fellow Republicans for a short-term renewal of payroll tax cuts for all workers. The breakthrough almost certainly spares workers an average $20 a week tax increase Jan. 1.



American wins right to open Fiji casinos

An American multimillionaire has won the right to build a large casino on Fiji's Denarau Island, one of the country's main tourist destinations for New Zealanders.

Military ruler Voreqe Bainimarama has over-ruled long standing chiefly and church objections to announce that Larry Claunch, who describes himself as an investor, will get an exclusive license to build a 500-slot machine and 54-table casino on the island.



Vandals hit Pago Pago’s Coleman Elementary

jeff@samoanews.com

Some classrooms and the cafeteria were vandalized at Pago Pago Elementary school either Tuesday night or the early hours of Wednesday morning, according to school officials who immediately contacted the Department of Public Safety (DPS) after coming into work Wednesday morning.

The doorway that is used to separate the Level 1 class with the Special Education class at Pago Pago Elementary School was also torn down.



If US fails to extend payroll tax relief, locals affected

American Samoa’s tax paying workforce of more than 10,000 will be affected along with the millions of workers throughout the United States and other territories, if the U.S. Congress does not come up with a new compromise to extend the federal payroll tax cut, which expires at year’s end.



LBJ: Approx. $200K 'lost' over several years

Is there a police investigation?
fili@samoanews.com

LBJ Medical Center estimates that some $200,000 in hospital funds was “misappropriated”, over a period of years, according to hospital chief executive officer Michael Gerstenberger, which is the first time the hospital has revealed the amount of money allegedly taken from its business office.

This issue came up during a House Health/Hospital Committee hearing last week when Rep. Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr. asked the CEO if the alleged theft of hospital revenue had contributed to its current cash-strapped problems.



StarKist glad for U.S. Senate vote to delay wage hikes

fili@samoanews.com

StarKist Co. is “pleased” to learn that the U.S Senate approved last Friday a further delay in the minimum wage hikes in American Samoa, while the company’s local cannery operations are currently shut down for their annual two week Christmas holiday.

The delay in minimum wage hike was included in the Insular Area Act, now with the U.S. House for consideration and if the bill is approved, the hikes will be further delayed until 2015.



Bluesky Samoa pays $1.34m dividend

After nine months of operations, Bluesky Samoa yesterday declared that an interim dividend of $1.34million will be paid to its shareholders, which include the Unit Trust of Samoa (UTOS), local shareholders and Bluesky American Samoa. The announcement yesterday follows the company’s successful launch of its 4G wireless network, last week.

“Today we are honouring our shareholders and I want to thank them for their belief and their support in our efforts,” said CEO, Aoe’e Adolfo Montenegro.



Settlement conference ordered first in age discrimination case against ASG

fili@samoanews.com

A federal judge in Honolulu has ordered a settlement conference, using a mediation format, set for next year in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) age discrimination lawsuit against the American Samoa Government, while at the same time scheduling a jury trial for 15 months from now.



Business Beat: Christmas bells are ringing… for the gift givers — 3 more days

reporters@samoanews.com

There’s more shopping out there, as we promised — and Samoa News will continue to bring highlights of shoppers’ delight... as we count down to Christmas Day.



Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

IANUALIO LEIATO

Drug defendant Ianualio Leiato was released last Friday after he was sentenced to three years probation with several conditions attached. Among those conditions are: during the probation period, he is not to consume or be involved in drugs, must not possess any weapons and is subject to random testing for drugs and alcohol by local authorities.