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Archive - Dec 24, 2011

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  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /var/www/vhosts/samoanews.com/httpdocs/sites/all/modules/archive/archive.pages.inc on line 332.

Pope laments Christmas consumerism, glitter

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI decried the increasing commercialization of Christmas as he celebrated Christmas Eve Mass on Saturday night, urging the faithful to look beyond the holiday's "superficial glitter" to discover its true meaning.

Benedict presided over the service in a packed St. Peter's Basilica, kicking off an intense two weeks of Christmas-related public appearances that will test the 84-year-old pontiff's stamina amid signs that fatigue is starting to slow him down.



Anti-Putin protests draw tens of thousands

MOSCOW (AP) -- Tens of thousands of Russians jammed a Moscow avenue Saturday to demand free elections and an end to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule, in the largest show of public outrage since the protests 20 years ago that brought down the Soviet Union. Gone was the political apathy of recent years as many shouted "We are the Power!"



Last combat troops out of Iraq back at Fort Hood

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) -- 1st Sgt. Scott Dawson has spent several Christmases overseas during four deployments to Iraq, but he arrived home for this holiday Saturday - and he and his family hope it's for good.

Dawson was among the very last U.S. combat soldiers to leave Iraq a week ago. Members of his brigade having been arriving Fort Hood in Texas over the past week, and he was in a group of nearly 200 that landed Saturday. Only about a dozen are still overseas, along with members of another brigade that was in the final convoy to cross the border into Kuwait.



After a delay, Obama begins Hawaiian vacation

HONOLULU (AP) -- It isn't taking any time at all for President Barack Obama to get into vacation mode.

Less than 30 minutes after arriving in Hawaii, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama joined friends for a Friday night dinner at one of their favorite places, Morimoto Restaurant.

Mrs. Obama has been in Hawaii with their daughters for a week. But the president delayed his departure to stay in Washington while Congress worked out an agreement on extending expiring payroll tax cuts.



Matau mother and daughter plead guilty to stealing

fili@samoanews.com

The U.S. Justice Department filed a motion last week stating it had reached a resolution in the Matau mother and daughter case, with plea agreements being executed.

The Matau pair were scheduled to appear Wednesday (Dec. 21) for a status hearing in the case, with trial set for Jan. 9., 2012. Instead, they pled guilty on Wednesday, at the federal court in Oakland, Calif., to wire fraud and theft of federal funds awarded to the now closed U’una’i Legal Service Corporation.



Eni provides updates on min wage hike delays

(BASED ON A PRESS RELEASE — Congressman Faleomavaega says that since the Senate passed S. 2009 on December 16, 2011, he has worked to move the bill forward by clearing all obstacles in the House so that a vote can take place.

     “As I explained in my previous release, S. 2009 included two other provisions besides minimum wage,” Faleomavaega said. “One issue is the monitoring of Runit Island and the other is clarifying the temporary assignment of judges to courts of the Freely Associated States.”



Territory’s new emergency shelter dedicated

sports@samoanews.com

Gov. Togiola Tulafono was joined by cabinet members and local leaders for last Friday’s dedication of the new “American Samoa Mapusaga Emergency Shelter” with the goal to provide temporary emergency shelter to residents in need of this service. (The word ”mapusaga” denotes shelter, or a place of refuge)



ASHSAA names Football Official of the Year

jeff@samoanews.com

The Football Official’s Association award ceremony for the American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA) football officials, was held this past Thursday night at the Country Club in IliIli.

 “I would like to thank all of the officials for doing a great job this year in keeping up on all of the rules of the game and keeping the players safe,” said ASHSAA head football official Valusia Talataina.



USCG gifts children in Guam

GUAM, Apra Harbor – Coast Guard Sector Guam personnel donate more than 300 gifts to more than 130 children in the village of Merizo Dec. 23, 2011.

In 1944 Coast Guard members from Sector Guam began crossing the lagoon to visit the island with their small boat. They would then invite villagers over to the island to watch movies and eat with the crew.



Samoan traditions get congregation on song

Enter the Queanbeyan Uniting Church on any given night and you might expect to see a small group of people quietly worshiping. Visit the church after dark a few days before Christmas and carolers of a different kind will resound.

From Samoan carols and the hand-clapping, feet-stomping traditional dance fa'ataupati to traditional Methodist carols and carols with a twist, there is not a person in the room who doesn't join in or sing along when the Samoan Methodist Youth Group choir gets together for rehearsals.