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NEW ZEALAND FORENSIC TEAM TO HELP PROBE SAMOA KILLING

The police in Samoa say a team of New Zealand forensic scientists has been asked to investigate a fatal shooting to ensure it is examined independently.

They say three New Zealand forensic police officers will assist them in their investigation into how Togia Rapi died during a police drug raid in Faleatiu village last month.

A spokesperson for the Samoa police, Leaupepe Fatu Pula, says the forensic experts were requested under the New Zealand Aid Programme because Samoa does not have the calibre of expertise.

“They are experts in ballistics forensics. They’ll be looking at reconstructing the crime scene at the village and also examining police vehicles that were damaged by the alleged shooting.”

Leaupepe Fatu Pula says a post-mortem is being conducted and no charges have been laid yet.

TOKELAU WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW FERRIES

The leader of Tokelau is welcoming the announcement of new ferries for the isolated atolls.

The New Zealand government says it will pay for a two-year lease of the PB Matua ferry, which can carry 36 international passengers, to replace the rusting MV Tokelau.

Tokelauans, who are New Zealand citizens, depend entirely on the ferry for transport and supplies and have been waiting for a replacement since 2005.

The Ulu o Tokelau, Keli Hiano Kalolo, says the New Zealand government has also said it will build a new ferry, which should be in operation once the two-year lease is up.

He says the ferries will mean people are able to travel more freely.

“People of Tokelau are quite thankful for this one. Because we have sold the last one because it is not safe for travel, that is the MV Tokelau, and this will allow particularly people from overseas like Australia and New Zealand to have regular visits to Tokelau.”

Keli Hiano Kalolo says Tokelauans hope the new ferry being built will be much faster, but its size and speed have not yet been decided.

CONGRESSMEN CALL FOR ACTION OVER PALAU COMPACT

Members of the United States Congress have asked the Obama Administration to push for Congressional approval of the Compact of Free Association between Palau and the US.

The Agreement was signed nearly 2 years ago but still has not been acted on by the US Government.

Under the agreement, Palau will receive a 250 million US dollar financial package over the next 15 years.

Guam News reports that Congressmen from Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Marianas and Hawaii are among those pushing for approval.

They warn continued inaction will result in some Palauans being enticed by the potential for assistance from nations in Asia and the Middle East.

SAMOA COURT OF APPEAL DROPS FINE, JAILS MAN CONVICTED OF INCEST

A 57-year-old man in Samoa who was found guilty of incest has been ordered by the Court of Appeal to be jailed for 12 months, reversing a Supreme Court ruling that had imposed a fine of 5,000 US dollars.

The Supreme Court had also ruled that half the fine be paid to the defendant’s 36-year-old daughter, who had also been jailed on incest charges.

However the Court of Appeal has set aside the fine paid to the victim and ordered she be released from jail after serving eight months of her three year sentence.

The Court of Appeal says it took into account several factors.

It says the victim’s father had abandoned her before she was born but he later took advantage of her; her prompt admission of guilt; support for her father at his sentencing despite what had he had done to her; the time already spent in jail and her ostracism from her village.



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