Regional News

Samoa Tourism Authority responds to fallout in the wake of actions by escaped inmate


Apia, SAMOA — Actions by inmate Lauititi Tualima have given Tourism in Samoa a black eye.
Lauititi is an inmate who broke out of jail and raped an Australian tourist while her boyfriend was forced to watch. In a statement issued by Samoa’s Tourism Authority (STA) on Wednesday (Samoa Time), it says major changes have been implemented and continue to be implemented to ensure the safety of guests in Samoa.

Samoa govt cops flak over cigarette factory licence

There has been heavy criticism in Samoa of a government decision to issue a second cigarette manufacturing licence to a foreign owned company in Apia.

Veteran MP Falealupo Aeau Peniamina Leavaiseeta told the Samoa Observer this was a sad decision which would have a negative impact on public health.

However the minister of Public Enterprises Lautafi Fio Purcell last week dismissed concerns saying smoking was a personal choice unaffected by where a cigarette was manufactured.

He said the decision to approve the licence was consistent with the government focus on generating revenue.

Man sentenced for 18 sex counts against his 13-year-old stepdaughter


Apia, SAMOA — A 40-year-old man who impregnated his 13-year-old stepdaughter was sentenced to two years, six months in jail. To protect the identity of the victim Supreme Court Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai issued an order to suppress the name of the defendant in this case.

Results of Jeanine Tuivaiki‘s autopsy released to court

Results not yet public knowledge

Apia, SAMOA — Jeanine Tuivaiki, a fa’afafine from Vaiusu was laid to rest at her parents residence on Tuesday, after an autopsy was performed by a pathologist from off island contracted by the Samoa Government to perform the post mortem on cases the police rule as a suspected homicide.

Nearly half of NZ Pacific young people living in poverty

Researchers have found nearly half of Pacific secondary school students in New Zealand are living in poverty.

They used data from a study of 8500 students done in 2012 and found major ethnic inequalities among the number of young people found to be living in poverty.

Overall one in five young people were found to be suffering hardship and two thirds of that group had housing issues such as living in garages or using living rooms as bedrooms.

One of the study's authors, Terry Flemming, said the government needs to do more.

Tuilaepa responds to Aussie TV coverage of tourist rape


Apia, SAMOA — “This is the first time a case like this has happened in Samoa, and the outrage felt by viewers of the 60 Minutes television show is the same outrage and anger felt by the people of Samoa. This is an isolated incident, caused by a career-criminal, and from which many lessons for the future have been learned,” says Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi in a statement issued Monday evening (Samoa time).

Teacher pleads guilty to three sex charges


Apia, SAMOA — A teacher at an elementary school in Lalomanu Aleipata has admitted to performing oral sex on her student between January and May 2016. The teacher — a fa’afafine faced three sexual related charges which are felonies — carnal knowledge or statutory rape and two counts of indecent assault. The teacher appeared before Supreme Court Justice Falefatu Patu Sapolu on Monday where she pleaded guilty to all three sex charges.

USAID funds community workshops aimed at reducing climate change impacts


Apia, SAMOA — As a country with 70 percent of its population and infrastructure located along the coast and on low-lying areas, climate change will increase Samoa’s vulnerability to extreme weather events, coastal erosion and sea level rise. This is why US Ambassador Mark Gilbert says he is keen on developing plans to reduce the potential impacts of climate change in Samoa.

PNA: Fish stock management key to self-determination

Source: PNA media release

HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS — At the Pacific Island Development Forum Leaders Summit last week, the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) told the delegates sustainable management of fish was key to self-determination for Pacific peoples.
PNA CEO Dr Transform Aqorau challenged leaders to obtain what he called “true independence” by self-determination, Indigenous management of ocean resources, South-South cooperation and ending donor dependency.

Former governor of American Samoa passes away

Knoxville, TENNESSEE — Frank Barnett, the former governor of American Samoa and Knoxville native, was always looking for the next adventure, according to his obituary.

"Frank led an amazing life believing there was no excuse for being bored," it reads. "He traveled all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and 47 foreign countries."

Mr. Barnett, 82, died on Friday.

A 1950 graduate of Knoxville High School, Mr. Barnett attended the University of Tennessee, served in the U.S. Marine Corps and graduated from UT's law school in 1959. During his time at UT, he was captain of the swim team.

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