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Pacific News Briefs

Congresswoman Amata and Assistant Secretary of Insular Areas Nominee Doug Domenech prior to the confirmation hearing.  [Courtesy photo]
compiled by Samoa News staff


Washington, DC — Thursday, July 20, 2017 — Congresswoman Aumua Amata, introduced President Trump’s nominee for the position of Assistant Secretary of Insular Areas, Doug Domenech this morning in the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing room.

“I have known Doug for several years now and I am proud to call him a true friend. The position for which he is seeking your support, is very important to the people of the Insular areas,” said the Congresswoman to the Senate panel.

“My home district of American Samoa is an insular area, and I can think of no one I would like to see in the position more than Doug Domenech. His knowledge and experience of the region and the mission of the office is unparalleled, and I know that his leadership will be welcomed as we seek to craft real solutions for the constituents we serve. In fact, I have had the pleasure to see him in action, and know that he will hit the ground running,” continued Amata.

Mr. Domenech currently serves as the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior, and is also Secretary Zinke’s appointee to the Advisory Council of the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, where he has lived and from where his family originally hails. Previously, he served as the Secretary of Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia; overseeing six state environmental, recreation, and historic resource agencies, among other positions.

The Senate panel will now send their recommendation to the Senate for a vote, which is expected in the coming weeks.

“I want to thank my friend Doug for his willingness to serve our great nation, and thank this Committee for allowing me to come before you today, and I hope that you will support his confirmation,” concluded the Congresswoman.

(Source: Congresswoman Aumua Amata Office- Washington D.C.)


Apia, Samoa,  July  20, 2017 – Samoa Submarine Cable Company Limited (SSCC) and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) have begun the loading of the 1,470 km TUI-Samoa Cable on a  freighter in Calais, France, at ASN’s factory: the freighter will sail at the end of the month towards Suva, where the cable will then be transferred to the ship that will be laying it.  

 Emmanuel Delanoue, SSCC CEO said: “We are pleased to announce another important milestone as part of the overall implementation. After the marine survey, the loading is another significant progress for the TUI-Samoa system implementation.” 

 Strengthening Samoa’s domestic and international connectivity, Tui-Samoa Cable will have landing points in Apia and Tuasivi (Samoa) and Suva (Fiji). It will deliver a capacity of at least 8 Terabits-persecond (Tbit/s) using 100 Gbit/s transmission technology. The system will also have extensions to the islands of Vanua Levu – Savusavu (Fiji) and Wallis & Futuna. 

Samoa Submarine Cable Company Limited Sscc is a private company incorporated in Apia Samoa that will build, manage and operate the TuiSamoa submarine cable between Apia Samoa and Suva Fiji. SSCC will operate a Cooperative Sustainable Wholesale Model (CSWM) with the mandate to deliver fast, reliable and affordable internet services to stimulate ICT innovation and development as an enabler of economic growth and social prosperity for the people of Samoa.

(Source: M.P.M.C. Press Secretary]


Samoa is on her way to having her very own National Identification Card, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi has acknowledged, adding the concept has been long in the government’s thinking tank.

The National ID card has been approved, and the new ID will replace Samoa’s voters ID and can be used as a Health or Medical ID,  as well as for other services such as the Samoa National Provident Fund, a driver’s license — and may even replace a Voters ID during election.

On-going research is also looking if the ID can be used for immigration purposes or as a passport.

“With the changes in technology coupled with the country’s economic growth, the timing is right,” Tuilaepa said. “I have been told that samples have been designed and once all pieces of the puzzle are in place, the next step would be implementation.”

The Office of the Statistics and Ministry of Information Technology is the implementing agencies, according to Tuilaepa.

The Prime Minister is optimistic that the National ID card will be in circulation before the end of the current administration.

(Source: M.P.M.C. Press Secretary]


Scientists have discovered what they say is the worst case of plastic pollution in the world.

Research published by Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies says nearly 38 million items of plastic debris can be found on Henderson Island in the South Pacific — carried there on ocean currents.

The uninhabited island, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the largest of the four Pitcairn Islands.

Australian researcher Jennifer Lavers said the island had the highest density of plastic rubbish anywhere in the world. "I've been fortunate in my career as a scientist to travel to some of the remote islands in the world, but Henderson was really quite an alarming situation... The highest density of plastic I've really seen in the whole of my career," she said.

She said the finding, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was a wake-up call to the world that plastic pollution was as grave a threat to humanity as climate change.

Annual production of plastic has increased from 1.7m tonnes in 1954 to 311m tonnes in 2014.

This has resulted in an estimated five trillion plastic items — mostly less than five millimeters in size - circulating in the surface layer of the world's oceans.

To understand how much debris was accumulating on the remote island, Dr. Lavers, a conservation biologist at the University of Tasmania, and Alexander Bond at the Centre for Conservation Science in the UK surveyed the island's North and East Beach for three months in 2015.

Dr. Lavers said the 17.6 tonnes of plastic debris estimated to be on Henderson Island accounted for just 1.98 seconds' worth of the current annual global production of plastic.

She said the amount of rubbish was such that it took a five-person team six hours to survey a 10-meter section of the beach.

The team calculated there were 671.6 items per square meter on the surface of the beaches, with approximately 68 percent of debris buried less than 10 centimeters in the sand.

Each day, 17 to 268 new items washed up on a 10-meter section of North Beach, representing a daily accumulation rate of 1.7 to 26.8 items per meter.

[Source: RNZI]