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reporters@samoanews.com

TSUNAMI AWARENESS WORKSHOP TRAINING SET FOR JUNE
 
The local Department of Homeland Security is hosting for two days starting June 18 a Tsunami Awareness Training at the Governor Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center in Utulei. There are two sessions - both from 8a.m. to 5p.m. - with the first one for ASG executive officials and the second will be tailored to ASG deputies, managers and staff.
 
ASDHS has also invited members of the business community to attend these sessions, which are hosted in conjunction with the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
 
In his memo about the training sent to ASG departments and agencies, ASDHS director Utuali’i Iuniasolua Savusa says the sessions will provide participants with a basic understanding of tsunamis, warning and dissemination, hazard assessment and community response strategies to effectively reduce tsunami risk.
 
He pointed out that the September 2009 earthquake and subsequent tsunami “showed us that no amount of preparation can alleviate this type of disaster, however, through continued preparedness training and exercises, we can effectively respond to and recover from these kinds of natural disasters.”
 
He encouraged attendance by a representative who is able to redistribute the required training information to further enhance the preparedness level to departmental personnel. “This training will better equip them in saving lives and property during emergencies,” he said.
 
For more information and to confirm attendance for the training, please contact Esther Savusa-Savini 699-6481.
 
DESPITE COMPETITION ASTCA DOING WELL WITH REVENUE
 
Despite stiff competition from BlueSky Communication, the government owned American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority is doing well with its revenue, collecting just over $4 million in the second quarter of fiscal year 2013, according to ASTCA’s 2nd quarter performance report, which covers Jan. 1 - March 31, 2013.
 
At the end of the second quarter, ASTCA collected $4.14 million in revenue, compared to expenditures at $3.43 million. The highest expenditures are in the equipment category at $1.94 million as ASTCA continues to upgrade, not only to provide better service but to comply with certain federal regulations.
 
The next highest expense falls under personnel cost at $811,235— covering 167 full time/career service employees and 11 full time/temporary contract (one-year) employees. Budgeted positions stands at 185.
 
For the first six months of the fiscal year, ASTCA collected $9.64 million in revenue and expended $8.05 million. The semi autonomous’ FY 2013 approved budget is $15 million, according to the report, which was prepared by Aleki Sene Sr., whose last day on the job as ASTCA executive director was May 1.
 
It should be noted that this annual budget does not include some $91 million which ASTCA received under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the Broadband Linking the American Samoa Territory (BLAST) project, which continues to move forward.
 
During the second quarter, the BLAST project activities included progress made in the construction of the submarine cable line and microwave links between Tutuila and the Manu’a island group.
 
BAHA’I FAITH HOLDS NATIONAL CONVENTION
 
The Baha’i Faith in Samoa held its 44th National Convention last week on the grounds of its House of Worship at Tiapapata, Samoa, which many local members attended. The Convention was open to delegates from Bahá'í communities throughout Samoa and American Samoa.
 
The Acting Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly Mrs Karen Te’o explained that “The National Bahá'í Convention that is held annually has a twofold purpose: the election of nine individuals who will serve for the next year on the National Spiritual Assembly, the governing body of the Faith for Samoa and American Samoa; and consultation on programs for the development and well-being of peoples and communities in both countries and the world over.
 
Mrs Te’o added that “The main aim of every Bahá'í believer is to transform themselves, and serve the transformation and progress of society. Therefore consultations at the Convention considered effective ways to increase the capacities of individual Bahá'í and their institutions to serve the social and spiritual development of their countries.”
 
The nine members elected this year to serve on the Faith’s national governing body were: Simanuafoa Fepulea’i Titi Nofoagatoto’a, Karen Te’o, Bill Gordan, Masina Pomale, Alesi Asovale-Taofiga, Tofilau Taefu Tepa Suaesi, Peseta Fogaseuga Demetrius Taofiga, Auimatagi Bob Ale & Lemalu Si’omia Auvele.
 
A special guest to the National Convention this year is an advisor for the Bahá'í Faith in this part of the world, Counsellor Dr Kirk Johnson from Guam, who officially opened the gathering on Friday morning.
 
Delegates also visited to offer prayers and presented flowers at the resting place of the late Malietoa Tanumafili II, who was the first reigning monarch to embrace the teachings of the Bahá'í Faith.



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