Miss American Samoa prepares for Miss Pacific Islands

PACIFIC NEWS BRIEFS
compiled by Samoa News staff

Miss American Samoa Matauaina Toomalatai heads to the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant in Nadi, Fiji at the end of this month.

Prayers and blessings will be offered for Matauaina at a church service at the Onenoa EFKAS which she attends before she leaves for Fiji.

Executive Director of the American Samoa Visitors Bureau, David Vaeafe, a member of the Miss Pacific Islands Board says the pageant is slated for December 1-9.

The new Miss will be crowned in an outdoor pageant at Charles Park in Nadi City on the final night.

The contest with the theme, “Climate change — action to sustain our islands,” will be part of special celebrations for the city of Nadi, which has undergone a rebuilding program

After the pageant, Miss American Samoa heads to Port Villa, Vanuatu for the Pacific Mini Games scheduled for December 1-17.

(Source: talanei.com)

TWO ARRESTED AFTER MASSIVE METH BUST IN CHRISTCHURCH

The arrests were made after a joint police and Customs operation over the past two weeks.

Police said the drugs arrived into Christchurch in an airfreight consignment from Mexico on 1 November.

The drugs were hidden in a shipment of safety lights in 40 separate packages weighing 1-1.2kg each.

Police said the exact weight of the product was still to be determined, but said it was the largest-ever seizure of methamphetamine in the South Island.

The drugs had a potential street value of $50 million.

Two Christchurch men - aged 25 and 31 - were arrested after several search warrants were carried out in Christchurch and Auckland.

They appeared in Christchurch District Court today on charges of importing a Class A drug, and possession of methamphetamine for supply.

They have both been remanded in custody to reappear later this month.

Detective Inspector Corrie Parnell said it was a significant result for police and Customs.

"These drugs, should they have made it to the streets, would have caused significant harm to people and communities, not just in Canterbury, but across the country."

Customs spokesperson Joe Cannon said the seizure was the result of risk-profiling and targeting work that Customs carried out for all goods, people and craft coming into New Zealand.

"We maintain a national perspective to protect our border, and will do everything possible to keep this hideous drug away from our communities."

(Source: RNZ)

DUNEDIN MOTORIST CAUGHT PLAYING BAGPIPES WHILE DRIVING

Officers working a road checkpoint in the city this morning discovered the motorist was more interested in making music than watching the road.

Acting Sergeant Bryce Johnson said police saw the man playing what appeared to be a clarinet or windpipes while driving.

"The driver didn't have their hands on the wheel at the time, and he was clearly playing the instrument while driving the car," he said.

"It's foolish to say the least. We are also concerned with the amount of drivers using mobile phones while driving. These also are major distractions for people. Neither of these things are a good idea."

After the motorist was stopped, it was revealed the man's instrument of choice was the chanter from a set of bagpipes.

The man was warned for his actions and sent on his way.

During the hour-long checkpoint operation, officers ticketed eight motorists and four others were warned for their driving, Johnson said.

"Always keep both hands on the wheel at all times, watch your speed and following distances and stick to the road rules," he said.

(Source: RNZ)

WORLD'S 'OLDEST WINE' FOUND IN 8000-YEAR-OLD JARS

Scientists say 8000-year-old pottery fragments have revealed the earliest evidence of grape wine making.

The earthenware jars containing residual wine compounds were found in two sites south of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, researchers said.

Some of the jars bore images of grape clusters and a man dancing.

Previously, the earliest evidence of wine making was from pottery dating from about 7000 years ago found in northwestern Iran.

The finds were published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS).

"We believe this is the oldest example of the domestication of a wild-growing Eurasian grapevine solely for the production of wine," said co-author Stephen Batiuk, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto.

"Wine is central to civilization as we know it in the West. As a medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopoeias, cuisines, economies and society in the ancient Near East."

The pottery jars were discovered in two Neolithic villages, called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora, about 50km south of Tbilisi, researchers said.

Telltale chemical signs of wine were discovered in eight jars, the oldest one dating from about 5980 BC.

Large jars called qvevri, similar to the ancient ones, are still used for wine-making in Georgia, said David Lordkipanidze, director of the Georgian National Museum who helped lead the research.

Batiuk said the wine was probably made in a similar way to the qvevri method today "where the grapes are crushed and the fruit, stems and seeds are all fermented together."

Previously, the earliest evidence of grape wine-making had been found in the Zagros Mountains of Iran and dated to 5400-5000 BC.

The world's earliest non-grape based wine is believed to be a fermented alcoholic beverage of rice, honey and fruit found in China and dating to about 7000 BC.

(Source: RNZ)

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