Pacific News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff

SAMOA GOVT. DEFENDS SPORTS FUNDING

The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio, has defended the Government against claims that funding of sports is unfair.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, the Minister dismissed claims the Government is not investing enough money on the development of sports like weightlifting that consistently produces results for Samoa.

 “I am puzzled as to why members of the public are complaining that the Government is investing more money in rugby than any other sport, when in actuality Samoa Rugby Union is self-funded,” he said. 

“This is exactly what we are doing at the moment. The Government invested $233,000 on the teams attending the Commonwealth Games.

“The eight members of the weightlifting team including the managers get a fair share of those funds.”

The Minister did not have the exact figures about how much goes to what sports organization.

But he dismissed criticisms that the Government spends too much money on rugby when their recent international results have been dismal.

“You see, we invest in the development of all sports, weightlifting, volleyball, English cricket, tennis, basketball, rugby, squash, boxing etc.,” he said. 

As of yesterday afternoon, Samoa had won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

Loau couldn’t be any prouder of the achievements by the weightlifting team. 

(source: Samoa Observer)

VANUATU FOREIGN MINISTER DENIES CHINA MILITARY CLAIM

Vanuatu's foreign minister has denied Australian media reports that his country is considering hosting a Chinese military base.

Ralph Regenvanu's comment follows reports in Fairfax media citing "preliminary discussions" between Vanuatu and China about a "military build-up" in the Pacific country.

The claim has grown in relation to a recent Chinese-funded expansion of the wharf facility on Vanuatu's biggest island of Espiritu Santo being seen as a potential base.

Regenvanu told ABC the reports were false, and no one in the government had ever talked about a Chinese base of any sort in Vanuatu.

According to him, Vanuatu is a non-aligned country and is not interested in militarization or hosting any sort of military base.

Reganvanu, who has just attended the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Baku, said he was not very happy about the standard of reporting in the Australia media.

(source: RNZI)

SAMOA’S ‘GOLDEN GIRL’ A CHAMP IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE

Samoa’s new golden girl, Feagaiga Stowers, is not just a Commonwealth Games Champion. She is an overcomer and a conqueror of unimaginable odds.

But that wasn’t always the case.

Several years ago, Stowers’ young life hit a snag. The victim of abuse, she was among the survivors of sexual violence who sought refuge and given a second chance at life by the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.). 

She entered the Campus of Hope “shy and hopeless.” 

Well that girl was not the one the world saw at Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre at the Gold Coast on Monday night. 

When she stepped up to the competition platform in front of thousands at the stadium and millions watching from around the world, the 17-year-old was smiling and confident, nailing the performance of a lifetime.

Stowers was up against the heavy favorite, New Zealand transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard. But the blessings were on her side.

When Hubbard bowed out with an injury, the victory was for Stowers to take.

She went on to manage 140kg in the clean and jerk, giving her a total of 253kg.

And the rest is history.

During the medal presentation, she cried as the “Samoa Tula’i” national anthem rang out loud and proud inside the stadium. Those tears came from a deep place — she knows what she has been through to get to where she is today.

Yesterday, the President of the Samoa Victim Support Group, Siliniu Lina Chang, congratulated Stowers.

“Congratulations and best wishes Feagaiga.  We are so proud of you,” Siliniu said in a statement.

“When the news of Samoa’s Commonwealth Golden Girl Feagaiga reached us, we were humbled by the extent of her determination to rise up, by her resilience to see hope in her talent, by her successful reintegration."

(source: Samoa Observer)

SAMOA'S TV3 SOLD TO LOCAL COMMERCIAL BROADCASTER

One of Samoa's commercial television services has been sold to a local broadcaster for an undisclosed amount.

The manager of Apia Broadcasting limited, Verona Parker, said the name of the new owner would be announced soon.

However, a reliable source said a meeting was held last weekend between the staff of TV3 and representatives of Radio Polynesia Limited who bought the television station.

Radio Polynesia is owned by Maposua Rudolf Keil, a prominent local businessman.

The owner of Apia Broadcasting is a former politician and another business operator, Hans Joachim Keil, also known as Joe Keil.

(source: RNZI)

SAMOA PRISON ESCAPEE TURNED IN BY FAMILY

Samoa prison escapee Uili Manuleleua is back behind bars after some family members handed him back to police.

He had been on the run since just before Christmas last year when he and four other inmates escaped from the high security wing of Tafa'igata Prison.

Two were apprehended the same day they escaped and a third was caught early February.

A routine search by Police when he was handed over found marijuana leaves in his possession.

He has now not only been charged with escaping but with the new charge of possession.

He will appear 30 April in the Supreme Court.

(source: RNZI)

FOUR MEN CHARGED WITH MURDER IN SAMOA

Four young men of Lauli'i village on the east coast of Upolu Island have been charged by Samoa Police with murder following an investigation into the death of a man last week.

According to Police spokesperson Auapa'au Logoitino Filipo, a man had taken a taxi from Apia to Lauli'i where he allegedly ran off without paying his fare.

He was caught by some young men of the village and was put into the taxi boot and driven to the police station but was dead on arrival.

Auapa'au did not release the names of the arrested men and the victim is also yet to be named.

The four will appear in court 30 April.

(source: RNZI)

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