Samoa Briefs

TEUILA FESTIVAL OFFICIALLY KICKED OFF SUNDAY NIGHT

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa’s popular Teuila Festival officially kicked off last night with choral exhibitions from church choirs from all over of Samoa.

According to Samoa’s Tourism Authority, the Teuila Festival established in 1991 has grown to become one of Samoa’s most celebrated annual events, and one of the South Pacific’s biggest cultural festivals and this year — 2016 marks the 26th Annual Teuila Festival.

“The exciting variety for 2016 ensures there is something for everyone with activities including the choral exhibition, traditional Siva Samoa and contemporary dance competitions, Ailao Afi/Fire Knife dancing, umu making, tattooing and carving demonstrations, Miss Samoa Pageant and much much more.” Samoa has become the cultural hub of the South Pacific and celebrates all things Samoan during the Teuila Festival.

The tourists will get to watch and observe the Fa’a Samoa in an entertaining and educational way. There will also be food, arts and crafts stalls, which are a hive of activity at the festival. “For tasty food at bargain prices and the perfect gifts and memorabilia, check out the stalls. The highlight of the festival is the fautasi race.

CHINESE MEN MAY HAVE BEEN SKIMMING IN OTHER COUNTRIES, SAY POLICE

Apia, SAMOA — The Samoa Police suspect that the Chinese men, who were arrested last week following the theft of $18,000 from Bank South Pacific ATM machines, have done this type of illegal transaction before. During an interview with Samoa News, Acting Police Commissioner Afamasaga Michael Soonalole said that the men had only been in Samoa for two weeks and they believe that Samoa is not the only country they have conducted this type of crime. He said this is skimming in other countries but Samoa does not have skimming laws and the Asian men cannot be prosecuted directly with skimming as that law does not exist in Samoa.

Afamasaga said they have reached out to the China Embassy in Samoa for assistance regarding this matter. Another Acting Commissioner Fauono Tala Tapu, said the brief time they have been in Samoa and the amount of money they have already taken goes to show they are professionals at skimming. Fauono said it was evident that the Asian men were ready to leave Samoa. He said one of the three offenders has since taken off and the police will be contacting the China government for help regarding the one accused who made it out of Samoa without being caught. Fauono also stated that the three men came to Samoa through Fiji and he believed that they may have done the same in Fiji and other countries.

The two Asian men will make an initial appearance in Supreme Court on September 12, each facing charges of stealing. However Samoa’s Police Spokesperson, Su’a Tiumalu said the police may file additional charges. He said that when the police raided a restaurant where the Chinese men were staying they found a machine commonly used to create fake ATM cards with the purpose of stealing funds from people’s accounts, using those ATM cards. According to Su’a the incident came to light when the bank officials noticed a high withdrawal on two of their ATM machines. Su’a also confirmed that the Asian men took a total of $18,000WST and to date they have yet to uncover where the money is.

PM ATTENDS, PACIFIC ISLAND FORUM LEADERS MEETING IN POHNPEI

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi will be attending the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia and also the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York on 13 September - 4 October 2016. According to Samoa’s Press Secretariat, the first meeting in Pohnpei will focus on issues that impact on the Pacific Islands relating to the environment and climate change; fisheries and exclusive economic zone issues; communication and information technology plus other important issues.

“The meeting will include leaders and delegations from the Pacific region including New Zealand and Australia. Samoa's delegation includes the Chief Executive for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Afioga Peseta Noumea Simi and Assistant CEO, Tasha Siaosi.” Tuilaepa will deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly in New York and is also expected to engage in side meetings with Samoa's development partners.

Samoa's contribution for this meeting is engaging in preparatory sessions pertaining to implementing and achieving of the Post-2015 Development Agenda/Sustainable Development Goals. These agendas and goals are highlighted in the outcome document — SAMOA Pathway — of the 3rd SIDS Conference, which was hosted by Samoa in September 2014

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