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Pacific News Briefs

Compiled by Samoa News staff

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Vaivase Primary School in Samoa officially opened its new computer lab, a project that has been years in the making. 

The state-of-the-art facility, valued at SAT$87,610 is a testament to the school's commitment to providing students with the best possible education.

The new computer lab, which was made possible through the support of numerous donors and good Samaritans, including the Parents and Teachers Association, the school committee, church ministers, and ex-students of the school and Vaimauga No.2 member of parliament Lenatai Victor Tamapua 

The project features 20 computers, renovated classrooms with air conditioning, and modern furniture. It was initiated to enhance the school's learning environment and cater to the growing demand for technology-driven education.

The new computer lab is expected to enhance student learning outcomes and provide students with valuable skills in computer literacy and technology. With this facility, Vaivase Primary School is well-positioned to continue producing top-performing students who will excel in high-ranking secondary schools. The lab will be used by students from Year Three to Year Eight.

(Samoa Observer)


In a first of its kind in Samoa, Apia Broadcasting channel is moving its station completely online because it can no longer afford to broadcast traditionally.

The station had its final broadcast last week on Samoa's digital television platform.

General manager Michael Aisea said Samoa was a small market with many players.

"To run a TV station you need sponsors for different programs to run the ads on our station. So having eight TV stations in a small market makes for a kind of cutthroat industry," Aisea said.

"It means you have to work hard to get sponsors for your different programs and everyone is picking from the same pie."

Aisea said discussions about the switch with the company's directors started at the beginning of the year.

It costs 23,000 tala per month (US$8333) or 276,000 tala annually to run on Samoa's television network while online streaming was much cheaper.

"It is a new area for television in Samoa, nobody has ever tried this, we are the first ones to step into the area to see if it's going to work."

Aisea said current advertisers are committing to follow the channel online. The channels 18 staff will also remain employed.

"If you balance it out not every home has a TV but every person has a phone, that's why we decided to stream."

Aisea said TV3 creates local programs that are in Samoan targeting a broad audience, which will continue online.

(RNZ Pacific)


The Northern Mariana Islands ports authority has heeded a call to lower landing fees.

This follows a threat of an airline pulling out from the CNMI due to an increase in airport landing fees, and pressure from Governor Arnold Palacios.

The Commonwealth Ports Authority decided to revert back to the old rates.

(RNZ Pacific)


Pacific-based exporters can apply for support with rising shipping costs again this year.

Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand is offering small grants to offset rising freight costs, following what it called overwhelming responses to previous years' Freight Support Package programs.

The program is intended for Pacific businesses exporting to New Zealand — to provide some relief towards the high cost of freight, grow demand for Pacific products in New Zealand, and create trade opportunities.

To qualify, businesses must be registered and have an export license from one of the 16 Pacific Islands Forum member countries.

(RNZ Pacific)


Two children are believed to have died by drowning in Fiji in the space of a few days.

Fiji Police said a one-year-old child was allegedly playing with a cousin outside their Narere home on Saturday, when he disappeared and was later found in the creek.

Investigations continue.

Police said this is the second incident involving a child in a week, and investigators will be looking into the element of negligence.

The death followed the apparent drowning of a 12-year-old boy in the Wainibuka River on Wednesday afternoon.


Drought conditions show some improvement across much of the US-affiliated Pasific Islands, but some areas are still struggling.

In an update late last week, the US National Weather Service said trade wind disturbances have brought much-needed rainfall to areas of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the southern islands of the Marshalls, and to Palau.

But Yap Proper and Ulithi in the FSM remained in exceptional drought, while several other areas remained in extreme drought, including Wotje and its nearby islands and atolls in the Marshall Islands, and Saipan and Tinian in the Northern Marianas.

Agricultural strain has been reported from assessment teams and residents from islands across Yap State, including taro patches drying up and coconuts drying out, and many reports of yellowing crops.

Wildfires have been reported on Saipan and Guam, with fires also reported in Palau and Yap over the month.

The Weather Service said locations with extreme to exceptional drought could see at least another month of below-normal rainfall.

"Water catchment levels are low or nearly empty on some islands. Water shortages for communities are still occurring," the report said.

"Wetter than normal conditions during the last 30 days [to May 8] remain generally south of 8N to near the equator."

The seasonal three-month rainfall outlook said the rainfall forecast through July remains drier than normal for islands near and north of 9N latitude; and wetter than normal to the south.

(RNZ Pacific)


The Tiapapata Art Centre, with support under the ACP-EU Program Enhancing capacity for the sustainability of the cultural and creative industries in the Pacific, begins this week to explore the stone tools of Samoa.

This investigation into stone tools has long fascinated heritage artist Galumalemana Steve Percival who designed the ACP-EU project and is himself a stone tool maker albeit using modern machines. Galumalemana recently returned from the United Kingdom and New Zealand where he saw many fine examples of Samoan stone adzes, some of which were hafted to wooden handles.

Museums in the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, together hold a vast number of Samoan artifacts. How these handmade objects were made and used reflect a rich intangible cultural heritage that had but one goal: to enhance the quality of life enjoyed by the inhabitants of these far- flung islands of the Pacific. Before the arrival of Europeans, artisans invented and used a variety of tools that allowed their creative impulse to flourish.

The stone used to make to‘i ma‘a or the stone adzes of Samoa, is a fine-grained Oceanic Basalt. Basalt, a type of extrusive igneous rock that gets its dark color from the composition of its minerals, is the most common rock on the earth’s surface. More than 90% of all volcanic rock on Earth is Basalt. Making up most of the world’s oceanic crust, it is not surprising to find basalt on the volcanic islands of Samoa and American Samoa.

International Museum Day 2024, with the theme “Museums for Education and Research,” will be celebrated at the Tiapapata Art Centre on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

The theme highlights the importance of cultural institutions and their role in providing a complete educational experience. This is particularly apt in light of the research being carried out to revive cultural knowledge of what was once perhaps the most important tool of the Samoans. A symposium/workshop will also be held at Tiapapata on World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on May 21, 2024.

(Samoa Observer)


It was two days before Mother's Day when three Samoa fishermen found themselves in a 'distressing situation' and were stuck off the shores of Faga in Savaii before the police came to their rescue.

The incident took place on Friday, May 10. The fishermen identified as Luteru Leautili from Salelavalu, Sio Paulo from Fusi, and Setema Fili from Vaiafai and Saipipi were stranded as their boat's motor malfunctioned.

The Samoa Police, Prisons and Corrections Services (S.P.P.C.S.) Savaii team took swift action in rescuing the three fishermen stranded off the shores of Faga on the night of 10 May.

"The SPPCS extends its heartfelt appreciation to all personnel involved in the successful rescue mission and reaffirms its commitment to serving and safeguarding the people of Samoa, both on land and at sea."

It was not stated what time and how long the fishermen were stranded for but Samoa Observer understands that the fishermen were photographed safe at night time.

(Samoa Observer)


The second suspect involved in a recent robbery in Moamoa-Fou was arrested by the Samoa police. 

This development was confirmed by Police Commissioner Auapa'au Logoitino Filipo, who praised the collaborative efforts of both the police force and the local community in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Identified as Junior Aumua, a 20-year-old resident of Leone, the arrested individual is now in police custody, awaiting their court appearance scheduled for the 27th of this month. 

Aumua's capture comes in the wake of intensive investigative work, fueled by leads and crucial information provided by vigilant residents of the area.

The robbery, which occurred last week, sent shockwaves through the community as two masked individuals, later identified as Aumua and his accomplice Fa'afetai Uati, 18, of Moamoa, brazenly stormed a family-owned store armed with knives. 

In a daring daytime raid, the duo made off with the cash register containing nearly $2,000 tala.

The swift action of law enforcement led to the recovery of the vandalized cash register on the same day of the incident, along with clothing believed to belong to the perpetrators. 

The entire ordeal was captured by CCTV cameras and widely circulated on social media platforms, sparking outrage and a collective outcry for justice.

(Samoa Observer)