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Gusting winds and heavy rains grounded ferry travels between the main islands today, Thursday 16 January 2020.

Safety concerns for the travelling public and the crew forced the Samoa Shipping Corporation to cancel all travels.

The 5.00am weather advisory from the Met Office for the day noted an  ‘….active convergence zone continues to remain within the vicinity of Samoa with heavy downpour and gusty activities.’

The Seventh Day Adventist Church College, Lalovaea, school dux award of 2019 went to 18-year-old Commerce student, Angellyn Fa’aleiua.

Her coveted academic award was presented at the school prize giving today at Lalovaea.

 The annual end of the year event was postponed from last year 2019 by the measles epidemic and it was combined from primary up to the college levels.

Samoa Rugby Union is determined to increase women’s participation in rugby around the country, in keeping with World Rugby edict of actively promoting and improving women’s rugby around the rugby playing world.

With that in mind, SRU rugby development division, has this week called for entries for its first women’s tournament for the start of the decade.

After twenty years, Brother Kevin O`Malley returns to Samoa. He has been appointed President of St. Joseph`s College, as well as the CEO of the College`s Governance Board.  Initially the positions will be on a part-time basis until his current contract with the Catholic Education Office in American Samoa is completed in early July, 2020.

A combined team of Samoan overseas general practitioners, surgeons and anesthetists, mostly from New Zealand, are rounding up their final week of a two weeks voluntary help out at the TTM Hospital to give the local staff a working break.

Consulting surgeon in Adelaide, Australia, Leafitaitu Dr Jimmy Eteuati is at the 7-member team

His team is the second to follow in on a two weeks voluntary work arrangement under the Samoan Doctors Worldwide Volunteer Service (SDWVS).

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After twenty years, Brother Kevin O`Malley returns to Samoa. He has been appointed President of St. Joseph`s College, as well as the CEO of the College`s Governance Board.  Initially the positions will be on a part-time basis until his current contract with the Catholic Education Office in American Samoa is completed in early July, 2020.

Schools will simply close down and all exams cancelled in any future health epidemic similar to the measles outbreak of last November and December 2019.

There is no Plan B to be set for major exams as far as the Education Minister, Loau Keneti Sio, is concerned, when it comes to any deadly disease that kills children.

Key end of year exams like the SSLC and SSC were cancelled and schools closed early for health safety reasons when the measles virus turned viral.

The Samoa Shipping Maritime Academy is closing its doors in a planned merge with the National University Maritime School to get underway with start of the first semester for the New Year.

The NUS deputy Vice Chancellor, Peseta Desmond Lee Hang confirmed the merge.

A Mt. Vaea resident, is not giving up protest at safety risks for families in the vicinity of the mountainside location of the fireworks, during the recent New Year midnight celebration.

Logona Paul Meredith, lives at his family home next to the selected location of  the fireworks.

He circulated a protest petition from families on the mountain-side to stop the fireworks but was unsuccessful in doing so.

PRESS RELEASE :  The Ministry of Health had not authorized the $40 tala fee and was also not aware that staff had unilaterally impose the fee to acquire the vaccination records for school enrolment.

As a result, Director General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri had instructed staff members to cease any fees immediately charged when informed of the situation last Friday.

The holiday season shortage of cooking gas in Savai’i ended during the week with the scheduled monthly shipment by the Samoa Shipping Corporation for the big island.

One of the regular suppliers from Apia, BOC Gas, explained the shortage on only one special trip a month scheduled by the Shipping Corporation for cooking gas.

A supplier spokesman said there are other reasons that include peak sales at this time of the year, always for the months December and January.

Deidre Fanene

A street vendor is looking forward to what this year has for him.

Jay Semo has had a tough life at a young age and is no stranger to most of the people in Apia especially the businesses.

There was also a time when the Samoa Victim Support Group took him into the shelter and offered him a place to live, after he ran away from home because he was being abused.

Deidre Fanene
 

Members of the Judiciary and the staff of the Ministry of Justice are keeping the court rooms at Mulinu’u moving again for the New Year 2020.

A prayer service at the start of the week to officially drag in the new workload, rolled off the new lineup of matters for the Supreme Court, District Court and the Lands and Titles Court to deal with.

The 2020 Week of Prayer and Fasting officially ended on Friday with a church service at the Mt. Vaea Prayer House.

More importantly, the annual tradition is now 30 years old, started in the aftermath of the Cyclones Ofa and Valerie in 1990-1991 respectively.

The major damages the natural disasters left behind in Samoa in lives and moreso in the national economy, led to the undertaking for divine protection.

Teams of overseas medical professionals doing voluntary work for the measles epidemic in Samoa have included a group of doctors who stood out as siblings from one family.

Doctors Sarah, Sebastian, Miriam and Mosese are brothers and sisters in a family of 9, five of them doctors – 2 sisters and 3 brothers, all based in New Zealand.

One of the doctor brothers, Luke, missed out from volunteering in Samoa because he was needed for work commitment at home.

The Marist Old Pupils Association, MOPA, executive and senior association members paid tribute to former President, Moananu Ioane Filemu, who was laid to rest yesterday.

Moananu passed away from ill health at 68.

“ He was a leader and a humble person as well, his last name Filemu says it all,” Tuala Farani Chan Tung said in eulogy at the family service on Thursday.

Revenue collections dropped noticeably at the Falealupo natural attractions for the festive holiday season just ended last Christmas and New Year.

The Falealupo Canopy Walkway, Giant Footprints of Moso and ‘Inailau a Tamaita’i’ are money makers for the village at the end of every year.

But what used to be revenue intakes of up to $3000 tala from a steady stream of entry fees collected from holiday makers, business fizzled poorly.

The Minister of Cabinet responsible for the seasonal workers programme in Samoa, Lautafi Selafi Purcell, has called for national prayers as Australia battles its worst bushfires in history.

Lautafi made the appeal while giving assurances earlier in the week that the close to 700 seasonal workers from Samoa working in the country are safe and well.

He said contingency measures are usually in place to ensure the safety in the farms the workers are employed in.

By Deidre Fanene

Three months old baby boy, Salvation Hicks, became victim number 82 in the measles death toll list after more than a week putting up a fight to live, while in critical condition at the TTM Hospital, Moto’otua.

His 27-year grieving mother Lisa Tupu-Hicks, watched, prayed, cried and cried some more, as she kept watch over her son and tried to will him back to life.

A Cook Islands donation of NZD$84,000 will be added to the Measles Epidemic Recovery Fund in Samoa.

The Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, personally presented a cheques this week.for the amount, to High Commissioner Leasi Tommy Scanlan, in New Zealand

Mr Puna was in Auckland and handed over the gift at the ‘Fale o Samoa’ in Mangere.

The Samoan community in the Cook Islands raised the money in a radiothon in Rarotonga.

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