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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).

Local

Deidre Fanene

Grieving families of babies held at the TTM Hospital Mortuary are to be informed when they can collect their loved ones depending on when postmortem on the bodies are completed.

Families of reportedly 8 babies are eager to take their bodies home for burial. 

The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, justified the delay as part of a necessary medical process to determine what the babies died of.

One happened where everyone could see and the other where there were not so many prying eyes.

Both occurred on a Friday afternoon.

A taxi overran the footpath and was held in check by a cement garden wall that is part of the new Apia Waterfront Boulevard.

The crash occurred during the busy afternoon rush hour. Only the driver, taxi and the cement wall felt the impact and were left with a few bruises, dents and cracks.

Final year college students are to sit the national Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exam this week starting on Tuesday right up to Friday.

The Ministry of Education is taking into consideration the measles epidemic and overseas travel for students who are unable to sit.

 Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma, has made it clear that the rights of the parents to deny the children measles vaccination is overruled when it comes to the safety of children in a deadly health epidemic.

He gave his position in response to the current argument of the rights of parents to decide what is best for their children that included not having them vaccinated.

A roadside brawl in front of a busy supermarket next to the main road at Vailoa, threatened public safety when it spilled onto the road.

Eyewitness reported empty bottles and rocks flying around and onto oncoming traffic.

The violence broke out between two groups of men at around 9.00pm in the evening, according to people who were present when it happened.

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is not ready to accept fingers pointed at the New Zealand measles outbreak, as the origins of the virus that started the epidemic in Samoa.

“There are 10 million cases of the measles in the world and the source of the virus in Samoa is not known,” Peters added as a footnote in a meeting with the media on Friday.

The national state of emergency over the measles epidemic is extended for another two weeks, past Christmas Day to the 29th of December 2019.

The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi made the formal announcement only hours ago inside his office.

There are still 16,000 thousand people to be vaccinated, according to the PM.  The pulenu'u mop up operation has so far recorded 1342 unvaccinated people, 579 are 19 years and under with 763 above the younger age group.

Since March 2019, the Central Bank of Samoa (CBS) has been engaging with the banking industry, non bank payment service providers and select government ministries in the rollout of the new national payment system, Automatic Transfer System (ATS)

Deidre Fanene

A woman who is charged with attempted murder as well as grievous bodily harm of a male from Solaua, Saoluafata pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The woman is in legal strife for discharging a firearm, attempted murder, armed with a dangerous weapon and grievous bodily harm.

The incident occurred on the 29th of October this year.

The Pacific community in Wellington New Zealand, organised a concert raising funds for families affected by the measles epidemic in Samoa.

"As a Mum of two young girls, seeing the number of young children dying in Samoa has been heartbreaking," said Sophia Uele of Tautua Dance, one of the organisers of the event.

She said she and her partner felt raising funds for Samoa could be one way to help, and once the call went out for performers, people generously said yes.

Deidre Fanene

New European Union Ambassador to Samoa was at first sad to see his designated country suffer the measles epidemic but happy to be of help.

HE Sujiro Seam told the local media of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism that made it possible to reach out a helping hand to Samoa.

Pregnant mothers and women of child bearing age are an added worry with the mesales epidemic with the Ministry of Women and Community Development in the forefront of efforts to protect the vulnerable group.

There were no new deaths added to the measles death toll in the last 24 hour Update Report 27 with the total still at 72.

New cases recorded is up by 10 with a new total of 85 compared to the previous Update Report 26 of 75.

The Ministry of Health confirms a total of 5,080 measles cases, since the outbreak started.   

Close to a hundred local volunteers of the Helping Hands group are taking daily shifts to serve hot meals and fruits to the increasing number of family care givers at the TTM Hospital, Motootua.

The help is not limited to members caring for measles in-patients, but hungry security guards and police officers as well.

Yesterday evening, the team made another round to give hot meals to people in hospitals and also they target the nurses as well and doctors.

Sports

Deidre Fanene

Weightlifting Golden boy Don Opeloge placed 6th in the IWF World Cup in Tianjin China.

The 20 year old also set a New Commonwealth and Oceania Record in the Clean & Jerk division by 20kg.

Coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork said he is proud of Opeloge's performance.

He added this will the champion lifters last tournament for this year.

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