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The Pacific Games Council will be looking into the eligibility of transgender athletes when they meet to review the report of the XVI Games that just ended  last night in Samoa.

New Zealand transgender athlete, Laurel Hubbard, created a controversial uproar, during the Games when she competed and won two gold medals in weightlifting.

The gold medal wins stirred debate over gender complaints that the lifter should be allowed to compete against the women.

 Swimming's double gold medal winner Brandon Schuster is the ‘Best Male Athlete’ for the Pacific Games XVI.

The President of the Pacific Games Council Mr. Vidhya Lakhan, made the official announcement last night at the closing ceremony at the Apia Park Stadium.

A panel of selected members involved with the Games disclosed their decision shortly before the official closing.

Schuster was recognised for setting the standard for swimming in Samoa.   

The Solomon Islands is adding to the theme of unity as a region when it is their turn to host the next Pacific Games in 2023.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, announced live by video link on Saturday night during the closing ceremony of the Games at the Apia Park Stadium the theme they have already selected.

‘Challenge. Celebrate. Unite.

Praises Roll In For Samoa At Pacific Games Closing

Papua New Guinea took an early jump on the scoring board and as the playing quarters ticked over they kept adding the points.

Samoa tried to keep up and overtake but the ladies from PNG were sharp and fast.

Even during warm up the PNGs were in serious medal winning mood that by the end of the first half they were in a comfortable 15 goals lead with a 31 -16 score.

Local

A Samoan student enrolled at Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in Wellington, New Zealand left the island this week greatly impressed by a first time visit to Savai’’i.

“I’ve been to Samoa twice before but only to Upolu and Apia,” said 17-year-old Annabelle Jessop.

“We were just in Savai’i and we were staying in beach fale close to Safotu village and helping the kids out in the church out there.”

Annabelle, Year 13, is one of nine students who represented Marsden in their annual Savai’i trip. 

More painting and art workshops from New York-based Artist Dan Taulapapa McMullin, a man of many talents – are in the works for Samoa.

"I'm working with Yuki Kihara on developing more painting and art workshops for developing artists in Samoa," McMullin told Newsline Samoa from Hudson, New York. "We're hoping to have this in place for sometime next year."

The Catholic Youth fellowship in Samoa earned high praises from the young people themselves who described the experience as positive and meaningful. 

The gathering opened on Tuesday before dispersing for their various activities and last Friday they congregated at Leauva’a for more planned events.

Appreciation of Samoan culture was identified by many of the young Catholic Newsline talked to as something they would take back with them.

PACER Plus, the Pacific Agreement of Closer Economic Relations to which two days of regional trade talks were dedicated at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel this week, is a bad deal for Samoa.

This is the view of local businessman Papali’i Grant Percival who says when it comes to “holding sticks,” the much talked about free trade agreement that covers goods, services and investment, leaves Samoa “with no stick.”

“Part of the problem we’ve got right now is their (Australia and New Zealand) goods come into Samoa for free,” he said in response to inquiries from Newsline Samoa.

Not all missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, return to their Ward, Stake, village and nation with honour.

Some missionaries don't make it home at all.

For that reason, the homecoming of every Latter-Day Saint missionary is counted as an immeasurable blessing to his and her family, Ward, village, hometown and the LDS Church worldwide.

After two years in the mission field, the Key family and Alamagoto Ward celebrate today their first Sunday since the return of 22-year-old Return Missionary (formerly Elder) Joseph Fofoga Key.

Fewer board members, increased visibility for Savai'i and women's rugby – with a seat designated for a woman – are among the changes coming into the running of the Samoa Rugby Union, SRU .

The amendments to the constitution, which governs the sport among sub-unions in Samoa, will be discussed during a special meeting later this month, said SRU Chief Executive Officer Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea'i.

"We will be updating the constitution to bring it in line with professional standards," Faleomavaega told Newsline Samoa.

The Samoa Shipping Corporation, SSC, is not building a hotel at Mulifanua “ any time soon or even later.” 

Surprised and distressed by public criticisms to a news story carried by the daily Samoa Observer on Thursday, the corporation sent out this press statement to Newsline Samoa, to clarify their position.

“Samoa Shipping Corporation Ltd (SSC) is not intending to build a Hotel any time soon or even later at all.

The legacy started by the first Teachers Cultural Entertainment Group, to hold on to traditional dances, against the eroding threat of modern changes, was highlighted in a Museum Exhibition at Malifa on Friday.

The group was formed in 1971 as part of the efforts by the Pacific Islands to revive and keep alive their culture. 

This was the group, which took part in the first South Pacific Festival of Arts in 1972 held in Fiji. 

The late Aiono Dr Fanaafi Le Tagaloa was the Director of Education at the time.

The descendants of Aeo’ainuu Paniani and his sisters are gathered in Samoa for their family reunion.

The weeklong event officially commenced at Sapapalii where the clan originated.

Like all important events it started off with a thanksgiving service conducted by the village church minister. This was followed by the bestowal of matai titles on 97 members of the clan mostly from overseas. Titles conferred were Aeo’ainuu, Muaausa and Muagututia.

The second part of the family reunion is held in Apia where members are staying at the Insel Fehmarn.

Helping people in the communities to build up resilience against natural disasters was the focus of a training by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) at Sapo’e and Matatufu on Monday this week.

In partnership with ADRA was The Habit for Humanity in New Zealand.

The training was on how to secure their homes and ensure they have provisions like water, food and others during the times of natural disaster.

The training is very much appreciated and welcome by participants like 31 year old Veronika Silipa.

They may have reached retirement age in serving as church ministers but the heart to serve the Lord is there always.

Reverend Laau Aumua and Reverend Ropati Enoka are retired Methodist church ministers and are attending the Methodist Church Conference at Faleula.

The two also have other things they share in common. They had served as church ministers in Samoa and overseas and they remain devoted to the service of the Lord.

The 73 year old Rev Aumua from the village of Lepa served at Lalovi, Mulifanua, Australia and Magiagi.

Samoan youths of the Catholic Church in Samoa and from New Zealand, Australia, American Samoa and Tokelau are gathering in Samoa this week.

The programme was opened yesterday by the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi in-front of the Government Building at the Reclaimed Area.

The one week gathering is held every three years.

Father Poao Saena of the Vaivase Catholic Church told Newsline the youth programme is to help build up the spiritual life of the Catholic youths and for them to identify the gifts and talents they have been blessed with.

Sports

Dear Oh Dear ……………it’s a rugby game for crying out loud 

Strange reports filtering out of our Manu rugby test match against the Germans on Saturday/Sunday morning (Samoa time). 

Germany is said to have replaced the whole backline players who played in Samoa about a week ago, with their stars from the soccer team.

Since their early exit from the soccer World Cup, the Germans have whisked in their stars to bolster the rugby team. 

Germany is desperate to score at least 100 points against the Manu to win the final spot in the Rugby World Cup next year.

Politics

The Prime Minister has rubbished arguments that the freeze and seize law for unpaid taxes was passed by Government to take from the EFKS faifeau who will not pay income tax.

“The law to seize personal assets and bank accounts as well as to prosecute taxpayers who do not pay taxes is nothing new,” PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said.

“It’s been in our law books for years and it is not exclusive to faifeau to all taxpayers.

Crime

While the use of illegal substances, crystal methamphetamine and marijuana continue to rise, it’s that legal liquid – booze – that wreaks the most havoc on society in Samoa.

Alcohol consumption is so widespread that Police Investigator Rudolph Ho-Chee told Newsline alcohol is part of “culture” in Samoa.

As an investigator, he deals with a lot of people who are under the influence of drugs and high on illegal substances.

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