American Samoa

American Samoa to launch online visas

Talauega Eleasalo Ale told the territory's Visitors Bureau this week the online platform will allow travel agents and visitors to obtain entry permits through a more convenient and timely process.

A statement from the Visitors Bureau said the attorney general had committed to periodic meetings with travel and airline agents to streamline the entry process as a way of driving visitor traffic and supporting local industry.

 

Photo: RNZ/ Monica Miller Caption: Auditor General of American Samoa Talauega Eleasalo Ale. 

Governor's power of veto could be changed in American Samoa

Senators Tuaoloa Fruean and Nuanuaolefeagaiga Saoluaga Nua sponsored a legislative veto override measure, which had been voted down in previous elections.

If approved, a bill that is vetoed by the governor will still be able to pass if it is supported by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate.

Currently, if a governor vetoes a bill it is sent back to the Fono to be repassed by each chamber before going back to the governor, who can send it to the United States' interior secretary for a final decision.

The secretary can either approve or kill it.

New hospital on the cards in American Samoa

The executive director of the territory's only medical facility, LBJ hospital, is Taufete'e John Faumuina.

He told a US House subcommittee about the challenges faced by the centre, which is currently operating under a $US50 million budget.

Taufete'e said LBJ needed to address a number of issues and also offer better salaries to recruit doctors, nurses and other staff.

He said the hospital struggled acquire new equipment and to maintain its facilities, which were built in 1968.

Tongan father returns home after two years in American Samoa detention

Toni Foketi was detained because his immigration ID had expired, and his sponsor, his wife, had moved to the mainland for work.

The NGO, Alliance for Strengthening Families, helped pay for a lawyer so Mr Foketi could eventually go to court for an immigration hearing.

But the court ruled that he should have left the territory already and by not doing so he had violated the conditions of his probation from a previous crime.

American Samoa king tide warning

The National Weather Service says the tides over the weekend could reach 3.5 feet on Tutuila, the main island, and 5 feet in the Manu'a group.

Authorities are advising residents and drivers in coastal areas to be on the lookout and to secure their properties.

     

American Samoa ups efforts to curb drug use

Our correspondent Fili Sagapolutele said crystal meth is such a commonly used drug now that the taskforce was created to formulate strategies to curb the use of illicit drugs and narcotics.

Fili Sagapolutele said the statistics on illegal drug use in the Territory are outdated.

"They are working with the community and they've started to conduct outreach, working with government officials and village leaders, just in the hope to get this drug problem down.

"One of the issues that has come up recently is what are the statistics?"

American Samoan study says Zika defect risk falls during pregnancy

According to the CDC, the study showed during the first trimester, women in the US territories with confirmed Zika infection had a baby or fetus with Zika-related birth defects 8 percent of the time.

That frequency dropped to 5 percent in the second trimester and 4 percent in the third trimester.

The nine-month average was just over 5.5 percent.

The analysis is based on information from more than 2,500 women who completed their pregnancies last April in American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

American Samoa investigates mysterious boat sightings

Director of Homeland Security Samana Semo Veavea said when the governor gives approval, a team of police, Coast Guard and Homeland Security agents will be sent to Ta'u.

The local marine safety detachment unit had conducted interviews and forwarded a report to Honolulu.

Residents said they had seen what appeared to be two large unidentified vessels offshore late at night.

They also claimed that two small boats were sighted making their way to shore between Friday night and early Saturday morning.

American Samoa AG against tobacco ban

Health officials have continued a public awareness programme, focusing on the health risks involved in smoking and a reminders of laws banning smoking in public facilities, including schools and public transportation.

During a House of Representatives health committee hearing, lawmaker Vui Florence Saulo asked Talauega about banning the importation of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Talauega said the products shouldn't be banned, and there were other ways to reduce cigarette consumption like increasing the cost through excise tax.

American Samoa marks 117th anniversary

In his Flag Day proclamation, Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga said the people have always believed that through the success of children, the future of the people of American Samoa and the culture will be assured.