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2020 Legislative session resumes; Pedestrian and traffic safety awareness; Scant details about HECO's new solar farm projects; Samoan history teaches important pandemic lesson 


Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green recaps the medical mission to Samoa to address its deadly measles outbreak; U.S. Attorney's office warns of Chinese espionage, especially at American universities; Civil Beat gives an update on protecting native birds from mosquitoes; An interview with Takuma Itoh, composer of Picture Brides, which will be performed tonight as part of the Honolulu Chamber Music Series

Fili Sagapolutele/AP

The government of American Samoa declared that the U.S. territory has an outbreak of measles, a move that will lead to the closure of public schools starting Monday and a ban on gatherings in parks.  

Elaine Thompson/AP

A letter sent out to parents Monday from a Wahiawa elementary school saying a student had the measles was wrong.

State Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo says there is no new reported case of measles in the islands.

She says the false report resulted from parents who believed their pre-kindergarten child had come down with the infectious disease.

A Department of Education spokeswoman said the letter from the Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School was distributed out of an abundance of caution.

The Pacific island nation of Samoa will shut down government services for two days so that civil servants can focus on a nationwide immunization drive as the country struggles to end a measles outbreak that has claimed more than 50 lives, most of them children.

Paul Vernon/AP

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Authorities said Monday that a measles epidemic sweeping through Samoa continues to worsen with the death toll rising to 25, all but one of them young children.

The Samoan government closed schools indefinitely Monday as it attempts to quell a measles epidemic that has killed at least six people and hospitalized dozens more. Health officials said the Pacific island nation's low immunization rate is the cause of the outbreak.

Haa900 / Creative Commons CC0 1.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Scientists in Australia have dated a set of ancient tattoo chisels to the dawn of Polynesian culture, 2,700 years ago. The tools were found in Tonga Tapu, and the scientists say that suggests that tattooing began in Tonga and Samoa, and then spread to the rest of the Polynesian Triangle, including Hawaii.

Michael Coghlan / Flickr

A confrontation between church and state looms in Samoa, where the largest church in the country says its ministers will not obey a new law that requires them to pay income tax.

NASA, MODIS / LANCE / Wikimedia Commons

The Pacific Climate Change Conference got underway in Wellington this week, as the remnants of Cyclone Gita arrived to lash the west coast of New Zealand. Several small island nations suffered severe damage from the storm and, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, recovery is expected to take months, if not years.

Teinesavaii / Wikimedia Commons
Teinesavaii / Wikimedia Commons

The outspoken Prime Minister of Samoa said on television this week, that media organizations should rely on “official” information, and that it would be good if reporters were forced to reveal their sources. The statement followed passage of a law that makes libel a criminal offense in Samoa. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.


The annual summit of the Pacific Islands Forum takes place this week in Samoa, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, some leaders will not attend, while other governments will send caretakers.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Last December, we reported that the police commissioner of Samoa had been thrown into a jail cell after he was arrested on more than 250 criminal charges, including incitement to murder. On Monday, he declared, “Justice has prevailed” after the entire case was dismissed…we have an update from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / Flickr
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / Flickr

The Police Force in Samoa is in turmoil...the Commissioner faces more than 250 criminal charges, both he and the deputy commissioner have been suspended, and an official Commission of Inquiry has just postponed the start of its investigation indefinitely.  We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

jopolopy / Flickr

On another big day for presidential primaries, let's take time out to catch up on the voting in US pacific territories and on elections in two Pacific Island Nations.  As reported earlier Donald Trump swept the Republican caucus in the Northern Marianas Islands earlier today and won nine delegates.  In Samoa, The ruling party swept to a lop-sided victory, while last week voters in Kiribati opted for change.  Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

 After surprisingly good numbers at the box office in New Zealand, a comedy shot on a shoestring in Samoa is now set for release in Australia. "Three Wise Cousins" came in at number seven, earning about two hundred thousand dollars in two weeks on just eight screens. More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.


Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The Governor of American Samoa is asking the Interior Department for money to explore a review of the territory's political status. The biggest employer - the Starkist Tuna cannery says a minimum wage hike and federal restrictions on fishing could force the company to relocate.  A frustrated local government says those policies are outside its control.  We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.