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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (December 8, 1998 - Samoa News)---Celebration of the Territory's Centennial in the year 2000 guarantees to draw attention to the region, including some of the most beautiful women in the South Pacific.

American Samoa has been named the host country for the Miss South Pacific Pageant for the year 2000, making the territory the first to host the pageant as the world enters the new millennium.

The announcement was made in Apia on Sunday during the presentation of prizes after the 1998 Miss South Pacific Pageant Saturday night. Miss Samoa, 19-year-old Cheri Robinson, was crowned the new title holder.

During that same meeting, Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, the former Chairman of the Miss South Pacific Pageant, Inc., was in attendance and gave special remarks.

Sources told Samoa News that American Samoa's proposal was under review by the Miss South Pacific Board of Directors last week Wednesday.

Specific details of American Samoa's proposal were not available yesterday. However, the same source said American Samoa presented a colorfully written profile bid, while other areas, including Hawai‘i, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Australia presented verbal bids.

"American Samoa's bid outshined everyone there and it was a unanimous vote," said the source familiar with the process. "I think that celebration of American Samoa's centennial in the year 2000 played a major role in winning the bid."

Virginia Samuelu of the Department of Commerce/Tourism Division, who represents American Samoa on the Board of Directors, was on leave yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

Tonga will host the pageant next year, which is usually scheduled for the month of October, unless the host country changes the date.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to [email protected].

For additional reports from the Samoa News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa News.

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