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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (September 4, 2000 - PIDP/CPIS)---The first ever female team to run for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor in the history of American Samoa suffered a blow to their political campaign just 24-hours before the September 1 deadline to register as candidates for the upcoming November election.

First ever female candidate for governor, Rosalia Tisa Faamuli, could not hold back tears before reporters when she announced that her intended running mate, Taimane Johnson, decided last Thursday to pull out of the race.

Mrs. Johnson said she is loyal to another candidate for governor, Senator Leala Peter Reid, and will commit her full efforts to the Senator.

Faamuli told reporters that since the announcement of their candidacy three days earlier, Mrs. Johnson had repeatedly told her that there were various groups from the Senator's camp who asked her to step down.

In a separate interview, Faamuli told the American Samoa based newspaper, the Samoa Post, that Mrs. Johnson was harassed and threatened by different gubernatorial camps. Faamuli claims that Mrs. Johnson was harassed at her home and by phone.

Following their official announcement, the Faamuli and Johnson team received support from various elements in the community, including the U.S. Green Party. The team also received encouragement from women in the region.

Faamuli told Pacific Islands Report on Monday that her campaign will move on with new running mate James McQuire, a social activist.

The Election Office also confirmed that Faamuli and running mate McGuire have been officially certified as candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.

In a press statement, Faamuli said the issue with Mrs. Johnson is "water under the bridge."

"I'm not going to worry about the past because we can't go back. My priority is to bring to this campaign solutions to issues of importance, labor practices and the economy," Faamuli said.



By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (September 4, 2000 - PIDP/CPIS)--- The Election Office confirmed on Monday that there are five gubernatorial teams for American Samoa's top race in the November election.

Registration for candidates closed at 4:30 p.m. on September 1, 2000.

The Election Office worked overtime on Thursday and Friday and also on Saturday to verify signatures on all petitions for last minute candidacy registration.

During the November 7th General Election, American Samoa voters will be going to the polls to elect the governor/lieutenant governor, the congressional representative and the local House of Representatives.

All five gubernatorial teams that earlier announced their candidacy have registered and qualified including the first female candidate for governor, Rosalia Tisa Faamuli, and her running mate James McQuire.

Other confirmed gubernatorial candidates are: incumbents Tauese P.F. Sunia and Togiola T. Tulafono; Senator Lealaifuaneva Peter Reid and Afoa Moega Lutu; Senate President Lutu Tenari Fuimaono and Amitoelau Joe Masei Letuli; and Lucky Nomura and Joe Maeva.

Regarding the congressional race, the candidates are: incumbent Eni Faleomavaega, Aumua Amata Coleman, Gus Hannemann and Seigafolava Pene.

The public will have up until Thursday to file any challenges against the candidates running for office before the final and official list of candidates is released on Friday.

And if all goes well, the ballots will be printed over the coming weekend, followed by its inspection by the candidates.



By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (September 4, 2000 - PIDP/CPIS)---The Department of Public Safety last week Wednesday called of the search for two Vietnamese women that were lost at sea on August 27. The bodies were never recovered and the pair is presumed dead.

The women lost their lives when they were swept out to sea, as they were trying to come ashore at Sliding Rock in Vailoatai, an area considered dangerous by locals.

A search and rescue effort, under police policies, is called off after 72-hours if the search is unsuccessful in locating a missing person.

During the course of the search, local authorities asked the two airlines operating out of Pago Pago International Airport for their assistance in conducting an aerial search of the area where the women were last seen.

Friends of the two women gathered Saturday morning for a one-hour memorial service to pay their respects.

Police have not yet closed the case as their Criminal Investigation Division is conducting an investigation into the incident. No details have been released.

The two have been identified as Dung Kim Thi Vu, 24, of Hai Phong and Nga Ngugen, 27, of Hanoi.

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