AMERICAN SAMOA – American Samoa’s attorney general Talauega Eleasalo Ale has warned against a move to completely ban cigarettes and tobacco from being imported into the territory. 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 option of banning the importation of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Talauega said the products shouldn’t be banned, as there were other ways to reduce cigarette consumption like increasing the cost through excise tax.
FAKE CALLS JAM AMBULANCE SERVICE
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – The St John Ambulance Service in Papua New Guinea’s capital city receives about 1000 fake calls a day. Most of these callers are drunken people, pranksters or lonely people who just want to make use of the toll free service, says St John Ambulance Service chief officer Assistant Commissioner Matt Cannon. St John is the only emergency ambulance and health care provider in Port Moresby and parts of Central Province. The increasing number of unnecessary or fake calls to the St John Ambulance Service 111 hotline was making it harder for people experiencing genuine medical emergencies to reach medical personnel, Cannon said. The toll free hotline is inundated with unnecessary callers every day, jamming the network and as a result, many genuine callers are unable to get through.
RYan BANK IN FIJI FOR BANKNOTE LAUNCH
FIJI – Former Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan is coming home this weekend for the launching of the Fiji 7s Olympic gold commemorative banknote and coin. The Reserve Bank of Fiji sent out official invitations for the launch, which will be officiated by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Ryan and Vodafone Fiji 7s captain Osea Kolinisau as guest speakers at the Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva. Meanwhile, Ryan also known as Ratu Peni Latianara of Serua, will also use his time in Fiji to finalise the legalities concerning land given to him by the people of Serua. Ryan has said he intends to build a yoga retreat on the land.
TEACHERS ON NOTICE FOR ‘BUNKING’
TONGA – Tongan police arrested dozens of people in the capital Nuku‘alofa over Easter as part of its ongoing clampdown on excessive drunkenness. 176 people were arrested in total in the week leading up to and including Easter. Radio Tonga quoted acting chief superintendent Tevita Vailea saying the majority of the offences were breaches of the Transportation Act, including drunk driving. Nine people were charged with drunk driving and 38 were charged with drinking in public places during Operation Safe Streets held every weekend, to reduce offences related to alcohol. Other offences included breaching the public order, drugs and alcohol charges and assault and theft. Over Christmas Tongan police conducted a similar operation, making 159 arrests.