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Author: Benjamin Bartu

Federal response in American Samoa limited due to local fear of added debt

In one picture, a tree has fallen broadside over a building. In another a tin roof has been torn wrenched from the top of what was once a home. Since Cyclone Gita hit American Samoa on February 12, 80,000 American nationals have been recovering from mass power outages and dwindling supplies. The islands’ natural environment was as affected as its human constructs. Severe flooding and widespread landslides did their part to add to the rising cost of the damages. Once the storm settled and the extent of the damage could be observed, Samoan Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga made a...

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American Samoa becomes third US territory to be destroyed by a storm in less than 6 months

This past Friday, February 9, 2018, the US territory of American Samoa was hit by one of the worst storms it has seen in the past 60 years. Gita, as the cyclone has been named, has dealt vast damages to a plethora of pacific island nations, and as of now there is no concrete information on the total number of victims, though damages are evident. This Sunday, President Trump approved a disaster declaration, acknowledging that American Samoa is in a state of emergency. As confirmed by Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga, widespread damages have been caused, and large swaths of infrastructure...

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Guam faces increased gas prices, neglect from Federal Trade Commission

Over the course of the last month, gas prices in Guam have increased three times, by more than 30 cents/gallon for regular grade. In the last week alone, the island’s three retailers, Shell, 76/Circle K., and Mobil increased prices by a further 15 cents per gallon in unison with one another, bringing the cost for a gallon of regular grade gasoline up from $4.03 to $4.18. Mobil Oil Guam’s president has explained the reasoning for this as being quite simple; because all three companies buy gas from the same place (Singapore), they therefore all have similar costs, and must adjust prices...

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American Samoa, and its dependence on US National Park funding

Located in the South Pacific Ocean, American Samoa is an unincorporated US territory home to some 55,000 people. Previously referred to as the Baumann islands, the territory was renamed on July 7, 1911, when a US Naval Fleet was stationed on the islands of Tutuila, Aunu’u, and Manu’a. American Samoans are able to elect their own local governor through a system of representative democracy. American Samoans, as per a United States Supreme Court decision which was upheld in 2016 at the outcome of Tuaua v United States, are not entitled to US Citizenship despite being born in a US...

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After promising to help Puerto Rico, Republicans in Congress set to pass bill that would destroy local economy

Puerto Rico has received more attention than usual in the mainstream press this year. After the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria left the country in disrepair earlier this year, the territory now stares down another storm, this one manmade: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The latest draft of the bill, passed last friday by Congress’ Conference Committee, has writ a new federal tax into place, casting an ominous shadow over the territory’s economic future. The new tax, which places a 12.5% transaction cost on all payments and exchanges made between corporations in the mainland US and their offshoots in Puerto...

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