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TV1 News 6pm Headlines (First Segment)

Samoan Murder Verdict - Death Penalty Judgment - Samoan Kiwi’s Reaction - Millennium Spend-Up - Varroa Bee Killing Mites - Cuban Castaway - Psychological Damage

SAMOAN MURDER VERDICT: The death penalty is handed out in Samoa’s political assassination trial. Today Supreme Court Judge Andrew Wilson condemned Leafa Vitale, 57 and Toi Aukuso
to death for planning the murder of their former political rival Luagalau Levaula Kamu.

DEATH PENALTY JUDGMENT: The judge upheld the decision of the five adjudicators who earlier had considered the decision and returned guilty verdicts. However a plea for clemency comes from the murdered man’s widow. The two men showed little concern at the sentencing – under Samoan judicial tradition the stiff death sentences are likely to be commuted to life imprisonment.

SAMOAN KIWI’S REACTION: Many of the 100,000 Samoans New Zealanders wish to put the matter behind them saying they felt ashamed by the revelations involving the corruption of the two Ministers. Samoans here are also divided on whether the two men should be hung.

MILLENNIUM SPEND-UP: A millennium spend-up in Gisborne has come back to haunt the city’s Mayor and Chief Executive. The two spent over $50,000 to pay a public relations company to launch a Gisborne 2000 millennium campaign in London without the consent of their colleagues. Both flew themselves and their wives to be present at the opening. A further $30,000 is still owed to a London restaurant involved in the launch.

VARROA BEE KILLING MITES: Twenty-one beekeepers have tested positive for the Varroa bee killing mites. Beekeepers want compensation from the Government to pay for the eradication of the mites and also for compensation over lost export business. Bee exports, which have been temporarily halted, are scheduled to begin next Wednesday.

CUBAN CASTAWAY: Elian Gonzalez the young Cuban ship wreck survivor boy at the centre of a custody battle in the United States is being held by his Cuban American relatives in Miami who are refusing to hand over the boy to the US authorities. The Miami relatives have won a last minute court injunction against US law which requires the boy to return home to Cuba with his father.

PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGE: The boy’s father has often complained that the boy is being exploited and humiliated by the media frenzy around the trial. Psychologists say a recent controversial video issued by the boy’s American relatives will cause unnecessary emotional suffering to the child.

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