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Former Samoa PM concedes election defeat, ends political instability

CANBERRA (Reuters) -The former prime minister of Samoa on Monday ended months of political instability by conceding defeat in an election held in April that ended his 22 years in power.

Samoa descended into chaos earlier this year after then Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi refused to give way after losing a parliamentary election to former deputy prime minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa.

Samoa’s Court of Appeal ruled last week that a makeshift swearing in ceremony was legal, officially installing Mataafa as the country’s first female prime minister and her Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Party in power.

“FAST here is the government,” Tuilaepa said in a speech pasted on Facebook.

The concession followed regional pressure to honour the court ruling, including from Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison amid concerns about ongoing tension.

“It’s definitely a relief to see this saga finally reach a peaceful conclusion,” said Jonathan Pryke, Director, Pacific Islands Program at the Lowy Institute, a Sydney-based think tank.

“It is also the start of a new era of Samoan politics where the new ruling government faces a robust opposition within the parliamentary chamber for the first time in decades.”

Mataafa said on Saturday her government would formally take office on Tuesday.

Samoa, which relies on subsistence farming along with tourism and fish and coconut product exports, has had to depend on foreign aid and is heavily indebted to China, which offered to back a port development by the previous government.

Fiame told Reuters in May she would shelve the Beijing-backed port development, calling the $100 million project excessive for a small country already deep in debt.

Reporting by Colin Packham

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Divorced singer Adele gets new man Rich Paul

Singer Adele’s boyfriend, Rich Paul, has been spotted in public for the first time since their affair was confirmed with a public display of affection on Thursday.

He was seen waiting for Adele, 33, outside the Big Apple’s Milk Studios on Saturday, dressed in a casual blue tracksuit.

The lovebirds were later seen leaving the place, with Paul’s hand around the singer.

Daily Mail reported that Adele wore a black Balenciaga football top, teaming the luxury piece with ripped jeans and a pair of chic heels.

The British singer was recently spotted laughing and cheering alongside Rich Paul, a sports agent, at Game 5 of the NBA Finals, in which the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns.

Adele had, in 2019, ended her marriage to Simon Konecki by filing for divorce in Los Angeles.

The estranged couple had announced in a joint statement five months before then that they were splitting after seven years together.

Paul, 40, is worth £34m and agent to NBA legend LeBron James.

As reported by Elle, Paul was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, in the neighborhood of Glenville. He became a sports agent after meeting a teenaged James at the Akron-Canton Airport in 2002.


Car given to Princess Diana from Prince Charles sells for $72,000

A car given to Princess Diana by Prince Charles as an engagement present has sold for more than £52,000 ($72,000) at auction.

The 1981 Ford Escort Ghia sold for about $30,000 more than the lower range of the expected price.

The auctioneer’s estimate had suggested that the car would fetch between £30,000 and £40,000 ($41,500 and $55,400). With fees, the final selling price was £52,640 ($72,800).

The car was given to Diana by Prince Charles in May 1981, two months before the pair’s wedding, according to Reeman Dansie auctioneers.

The young princess drove the vehicle until August 1982.

The car was sold on Tuesday with its original registration number, paintwork, and radio.

There are approximately 83,000 miles on the car’s speedometer.

“The Ford was Princes Diana’s personal transport in the early and happiest part of her relationship with the Prince of Wales and there are numerous photographs of her driving it and even her watching the Prince playing polo, sitting inside it,” the Reeman Dansie statement reads.

The auctioneers said the unnamed seller was a woman who was a great admirer of Diana and who had kept the car’s royal roots a secret even from her friends.

The Ford saloon comes with a silver frog mascot on the bonnet, a copy of a gift from Diana’s sister, Sarah Spencer.

Reeman Dansie said the gift was to remind Diana of “the fairy tale of a beautiful girl whose kiss turns a frog into a prince.”

It’s not the first time a Diana vehicle has sold for an impressive sum — her Audi convertible was sold last year for £58,000 ($80,300). 


Indictment of firm and top executive test Trump’s charmed life.

A Manhattan grand jury on Wednesday indicted the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, according to people familiar with the matter.

The charges, which people familiar with the matter told the media earlier Wednesday are related to alleged tax crimes in connection with an array of perks and benefits awarded to employees, are expected to be unsealed Thursday. It was not immediately clear how many charges are in the indictments.

Though former President Donald Trump faced multiple federal and state prosecutorial inquiries during his administration, the district attorney’s indictment would be the first to charge his namesake company with criminal conduct.

Trump himself isn’t expected to be charged, his lawyer has said. The Wall Street Journal first reported the expected charges.

Weisselberg is expected to turn himself into prosecutors Thursday morning, two sources with knowledge said.

Mary Mulligan, a lawyer for Weisselberg, declined to comment. A spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance declined to comment. A lawyer for the Trump Organization didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The expected charges are set to come after lawyers for the Trump Organization met twice with prosecutors in recent days to present arguments about why the company shouldn’t face criminal charges.

And they will come after more than two years of investigation that began with an inquiry into accounting connected to hush-money payments made by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and expanded to include questions about whether the company or certain employees paid taxes on benefits including rent-free apartments, car leases or private school tuition.

Prosecutors have also scrutinized cash bonuses paid to employees and whether appropriate taxes were paid on them,

Though prosecutors have focused on Weisselberg in an effort to coax him into cooperating with their investigation, his lawyers recently informed the district attorney’s office that he would not cooperate, people familiar with the matter said.

An indictment against him would likely significantly increase the pressure on him to comply with prosecutors’ demands.

However, a source familiar with the matter says the pressure on Weisselberg has not been successful for a reason.

“Consider the possibility that Allen has nothing to flip on,” the source said.

Investigators’ scrutiny of Weisselberg began late last year, as prosecutors gathered evidence on him with the assistance of his former daughter-in-law, Jennifer Weisselberg. Since then, she has turned over boxes of financial records and has met with investigators multiple times, her lawyer Duncan Levin told the media.

On Wednesday, Levin said she was pleased to learn of forthcoming charges against her former father-in-law and his longtime employer.

“We have been working with prosecutors for many months now as part of this tax and financial investigation and have provided a large volume of evidence that allowed them to bring these charges,” Levin said. “We are gratified to hear that the DA’s office is moving forward with a criminal case.

In recent weeks, as prosecutors have inched closer to bringing charges, Trump has lashed out at their inquiries, deriding the probe — led by Vance and New York state Attorney General Letitia James, both Democrats — as conducted by “radical left” officials.

“Having politically motivated prosecutors, people who actually got elected because they will ‘get Donald Trump,’ is a very dangerous thing for our Country,” he said in a statement earlier this week. “Why would anyone bring their company to New York, or even stay in New York, knowing these Radical Left Democrats would willingly target their company if viewed as a political opponent? It is devastating for New York!”


‘E shock you? as Maradona’s psychiatrist denies responsibility in the footballer’s death.

Diego Maradona’s psychiatrist who was treating him when he died last November has denied any responsibility for his demise, which an expert panel has blamed on neglect. 

Agustina Cosachov “provided evidence that she did not commit a homicide,” her lawyer said after the 36-year-old was questioned at the San Isidro Prosecutor’s Office outside Buenos Aires.

“There is no suspicion to say that the psychiatric medication (that Cosachov prescribed) and in those doses could have caused a deficiency in the heart,” Vadim Mischanchuk added.

The Argentine football legend who won the 1986 World Cup died of a heart attack at the age of 60, weeks after undergoing brain surgery for a blood clot.

Cosachov and psychologist Carlos Diaz found Maradona dead in bed in a rented house in an exclusive Buenos Aires neighborhood where he was receiving home care.

Cosachov was questioned for more than six hours at the prosecutor’s office Friday and presented a voluminous letter before leaving. 

“She was a psychiatric doctor,” Mischanchuk had said as they entered the office. “She had nothing to do with the clinical management of the patient.”

The addiction specialist is one of seven the medical professionals under investigation for manslaughter over Maradona’s death in a case that has gripped Argentina.

According to the investigation record, Cosachov and neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, 39, were the key personnel in charge of Maradona’s care.

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