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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 May 2007, 02:41 GMT 03:41 UK
Samoa islands head of state dies
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The head of state of the South Pacific nation of Samoa, Malietoa Tanumafili II, has died at the age of 94.

Malietoa, a traditional high chief, was appointed to his post in 1962, after Western Samoa, as was then known, gained independence from New Zealand.

He was the third-longest serving head of state, after King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and Queen Elizabeth II.

Malietoa was appointed for life, his successor will be selected by the legislature for a five-year term.

He died in hospital. The cause has so far not been announced.

Samoa has a population of 182,000. There are a further 120,000 Samoans living in New Zealand.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Samoa
18 Jun 04 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Samoa
11 Aug 04 |  Country profiles

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