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Sri Lanka president pardons hardline Buddhist monk

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has pardoned a hardline Buddhist monk who is accused of inciting violence against ethnic minority Muslims and convicted of contempt of court, officials said on Wednesday. The...

Fiji to host 2020 Asia-Pacific ROBOCON competition

FIJI will next year host the Asia-Pacific ROBOCON competition which will see Fijian students taking part in the inaugural event. Launching the competition yesterday, Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Rosy Akbar said the launch was a stepping stone for them to begin a few months of preparation leading up to the August 2020 Asia-Pacific...

Consider challenges of small island countries, Fiji’s Health Minister urges WHO

MINISTER for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete has called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to consider the challenges of Small Island Developing Countries. Dr Waqainabete yesterday delivered Fiji’s national statement at the 72nd Session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. He said Small Island Developing countries (SIDs) faced challenges in...

Unexpected monarch in bagging area? Queen Elizabeth pops down to Sainsbury’s

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth popped down to the supermarket on Wednesday to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the British high street chain, Sainsbury’s. The 93-year-old queen visited a pop-up replica of the original Sainsbury’s shop which was founded on London’s Drury Lane in 1869, selling just butter, milk and eggs. She was greeted...

British Steel collapses after failing to secure extra funding

LONDON (Reuters) – British Steel, the country’s second largest steel producer, has collapsed and put 25,000 jobs at risk after failing to secure emergency government funding, Britain’s Official Receiver said on Wednesday. The High Court ordered the compulsory liquidation of the company, although staff will remain employed for now as the liquidator oversees the operation...

Boreholes guarantees consistent water supply for Sigatoka communities

THREE communities of Mavua, Raiwaqa and Muavesi villages in Sigatoka that often struggled with shortages of water will now benefit from the commissioning of boreholes. Some 500 people, three churches and three community halls now have a consistent supply of clean water. Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Local Government, Housing and Community Development Premila Kumar...

Pacific feminists celebrate diversity

PACIFIC feminists celebrated the diversity of the Pacific feminist movement at the closing of the second Pacific Feminist Forum (PFF) at Pacific Harbour today. According to the statement, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) executive director Nalini Singh said the forum celebrated the diversity of the Pacific feminist movement and provided an important space to reflect...

UK expats say slow mail service prevents them from casting EU-vote

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Numerous British expatriates say they are being prevented from voting in this week’s European election because they didn’t receive their ballot papers in time. Europeans go to the polls on May 23-26 to elect members of the European Parliament. Britain will vote on Thursday, and Britons living abroad who registered in advance...

Raiwaqa bus stopped at Sawani because of overloading

A BUS belonging to Raiwaqa Buses Limited was stopped en route on its last service this evening to Viria Village, Naitasiri, from Nausori Town. Driver Ronil Chand said they were stopped because of the overloading of passengers. The frustrated bus driver said he had faced the same issues in the past. “I had called Police...

Indonesia curbs social media, blaming hoaxes for inflaming unrest

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia has introduced curbs on social media in a bid to prevent the spread of hoaxes, some calling for violent post-election attacks, and quell two days of protests in the capital. Fact-checkers say hoaxes and calls for violence on social media networks have spiked since Tuesday when an official election count confirmed...

Divided Britain heads to the polls for EU elections it was not meant to hold

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will hold European Parliament elections on Thursday, a vote which is expected to show growing frustration on both sides of the Brexit divide nearly three years after the country voted to leave the European Union. The election, which Britain did not expect to have to take part in, is a result...

Ministry organises wage rate review consultation in Labasa

MEMBERS of the public flocked in numbers at the Kshatriya Hall today to be a part of the Ministry for Employment’s first minimum wages rate review in Labasa. Employment Minister Parveen Kumar said parliament had endorsed the review of the national minimum wage rate and based on that, they had engaged the services of Professor Partha...

Gabon president fires VP, forests minister over hardwood scandal

LIBREVILLE (Reuters) – Gabon’s President Ali Bongo has fired his vice president and his forests minister, his office said on Wednesday, after hundreds of containers of illegally logged kevazingo wood that had been seized went missing. The statement gave no reason for their removal, but said forests would be managed under the office of the...

Man denies charges of sexual servitude and trafficking in children

A 38-YEAR-old man charged with one count of aggravated sexual servitude and three counts of domestic trafficking in children has been further remanded by the High Court in Suva. Josevata Werelagi appeared before judge Justice Daniel Goundar today. It is alleged Mr Werelagi, between July 18, 2015, and July 22, 2015, in Suva, by use...

U.S. measles outbreak spreads to Maine, 25th state to report case

(Reuters) – Maine became the 25th U.S. state to confirm a case of measles amid the country’s worst outbreak of the disease in a quarter century, as state medical officials on Wednesday reported that a child was infected but is now fully recovered. The afflicted school-aged child from Somerset County, whose measles case was confirmed...

Eveready Taxis installs electronic payment system in a first in Fiji

EVEREADY Taxis is the first company in Fiji to install and accept ATM cards for payment of taxi fares. This after Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum launched the ANZ POS with Eveready Taxis at the ANZ House in Suva today. The A-G said the Government had been focused on increasing the number of electronic...

Father denies incestuous rape and assault allegations

A MAN charged with four counts of rape and two counts of sexual assault has denied the charges against him when he appeared before High Court judge Justice Daniel Goundar in Suva today. It is alleged between October 1 and November 9 last year,  in Lami, the man had carnal knowledge, and unlawfully and indecently assaulted...

Tourism traders converge on Denarau; 4000-plus meetings scheduled

ABOUT 500 tourism stakeholders are participating the first day of the 2019 Fijian Tourism Expo at the Denarau Convention Centre at the Sheraton Resort and Spa in Nadi today. The annual event allows Fiji’s main tourism stakeholders to promote their products to international buyers such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, China, Ukraine, Germany, Hong Kong,...

China’s big three airlines seek Boeing compensation over 737 MAX grounding

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s three biggest airlines have asked U.S. planemaker Boeing Co to compensate them for losses caused by the grounding and delayed deliveries of 737 MAX jets, just as regulators gather to discuss design changes for the troubled aircraft. The triple compensation requests come at a sensitive time in Sino-U.S. relations, with a...

Teenager latest road accident victim

A 19-YEAR-old student is the latest victim on our roads following an accident that occurred last night along Brown Street in Suva. A 26-year-old man is now in police custody following the incident, which is alleged to have claimed the life of the student. The man while driving towards Suva is alleged to have bumped...

New Genoa bridge expected to be completed by April 2020

REGGIO EMILIA, Italy (Reuters) – Rebuilding work on a bridge that collapsed in the Italian city of Genoa last year killing 43 people is expected to be completed by next April despite demolition works running late, the special commissioner for the reconstruction said on Wednesday. The demolition of the Morandi bridge, which gave way last...

Fiji chosen by ILO, says Cawaru

FIJI has been chosen by the International Labour Organization to be a pathfinder country for the Sustainable Development Goal alliance 8.7. Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations permanent secretary Osea Cawaru made the comment at the World Day Against Child Labour celebration for teachers and students in Nadi yesterday. “I am glad to announce...

Pope denounces ‘hardships and trials’ facing Catholics in China

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis paid tribute on Wednesday to Chinese Catholics for holding on to their faith despite “hardships and trials”, an apparent reference to Beijing’s restrictions on religion. His comments to tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience came as the Vatican and China...

Government clamps down on child labour

MORE than 230 children involved in child labour have been returned to school by Government, says Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations permanent secretary Osea Cawaru. He made the comment while speaking at the World Day Against Child Labour celebration for teachers and students in the Western Division in Nadi yesterday. Mr Cawaru said...

NFP concerned with EFL’s proposal to increase tariff rates

THE National Federation Party (NFP) has raised concerns on submissions by Energy Fiji Ltd (EFL) seeking a 17.27 per cent increase in tariff rates per unit, labelling it a “further blow to our ordinary people”. In an advertisement last week, the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission confirmed the submissions from EFL for the proposed increase...

U.S. south ‘still under the gun’ after deadly storms

(Reuters) – A storm system that blasted the U.S. South was weakening on Tuesday but another was on its way after thunderstorms and tornadoes left a swath of destruction, killed at least two people and tore up a NASCAR grandstand. More than 30 tornadoes struck on Monday and Tuesday from Texas, Oklahoma and across the...

Runway ready for FJFW show

PREPARATIONS for tomorrow’s Fiji Fashion Week (FJFW) 2019 show are well in progress with at least 1200 people expected to turn out at the two-day event. FJFW managing director Ellen Whippy-Knight said ticket sales had been going well. She said 70 models would be taking to the runway to showcase designs starting with the CRUISE...

‘Impossible to prepare’ for 2019 season: Prof Prasad

SUGARCANE growers will “simply find it impossible to prepare for the 2019 season” because the $32 per tonne delivery payment will not be enough to cover harvesting and transportation costs. This is the view expressed by National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad. Speaking during a press conference on “matters of national interest” yesterday, he...

Taveuni farmers call on national ban on sale of green yaqona

FARMERS on Taveuni are calling for a national ban on the sale of green yaqona to discourage the increasing cases of yaqona theft on the island. After a meeting with the district officer on the island and police, farmers have raised concerns on the increase in yaqona theft on the island. Qila farmers representative Nitesh...

Cambodia’s royal oxen predict plentiful rice harvest amid EU tariffs

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Cambodia’s royal oxen predicted a plentiful harvest of rice, the country’s biggest crop, at an ancient plowing ceremony on Wednesday. King Norodom Sihamoni presided over the televised annual ritual in which two oxen are given offerings after plowing a field, marking the start of the rice-growing season in the Southeast Asian...

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