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From the Editor-in-Chief’s desk: Your August 4 briefing

Bula vinaka everyone The revelation that people suffering from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have very high chances of dying from COVID-19 is serious. This is because NCDs reduce the body’s ability to fight infection, says Dr...

We need to get the travel industry moving again, UK PM Johnson says

LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that he wanted to get the travel industry moving again with a simple user-friendly system to allow for trips abroad without importing new variants of the coronavirus. “We need to get people, get the travel industry moving again,” Johnson told reporters. “We want an approach...

Sayed-Khaiyum: FNPF contributions increase to 6 per cent

The FNPF mandated contributions by the employers and employees will go up from five per cent each to six per cent effective from January 1, 2022. Economy Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum told Parliament last week that this will be in effect until December 31, 2022. “As we will recall, Parliament passed the Fiji National Provident Fund COVID-19 Response (Amendment) Act 2020 during the COVID-19 Response Budget...

Attack on Lebanese funeral prompts warnings of strife

BEIRUT (Reuters) -The Lebanese army detained two men over an attack on Shi’ite mourners at a funeral where three people were killed, a security source said, after the Shi’ite group Hezbollah demanded the perpetrators be arrested to avoid civil strife. The shooting in Khaldeh, a town just south of Beirut where tensions between Shi’ite and...

COVID-19: Seven deaths and 1220 new cases recorded in Fiji

COVID-19 infections jumped again in the last 24 hours for the island nation of Fiji as the Ministry of Health reported 1220 new cases and seven deaths recorded over three days. Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong said 464 cases were from the Western Division and 756 cases from the Central Division. He...

MP questions police on PM’s statement in video message

Opposition MP Pio Tikoduadua has questioned the Commissioner of Police on why Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was not taken in for inciting after calling the Attorney- General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum “kaidia”. Mr Bainimarama in his video message about Bill No.17 on July 23 said “So that is why someone as A-G is seen as a “kaidia” is not good a conniver, not to be trusted, someone who...

Adi Litia misled Parliament – A-G

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told Parliament that Opposition MP Adi Litia Qionibaravi had misled Parliament after she made her contribution to Bill No.17. Adi Litia said consent now could be refused if all lease conditions were met and the Board was prevented from examining the transaction whether the incoming lessee or sub-lessee. She said the requirement for the Board to consent to all mortgages of leases was removed....

A-G: Changes to ensure faster service delivery

Minister for Economy and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says there is a huge backlog of applications with the director of lands which have not been dealt with to-date. He told Parliament last week that at times it took a lessee more than a year to get consent from the director of lands on a deal. “There is a huge backlog of applications which have not...

Bill paved the way for regulation of freight forwarders

Changes in the Customs (Budget Amendment) Bill 2021 will have the overall effect of improving the services of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS), its regulatory powers and the timelines with which FRCS delivers its service. Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced numerous benefits of the Customs Bill in Parliament last Friday. “It Introduces the licensing of freight forwarders to properly regulate them alongside customs...

Serbia benefits from COVID-19 ‘quarantine tourism’ as Indians visit

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia is benefiting from COVID-19 ‘quarantine tourism’ as thousands of Indians make a two-week stopover on the way to other countries. India has registered more coronavirus cases than any other country except the United States. Its citizens are barred from entering many countries during the pandemic unless they spend two weeks in...

Going online – Maggie’s booming retail business

Maggie Savu is a real-life superwoman when it comes to meeting the needs of mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when expectant mothers struggle to find and buy affordable clothing for their new born in Suva, Maggie’s online business offers mothers the alternative. The 33-year-old businesswoman from Waciwaci Village in Lakeba, Lau started her business in 2019. She is also proud of her...

Reduction in duty on items

The Customs Tariff (Budget Amendment) Bill 2021 will see fiscal duty reduced on a number of items. Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told Parliament last week that the amendments made on Customs Tariff Act 1986 will see reduction of fiscal duty on green tea from five per cent to free. “There will be reduction of fiscal duty on fruit juice that is not manufactured locally or that has no added sugar...

Back in History: Mercy flight for woman

A 26-YEAR-OLD pregnant Vanuabalavu woman was waiting in Lomaloma Hospital for a mercy flight to transfer her to Suva so she could be medically examined. Laisane Latu of Mualevu Village was admitted to Lomaloma Hospital on Monday morning after complaining of abdominal pains. She was two months pregnant. This story was published in The Fiji Times on February 17, 1989. Doctors on the...

Fijian Police alert maritime communities after discovery of cocaine packages in Tonga

Fiji’s Police officers based in maritime islands have alerted respective communities to be on the lookout and to contact police should they find packages that may wash up on their shores like reported from Lau and Kadavu a few years ago. This comes after the discovery of packages of cocaine worth $2.3million in Tonga on...

A ‘gamblers budget’

FijiFirst Government has brought our beloved Fiji and its citizens to economic uncertainty, says opposition MP Simione Rasova. Mr Rasova last week in Parliament labelled the 2021-2022 National Budget as a “gamblers budget”. He told the parliament that the Attorney General, Aiyaz  Sayed Khaiyum has provided a fake picture of Fiji’s prosperity and success. “With the cumulative overprojections of revenue and expenditure by the Honourable Attorney-General since 2014,  it...

Greeks urged to use less power as worst heatwave in decades tests grid

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek authorities urged citizens to conserve electricity as the worst heatwave in more than 30 years pushed the power system to its limits on Monday and wildfires continued to burn in many areas. With the weather service forecasting temperatures as high as 44 Celsius (111 Fahrenheit) this week, energy authorities have warned...

80pc of Lakeba to receive first jab this week

About 80 per cent of villagers on Lakeba, Lau are expected to receive their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 jabs this week. District representative Uwate Soko said the mass vaccination program was launched at the chiefly village of Tubou last Tuesday whereby clan leaders, church pastors and village elders received their jabs. “Villagers of Tubou and Levuka also got their jabs on Tuesday and health...

People urged to get jab

People of Naitasiri have been urged to encourage family members and loved ones to get vaccinated and protect themselves against the COVID-19 virus. Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete made the plea in a webinar livestreamed on Facebook. “Right now, it is important for us to urge our own family members, talk to each other and encourage them to be vaccinated,” he said. “We have been protected from sicknesses like measles and meningococcal through vaccination...

Back in History: $200k court house ‘lies idle’

Nadi’s new $200,000 court house, completed in December, has been lying idle for the past three months because the government refused to install an air conditioning unit. This story was published by The Fiji Times on April 6, 1976. A member of the House of Reps and was a Nadi Lawyer at that time, Mr Harish Sharma had said that Parliament had approved $20,000 in 1975 for a unit. But...

Organisations help in COVID-19 fight

A1 Safety and Packaging NZ Ltd and Sai Prema Foundation Fiji teamed up and donated$60,000 worth of hand sanitisers and alcohol hand wipes for COVID-19 Vaccination Drives across Fiji. Sai Prema Foundation’s Dr Krupali Tappoo said it was extremely important to successfully administer vaccines across the nation and they hoped to support the vaccination teams. “Vaccination is the answer and the way forward for...

England changes COVID-19 app so fewer people need to isolate

LONDON (Reuters) -England’s COVID-19 mobile phone app will be tweaked so that fewer contacts of asymptomatic people who test positive for the disease will need to self-isolate, Britain’s health ministry said on Monday. Business leaders have raised concerns about the numbers of staff who are having to self-isolate after being “pinged” by the app when...

Warming waters threaten tuna – 10 Pacific economies stand vulnerable

Global warming is expected to progressively push tuna populations from the waters of 10 Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) into the high seas, disrupting island economies, according to a new collaborative study by Conservation International and a consortium of technical agencies, including The Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Parties to the Nauru Agreement Office (PNAO), the University of Wollongong and their...

Taxi association shows support for budget

Nasinu Taxi Association president Shiv Shankaran has supported the 2021-2022 National Budget as incentives in place for taxidrivers would help them especially in this pandemic. Speaking in an interview with this newspaper yesterday he said the incentives would not only benefit taxidrivers but taxi owners as well. “Regarding the issue on taxi bases, the abolishment of taxi bases is to some extent a good thing, reason being that some...

Economic growth – Fiji gone backwards by a decade, says Chand

Fiji has gone backwards in terms of economic progress roughly by a decade according to Fiji born Australian Professor Satish Chand. Prof Chand, who is a professor of finance in the school of business at the University of New South Wales based at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, revealed this during a virtual panel discussion last week. He said the country’s recovery could only begin once...

Designer takes advantage of pandemic

Director and fashion designer of Kuiviti Pacific, Epeli Tuibeqa has taken advantage of the pandemic which he stated has brought about a lot of positive opportunities for his business to bloom. During a virtual panel discussion on Youth Entrepreneurial Resilience and Support Mechanism, he said one good thing which had come out of the pandemic was their production had been amazing in the fashion...

Ruling on East Jerusalem flashpoint evictions postponed

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Palestinians facing eviction from Jerusalem’s flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood will have to wait for a ruling that will determine their fate after a discussion in Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday ended without a final decision. Four Palestinian families petitioned the high court to hear their appeal and eventually allow them to remain...

‘Great time to start’ – A lot more assistance within the entrepreneurial space

There is a lot more support within the entrepreneurial space for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) than there was before. According to Tasty Kitchen Collective Founder Nikita Irvin during a virtual panel discussion on Youth Entrepreneurial Resilience and Support Mechanism, when she started up her business Tasty Island Treats in 2017, there was no funding mechanism available for a for-profit business as it was all...

Puras: No systematic reporting on suicide

There is no systematic reporting on suicide in Fiji, UN senior health official Dainius Puras has told the United Nations Human Rights Council. Mr Puras, who is the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, visited Fiji towards the end of 2019 and was reporting to the council. “The Ministry of Health and Medical...

Board restricts import of test kits

The Fiji Medicinal Products Board has placed restrictions on the import and usage of COVID-19 rapid antigen detection test kits in Fiji. Chairman of the board Reenal Chand said importers must seek authorisation from the board before buying the test kits. All COVID-19 rapid antigen detection test kits imported must comply with WHO (World Health Organization) standards as specified by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services,” Mr Chand...

Dominican Republic to kill thousands of pigs over swine fever outbreak

SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) – The Dominican Republic will slaughter tens of thousands of pigs after detecting outbreaks of African swine fever in 11 of the country’s 32 provinces, authorities said on Monday. Fernando Duran, administrator of the state-run Banco Agricola, told a news conference the government will pay pig farmers the market price of each...

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