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Strong earthquake kills 14 people in Turkey and Greek islands

IZMIR, Turkey (Reuters) – Fourteen people were killed in Turkey and Greece after a strong earthquake struck the Aegean Sea on Friday, bringing buildings crashing down and setting off tidal waves which slammed into coastal...

Tens of thousands of Muslims protest over Macron remarks after killings in France

ISLAMABAD/DHAKA (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Muslims protested in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Palestinian territories on Friday after killings in a French church prompted a vow from President Emmanuel Macron to stand firm against attacks on French values and freedom of belief. French Interior Minister Gerald Damarnin said France – home to Europe’s largest Muslim...

Seismic activity: 5.0 magnitude earthquake recorded near Matokana

A 5.0 magnitude earthquake was recorded in the Ono-i-Lau region this afternoon. The earthquake occurred at 1.44pm, according to the Seismology Unit of the Mineral Resources department. The seismic activity was recorded 317km South-southwest from Matokana Village in Ono—Lau, 557km Southeast from Vunisea in Kadavu, and 6344km Southeast from Suva. The earthquake occurred at a...

Climate pledges from Asia send ‘extremely important’ signal, says U.N. climate chief

LONDON (Reuters) – Pledges by China, Japan and South Korea to slash carbon emissions to net zero are “extremely important” signs of leadership in reviving global efforts to tackle climate change, the United Nations climate chief said on Friday. Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), welcomed this week’s...

Fiji Police investigation officers attend cyber threat landscape workshop

Investigation officers within the Cyber Crime Unit, Transnational Crime and Intelligence Bureau participated in a Cyber Threat Landscape and Artifacts workshop yesterday. The workshop was facilitated by Cyber Safety Pasifika (CSP) in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) and Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). Officers joined the Zoom training session from six...

France tightens security after Nice attack, protests flare in parts of Muslim world

PARIS/NICE, France (Reuters) – France stepped up security nationwide on Friday to guard against Islamist attacks after the fatal stabbings at a church in Nice, while protests flared in parts of the Middle East, Asia and Africa over French caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad. President Emmanuel Macron deployed thousands of soldiers to protect sites including...

Local Government ministry to provide markets for each municipality

Fiji’s Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Community Development is focused on ensuring that every council in the country has a municipal market. Minister Premila Kumar made this comment today during the commemoration of World Cities Day held at Albert Park in Suva. She said World Cities Day, which was celebrated all around the world...

Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy: Tailevu fans swarm Prince Charles Park; FRU boss opens gate

Tailevu rugby fans have swarmed Prince Charles Park to support their team challenge Nadi for the Farebrother Sullivan Trophy at 3pm today. With half an hour to go for the fixture, fans are still pouring into the venue. The entry point for the pavilion is already closed since the grandstand is full to capacity. The...

‘Coming out bravely’- Taiwan same-sex couples join military wedding for first time

TAOYUAN, Taiwan (Reuters) – Two women became the first military officers to marry their same-sex civilian partners at a mass military wedding in Taiwan on Friday, marking another landmark for LGBTQ+ rights in Asia. The defence ministry called it an “open and progressive” move and said it gave its blessings to all 188 couples married...

More Fijians receive roadside stalls

Twenty Fijians around Navua received lease agreements under the Fijian Government’s Roadside Stalls initiative yesterday. The lease agreements, handed over by the Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya – 18 in Vakabalea, one in Wainadoi and one in Naboro Village – will not only benefit 20 Fijians who solely depend on selling...

Movement ban in force in Portugal as COVID-19 cases hit record

BENAVENTE, Portugal (Reuters) – Checkpoints have been set up across Portugal to stop unauthorised travel during a five-day movement ban which began on Friday to contain the spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases reached a record high. Movement between Portugal’s more than 300 municipalities is prohibited between Friday and Nov. 3 to...

Seismic activity: 5.2 mag quake recorded in Ono-i-Lau region

A 5.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded in the Ono-i-Lau region last night. The Seismology Unit of the Mineral Resources department stated that the earthquake occurred after 10pm. It was located 606km South-southwest from Ono-i-Lau, 759km South-southeast from Vunisea in Kadavu, and 852km South-southeast from Suva. The department stated that the moderate seismic activity occurred at...

Oil extends losses with 4% slump on renewed lockdowns

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices tumbled on Thursday, touching a five-month low and extending the previous day’s sharp decline on the impact renewed coronavirus lockdowns could have on oil demand. December Brent crude <LCOc1> futures settled lower at $37.65 a barrel, down $1.47, or 3.76%. During the session, the contract traded as low as...

The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) says our foreign reserves are expected to remain comfortable till end-2018. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

Monetary policy remains at 0.25 per cent

The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) will keep its Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) at a low of 0.25 per cent as domestic economic activity has remained “subdued”, according to its latest announcement released early this week. RBF Governor and Chairman of the Board Ariff Ali said the latest partial indicators showed that on an annual basis,...

Thousands join Road to Acceptance walk

Thousands of people gathered at the Albert Park in Suva this morning for the Road to Acceptance Yellow Ribbon Walk 2020 hosted by the Fiji Corrections Service. The initiative drew supporters from all walks of life. Chief guest Minister for Rural and Maritime Development Inia Seruiratu acknowledged FCS for  its continued support to rehabilitate former and current inmates. He...

Thousands of German police plan to hunt out lockdown breakers

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany plans to deploy thousands of federal police officers across the country to enforce toughened coronavirus restrictions from Monday, including the closure of restaurants and bars, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Thursday. Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s state leaders agreed on Wednesday to an emergency month-long lockdown that includes closing restaurants,...

Fiji Ports raises $2000-plus in Pinktober walk

Fiji Ports Corporation Ltd (FPCL) staff members turned up in numbers at the corporation’s Pinktober Walk this morning. The walk that started from Sukuna Park to the corporation car park at Walu Bay was organised by the corporation to raise funds for the Fiji Cancer Society (FCS). FPCL chief executive officer Vajira Piyasena said the...

Spain enters six-month state of emergency to tackle pandemic

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain will be under a state of emergency until early May, giving regions legal backing to decide curfews and restrict travel to try and contain rampant COVID-19 contagion. Spain is one of Europe’s worst COVID-19 hot spots, with over 3 million infections. Its response to the pandemic has often been hampered by...

Minister reveals Housing Authority staff were giving out lots to relatives

It has now been revealed that staff members of the Housing Authority of Fiji were found to be giving out lots to relatives through corrupt practices. Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar said this was part of audit findings released during a press conference in Suva yesterday. “Housing Authority has lost its purpose over the...

No devaluation, says Fiji’s central bank

There will be no devaluation of the Fiji currency as foreign reserves remain comfortable, said Reserve Bank Governor Arif Ali. In a speech as chief guest at the ground breaking ceremony for BSP Life’s Voivoi Warehouse Development this week, Mr Ali assured the business community that any talk of devaluation was baseless because it was...

Lawyer for Philadelphia man killed by police says murder charges likely unwarranted

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The Philadelphia police officers who shot and killed a Black man under mental duress should probably not be charged with murder, a lawyer for the man’s family said on Thursday, saying they lacked training and equipment to handle the situation. Shaka Johnson made the comments after viewing the bodycam footage of Monday’s...

Tunisian man beheads woman, kills two more people in Nice church

PARIS/NICE, France (Reuters) – A knife-wielding Tunisian man shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice on Thursday before being shot and taken away by police. President Emmanuel Macron said France would deploy thousands more soldiers to protect important sites...

EU to fund transfer of COVID-19 patients across borders to prevent hospitals collapse

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union will finance the transfer of patients across borders within the bloc to prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations spike in the continent. After a video conference of EU leaders to discuss the health crisis on Thursday, the head of the EU Commission Ursula von der...

Japan’s new climate goals lift prospects for crippled nuclear industry

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s move to embrace a climate target of carbon neutrality by 2050 could open the way for the beleaguered nuclear industry to fire up again, nearly a decade after the Fukushima disaster shut down most of the country’s reactors. Once the world’s third-largest user of nuclear energy, utilities are now decommissioning nearly...

New Zealand approves euthanasia, set to reject recreational marijuana

(Reuters) – New Zealand has provisionally voted to legalise euthanasia but is on course to reject law changes that would allow recreational marijuana use, the country’s Electoral Commission said on Friday. New Zealand voted on the two referendums this month while casting ballots during a general election that returned Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to power....

Scientists identify prolific coronavirus strain which started in Spain and spread across Europe

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – A coronavirus strain that emerged in Spain in June has spread across Europe and now makes up a large proportion of infections in several countries, researchers said, highlighting the role of travel in the pandemic and the need to track mutations. The variant, which has not been found to be inherently more...

Hurricane Zeta slams Louisiana with high winds, ‘life-threatening’ surge

(Reuters) – Hurricane Zeta smashed into Louisiana on Wednesday with 110-mile-per-hour (175 kph) winds and what government trackers called “a life-threatening storm surge,” the third hurricane to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast state this year. Zeta’s extremely dangerous winds pummeled a stretch of the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Mississippi. The category 2 storm tied...

Israel, Lebanon agree to resume border talks next month

BEIRUT (Reuters) –  Israel and Lebanon held “productive” talks over their disputed Mediterranean Sea border on Thursday and agreed to meet again next month, the United Nations and the United States said. Thursday’s meeting was the third this month between the longtime foes, mediated by the United States and hosted by the United Nations at...

EU urged to demand tougher Thai labour safeguards before trade talks

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The European Union should ensure that Thailand tightens its labour laws as a condition for resuming trade talks, rights groups and big companies said, accusing the country of doing too little to combat workplace abuses. Talks on a trade deal were put on hold following Thailand’s 2014 military coup, but...

Facebook gains court backing in document row with EU regulators

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Facebook on Thursday won backing from Europe’s second-highest court in a row with EU antitrust regulators over what the U.S. company says are excessive demands for data after a judge set specific conditions for access to its documents. The U.S. social media group challenged the European Commission at the Luxembourg-based General Court...

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