News

4th August

Oil rises as markets expect continuous fall of inventories

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil rose on Tuesday on expectation of a continuous decline in U.S. oil inventories, recouping some losses from the previous session due to lingering concern over rising cases of the Delta coronavirus...

Morocco to extend night curfew to limit COVID-19 surge

RABAT (Reuters) -Morocco will lengthen its night curfew, starting two hours earlier at 9 p.m. (2000 GMT) from Tuesday, as it tightens restrictions to counter a surge in coronavirus infections, the government said on Monday. The business and tourist hubs of Casablanca, Agadir and Marakech will be closed except to holders of the vaccine pass...

FNPF reopens COVID-19 unemployment assistance

The Fiji National Provident Fund COVID-19 unemployment assistance will reopen on Monday, August 9 (2021) for the continuation of phases two, four and the voluntary members relief. However, the new rounds will only be available to members with sufficient General Account balance. FNPF Acting CEO Viliame Vodonaivalu said the relief would only assist those who...

Kuruleca calls on Fiji’s higher education institutions to deliver national qualifications in counselling

The National Qualifications (NQs) in Counselling have been a long time coming and will serve as a minimum standard for those currently working in the industry, as well as those intending to begin a career in the industry. Chairperson of the Counselling Industry Standards Advisory Committee (ISAC) Selina Kuruleca said this in a statement by...

Australia’s New South Wales reports 199 locally acquired COVID-19 cases

SYDNEY (Reuters) – New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, reported 199 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, down from 207 a day earlier, as officials scramble to bring under control an outbreak of the Delta variant in state capital Sydney. Of the new cases, at least 50 spent time in the community while...

Prof Giles: No current evidence that COVID vaccines are harmful to an unborn child

There is no current evidence that the COVID vaccines negatively affect or have any harmful effects on an unborn child. Professor Michelle Giles, an Infectious Disease Physician and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash University, highlighted this during the 12th Fiji National University’s (FNU) Explain the Science series hosted by the College of Medicine,...

Applications for Government-funded unemployment assistance begins August 9

The applications for the Government-funded unemployment assistance that was announced in the 2021-2022 National Budget will be open on August 9. This is the Government’s assistance for employees in the formal and informal sector on Viti Levu affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They will be assisted through a monthly payment of $120 for a period...

Japan government starts to “name and shame” quarantine rule-breakers

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan has carried out a threat to publicly shame people not complying with coronavirus border control measures, releasing the names of three people who broke quarantine rules after returning from overseas. The health ministry said late on Monday the three Japanese nationals named had clearly acted to avoid contact with authorities after...

What’s happening today!

Hi everyone. We continue to keep our thoughts and prayers for everyone, especially families who have lost a loved one and those battling this virus in hospital or at their home, or at medical facilities around the country. Please continue to practise those COVID-safe protocols in your homes and communities, and help spread the word...

EU puts sanctions on 8 more Nicaraguans, as presidential race takes shape

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The European Union said on Monday it has imposed sanctions on eight Nicaraguans for human rights violations or undermining democracy or the rule of law, including Rosario Murillo, the vice president and wife of President Daniel Ortega. The step adds to growing international isolation of Ortega’s government, which has been criticized for crackdowns...

Iraqi engineer turns art into business amid bleak job market

BASRA (Reuters) – Iraqi engineer Wassan Ismail started creating and selling artwork after struggling to find a job in an economy battered by conflict and sanctions. The petroleum engineer, who lives in Basra, crafts pieces featuring traditional Iraqi folklore by sewing, painting and adding other media to create designs on ceramics. She began making the...

A year after taboo on Thai king broken, 103 face jail for royal insult

BANGKOK (Reuters) – In the year since making an unprecedented, taboo-breaking speech openly calling for discussion on the role of Thailand’s powerful king, human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa has spent months in jail, charged with the crime of defaming the monarchy. He’s one of 103 people from Thailand’s youth-led anti-government protests now charged with insulting...

Brazil electoral court to probe Bolsonaro for attacks on voting system

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s top electoral court, the TSE, decided on Monday that it will open an investigation into far-right President Jair Bolsonaro for his statements claiming that there will be fraud in next year’s elections. Bolsonaro, who is expected to seek a second term in 2022, has repeatedly claimed that Brazil’s electronic voting system...

Myanmar should return to democratically elected government, says UK

LONDON (Reuters) – Myanmar should return to a democratically elected government, Britain said on Monday, after military ruler Min Aung Hlaing took on the role of prime minister in a caretaker administration six months after the army seized power. “The decision by the military to extend the so-called state of emergency in Myanmar is unjustifiable...

Rescuers pull 394 migrants from dangerously overcrowded boat off Tunisia

ABOARD SEA-WATCH 3, Mediterranean -Two humanitarian rescue ships pulled 394 migrants from a dangerously overcrowded wooden boat in the Mediterranean overnight on Sunday in an operation lasting about six hours, a Reuters witness said. Sea-Watch 3, a vessel run by German NGO Sea Watch, and Ocean Viking, run by European charity SOS Mediterranee, rescued the...

3rd August

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 Luke Nasedra. The head of the Fiji Emergency Medical Team (FEMAT) said this was the reason they were placed on...

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...

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