Regional

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...

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,...

3rd August

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...

New Zealand PM Ardern takes COVID-19 test after reporting sick

WELLINGTON, Aug 3 (Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken a COVID-19 test after picking up a “seasonal sniffle” from her three-year-old daughter, the government spokesman said on Tuesday. Ardern will step back from her duties for the day due to the sickness and the deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson will take...

2nd August

Australia home prices keep rising even as Sydney locks down

Australian home prices motored ahead in July even as a coronavirus lockdown in Sydney curbed auctions, though stretched valuations could make affordability more of a drag in the longer term. Data from property consultant CoreLogic out on Monday showed national home prices climbed 1.6% in July from June, when they rose 1.9%. Prices were up...

New Zealand human rights commission launches inquiry into housing crisis

New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission on Monday launched an inquiry into the country’s housing crisis as cooling measures by the government this year have failed to ease a red-hot property market, leaving many people homeless. Property prices in New Zealand have soared by the most among OECD nations in the past 12 months, rising about...

Army patrols Sydney streets as Brisbane extends COVID-19 lockdown

Australian officials on Monday extended a snap three-day lockdown in the city of Brisbane and some neighbouring regions while hundreds of army personnel began patrolling Sydney to help enforce COVID-19 lockdown rules. Sydney, Australia’s largest city, is into its sixth week of a lockdown as it struggles with a spike in infections that added nearly...

Sky News Australia says suspended from YouTube for one week

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Sky News Australia said on Sunday it has been temporarily suspended by the video-sharing site YouTube following the platform’s review of content for compliance with its COVID-19 policies. “Sky News Australia acknowledges YouTube’s right to enforce its policies and looks forward to continuing to publish its popular news and analysis content to...

More countries hike climate pledges, piling pressure on major emitters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A group of mostly smaller countries submitted new, more ambitious climate pledges to the United Nations this week, raising pressure on big emitters including China to do the same ahead of a major U.N. climate summit in November. U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa said that as of Saturday the United Nations had...

1st August

COVID-19: Markets shut Fiji from buying vaccines and ventilators – PRUN

Fiji was ready to purchase COVID-19 vaccines and ventilators but was shut out from the markets and unable to gain access to them, says Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York Ambassador Satyendra Prasad. He made the comment during a virtual briefing with UN resident coordinator Sanaka Samarasinha. However, Ambassador Prasad said eventually...

Australia’s east coast battles rising COVID-19 cases

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Australia’s east coast states of New South Wales and Queensland faced an escalating battle against the COVID-19 Delta variant on Sunday, with millions under strict lockdown and authorities urging more testing and vaccinations to rein in the outbreaks. Sydney and its surroundings, under a stay-at-home order for five weeks already, reported 239 new...

COVID-19 cases surge in Sydney as police cordon deters protest

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Sydney’s coronavirus cases continued to surge on Saturday as police cordoned off the city’s central district, preventing a planned anti-lockdown protest from taking place. There were 210 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 reported in Sydney and vicinities that are under a weeks-long strict lockdown while battling an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta...

Vaccine Task Force: Critical to improve clarity and transparency on evolving vaccine market

The Task Force Committee on Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries says it is critical to improve clarity and transparency around the evolving vaccine market, expected production volumes, delivery schedules, and pre-purchase options. The Task Force – established by the heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and the...

Multilateral Task Force urges COVID vaccine manufacturers to scale up production

The Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries says the supply of CVID-19 doses to COVAX, and low and low-middle income countries are delayed or ‘too slow’. And the Task Force has urged vaccine manufacturers to redouble their efforts to scale up production of vaccines, specifically those countries. The Task Force...

COVID-19 cases surge in Sydney as police cordon deters protest

Sydney’s coronavirus cases continued to surge on Saturday as police cordoned off the city’s central district, preventing a planned anti-lockdown protest from taking place. There were 210 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 reported in Sydney and vicinities that are under a weeks-long strict lockdown while battling an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant. Saturday’s...

31st July

COVID-19: Fiji reports 1121 new cases and 6 deaths in two days

New positive COVID-19 infections on Viti Levu remain high with 1121 confirmed cases reported tonight for the 24-hour period that ended at 8am today. And six deaths have also been reported on July 29-30. In his COVID-19 update statement tonight, Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong said 241 cases were from the Western...

Samoa’s new leader confirms scrapping of China-funded port

The new prime minister of Samoa has confirmed she will cancel a China-backed port project, but hasn’t closed the door to China as she navigates a path for the Pacific nation against a backdrop of intensifying regional competition between Beijing and Washington. Fiame Naomi Mataafa indicated she would only approve investments that had clear benefits...

New Zealand introduces bill to outlaw LGBT conversion therapy

New Zealand introduced on Friday legislation that proposes up to five years in prison for practices intended to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, known as LGBT conversion therapy. The proposed measures were aimed at ending such practices, which do not work, are widely discredited, and cause harm, Justice Minister Kris...

COVID-19: Mix and match and doses

People who have received AstraZeneca as their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, can take either Moderna or Pfizer as their second jab, says World Health Organisation director for immunization Kate O’Brien. “We do know that for the two, what are called mRNA vaccines – the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine – that you...

O’Brien: No pregnancy risk in vaccines; expectant moms should get vaccinated

Pregnant women should get vaccinated because the bigger their bellies, the more their lung capacity is reduced, says World Health Organization immunisation director Kate O’Brien. Speaking during an online WHO question and answer session on COVID-19 vaccines, she said vaccines did not pose any increased risk during pregnancy. “Over the course of the pandemic we’ve...

WHO not endorsing boosters

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is not recommending boosters at this point because of lack of evidence, says WHO immunization director Kate O’Brien. “There’s a lot of research going on, to be able to provide an evidence-based recommendation so we are not recommending boosters at this point because there isn’t enough information to provide an...

Sydney readies for the army as lockdown fails to squash Delta outbreak

Sydney’s poorest neighbourhoods on Friday braced for military enforcement of the city’s toughest and longest lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic as the infection numbers held persistently high five weeks since restrictions began. With the city of 5 million people ordered to stay home amid an outbreak of the highly transmissable Delta variant, authorities outlined even...

Samoa’s new leader confirms scrapping of China-funded port

The new prime minister of Samoa has confirmed she will cancel a China-backed port project, but hasn’t closed the door to China as she navigates a path for the Pacific nation against a backdrop of intensifying regional competition between Beijing and Washington. Fiame Naomi Mataafa indicated she would only approve investments that had clear benefits...

30th July

RBF grants conditional approval to Kina Securities for Westpac Fiji acquisition

Fiji’s central bank has granted conditional approval on Kina Securities Limited’s (KSL) application to buy Westpac Fiji. The Board of the Reserve Bank of Fiji reached this resolution after its deliberations yesterday on the comprehensive assessment conducted on KSL’s application. The Westpac Group had announced its intention to sell its Westpac Pacific Business – Westpac...

COVID-19: Fiji’s seven-day average of new cases recorded at 877 cases a day

Fiji’s Ministry of Health says the country’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases is 877 cases a day. Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong noted this in his COVID-19 update statement last night as he provided the outlook of the epidemic, saying the daily number of cases remain high. He said the daily test positivity...

29th July

COVID-19: Fiji reports 1301 new cases overnight; 9 deaths in two days

Fiji reported 1301 new cases of COVID-19 for the 24-hour period that ended at 8am today and 9 deaths recorded in two days. Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong said 293 cases were from the Western Division and 1008 cases from the Central Division. Dr Fong said the deaths were reported on July...

COVID-19: Fiji’s Health Ministry in talks to secure vaccine for children

The Health Ministry is in talks to secure vaccination for Fijians between the ages of 12 and 18. Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete made the comment during the debate on the 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament on Tuesday. “To date, we have confirmed enough vaccines for all age-eligible individuals and continue to dialogue for securing...

28th July

Sydney adds four weeks to lockdown as Australia COVID-19 cases spike

SYDNEY (Reuters) -The Australian city of Sydney extended a lockdown by four weeks on Wednesday after an already protracted stay-at-home order failed to douse a COVID-19 outbreak, with the authorities warning of tougher policing to stamp out non-compliance. Far from a planned exit from lockdown in three days, the city of 5 million people and...

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