News

1st April

UK chief scientist: expect hospital admissions to fall as cases flatten

LONDON (Reuters) – As the number of cases of coronavirus in Britain flattens, the number of people needing hospital admission should fall, the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said on Monday. Vallance told a...

Police fire tear gas at jobless workers defying coronavirus lockdown in Gujarat

NEW DELHI/AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) – Police in Gujarat fired tear gas to disperse a stone-pelting crowd of migrant workers defying a three-week lockdown against the coronavirus that has left hundreds of thousands of poor without jobs and hungry, authorities said on Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the country’s 1.3 billion people to remain indoors...

Turkey’s coronavirus deaths up to 168, with 10,827 total cases – minister

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s deaths from the new coronavirus increased by 37 to 168 on Monday, as the number of confirmed cases rose by 1,610 to 10,827, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. Some 162 patients have recovered so far. The minister added on Twitter that 11,535 tests had been conducted on Monday – the highest...

flydubai to reduce staff pay for three months due to coronavirus

DUBAI (Reuters) – United Arab Emirates carrier flydubai will reduce pay for its employees for three months from April due to the impact of the global coronavirus crisis on its business, a spokeswoman said on Monday. Airlines around the world have been hammered by the outbreak that has virtually halted international travel. Flydubai has suspended...

Cyprus imposes night-time curfew, extending coronavirus lockdown

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus imposed a curfew on Monday to contain the spread of coronavirus, extending a broad lockdown introduced two weeks ago after a weekend surge in recorded cases. From March 31, people with only some exceptions are banned from leaving their homes after 2100 local (1800 GMT) until 0600 the following morning, the...

Sweden expands jobless benefits to cushion coronavirus hit

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden proposed on Monday to temporarily boost unemployment benefit to help cushion the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic. “Even with the powerful measures taken to date to counter the economic consequences of the virus outbreak, unemployment is expected to rise sharply,” the Finance Ministry said. “This necessitates an adjustment to unemployment...

Spain overtakes China in coronavirus infections

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain overtook China in the number of those infected with coronavirus on Monday, as the government tightened restrictions on a population entering its third week under one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. Business leaders criticised Spain’s actions over the weekend to ban all non-essential work until mid-April and to extend for...

31st March

COVID-19: Telecom customers to receive double data

TELECOM Fiji residential and business customers will receive double data from tomorrow as part of the telecommunication service provider’s COVID-19 relief package. All remote customers will instead receive free calls to all Telecom numbers and designated helpline numbers (including Vodafone and Digicel helpline numbers) from all maritime and remote communities, schools and government stations using...

COVID-19: Wake-up call

A NEW Zealand national has tested positive of COVID-19, two days after returning from Fiji on March 19. Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said it was still unclear whether the man had contracted the virus while he was still in Fiji or when he was back in NZ. He said this...

Community unites to fish, share

IN the spirit of sharing and caring, some members of a community in Lautoka came together to fish last week. About 10 people gathered at Lomolomo Beach to catch nethili fish. Lomolomo resident Mohammed Shafiq said there was nothing much to do during the COVID-19 lockdown, so they headed to the beach to fish. “We...

Saudi king offers to pay for coronavirus patients’ treatment

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia will finance treatment for anyone infected with the coronavirus in the country, the health minister said on Monday, while the agriculture ministry took steps to boost wheat and livestock supplies amid global fears of a food shortage. The kingdom has registered eight deaths among 1,453 infections, the highest among the...

Commander apologises for unnecessary panic

REPUBLIC of Fiji Military Forces commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto has apologised to members of the public for the unnecessary panic his armed soldiers may have caused to more than 200 people outside the Fiji National Provident Fund’s Lautoka branch yesterday. He said the five soldiers were called in to assist police control the crowd...

Presence of armed soldiers condemned

The National Federation Party has condemned the presence of armed soldiers outside the Fiji National Provident Fund’s branch in Lautoka yesterday. Party president Pio Tikoduadua said the military should have realised the people were “unarmed and harmless ordinary workers”. “Whoever decided to send armed soldiers on to the streets among the public must be held...

COVID-19: Fijians urged to exhaust other options first

THE COVID-19 assistance will only be focused on companies, individuals and areas that have been identified by Government, says Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) chief executive officer Jaoji Koroi. At this stage, assistance to Fijians who have also lost their employment outside of the identified areas is unclear. Mr Koroi said the fund had emailed...

COVID-19: Workforce stuck in lockdown

As many as 30 per cent of workers at the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) have not reported to duty for more than a week because they live in Lautoka. Acting CEO Ajai Kumar said in a notice to stakeholders that CAAF’s plans have been disrupted by COVID-19. “We have been directly affected by...

150th anniversary: The scars of war

Fifty years ago this newspaper published photographs of wars in the Pacific. The time the Japanese invaded the Pacific was recorded as one of the bloodiest fights. Suva was the centre of operation to evacuate Europeans from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands as Japanese army swept across the Pacific. Some of the bloodiest battles followed...

Opposition Whip ordered to temporarily deactivate all social media accounts

OPPOSITION Whip Lynda Tabuya has been ordered to temporarily deactivate all her social media accounts by Friday. Chief magistrate Usaia Ratuvili set the temporary deactivation as one of the conditions of bail when the SODELPA member of Parliament appeared before the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday, charged with a count of malicious act breaching the Public...

Outrage in India as migrants sprayed with disinfectant to fight coronavirus

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian health workers caused outrage on Monday by spraying a group of migrants with disinfectant, amid fears that a large scale movement of people from cities to the countryside risked spreading the coronavirus. Footage showed a group of migrant workers sitting on a street in Bareilly, a district in the northern...

Former lawyer in court for disobeying lawful order

A former prominent Lautoka lawyer Haroon Ali Shah was produced before the Lautoka Magistrates Court yesterday to answer to a count of disobedience of lawful order. It was alleged that Mr Shah joined Azad Ali and Timoci Roqara for a fishing trip on Friday last week at Vuda Point. The trio appeared before magistrate Nayani...

Magistrate issues stop departure order against Bainivalu

A 53-YEAR-OLD former television personality who is alleged to have spread false information on social media in relation to COVID-19 has been granted bail on strict conditions. Nemani Bainivalu appeared yesterday at the Suva Magistrates Court charged with one count of malicious act breaching the Public Order Act. It is alleged Mr Bainivalu uploaded a...

COVID-19: Bank to announce enhanced relief package soon

THE Westpac Bank is in the process of finalising its enhanced assistance package, adjusting it to incorporate the measures announced by Government. A spokesperson from the bank yesterday said the bank would share the information with customers shortly. In response to questions on whether customers will have access to Westpac’s hardship assistance packages, the bank...

COVID-19: Town feels impact

THE Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry says Nadi is already feeling the brunt of COVID-19 pandemic, adding that some businesses may not survive for long. Chamber president Dr Ram Raju welcomed the tax incentives for businesses which would allow them to continue to employ their staff members and the economy rolling. “Tax breaks, deferment...

Wheelbarrow boys feel the impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 has had an unimaginable impact on businesses worldwide, the consequences of which are already being felt here in Fiji. Many workers have been laid off or have lost their jobs across the country and here in Suva, one group of young men shared how they have suddenly experienced a drastic drop in business. At...

Greener Fiji: Forestry Ministry to develop land use plan

THE Ministry of Forestry has yet to develop a National Land Use Plan for the country. This was highlighted by the ministry’s permanent secretary Pene Baleinabuli, while making submissions to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on the Report of the Auditor General — Performance Audit Report on the Progress of Implementation of Policies and...

Italy may be on wrong path in fighting coronavirus contagion – scientist

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s measures to halt coronavirus contagion do not seem to be working and it should change its strategy by setting up centers to separate people with suspected symptoms from their families, a prominent Italian scientist said on Monday. Italy, which has suffered the world’s highest death toll from coronavirus, has been in...

Greener Fiji: Family turns back yard into garden

EREMASI Tamanisau has turned the compound of his residential property at Tuisowaqa Place, Namadi Heights, Suva into a subsistence farm. Over the past few months, he has managed to harvest farm produce such as cassava for his family, which usually cost them around $8 a heap at the market. “In September last year, we decided...

Taina: Utilise the land

WHILE many of us sit in an airconditioned office from Monday to Friday, Taina Cavu of Lomai in Waidina, Naitasiri gets up very early and sometimes works in the heat with her husband to ready their produce to be sold at the Suva Municipal Market. At 53 years old, Mrs Cavu said she has been...

Africa’s megacity Lagos braces for two-week coronavirus lockdown

LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement imposing a 14-day lockdown on sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest city triggered a last-minute rush on Monday as people hurried to stock up on food and other supplies. Traffic snarled the streets and touts made quick money taking cash to let people leave cars in no-parking zones. “Everything is...

Some ultra-Orthodox Israelis chafe at coronavirus restrictions

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police have used a drone, helicopter and stun grenades in recent days to prevent people gathering in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Jerusalem in defiance of Health Ministry measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. On Monday, police, some in riot gear and surgical masks, encountered occasional resistance and...

26 Fijians stranded in India, call for aid

TWENTY-SIX Fijian nationals who are stranded in New Delhi, India, want urgent Government assistance as they do not have enough money to look after themselves for another 14 days. The group includes patients who had heart surgeries and family members who accompanied them. They were scheduled to fly out of New Delhi on March 28...

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